So I got her a nestbox....

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fiddlejen

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Lovely!!! Thanks for sharing!!

I am afraid number four is getting behind in the development. He is nine days old now, should be a little bigger and opening the eyes...unfortunately this is common for the last chicks.

Would you be willing to help Calliope and feed the baby with formula?

I was wondering if he was growing less quickly. Especially this morning, everyone else seems huge and Four is still Tiny.

I am actually Terrified to attempt hand-feeding. Part of the reason is just, well, I know there's so much that can go wrong. But also - Four is still SO tiny i can't imagine even picking him up, I'm afraid I could damage him just with a touch? ...Maybe it's just the lack of feather-jammies that makes me feel that way...

Do you think hand-feeding is probably needed for him to Survive? If so then I will take the risk. But, if he would otherwise probably just be smaller and slower than the others? Being smaller is okay, and in that case I wouldn't want to risk harming him more by attempting to help?
 

Kitekeeper

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Hi fiddlejen,

These are challenging times for the budgie family you have there.

In my experience the last baby had great difficulty to survive due to the huge size difference it has comparing to his older brothers. I have not had success trying to handfeed the young ones, but had much better luck handfeeding babies at the age of Riker and his number two brother.

Maybe, you could try to save number four by leaving only number three in the nest and taking the first two babies to hand feed them separatedely. This way Calliope would be much more successful to locate number four and feed him.

Nature is usually unforgiving regarding baby bird early development. If they are not growing they are malnourished. Being malnourished in the first week of life is crucial as the baby body is under intense development revolutions. So, usually the consequence is not being the small of the litter as this could be the case for dogs and cats; the sad consequence is that being small their chance of survival is low.

One more thing to be aware is that letting just number three and four in the nest may help number four much better than trying to handfeed him, on the other hand can accelerate his death if Calliope start to overfeed him. His body should receive a smooth rise of food intake to be able to absorb it.

I understand this is a choice you may have to make and you must be brave whatever the choice is.

Taking number one and two to hand feed may save number four, but there are no guarantees. There is also a risk (although small) to not bein able to handfeed the older ones. I say the risk is small because there many ways to learn how to handfeed a baby budgie from advices in other threads in this forum, internet video and the help from us. I personally commit myself to help you by private messages if necessary.

However, if you do not fell like handfeeding the old ones, number four chances are slimm if he stays in the nest. Trying to handfeed such a delicate baby bird as number four would be challenging even for an experienced person.

I have a video somewhere when I handfed a baby budgie years ago. It is not that difficult when they are at Riker s age.

:)
 
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fiddlejen

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Kitekeeper, thank you so much for your advice and response.

This afternoon, after reading your comment from yesterday, I worked up my courage. I took out the babies and handled them, one at a time. From larger to smaller. I believe the first three are thriving, so I would not want to risk causing them problems by attempting to handfeed.

When I got to Number Four I realized that indeed he was not merely small but clearly starving. I am really glad for your response from yesterday (which I didn't see until earlier today), which motivated me to look, because I think that Four wasn't gonna last much longer.

So I looked around online and watched a couple videos of handfeeding tinies, and then I did my best. I truly don't know if this will have succeeded. My thermometer Broke -- (for no reason!; the temp dial now swings with the stem and no relationship to the numbers anymore) -- right after I First got the formula to correct temp. Well I Also wrist-tested it at that moment. Seems like it just kept cooling down too quickly, though. So I had the first wrist-test as a comparison, for each time I re-mixed more to make it warm. Still I'm afraid it all may have been too cool when he was eating.

I will be happy if Tiny survives, but, I'm not hopeful. BUT i am Definitely very glad you suggested I make the attempt. I'd say halfway through the feeding his little body had plumped up. (This despite most of the food going on the outside!) And it seems impossible but he almost seemed to have even grown by the time I returned him to the box.

At one point I had stopped due to all the air in the crop. But he still seemed so hungry. More poking around online seems this could be a big problem, or, HOPEfully he might burp it up himself. When I resumed, I thought some of the air had dissipated already. So hopefully maybe okay.

As of a short while ago, Tiny is still moving around, and still looking better than this morning.

I'll be heading to Target in a few hours for another thermometer. I will do my best with Tiny at this point. Since the other three are doing well, I'd rather not risk endangering them with my novice attempts.
 

Kitekeeper

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Wow! That was brave!

The first time I touched baby budgies I was so afraid to hurt them. Once I had to help a chick to get off the egg shell, the baby just could not open the egg enough. The mother stood there looking at me and I swear I could see in her eyes she was asking for help. So I picked up the egg and start to break the shell to make room for the baby to break free, then I noticed he had two left feet. Seconds later a third foot appeared! I started to be afraid for what was coming out of the shell....In the end that egg had twins, which I did not know at the time was a very rare occurance.:)

I am confident the approach you chose will work out just fine for number 4. I understand you will keep him in the nest and will take him to handfeed from time to time. Just be sure to handfeed number 4 every two or three hours, consider he is a 5 days old chick regarding development time. Of course if the craw is full, no need to force the baby to eat.

Do not worry about formula temperature, unless it is really cold in your environment. I always fed the babies with formula in environment temperature near 30 celsium degrees.

Also do not worry about wasting, they really do quite a mess trying to eat and most of the food will end up outside. Just clean the baby after his meal with a soft tissue and warm water if needed.

Regarding air in the craw, it is more common when they are really tiny and they will eventually burp the air, no worries.

It is a learning process for you and for number four, eventually you will understand each other.

Last, but not least indeed they can show improvement really fast. Try to scale his weight once a day in the same clock hour to have a concrete measure of its development.

:):)
 
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fiddlejen

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Well it has been about 3 hours. I'm planning to go out a few hours this evening, so, I went ahead and prepared more food (wrist tested it; have not gone out for new thermometer yet), and went to pull Tiny from the nest for another feeding before I leave for awhile.

Well they are all tucked up nicely for the night. I was just hearing beginnings of peepings before I tapped on the nest box. However when I looked in, it seems I interrupted Mama Calliope in her very feeding of Tiny! Lying there with a very full crop (no air), and Mama not quite happy to move away from him.

I will check again later tonight. They've usually gotten quite loud wiht the peeping. I'm hoping that maybe I will just be Supplementing with the formula. I kinda figured, she must've been feeding him Some, but only, Not Enough. I'm thinking that in the night when I hear the peepers, I can wait till they're done and then check on Tiny. Then tomorrow in the daytime, when Mama is spending lots of time out of the box anyway, I will plan to give extra feedings every few hours.
 

Kitekeeper

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I will check again later tonight. They've usually gotten quite loud wiht the peeping. I'm hoping that maybe I will just be Supplementing with the formula. I kinda figured, she must've been feeding him Some, but only, Not Enough. I'm thinking that in the night when I hear the peepers, I can wait till they're done and then check on Tiny. Then tomorrow in the daytime, when Mama is spending lots of time out of the box anyway, I will plan to give extra feedings every few hours.

Sounds like a good plan!!

I would not mind much about nightime. They are not fed during the night by their parents, so little Tiny might endure the night well. First light in the morning, of course gonna be time for breakfast.
 

Kitekeeper

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Thank you Scott, LaManuka and all the moderators for keeping this site.

It has being a great source of knowledge and a place to find goodness and kindness among people...something quite scarce after one and a half year of generalized selfishness behavior due to pandemics.
 
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fiddlejen

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Morning update on Tiny. Appears that crop is being kept full by Mama now. (I will keep checking at intervals throughout the day!) I suspect the problem so far, may have simply been her not Finding him (as he keeps huddling under the others for warmth) to keep him fed, and then he probably became exhausted and no longer able to peep for food.

I took them all out this morning to clean the box. Found I had to fully remove the box in order to actually clean it. Was gonna get a pic of the babies, but, by the time I was re-installing the box, Mama Calliope was getting antsy and the babies all started peeping again. As I started putting them back in, she was Right There, turning around, climbing over them to check on them all... and, she was feeding Tiny right away.

At this point, Riker's baby-down-feathers are gray. I'm guessing this means he'll be a little Green Monster like Papa Jefferson. Two and Three both have white baby-feathers. Their wings feathers appear darker, though. I am of course getting very curious as to their eventual coloring.

Mama Calliope in the past has had a near-obsession with carrots. Over the past week or so, that has changed to a preference for lettuce. As in, she's eating Full Leaves of lettuce. This morning I've added some organic baby spinach leaves and she's already devoured them, as well. I'm thinking this must be a good thing; the more variety she can feed the babies, the more likely they will accept variety foods once weaned, right?

I can still distinguish babies Two and Three by size, but, they're getting closer. I think Two's name might be Patchouli (Two => Tooey => Patooey => Patchouli). This leads to a few thoughts regarding a name for Three, but, it has not settled yet. If they continue to look alike as they grow closer in size, as I expect they will, I might apply some food coloring to tell them apart. I really love the Calliope and Jefferson know their names and respond (in their non-compliant budgie way) to them. I'm hoping the babies can learn their own names also, but, that will only work if I can continue to tell them apart myself.

Kitekeeper, I've been thinking about the twins you mentioned. They must have been SO small at the beginning, to fit into one egg together! Do you recall, as far as you could tell were they identicals? Or were they non-matching fraternals, like their egg must've originally started as double-yolked?
 
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So I checked again a little while ago, Mama outside the box and not looking like she had feeding plans any time soon, and this time it looked like Tiny probably does need some extra nutrition again.

So, handfeeding again. Again, crop half-full of air. I think the head-bobbing while eating, IF i was a mama birdie, would help the mama-provided food go down. However since I'm a human attempting to handfeed, the head-bobbing just moves the head back and forth Away from the food. Beak so small! The syringe I had ordered when the eggs started to appear, has a tiny tiny tip. So tiny, the formula would not go thru, so I had to cut it. The original tip could have gone a little inside the beak, and mightve avoided this problem... but... it was so small it clogged, so no go.

Anyway I got as much air-plus-food inside of Tiny as seemed safe. I do think he's noticeably bigger since yesterday. Here's how they're all looking right now:

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Kitekeeper

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You are doing a terrrific job!!:):)

Indeed he looks bigger and stronger as he is nearly stand up on his feet, head high! Congratulations!!

Do not bother the air in the craw, he will learn how to eat from the seringe eventually. It is normal to have that kind of situation when feeding babies that young. The frequence you are checking him up and intervening may well be saving his life. The moment you see those small feather cannons tips on the back of Tiny you will be sure he is developing well.

I have the impression that Riker, as you said will be a bird similar to Jefferson, both birds from the yellow series. Patchouli and number three are most likely from the blue series as Calliope is. There is a particular spot where to look in a baby budgie to see which color he is going to be, maybe already visible at Rickers age...but I wont spoil it for you.

Thanks for the pictures, they are helping a lot to keep track of their development.

Regarding the twins I had that time...well it happened more than 30 years ago but I remember vividly as that episode was full of surprises!

They were numer two egg from a clutch of five eggs. From the start something was different as the egg was 20% bigger than a normal egg.

The eclosion only happened with my assistance and the babies were connected by their abdomen from a little umbillical cord like tissue. One baby was 30% little than a normal newborn budgie chick the other was 50% smaller than a normal newborn.

They remained connected until day 9 and they were lucky to be the second egg to hatch as they had to deal with jut one bigger brother.

They developed fine, just like any baby and when they reached their color feathers they were the only greens in a clutch of grays and one pied white/gray.

Anyone would believe that they were identical twins, thus the green color...no! They were male and female!!:eek:

The story does not stop here. As soon as they left the nest they bonded so much with one another that they eventually formed a couple. It was the only couple harrassed by the other budgies forcing me to keep them together separatedly in another cage. They were never interested in any other budgie, lived their lives to each other until the female died many years later. They had a full life, even sexually but I never gave them a nestbox.

:)
 
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fiddlejen

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Oh i love your story of the twins! That is amazing, and I am so happy for their happy life. :)
 
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fiddlejen

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This morning Mama fed the babies but Tiny's crop was empty afterwards.

I had checked before the first feeding and I think Tiny was at the bottom of the pile. I think Mama Calliope wants to feed him, but often just cannot find him.

Teeny teeny Tiny today:

8-11-21 teeny teeny tiny.JPG


A bird in the hand:

8-11-21 a bird in the hand.JPG


All together now:

8-11-21 all together now.JPG
 

Kitekeeper

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I think Mama Calliope wants to feed him, but often just cannot find him.
That is my understanding too, it may be difficult for Calliope to cope with four moving mouth targets:)

Thank you for the pictures. The one in your hand and that other pic with his siblings shows Tiny is catching up! For a novice in the handfeeding art you are doing very well!!

Are you enjoying feeding Tiny? I bet even Calliope is going to trust you more from now on...
 
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fiddlejen

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Are you enjoying feeding Tiny? I bet even Calliope is going to trust you more from now on...
Well I'm not sure enjoy is the right word. At the brief moments when the feeding seems to be working & food going IN to baby & baby swallowing it down -- yes, probably. :) So perhaps with more practice I would enjoy it. However I am hoping to Not get that much practice.

Yesterday and today, I managed to check after a few mama-feedings. Each time I checked today, Tiny's crop was well-filled. Yesterday, not so much -- but there was Some food in there; at least as much as I've been managing to get there. So I have done any feeding yesterday nor today.

Each time I checked in, I moved Tiny back atop the pile (instead of Under), with hopes that Mama Calliope will find him. At one point today, Mama had left the box, so I thought she was all done, but I guess she was just getting a refill. I was putting the babies back in, rearranged, while she looked in suspiciously. I kept the lid open a bit so I could peek, and she was definitely going right for Tiny with More sustenance.

Recently I added spinach to their greens. Only organic stuff for babies, so it's the organic Baby Spinach Leaves. I've been clipping little bundles in the cage, and Calliope has consumed Every Bit. I assume she must've somehow snuck out to a Library, read some Popeye Comics, and learned that Spinach will make her babies big and strong.

This evening, I think Tiny actually looks healthy. This is the only pic I got of the babies today. As usual they are all in one pile, and their heads seem attached to wrong bodies...

8-13-21.JPG
 
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fiddlejen

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It's not visible here, but Riker is definitely getting a tail.
Patchouli and Three look identical except for size difference. They both seem more active than Riker.
Tiny's eyes are partially open.

Today's baby picture:
Babies in a bucket, awaiting completing of nestbox cleaning.
8-14-21 nextbox cleaning.JPG
 

Terry57

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I just got caught up on this thread, and wow, those babies are so precious! Jen, you are doing such a wonderful job with Tiny, he looks so much better! I love how you and Kitekeeper have worked together on this, this is the kind of thing that makes this forum such a wonderful place.
Please keep those pictures & posts coming, I love this journey you are on:)
 

Kitekeeper

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read some Popeye Comics, and learned that Spinach will make her babies big and strong.
Thanks for the good laughter :) :) , indeed spinach is one of the best food for them. Regarding something you said some time ago, Calliope giving them a variety of food is certainly good for a balanced health during such critical development time. However many parrots tend to stick in some preferred food items unless they receive a good amount of variety when they are young adults (in their first year of life).

Each time I checked in, I moved Tiny back atop the pile (instead of Under), with hopes that Mama Calliope will find him. At one point today, Mama had left the box, so I thought she was all done, but I guess she was just getting a refill. I was putting the babies back in, rearranged, while she looked in suspiciously. I kept the lid open a bit so I could peek, and she was definitely going right for Tiny with More sustenance.
Tiny is such a lucky baby! Nice work!!
It's not visible here, but Riker is definitely getting a tail.
Jen, have you already found out where the first color feathers appear?
Tiny's eyes are partially open.
That is the best possible news we could get! The proof you are doing such an amazing job! Congratularions!

this is the kind of thing that makes this forum such a wonderful place.
Exactly my thoughts! Thanks Terry, although all credit goes to Jen and Calliope!

I love the pictures too, keep them coming please!

Thank you!
 
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fiddlejen

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Jen, have you already found out where the first color feathers appear?
Is it the tailfeathers?
I think there's a good chance that Riker is gonna look just like Papa Jefferson.
 

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