Thursday, May 26, 2011

Chick # 1 Gets His Wings Clipped!

My "Little Airplane" had to be grounded.  Baby #1 is the funniest bird.  As soon as he sees me he runs to the door wanting to come out!  You are all saying...oh, how cute!  Yea, right, little "Mr Blue" has figured out that he needs me to let him out so he can fly!  He loves flying!  I felt so bad to clip his tiny wings, but it is for his safety and my sanity.  I think I saw him chuckle when he flew to the highest shelf in the bird room and peeked over knowing I couldn't get him, lol.

Here are the photos of his first "wing trim". 

The wing is comprised of a few basic parts that give the birds their incredible aerodynamics.

I gently hold his wing out so I can see the feathers.

The first 10 long outer feathers are called the Primary Flight Feathers (remiges)
The second set of about 9 or 10 feathers next to them
are called the Secondary Flight Feathers (remiges)

I carefully cut about  5 - 7 of the long primaries. 
I use the Primary Coverts (that's the dark blue area above the Primary Flights as a guideline).

Repeat on the other side.  I like to keep them a bit farther away from the Primary Covert line when they are babies.  It is important to trim them evenly on both sides so the bird can maintain it's balance.  The bird can still fly a little , but it can no longer fly up or far away.  Some people may think this is cruel, but it is really for the safety of the bird. 
It is in no way painful for the bird.  It is like having your hair cut.

This little boy is such a Sweet Doll!  He doesn't even nip...yet!
he is very gentle and curious!

Chicks Are 5 1/2 Weeks & So Grown Up!

Sweet Babies!

My little babies have grown up so quickly!  Chick #1 is pretty much eating on his own now.  He loves to come out and fly around.  I have to clip his wings, but I just don't have the heart to "ground" him.  He is the leader and he knows it!

Chick #1 has the most white.  It is hard to see in the photos, but the lower half is mostly white.
He also has the lighter white colroing in his wings.

Chick #2 is eating a little on his own, but he is my "cry baby".  He cries so loudly for formula, but then when I go to give it to him, he shakes his little head ans spits it out (messy!).  He has also taken his first flight yesterday. 

It is so cute to watch them fly for the first time.  The look on their little faces is so cute!  They are so proud of themselves!

Chick #3 - My little Turquoise is such a beauty!  His coloring is intense.  He is gorgeous!

A group shot of the Fids.

A breeder friend of mine seems to think they may have pastel in them.
All the chicks have a lacy pattern on them. The also still have this greenish cast to their wings, and they are iridescent. The babies have very silky feathers and are a very pale blue.  They are also believed to be marbled pieds instead of the normal pieds.  They have a mixture of white & blue feathers "marbled/mottled" throughout their bodies instead of solid bands of color.

Monday, May 16, 2011

4 1/2 Weeks & Counting! So Sweet!

The babies are getting so "big"!  They are just the cutest.  I love them at this age.  They are really looking like birds now. They are goofy & clumsy, but they are starting to really notice their surroundings.  They play with each other, preen each other & are starting to pick at millet sprays, more out of curiosity than anything!

So here they are:
Click on photos for a larger view.

This is chick #1.  He is the lightest colored.

This is chick #2
His coloring is a bit darker.  Both are gorgeous!

This is chick #4 - It's a turquoise boy!
I think he might stay with me!

Here is group shot.  They wanted to go to sleep as I had just fed them.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Baby Parrotlet Photos - 2 - 3 1/2 weeks!

I decided to take more photos of the babies as they grow so quickly at this stage! 

Here is chick #1 - He looks to be a very light pied blue.  He is the palest powder blue color (pieds tend to be lighter in color) with electric blue wings and rump.  he has white feathers on the back of his head as well as a few on his lower belly, and 2 white feathers on his tail.  I was hoping for more heavy markings, but he is so cute.  He loves to be petted.

Here are chicks #1 & #2 - Both Pied Males. 

Here is a group shot of the chicks - Ages 1 week (itty bitty) to 3 1/2 weeks

Close up of Itty Bitty - He seems small for his age.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Unexpected Tragedy! : (

I am shaking as I type this.  I was just hand feeding the chicks with the plan of photographing them for an update to the blog.  I always feed from youngest to oldest first.  I had fed the itty bitty, (yes he is still hanging in there, but so small), then #5, then #4.  I then pulled #1, 2, & 3 out as I usually do to feed them together as they are so funny and they beg like crazy and cry for me.  They are all very bonded to each other as well.

 I take turns feeding them each a little at a time.  I had just  given #3 (female) some food and was going back to one of the boys when she ran to me.  She tripped on the towel (her nail got stuck) and fell on her tummy.  I guess it forced some of the food in her crop into her air passage way.  All of a sudden she was choking.  I was horrified.  I tried to open her beak and clear her air passage, but she was struggling to take in air and was really just pulling formula into her lungs.  When a chick aspirates it happens so quickly and there is little that can be done.  She started to pass out.  I was shaking so badly telling her to stay with me.  She died within seconds. I am still in shock. 

Sometimes if a chick is being hand fed and a bit of food goes down wrong they will shake their head, and bring it up an out.  I think since she tripped too much formula went into the air passage and she was probably already opening up her beak to breath in and make that begging sound when she started to choke.  I have been going over an over it.  This is the WORST thing that can happen to a breeder when they are hand feeding.  I feel so responsible for her death, but there was nothing I could do.

She was actually the funniest chick.  She had huge big round eyes which I found endearing.  She really loved me stroking her and scratching her tiny neck and face.   I just loved her as I have found that females tend to make very good pets.  They get very attached to their owners and are very loyal, but people always tend to gravitate to the males because their coloring is more vibrant.

 I had also noticed this morning before I fed her that she was going to be a Turquoise.  This just made me sadder as she would have been my first Turquoise chick that I bred.  I have such a heavy heart and a lump in my throat.  I am still shaking.  I can't believe I lost her.  It makes me want to quit doing this.

Sunday - Still Going Strong!

     All of the babies are still doing very well.  It appears that baby #1 & #2 will be blue pied males (split yellow).  #1 has more white markings and #2 doesn't have any white markings that I can see, but he is a Pied.  #3 is definitely a female and she looks to be a normal blue (split yellow), but she might be a turquoise.  Will know for sure in another day or so.  Baby #6 is still hanging in there.  He seems very small to me, but he is a fighter so we will see what happens.  All of the other chicks have 1 - 2 weeks of age over him so maybe that is why he seems so tiny.  Still waiting to see what #4 & #5 will be.  #5 will be pied as well.  It was a nice Mother's Day, but tiring as I had to run home to feed that babies!

Friday Night Follow Up

     I would like to remind everyone that the reason for this blog is to let people follow the triumphs and trials of hand feeding baby birds.  It pains me when those bird mill breeders give their babies away for nothing because A), they breed them like rats, B) they don't pull the chicks for hand feeding until they are over 3 weeks old and getting ready to wean.  They only need to eat about 4 times a day at this age and most of those breeders only feed the poor chicks 3 times a day.  C), they just feed them and throw them back into the brooders and don't spend time playing with them.

     In my opinion, the babies are never quite as friendly as chicks that are pulled at 2 weeks of age.  There is so much work involved in countless hours of hand feeding and giving the chicks love and affection after eating.  I spend a lot of time comforting the chicks and stroking them and scratching their little necks, etc.  After the first week of feeding when they get to be about 3 weeks old they come running to me for food and love the attention and cuddle time they get after they eat.

    There is so much that goes on that the general public doesn't know when they go to choose a new baby.  Often times they are looking for the best price not necessarily the best quality.

    The babies are doing fine.  I had to pull ALL of the babies on Friday morning from the parents for hand feeding because I noticed that baby #6 seemed to be in some sort of distress.  I was hoping  to take more of them after mother's day as I had already pulled chicks 1 - 3 and have been hand feeding them.

     When I examined chick #6, I noticed that he seemed to have an impacted crop.  One of his parents had fed him large whole seeds and large particles that were too big for his tiny system.  I warmed up some water to the proper temperature and fed this with barely a trace of formula in it. I gently massaged his tiny crop to break u the hard mass of food in it.  I checked him every hour.  I could see that each time I fed him  that the hard mass was getting smaller.  The water would go through and bring a bit of the hard mass with it each time.  The chick was looking shrunken and dehydrated and redder in color.   I stayed up all night with this tiny chick no bigger than half the length of my pinkie finger.  I went to bed assuming that he would pass away during the night. Imagine my surprise when I checked first thing in the morning and he was still fighting.  His color was better, he look more hydrated and his crop was pretty much empty.

     I slowly re-introduced very thin formula into his crop.  I fed him every 2 hours.  So far he seems to be doing okay.  He is so tiny so I don't know if he will make it, but he is strong and he is a fighter.  The other chicks I took with them seem a bit confused but i a few days they will see me as mom just like chicks 1 - 3 see me now.  They are so cute.  I love them.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Breeders for Sale

I am offering a few pairs of my breeders for sale.  I am reluctant to sell them, but I need the room.  I have limited space available where I keep my birds and I need to sell a few of the pairs.  I hate to sell them at this point as it is right in the beginning of breeding season.   Most of the pairs have been going in and out of their nest boxes.

Ruby & Jackson - $150.00 pair
Female - Ruby: Fallow split blue
Male - Jackson - Blue split fallow
They are about 1 1/2 years old.

Fallows have red eyes, thus the reason Ruby got her name!

They have been going in and out of the nest!  They laid fertile eggs in Jan/Feb when we had that strange Hot/Cold weather.  Unfortunately they didn't hatch.  I would have loved to see their babies.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ella Displays Her Motherly Instincts

I had the most wonderful discovery this morning.  I was able to study the strong bond that develops between a mother hen and her chicks. 

I never realized that this happens because as most people who breed birds will tell you, we see some pretty heartless, horrible things that occur in the nest box.

Ella & Mochi are raised indoors in my bird room.  Most of my breeders pairs (I only have a few) are kept outdoors in a covered protected area so I can't watch the interaction of the parents with their chicks, but Mochi & Ella are hand fed babies themselves so they have always been indoors.

As mentioned in an earlier post I gave Ella a new chick to raise.  I gave her a 2 day old chick when her youngest was already almost 1 week old. She accepted him without any question or doubt, but I didn't realize just how devoted she is to him.

I was having bad dreams last night that the teeny baby had died in the nest.  When I went to check him this morning, he was off to the side of the nest by himself.  This is the second time I have found him like this. Usually I have to move all of the bigger babies to find him at the bottom of the "dog pile" where he goes to stay warm.

I immediately panicked and went to pick him up with the idea that I would take him from her and feed him myself.  I was shocked that he was so warm and not ice cold which is usually the case when a young chick gets separated from the clutch.  I also noticed that his crop was almost empty and the other chick's crops all had differing amounts of food in them.  I went to warm up some formula to hand feed him with. 

When I returned, Ella , who had been out of the nest box, raced back into the box.  I could hear her chicks peeping which means she is feeding them.  So I decided to check back awhile later to see if the chick had been fed.

I checked back a couple of hours later and when I opened the box, Ella was sitting next to her clutch (not on them like she did when they were tiny).  She was hissing at me and wanted me to leave, but she finally left the box, and what did I discover?  A very happy, warm, fat, well fed, teeny baby. 

Ella is such a good mother that she instinctively knows that this tiny chick needs extra attention so she seeks him out of the pile of older chicks.  She actually pulls him out from under the pile (no easy task), and moves him under her so she can sit on him.

I also realize that the reason she didn't feed him was that she was waiting for his crop to empty completely and she was also waiting for her food to digest into the thinner crop milk a young chick needs.  You see, as the chicks get older she knows just what to feed them and one can see bigger portions of seeds in the crop as the babies gets older.

I find this all so amazing & heartwarming.  She is a wonderful mama to take such extra care with the orphan chick I snuck into her clutch.

I took this baby from it's other parents because I noticed they were feeding their last baby big seeds in it's crop when it was only a few days old and the chick later died of many complications, one of them being a bad digestive system that shut down and caused it''s death.

More to come!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Somebody is a big boy!

I had thought that chick #1 was a girl last week, but just in a few days I can see that chick #1 is in fact a male!  It's a boy! He is going to either be blue or turquoise.  I just need another day or 2 to tell for sure.  He looks blue right now.  And, He is a pied!  He looks like he is actually going to have some nice markings. Time will tell!  See the blue on his wings?  Click on image for a larger view!

Here you can see this back.  See the dark blue feathers coming in on his rump?  I also see some white pied markings coming in on his back as well as on the back of his head!

Here is a closeup of his tiny head, magnified by the camera lens.  I see blue for sure, maybe green on the front of his head which would be nice!  Again, be sure to click on the images for a closer look.

Awww Look Closely! 6 chicks!

Now there are 6 chicks....but that is because I added a baby from another nest.  He is from the last pied pair that had a chick and then it died Well, they had another chick hatch on Saturday.  They seemed to be doing a good job with him, but I didn't want to take any chances, so I pulled him and gave him to Mochi & Ella.

See the new Itty Bitty baby ?  He is 3 days old.  Chick #5 who was the bitty baby is now triple the size in 1 week.  He is the pink baby at the top of the photo (not banded yet.)
The oldest chick is very shy and hiding under the chick looking into the camera!  So cute!

Ella doesn't seem to notice that I gave her an extra baby but that is because I took the two oldest babies to handfeed.  I put them back in the nest for the photo!