Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Reader Question & Answer

Richard writes:
"I have 2 baby Rosy's. One left nest too early and parents pecked it. I removed it and have had no problem hand feeding it. The 2nd one stayed in nest for about 6 or 7 days then left which caused the parents to peck it as well. the 2nd one is prob 3 or 4 days older than the 1st one. This second baby will not submit to hand feeding, therefore I am sorta force feeding it. it has lost some weight but now is about 15 to 18 days old and seems active and loves to fly. Has anybody experienced this behavior. it is hard to weigh them but I think they are around 1 1/2 ounce. Thanks in advance for any response. RICHARD"

The only reason I can think of for parents to peck their own young is that they want to go back and start another clutch. In the wild, once young birds are old enough to fend for themselves, their parents will try to chase them off. That's true of most birds, not only Bourkes. I suspect that your babies may not have left on their own. Their parents may have chased them out of the nest. Or, if there are other birds present, sometimes birds who want that nest box will try to steal it and injure the young in it. If you have multiple birds in an aviary, I'd make sure there were several more nest boxes present than pairs of birds. 

It's sad that your babies from this pair seem to be out of the nest too early. I'm glad you were watching and able to protect the young ones.  The baby that you say doesn't want to be hand fed ... usually they adapt to it eventually unless they are already able to feed themselves. I'd be sure you have other food available for it. Spray millet is supposed to be the easiest food for young birds to begin eating on their own. I've been adding breadcrumbs and other things to my hand fed babies' diets and they seem to enjoy them.

I've found that they love shredded wheat cereal, and will chew on a rice crispy or a corn flake, but don't like them as well. They love fresh greens, especially Kale and Spinach. I also offer mixed vegetables (previously frozen). They don't get any of this every day...just as it's convenient to provide it. A variety of parakeet seed mix is always present, however, as are two or more sources of fresh water. That way, they can begin trying to feed themselves even before they are ready and gradually work into it. By the time they are fully feathered, parakeet seed should be available. They may be too young, but they can still try to work with it and learn as they go.

My birds are not in an outside aviary...they are all inside pets...all 28 of them at present! Much of the year, our weather here is too cold & damp outside. Bringing Bourkes inside and interacting with them helps to tame them. Even the birds I bought wild as adults are so used to me now that I can reach in and out of their  cages to clean them and none get upset. They're very sweet.

I hope your parent birds improve over time and become more attentive parents. Meanwhile, those you hand feed will become favorites. If they are feathered you can get away with feeding them four times a day. Newly hatched chicks need to be fed every 2-3 hrs during the day, and once during the night. A good rule of thumb is feed them when their crops are empty. The Kaytee Exact Hand Feeding Formula I buy has detailed instructions about hand feeding that is very valuable.

Best of Luck!

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