Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New Peeps in the House! Linnie Eggs Have Hatched.

Mama and Papa Linnie. Hen at left is more blue then her mate.
Peeked into the Linnie nest box this morning not expecting to see anything new. We acquired our first pair of Lineolated Parakeets early last summer. After two months to get used to us, I gave them a nest box. They immediately claimed it as their own, and slept in it at night.

But, it was several months before an egg was laid. I expected them to wait until the following Spring, so when I saw attempts at mating, I tried not to get too excited about it. Then when there was an egg, I knew there was a probability that they would be infertile. The previous owner had run into that with them.

Lineolated Parakeet Nest Box from other side of cage.

Our Papa and Mama Linnie had three eggs, but it felt like the wrong time of year for offspring and, even though the house is heated, it's been really cold and icy here lately. However, this morning a tiny baby lay an inch from the mother on its back with an empty crop. I was excited, but concerned. Was it dead? No, it moved slightly. I put the lid back down and left her alone. After about ten minutes I looked in again. Baby was still on its back with an empty crop, obviously cold and unmoving. It would expire if nothing was done and she didn't appear willing to pull him back under her.

Now, this pair is not one of our hand fed Rosy Bourkes, so reaching into the box worried me. But I knew, if necessary, I could hand feed the baby even from day one. I'd done it with Lady Gouldian finches we hatched in a homemade incubator, so day-old Linnie parakeets would be easy by comparison. I reached in and scooped up the baby. Mama Linnie retreated out of the box. Low and behold, under our turquoise blue Lineolated parakeet had been another baby!
Linnie cage and nest box. They share their cage with a
Lady Gouldian hen I hatched in an incubator & hand fed.
I picked it up too. I'd already alerted my husband to this possibility and handed the fuzzy little babies to him. His hands are always warm, mine aren't. He warmed the cold one with the sibling and it began to move slightly, although not with as much energy as the one that had been under its mom. Both began to peep while I prepared a thin mix of Exact Hand Feeding Formula...six parts hot water to one part formula.

Both babies ate like crazy. Now, should I put them back? Their mother had returned to the box and was sitting on the remaining egg. Would she hurt these if I returned them? I'd heard one horror story of that happening with a pair of Linnies. But, this pair seem so friendly and not flighty. To hand feed this young would mean feeding them every two hours for over a week.

What eventually helped me decide is that next week we have to make a 3-hour trip out of town to a doctor appointment, then drive three hours back. That's too long to leave them unfed. Taking them with us was a possibility...I've actually done that before. But, it's such a lot of trouble at this time of year when it's so cold. When I did it before I carried a thermos of very hot water, which worked for the first travel feeding and after that it cooled down and I had to reheat the water in a convenience store's microwave before mixing the formula. This time of year, keeping everything warm would be an issue.

Here is our beautiful cobalt blue Linnie, "Blue."
He or she will hopefully get a mate out of the other pair.
So, back into the nest box went my hand with the two babies in it. Mama Linnie immediately exited. I snuggled the babies feet side down next to the egg and closed the lid. Very shortly after, she returned to the box. When I looked inside she was covering everyone. Later, Papa Linnie joined her. Hopefully, they are feeding their offspring as well as keeping them warm.

On the stove, I'm boiling eggs to make fresh egg food mixture to encourage them to keep themselves and their babies strong.

So, Hip, Hip, Hurray! Baby Linnies! Maybe our cobalt blue, hand fed and noisy "Blue" will have a future mate from this clutch. It's what we'd hoped for.
Blue shares a cage with a tame Rosy Bourke bachelor
until they both find a suitable mate.
Peace & Blessings!


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