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|Hand Raising Chicks|
|Topic Started: Aug 7 2008, 01:59 AM (130 Views)|
|Nat||Aug 7 2008, 01:59 AM Post #1|
Hand Raising Chicks
If you chose to hand raise chick I have compiled a list of basic equipment you will need
• Brooder – its a heat controlled box you can make you own
There is information on the web on how to make you own
If you are not handy with timber you can buy one ready made
• Nesting material – you can use a number of items from wood shaving, coconut fibres and nest mate. There are a lot of products out there, you need to keep it at least ½ inch thick. I use wood shavings and in the brooder is about 2 inches thick
• Feeding equipment – crop needle and syringe, (I don’t use a crop needle) or a normal 5ml syringe from a chemist works. A spoon you can buy special feeding spoons or a small spoon ( tea spoon )
• A glass or plastic jug to mix the formula in
• Formula – there are a lot on the market here in Australia we have Vetafarm Roudybush , Passwells budgie starter, Kaytee hand raising formula, Avione hand raising formula that’s just a few. Like most products it’s a personal choice. I use Roudybush, I have used Passwells budge starter
• Cleaning – make sure every thing that you use including your hands are washed in hot soapy water, you can buy human baby sterilisers for the microwave or a bench top model that plugs in a power outlet
Hand Rearing Formula
Hand rearing formulas available from pet store are ok in a crisis but I do not only rely on them as a full and proper diet
Here is a list on thing I add to store bought formulas
1 baby food – vegies like corn carrot pumpkin in a jar from a store or you can make it you self (don’t add salt to the water boil or steam the vegies then puree them) you can do this with any bird safe fruit or vegies
Potassium – banana baby rice cereal if you can get banana & apple, banana muesli
Make sure it has banana in it as it is designed to be heated and feed warm.
Check with the manufactures to see if heating will kill the parabiotic in the formula
Most of it dies when heated DO NOT rely on what the Pet Store tells you.
Here is how you mix it up
500g or 1 pound or 18 ounce (I hope I worked that out right)
1 packet of baby rice cereal should be 125g
Mix both together keep in an air tight container follow the instructions on the formula packet on how to mix it up for what age Every brand is different so I’m not going to give you instructions on how to do it
From 14 days old I start giving them a little amount about 1 tea spoon of vegies mixed in with the formula, they get use to the taste before they even know what vegies are
I change the fruit and vegies every feed so they don’t get bored eating the same thing
If you are not hand feeding babies you can still give them the veggie mash it still works the same. I would do this with only seed eating parents to help the babies,
Once the babies are finding food I add egg, soaked seed to the veggie mash
Now that you have made an educated discission to hand raise a chick, there is some simple rules
• chicks need to be feed every 3 hours
• Chicks need 10 hours too completely empty there crops, if this does not happen you increase the risk of infection.
• They need to be kept warm even during feeds a heat pack is ideal or I use a clean child size sock about ¾ full of rice and microwave it until its warm
a 2 day old chick
A 6 day old chick should look like this one, a nice full crop good colour
This chick only had 1 more day with her mother, on day 7 mum stopped feeding them 1 day after chick 2 hatched. Unfortunately chick two died only hours after it hatched. So I took over the job of raising the little chick that became known as Lucky.
This hen later that year did lay again, she raised 1 chick until it was 4 weeks old, and that little chick was killed by its mother. She was never given the chance to breed again.
While reading this please don’t think it is easy to raise a chick, you have to be mum that includes feeding, preening and cleaning. It’s not always fun but it is very rewarding, to see a chick grow up knowing that you have given a little one the best chance of life you could.
Lucky was on 3 hour feeds growing strong eating more becoming use to the syringe,
This picture is Lucky at 9 days ( 2 days of hand feeding )
as you can see the chick is strong, eyes open ( around the 10 day old mark )
As you can see she is starting to get “fluffy “
By the end of week 2 the chick should be “fluffy “ covered with soft down, eyes are open, able to stand with out help , and is very vocal when hungry
Week 2 -3 by now the chick has had its eyes open for a week or more, feathers have started to open the chick, so you are able to see what colour the chick will be, still getting louder when hungry, this is the point that I use a spoon instead of the syringe, you can start to increase the thickness of the food
Cleaning a young chick is easy if you do it every time you feed the chick
A small amount of warm water and cotton wool balls is all that’s needed. Wet the cotton wool balls in the warm water and wipe away any food left behind
Lucky at 2 weeks 6 days
At week 3, I start on 4 hour feeds, normally the chick will eat a bit more at a feed so going 4 hours is not a problem you can also drop the temperature in the brooder by 2 marks or in English about 4 degrees during the day going up 2 degrees at night
at 3 weeks 4 days
as you can see she is almost fully feathered
At 4 weeks I remove the young budgie from the brooder during the day, the chick is very active now a lot of wing flapping, walking around, starting to sound like a normal budgie
They are willing to try any foods offered at this stage, this is about the time I add millet and soft foods to the day cage. Feeds are now 5 hours apart
Lucky at 4weeks , 3 days
At 5 weeks I increase the time between feeds it’s now every 6 hours as she was cracking seed and eating vegies it was not necessary to keep feeding her , by now she started to fly a little bit, she is every active, sound more like a grown up budgie than a baby.
By now she could under stand basic commands like “up “ which means to get up on my hand, kisses well we all know what the means, most of her day was spent out of the cage. The young budgie is out of the brooder even at night.
At 6 weeks you should not be feeding the young budgie any more
Or only 1 feed per day, by now they can fly, eat seed, pellet crumbles, drink water, and eat vegies.
Problems with Chicks
As some of us are painfully aware some babies get squashed in the breeding box
Due to 2 main reasons
1 the biggest problem “calcium " lack of usually happens with only SEED eating birds that don’t eat fruit and vegies and do not get a supplement, to counter act the missing foods or Over breeding Hens . 2 rounds then a good 6 months off
2 squashed baby syndrome
Causes Mum is too heavy,
Lack of good nesting materials, and not deep enough,
Signs to look for
Spayed legs, if the bubs legs are to far apart
These are some simple way to stop all of this from happening.
1. add a good vitamin supplement make sure it has Calcium and vitamin D to the birds diet before you start breeding to the birds get use to it
2. use nesting material – we all know that hens take it out but if you wait for her to hatch all of the bubs out then she will be to busy feeding them to care what you are doing . Make sure it is at least 1 inch deep, also for these people that breed show birds try a plastic cockatiel egg to keep mum up off the bubs
Now for the illness’s that can and do occur with young budgies
1. nestling disease – or the correct name is Polymavirus
The first signs of this are bruising under the skin in the abdomen; you will see these before the baby is 10 days old
Slow emptying crop or not at all
There is no cure for this virus and death will occur with in a few days.
2. Worms - birds should be wormed just like your cat or dog use only a bird safe product its available at any pet store make sure you worm mum & Dad before breeding then again once the bubs are 6 weeks old
3. Mites - scaly face , feather mites, red mites , all should be treated with approved products like ivermectin , lice & mite spray
When I hand raised Lucky, I had a basic understanding of what to do, read all the books, thought I was prepared for what could happen. I was so wrong.
Lucky was very lucky to survive, she thrived with out any infections or complications. She turned 1 in May 2008, at 3 months old she laid eggs in her baby box that she was still sleeping in. Just before her egg were due to hatch “Baby” her partner died, she did not hatch out her own chicks but she helped me raise Cheeky when his mum died suddenly. After Cheeky died, Lucky went up to the aviary she has since raised 2 chicks. Even now I still get kisses she will sit on my shoulder while I’m feeding every one she still talks, not so much but when she wants to.
This is written in the memory of Baby and Cheeky
|Dio||Aug 21 2008, 05:17 PM Post #2|
|Thanks for this, Nat. I hope I never have to use it but at least I can come to one place and find everything I need, if ever...|
|Nat||Aug 22 2008, 04:51 AM Post #3|
|thanks Dio, I hope you never need it.|
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