Thursday, August 20, 2015

New Babies August 2015

The Nursery is getting full again and with new babies that I've either haven't handfed in a long time, or have never handfed before! 

Currently in the Nursery there's:
  • Lineolated Parakeets
  • Kakariki Parakeets
  • Lovebirds
  • English Budgies
  • Cockatiels
And I'm expecting even more coming up! I'm excited to have such a variety. I'll write more about the Kakarikis and Linnies soon. 


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Computer's Back!

Since my last post our main office computer crashed and we FINALLY have it back! It's been a crazy few months. Hal started having double vision and shortly after he flipped our tractor and miraculously only broke a few ribs. We left for the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota on Monday, July 13th and got back on Wednesday. The trip wasn't too awful, just a long drive! Unfortunately they couldn't compare the MRI scans that we had done here to the ones that were done there so we have to go back up in October. They do believe that he has another brain tumor so when we go up in a few months they will decide what to do next. Hal isn't very happy about this but hopefully they can take care of it in 3 months.

I was correct in my prediction about the African Senegals. One was a boy and the other was a girl! I'm currently handfeeding Cockatiels, 2 Pineapple Green Cheek Conures, a Painted Conure, and 2 English Budgies. I detest handfeeding anything as small as Budgies but lately my pairs have not been so nice with their children and I had to step in. They are cute, though!

I'm so sorry I've been absent on my blog the past few months. Fortunately the computer is back and I can get back at blogging! Wish us luck in the upcoming months. Thank you to everyone who has been so patient with us and supportive. I don't know what we did to deserve such incredible customers and friends but I am so thankful.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Nursery is overflowing!

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015 - Sorry it's been a couple of weeks since the last post. The African Senegals are slowing down in their progress. The eldest baby turned 2 months old today! It is now up to 126 grams and its sibling is 119 grams. They're on 2 feedings a day, 10-15 cc's per feeding. We've started feeding them veggies which they're eating very well and offering them some Roudybush. I set them up in a cage this week which is new and kind of scary but they're learning to perch! I'm still waiting on DNA's to come back with their genders but hopefully soon the results will come in so we know what they are! I'm guessing that one is a boy and the other is a girl but I suppose we'll see. They spent a short amount of time in a play bin today which was equally as scary as the cage but they did just fine. The older baby was playing with a foot toy in the play bin. Only a month left to go!

I am just swimming in baby birds! I've never had this many birds at one time.
  • 2 African Senegals
  • 4 Sun Conures
  • 3 Crimson Bellied Conures
  • 6 Lovebirds
  • 15 Cockatiels
  • 1 Bourke Parakeet (expecting 3 more on Friday)
It's just unreal! I may be planning a trip up to Minnesota to take Hal to the Mayo Clinic in the near future and if I have this many babies, I might go crazy! Let alone not have enough room in my truck! I'll have to post pictures soon of all of the babies. I just can't believe how we ended up with so many this year!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The little baby is catching up!

Monday, February 23rd, 2015 - I think the babies are about to reach their top weight. Over the last 6 days our older chick has only gained 2 grams. The younger baby is still working on growing, gaining 14 grams in the same time period. They are still on 4 feedings a day with 15 cc per feeding. There are now only 17 grams difference in the 2 chicks. Keep in mind they are 6 days apart in age. I think our itty bitty baby is doing just fine!

I am anxious to get the DNA's. I sent them in last week but I will probably have to wait another week or so to get an email with results. This company I've been using lately is fine but just takes longer than I like since it's in Canada. Just looking at their skull structure, I'm guessing the older baby is a male and the younger baby is a girl. We'll see - I don't have a hat like Johnny Carson wore on his late night show when he did predictions!

We are starting to introduce veggies to the babies. I always like to change things on Mondays. It helps me keep track of what I'm doing. This week I moved them into a different brooder that will give them more room, but as of right now they're still confined in a container within the brooder. Next week we will give them the entire brooder to move around in and introduce pellets.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The youngest African Senegal baby is 1 month old to today!

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 - Happy Mardi Gras! The youngest African Senegal is one month old today! It will not be long and we will have a hard time telling them apart. I guess this is a good time to talk about leg bands.

I know some people think they are too dangerous and a poorly fitted band is. However, a proper-fitted band with good information can be amazing information throughout a bird's life. The closed band should fit snug, like a wedding ring, but not too tight. Easily turning on the leg. They must be put on at an early age before the top of the foot is too large. I think it is a waste of time to band a bird with a band that is not traceable. One example: leg band # ABC 890 gains no useful information unless you happen to know who ABC is. I use bands from SPBE (Society of Parrot Breeders and Exhibitors). My identification number is 454. I like to use the current year on my bands and the individual number of the bird, which reflects which pair produced the chick from your hatch records. An example of how my band would look is: SPBE 454 15 10 which means that it's from SPBE, my personal ID #, the year, and the number that bird was in my records. Anyone, anywhere can trace that band back to me. Which has come in handy many times!

When we sell a bird, we keep a record of any information we know, including the leg band and who we sold the bird to. If my records are kept up to date, I can tell you the hatch date and genetics of that bird and who I sold it to. Who I sold it to can perhaps be the difference of someone getting their lost bird returned or not. In addition to being helpful for information, it's also good to have the info on the band written down to prove ownership should the bird ever come up missing or stolen. Over the years, Birds of Paradise has had several times that traceable bands have helped us get birds back to their owners. There are numerous sources for traceable bands. The Lovebird Society (LBS), American Cockatiel Society (ACS), and the American Budgerigar Society (ABS) are just a few examples.

Unfortunately, these Senegal babies will not be banded so I will have to rely on trimming opposite wings or mark under the wing to distinguish the birds as they become fully feathered. Usually this breeder does band but these babies actually hatching caught her off guard. I never put my bands on someone else's birds. In the case that the bird is not banded, you could get it microchipped. Another

I'll close with our babies' current weights. The youngest is now 101 grams and the eldest is 130 grams today.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Friday, Feb. 6th

Friday, February 6th, 2015 The oldest baby weighs 84 grams. Eating 5 feedings per day (7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm, 11pm) 9 cc a feeding. Sleeping through the night is wonderful! Getting a faint hint of green in the feather shafts on its shoulders. The youngest baby weighs 53 grams! A long way from the 8 grams where we started January 20th. Also eating 5 times a day, 6cc at a feeding, sleeping through the night. Eyes are completely open now but color is not apparent yet.

Both babies are alert, moving around in the brooder. When I see them picking at the paper towel I will know it is time to start vegetables. We use the frozen mixed variety and some of our cooked crock pot mix that we sell. Most of the birds eat soft food well. If I have some left over broth, plain cooked pasta or any chicken/turkey, I'll mix that in with my vegetables for my birds. If I have any left over, I'll just refrigerate it in a Ziploc baggy or a container until the next serving of cooked food.

Monday, February 9th, 2015 the babies are almost a month old! The oldest baby has more green showing now. Even a little on its tail. In the last 3 days its weight went from 84 grams to 103 grams, a 19 gram increase. Food per feeding is up to 15 cc. The younger baby is doing just fine. Its weight went from 53 grams to 65 grams, an increase of 12 grams. I will post a one month old post on the eldest baby on the 11th.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

February is here and I'm loving these babies!

Monday, February 2nd, 2015 - These babies are really starting to grow. The youngest baby had a growth spurt over the weekend. On Saturday it was 29 grams and today it's at 39 grams. I am really encouraged by the increase in what the crop can hold. Just last Friday its capacity was at 2.3 cc and now I can feed 4 cc. The older baby had a good weight gain over the weekend also. Moving from 63 grams to 72 grams. This baby can take 6 cc at a feeding now. I will go to 4 hour feedings and sleeping through the night! There are 6 days difference in the two babies. The little one had such a slow start but looking at the weight gains for the last 6 days it has gained 20 grams. The older baby gained 18 grams for the same number of days when it was the little one's age. Both babies have their eyes wide open and are growing in some pin feathers. This makes me feel better and more confident the little one is healthy and will be fine. Originally I had the little one in a cool whip container by itself and the older one in another container. They were in the same brooder, just in different containers.I did this to keep the little one from getting squished and help strengthen its legs and neck. Now they're together in the same container huddling up to each other for warmth. They are too sweet!

Record keeping is so important. With all the babies I am sometimes feeding I get away from logging in my records. In looking back over the last 30 years, it would be interesting to see how many Senegals I have handfed and their weights at certain ages. All the different species I hand fed for that matter. I have some records here and there but certainly nothing comprehensive.

If you are starting to raise birds, develop a system. 3x5 notecards, computer programs, notebooks, anything that you can keep track of. You could learn a lot from your records. 30 years from now you can find that information interesting and educational to someone new that you are mentoring.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 the little baby is back to a 1 gram gain. At some point soon we may have to go to the veterinarian for some cultures. In looking back at our weights January 20th, we started at 8 grams. This morning we are at 20 grams. Only a 12 gram gain in 7 days. The older baby hit 53 grams today. A 9 gram increase again today. On January 20th we started at 25 grams. That is a 28 gram gain in 7 days.

Some of the things to look at are weighing the babies about the same time of day. I like to weigh before a feeding so the crop is empty. My gram scale is metal so I set it in warm water for a few minutes to take the chill off before their little rear ends touch the surface!

I might question what handfeeding formula I'm using. In this case it is Zupreem's Formula. I have been using their handfeeding the last 3 years. I have fed a wide range of species and have been pleased with this for the most part.

I have fed African Senegals many times and never encountered any special differences in their nutritional needs over other babies.

Is it possible this younger baby has a defect? Of course. That may be why it was rejected by the parents in the first place. As long as we keep inching forward we will put this thought on hold. Hopefully it quickens its pace!

Thursday, January 29th, 2015 another night done is one closer to the babies being able to sleep through the night. I am now waking up just before my timer goes off.

At weigh in this morning both babies have gained 3 grams. The youngest baby is at 23 grams and the eldest is at 56 grams. The youngest baby is opening its eyes now. The older baby has opened its eyes all the way. The older baby is taking 4 cc at a feeding and could take 5 but we're waiting for the little one to catch up. I have switched the older baby to a 10 cc oral medication tip syringe but the little one is still on a 1 cc tuberculin syringe. It's taking 2.3 cc now but its beak is so tiny; the larger syringe is just too big.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Senegal babies are growing!

Saturday, January 24th, 2015, the younger baby is now taking 1.2 cc but only gained 1 more gram today. We are still on 3 hour feedings. The older baby is taking 2.5 cc and its eyes are starting to open. Its eyes are only a slit today but it's major progress! Birds of Paradise was really busy today. It was after 4pm before I finished trimming birds. I fell asleep on the sofa after the 10 pm feeding and woke up at 2 am. I got 1.5 cc in the younger baby and 3 cc in the older baby. We celebrated by going to 6 am for the next feeding!

Sunday we stayed on 3 hour feedings during the day. I do not have a scale at home so tomorrow will be interesting at weigh in. The younger baby is now a week old so I am only going to get up once at night but continue our 3 hour schedule throughout the day. I am really exhausted from my sleep pattern being so interrupted. Hopefully I can bounce back to my regular level of tired! New pictures soon!

Monday the youngest baby moved up to 2 cc at a feeding. Its weight today is 16 grams. That's only 4 grams since Saturday, not very impressive. But, we continue to gain weight with no losses and its feeding response is good, color and demeanor are good, and it's pooping. The older baby has gained 9 grams in the same time frame. Again, I am holding at 3cc per feeding so it doesn't get off schedule from the youngest baby.

Tuesday - My couple of hours extra sleep last night helped a lot! The babies seemed to have taken a growth spurt! The little baby is 19 grams today!! That is the biggest increase yet, 3 grams since yesterday. The older baby jumped also going from 43 to 49 grams. A 9 gram increase from yesterday. This baby is starting to show the pin feathers under the skin. They resemble tiny blackheads at this point. Its eyes are a little more open. I fed 4 cc during the night. They're starting to grow much faster, like weeds!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Starting 2015 with a baby crisis!

Tuesday (January 20th, 2015) was one of those days that I already had too much on my plate. The perfect time for a baby bird crisis!

My friend and owner of an African Senegal pair called. I already knew that they had fertile eggs and one had hatched January 11th. I had been planning its arrival to be handfed next week but this afternoon she had found the 2nd baby, who was just 3 days old, in the corner of the nest box cold and almost dead. She wisely knew to slowly warm the baby with her hands.

We both scrambled to meet at my store, Birds of Paradise. She brought me both babies and kept them warm with her body heat while I got a brooder ready. The cold baby was alive but struggling. It could not stay right side up and kept falling over onto its back. The older baby seemed to be doing well and was quite a bit larger.

Finally the brooder was up to 95 degrees. The babies' crops were almost empty but I chose to wait at least an hour to feed them. I wanted them to be fully warmed and stable. I have found one of the most common errors in handfeeding is to feed food that is not warm enough or the babies are not warm enough, or both. Then you are just asking for yeast to start forming in the crop.

First handfeeding for these babies came about 8 pm. The older baby took 1 cc and the younger one took less than 1/2 a cc. I will start at 3 hour intervals and observe how long it takes them to empty. My 1st night on a 2 or 3 hour schedule is always the hardest. I usually go to bed and sleep til morning. Wish me luck!

Wednesday (January 21st, 2015) the babies and I all made it through our 1st night together. They were empty at 3 hour intervals. If  you plan to handfeed and have to travel with little babies, an inverter for your car is essential. Thirty years ago I learned a hard lesson with newborn Umbrella Cockatoo chicks that chilled while in transit without a heat source. Even worse, I didn't know to warm them slowly in my hands. I plugged the brooder in when I got to work but they died of hypothermia.

 The little baby is still having trouble staying off its back. I have it in a small dish with scrunched up paper towel so it can hang its head over the ridges. The older baby is still doing well; active and moving normally.

We hit the scales this morning. The older chick weighed in at 25 grams and the younger baby was just 8 grams! Wow, that's little! I am using Zupreem's handfeeding formula with boiled water and a tuberculin syringe. I mix the food in a jigger glass and that works well for me. Its small in diameter so the food does not cool as fast and can easily be set in warm water to hold the temperature. The younger baby is almost at 1/2 cc. The older baby is up to 1 1/2 cc. We are going to stay on 3 hours for now. Gotta go, it's time to feed babies!

Thursday (January 22nd, 2015) morning. We have two successful nights behind us. I have a queasy feeling this morning. It seems to be my body's response to sleep interruption. The little baby is looking much better today. Having a lot less trouble staying upright. Finally a strong feeding response! Take a full 1/2 cc or a bit more per feeding. At weigh in this morning, we are at 10 grams. Moving in the right direction! The older baby is really starting to move forward. Taking 2 cc per feeding and body weight is 29 grams. We will stay on 3 hour feedings again today.

Whatever caused the parents to not care for the youngest baby, so far, doesn't seem to be an issue. Perhaps they only want to feed one chick? The breeder will note this in her records and be watching carefully when they have another clutch.

Record keeping is important for many reasons. This is just a few examples: keeping track of the time of year, number of eggs laid and hatched, how well they fed, did they start picking the babies at a certain age, certain foods or other factors that were needed to get them to go to nest, are all important facts. If only you have one or two pairs, your memory may be your filing box. I, on the other hand, like to commit some of this to a 3x5 card filed by species.