Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Just when things were looking good

Caution, viewer discretion advised.  This post contains content of a mature nature and graphic images which may not be appropriate for children or those of weak constitution! 

When I came home from work this evening, I cleaned out the nest box, it wasn't that messy but cleaner is better, keet poop and all.  Inspecting the chicks I found that Chick #1 had bloody spots on his back.  On closer inspection I could see that some of the flight feathers on his right wing were bloody and seemed to be askew, or maybe even missing!

the rest of the chicks looked to be OK.  When I returned them to the nest box I looked Billie Holiday over and she had blood spots on her cheeks and cere, that boney protrusion above the beak where the nostrils are.  This did not look good.

I recalled reading about instances where sometimes for unknown reasons one of the parents beats up on one or more of the chicks. If the attack occurs in the nest, it's usually the hen. If the attack occurs outside the nest, it's usually the cock.

And sometimes the hen will pluck the feathers of her chicks. This may be due to a nutritional deficiency. You can try to solve the problem by providing an iodine salt spool, which may or may not help.  If that does not help, the book recommends  fostering the chicks out to other nests. Well, that would sure be nice but obviously here on the ranch 'we' are all we have.

So I sent an urgent message to my budgie buddies, and Corie in Australia responded right away.  She calmed my nerves and told us what we needed to do. 

given the chcks' age it is normal at about this time for the cock to start to take over the feeding of the chicks.  She told us to remove Billie Holiday from the cage, to get her far enough away so that Kermit the Green can't see her or hear her, so he'll figure out it's his time to start feeding the chicks directly.

We've got her in the bedroom with us now and he's out in the big cage in the living room with the kids.  We'll have to watch them closely for the next day or so to make sure he's feeding the chicks.  If he does not pitch in, we may have to do the hand feeding thing using a syringe.  I've seen it done on you tube video, I can probably do this, but sheesh, wouldn't it be better if the big guy stepped up and did his daddy duty?

here are some slightly disturbing pics:
Grisly, gruesome, ghastly, all of that.  But Corie assured us that feather plucking is not life threatening though it is painful for the chick (this I know, I heard the little bird screeching in pain) and that it can cause abnormal feather growth.  It looks like this little bird is going to be beautiful and green like his pop, and I certainly don't want to see any abnormal feather growth. 

On the plus side, Big Brown delivered the Harrisons Bird Diet yesteday, and part of that order included some mash mix.  So I'll mix some of that up in the morning and put it in a feed tray.  Hopefully Mr Greenburg will get the idea that this is more easily digested and will be good for the kids.  I would say that was lucky, but perhaps it was a 'just in time' blessing.

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