Thursday, January 9, 2014

Team Play

Did you ever play team sports?  Can you remember what it was like during tryouts, lots of teammates who haven't played together before, some who may never even have played the game?  Those early practices, before the first cut were mostly fundamentals and position play, but there was always some team play and early on it wasn't very pretty.

We have 7 players here trying out for the Oakville keet squad.  four chicks, an adult male (Kermit, not me) and two rookies in the human positions.  Actually we are all rookies and we are all learning.  You could say we have 8 players, Billie Holiday is a back up player currently rooting from the bench.

We are all getting better at our respective positions:  Kermit did a great job last night filling the chicks up after we fed them and before they bedded down.  The chicks made great strides today in accepting chow from the humans.  The humans may be most improved over the course of the day. We fed once in the morning and it didn't go too well:
Breakfast table, or operating table? 

Chick #1 is the most frightened, fiesty, squaking, "let me go and get me outta here" chick of them all.  He's afraid of the spoon, of being held, and being restrained.  I wonder if his ill treatment at his mother's hands (beak) had an affect.  He was barely able to get any food down this morning for all the squawking and resisting he did.  He's got a good bite for such a little tyke.  He weighed 30 grams at the start of the day,  After the morning feeding he weighed 31 grams.  You can tell when they are full, their crops get all puffed out, like the turkey when he comes out of the oven with his crop stuffed full of stuffing.  #1  had food in his crop but he was not full.  
Chick #1, wanna fight?
Chick #2 is the opposite of big brother, very calm, alert, attentive almost serene. He started the day at 23 grams.  He ate some but didn't weigh any more after the feeding.  Still, he seemd to be picking up the fundamentals of his position, and not fighting it.

Chick #3 gave us concens in the morning.  He also started off at 23g but ate almost nothing, and seemed to have almost no interest and very little awareness of what was going on around him.  Very good looking little bird but seemingly a little out of it.  Worrisome.

Chick #4 started the morning at 19G, he's the littlest but he seemed to get it right from the start.  A big eater, he was a gram heavier after the morning feeding.
Weigh in
We fed them again in mid afternoon:

Chick #1 was just as defient and we were getting nowhere with him so put him back in the bowl and went on to the others.  He was down from 31 to 30 grams.  Loosing weight at this age is a big red flag.

Chick #2 was a big eater at lunch.  He was 26g befor the feeding and 27g after.  This was 4 grams more than after breakfast.  Obviously Kermit had fed him well in the interim. A good little eater. 

Chick #3 again ate almost nothing which was very disturbing, BUT, he was 2 grams heavier than he was at breakfast! Again Kermit had been picking up the slack through the day. GO DAD!

Chick #4 was again doing all he could to catch up to his older siblings.  He ate well and after the second feeding he was 22grams, up two grams from his morning weight.  But he too gained weight between our feedings, thanks apparently to Kermits work.  Before we put them back in the nest box, we gave chick #1, and #3 a second pass at the formula.  Fortunately they both ate some.  This is important because they need to get better at eating.  That's their position on the team right now: eaters.  And if they don't pick up the fundamentals they might not make the team if you know what I mean.  It made Mrs Dr C and I feel much better to see these two settle down and eat some. 

We went to town in the late afternoon and fed them again this evening.  Everyone did better at their assigned positions.  
open wide
Chick #1 settled down considreably. He ate some but he also had a lot of food in his crop, dad had been busy while we were out. He ended the day 2 grams heavier than when he started.  This is a relief for us, and we just hope the trend continues.

Chick #2 ate well and added another gram to his weight, 28g, up 5 grams from his morning weight of 23 grams!

Chick #3 ate some too which was encouraging.  Though he didn't add any measureable weight from the evening feeding, he gained a total of 4 grams through the day, from 23 to 27 grams.  This too is good news, #3 and #1 are the ones we worry about.

Chick #4 continued to swing for the fences, but he didn't eat anything at the evening meal. He was a gram heavier thanks to papa's work and was way more sleepy than hungry He gained a total of 3 grams today, from 19 to 23 grams.  He had a pretty full crop so we just let him head for the locker room, he looked soooo sleepy.
put me in coach

We got better at feeding them and they got better at eating as the day went on.  Obviously Mr Greenburg understands his role which is huge.  He might not be able to keep pace with them all by himself as they grow, and I am sure that we couldn't, but between the three of us I am cautiously optimistic.

2, 3, 4, and 1 L to R
The one tough position is Billie Holiday.  When the door to the back bedroom is open she and Kermit call back and forth to each other.  If you go back and watch her, she is litterally crawling the bars of the cage looking for a way out so she can get back to the brood.   It tugs at your heart.

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