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MrFeatherly

Mother Budgie Died

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Hi everyone

 

I had a budgie die today and she had 3 babies. The babies are only 8 days old. I don't think the father is feeding them at all. He sometimes sits on top of the nesting box but has never gone inside. I need some advice on how to take care of the babies.

 

I'm not sure what happened to the mother. She was only about 6 months old. She seemed fine yesterday but this morning she was sitting on the bottom of the cage. She made a lot of noise when I picked her up so I put her down but an hour later she was dead. The mother's previous mate died in a similar way a couple of months ago so I'm a bit concerned.

 

There are 4 other birds in the aviary but I haven't seen any of them fighting so I don't think the mother was attacked. I found a dead chick in the nesting box yesterday but it looked like it had been smothered by the other chicks because it was a lot smaller.

 

I'd appreciate any advice

 

Thanks

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Hi, first if your hen was only 6 mths old she was too young to breed anyway, it is better at least 12 mths. or older. How old is the Cock bird? if it's his first time breeding he may not know what he has to do in rearing the chicks. At eight days old Dad should be helping to feed Mum so she can feed chicks but the Cock will feed them as well.

 

If you have had other deaths you could have some sort of infection in your birds it's very hard to tell. Do the chick's look like they have any food in their crops?Dad may have fed them when you were not there,if not they will die (possibly within a day) without you giving them hand rearing mix or even baby rice cereal mixed up and given off a spoon if you can get them to take it. Do you have any other chicks in other box's or are these the only one's?

 

Give us some answers to these questions and post again for more help.

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The cock bird is about the same age. The chicks had almost no food left in their crops so I don't think the father was helping at all. Should I try moving the chicks and dad into a separate cage and see if he feeds them? Or is he likely to attack them? I have taken the chicks out and started feeding them hand rearing food from a syringe.

 

These are the only chicks we have. The hen had previously mated with another bird and laid 11 eggs which didn't hatch. When the cock died she started again straight away with another bird and we had more eggs within a couple of weeks. I saw her mating again this week. If she was too young to breed is it possible she just got tired from taking care of the chicks and died from exhaustion?

 

I've taken the nesting boxes out and will wait another 6 months before trying again with the other birds. Thanks for your advice

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Hi. It sounds like you have a hand rearing job now, unless you know someone who has chicks in the nest at present to whom you can foster them out - fostering is usually the best option. How old are the chicks? They won't all be 8 days old as the eggs hatch every other day. Is the oldest chick 8 days old? Was Dad providing any care at all - for example has he been keeping them warm? If Dad is keeping them warm then you could possibly leave them with him, though that could be risky in an aviary environment, and in this situation you may be better off removing the nest box and Dad and popping them into a separate cage. Besides hand feeding would be difficult if you had to go into the aviary every time the chicks are due for a feed. If Dad is not keeping them warm, then you will also have to provide some heat until the oldest chicks have a decent downy growth of feathers. I have never had to hand raise a clutch of chicks so there is bound to be another member with far more expertise and info here. But the key things are warmth and food. Most breeders who hand rear chicks, whether they be budgies or other parrots, usually remove them from the parents, pop them into a box of some kind with a heat source if required. As to breeding age of budgies, Robyn is absolutely right. Budgies should be 12 months or older before you should consider breeding with them. At 12 months they have the physical and mental maturity to embark on the whole arduous breeding process. Mind you there are some unscrupulous dealers out there who would tell you otherwise.

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Well done for removing box's etc., if your birds are only young it means they are too immature, so it would take a toll on their bodies as well. If you are colony breeding if you have young birds I'd leave the nest box's out until they are breeding age. Your hen may have just been to young to cope with egg laying, incubation etc.but keep check on your birds daily for any signs of illness, if you have lost a couple to unknown causes.

 

Does it mean you have 2 or 3 chicks left? Either way I'd say you may have to hand rear them, you could try to put Dad and nest box into separate cage it may work, if chicks call for food he may feed them. I think I'd still feed them with syringe a couple of feeds to keep them going in the meantime, if you find their crops empty and Dad hasn't come to the party then, looks like a hand rearing job. If there is any sign Dad has attacked chicks remove him straight away. Good luck with it it could go either way.

 

Just read Flips reply, I didn't think about Dad keeping them warm, if he's not going into box at night you would have to remove the chicks to a warm area, a small nest box with a, say 40 watt, light globe over it for warmth also some form of nest material, rolled oats wood shavings etc to help keep them warm.

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There are 3 chicks left and the oldest is 8 days. I just fed them again and they are feeding well. I've got a lamp over the box which is at about 36 degrees. Is it okay to leave the lamp on all the time? Does the bright light affect their eyes at all?

 

I've never seen the Dad go into the box. I might try putting him in a separate cage with the box and observe what happens.

 

12 months is definitely not what I was advised at the markets... Thanks for the information, it's very helpful.

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Glad they are feeding well for you, they are really young if oldest is 8 days. They need the warmth, which is hard to do without the glare from lamp. I'm not sure what to advise or if the glare is harmful, if you had nest box in a cage with or without Dad could you put a dark cover over cage but still let the warmth through from a lamp e.g. keeping the nest box darker as that is what they would normally happen.

 

Some other members who have had experience with hand rearing may be able to give better advice. In the f.a.q. section I think there is an article about hand rearing, if I can find it I'll let you know where to find it.

 

The article is under BREEDERS DISCUSSION a pinned item by Daz. called Hand rearing budgerigars. It would be worth the read and may give you more help.

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You could buy an infrared bulb (I've only used the ones sold in pet and reptile shops) and use that instead of a normal bulb. These are used in reptile enclosures. The bulb is a great heat source but doesn't have the glare problem that normal light bulbs have - I used to use one in a snake enclosure. Apparently reptiles don't see the 'red' light, hence it doesn't disturb their sleep patterns. I have a vague idea that birds may be the same. Anyway you can leave it on all night. Good luck.

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