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Discussion Starter #1
I'm going to make this thread to ask all my questions. Sorry I made 2 other threads about her already!

Anyway, what is the best way to get caked formula off of her feathers? I didn't notice formula that got stuck on the underside of her feathers next to her beak and around her crop, and it's dried and hard to remove. I wrapped two cotton buds in a soft tissue and wet the tip, and tried to rub/massage it off with some success, but it would take a very long time and she doesn't like having her feathers pulled in the process (these feathers are still pinfeathers btw). It was also right after she ate and she was getting sleepy, so I decided to try again later after she had time to sleep and digest.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Also, after she eats she keeps begging for more, and has taken to doing the feeding response on her left foot. As adorable as that is (insofar as it reminds me of a baby sucking their thumb), I'm worried she might hurt herself. I'm not sure if she would do it if it hurt her, though. Would she stop if it hurt her, or would she keep doing it and accidentally injure her toe?
 

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I also had babies with food lumps in their feathers around their beaks. I get them very wet then squash the lumps until they soften then gently roll the feathers between my fingers to loosen the food. A soft toothbrush will then remove the bits. If the food is in large lumps this can take several sessions. After the feathers are clean I wash the babies well after each feed and brush them with the toothbrush. They soon get used to it.
I don't know about her foot sucking lol. Maybe give her some millet or something to distract her after feeds.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. I've been sitting with her on top of me after every feeding and cleaning her off slowly with a cotton bud and water. It's taken a few feedings but most of the caked formula has come off. She's learned to enjoy it as well! It also distracts her from trying to eat her foot, lol.

Another question I have is about air getting into her crop. I'm spoonfeeding, because I'm nervous about her aspirating, having never been taught how to do it with a syringe. But she seems to be getting air into her crop, especially since I've been making her formula a little thicker. It takes longer for it to roll off the spoon into her mouth.

How bad is air in the crop? Is it something to be very concerned about? She still eats all her food (I feed 5 mL 6 times a day at the moment in order to give her all the meds the vet prescribed every day).

After googling a bit I found this . I guess this would be safe on cockatiels too? Has anyone done it?
 

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I did the squeezing thing with Zoe when she was being spoon fed. It's really easy, you just have to take it slow and not squeeze to hard at the start. Just apply as much pressure as needed to push the air bubbles up :)

Are you using a bent spoon? And do you hold the head steady as you feed? I found that holding the baby's head firmly (but not too hard lol) really helped get more actual food into her crop rather than air, and it was a lot less messy, too. I held her so that my thumb and finger held her head steady, and the rest of her body was kind of cupped in my hand which helped prevent wings from going in all directions and making a mess of everything :p

Try to get as much of the air out as possible. I'm not sure what kind of long-term problems it can cause (if any) but any air in the crop makes less room for food which isn't good for the baby's development.

As for getting dry formula off, I had that problem with Zoe also and by the time I noticed it there was more on there than I could get off with my finger tips, and she had a little bit on her chest as well, so I gave her a warm bath. I filled a container with enough warm water to come half way up her body and just let her sit in it for a few minutes (she looooved the warm water), then i'd soak a wash cloth with the warm water and held it against her cheeks for as long as she'd let me. By the time she'd had enough, the caked-on formula was moist and softened enough to comb off with a soft toothbrush.

You just have to be careful not to let them dunk their head/face into the water and/or swallow any. Zoe was a pretty chill baby though and didn't fuss much so bathing her was pretty relaxing for the both of us :p
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I tried to do it just now but didn't manage to get the air out. I decided to skip her last feeding tonight (it's nighttime where I am) because she seemed a little subdued earlier and now. Her crop feels like it's just full of air to me, but just in case I'll wait until morning to see what it's like. I hope she's okay!

I'm actually using the handle of one of these spoons
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A breeder showed me how to do it with those. I tried a bent spoon too, but it wasn't as easy as this one so I stuck to this. The way it's shaped could be making it hard for a thicker formula to roll off, though, so I've been thinking of trying a proper bent spoon again.

I try to hold her head but she is very good at getting out of my grip haha. Maybe I'm being too gentle.

Thanks for the tip about the bath. I might try that if I need to.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
She was all good in the morning and has eaten well today. I switched to a proper bent spoon and found it works better for a thicker formula.

I've been very cautious about hygiene with her. When can I start being less so? Like, not with regards to feeding utensils and stuff, but with letting her explore the environment outside of her box? And also with disinfecting my hands every time I handle her (I'm getting blisters haha). She's 3 weeks and 2 days now. I've seen a video of cockatiel babies that were not yet 4 weeks old being allowed to walk around on carpeted floors and so on.
 

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As zoe got bigger and more adventurous I just extended her area. I had her in a large box and used barriers to confine her to an area within it, and as she got bigger I moved the barriers out further and further until she had the whole box to explore before being moved to a cage. I don't really let any of my birds roam the carpet in case their little claws get stuck and they injure themselves. I only really let Zoe roam the hard floors when she was little so I could take photos without stressing about her falling off an edge lol.

In a week or two you can try offering your baby some millet to experiment with. You will know when she is ready for that because she will start picking at things in her box. Zoe started picking at and licking her bedding one day so I offered her a small millet spray and she had an absolute field day with it :p
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Most of my floor is hard floor, so that's all good. Did you disinfect the floor before letting her on it? I've become so germ conscious because of the little dinosaur, haha.

I noticed her start to pick at things for the first time just now! I'm going to put some millet in there just for her to look at and nibble on if she's curious. She's also doing adorable things like preening and trying to climb up the side of her box when I'm preparing her food, and learning how to perch on my hand and flap her wings. It's so fun to watch them grow n_n

Edit: I took a video earlier of her being spoilt rotten link
 

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Discussion Starter #10
We accidentally burnt some chicken and the oil made some smoke. There's a burnt smell in the house. I keep Estel in a room with the door closed, and the air conditioner is on fan mode in there so it's ventilated. Her box is also covered with a cloth except for a corner. I don't think there's any smoke left in the house, but the smell is still there. Do you think she'll be okay? None of the cooking things were non-stick; I'm not sure how bad smoke just from hot oil is. I don't dare to open the door and check on her in case lingering smoke gets in.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Another question I have is about temperature. I live in a tropical country, so without any heating whatsoever, inside her box it's around 88 degrees, sometimes up to 89.6 in the middle of the day. Is it necessary to make it cooler for her as she grows her feathers out? I see things online saying certain temperatures at different ages are best for optimal growth, so I'm wondering. For her age, I think the recommended temperature was 81-85. She doesn't seem uncomfortable; except for when she's sleeping, she keeps her wings fully over her body.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Today is the last day of her medicine, and now I'm wondering how or if I should change the schedule her feedings and feeding amounts.

From feeding charts and so on, it's suggested that for her age (28 days today) she should be eating 11-15 mL 3 times a day.

Is this assuming that the baby weighs at least 110 grams already? Because she only weighs 60 grams right now. I'm not too worried about that as my other cockatiel only weighed 75 grams at 20 weeks; I'm guessing they're just genetically smaller than a lot of the babies in online guides. Should I just stick to the 'feed 10-12% of bodyweight' rule? I've noticed that if she doesn't have at least 28-30 mL in a day, she doesn't gain weight overnight, but just stays the same as the day before. So in order to meet that minimum, as well as feed only 10-12% of bodyweight, I'd have to continue feeding 6-7 mL 4-5 times a day, as I have been doing.

But for the past few days she's only been gaining 1-2 grams overnight. Should I then start feeding her more?
 

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I eventually got frustrated with trying to get Zoe to put weight on with every feeding method people suggested, so in the end I just started stuffing her full and feeding every 4 hours with an 8 hour break overnight. At 3.5 weeks old she was only 31 grams and I was getting desperate. Doing that REALLY helped her put on weight. By 4 weeks she was at 51 grams and by 5 weeks she was JUST shy of 80 grams.

You just have to be careful not to feed TOO much and overstretch the crop but Zoe would refuse food before she got to that point which made it easier for me.

Then I just started setting weekly weight goals and I would drop her feedings back every time she reached them. I basically let her decide how much she wanted to eat, and she would start eating more per feeding as I dropped her feeds back which kept her gaining weight.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the advice! I think I could push her to 8 mL; she looks very full and round after just 7 mL, so I don't know if I want to go beyond that too soon. I thought about it just now and figured I'll try making her formula a little bit thicker for the next few days and see how that works out. The weekly weight goals sounds like a good idea.

Also, I think the reason why her weight gain overnight slowed down might be because the past few days due to timing issues, I wasn't able give her a late night feeding. I just fed her at 11 PM, so tmr morning we'll see if that was the reason.
 

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If you're not already, I strongly suggest using coconut water to mix her formula. It is excellent for hydration (better than regular water) and you can thicken the formula a bit without losing the valuable hydration. When I pulled Zoe for hand feeding she was very red and dry from dehydration and the coconut water fixed her up in a day or two, and I continued using it throughout the hand feeding days :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'll pick up some coconut water next time I'm at the store. I didn't make her formula much thicker yet because I wanted to see how giving her 8 mL would turn out. She's doing very well now! She gained 7 grams from yesterday to today. I predict she'll be more than 70 grams tomorrow.
 

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That's great! It's such a great feeling when you can see some good weight gain haha, the feeling of reassurance is amazing.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Indeed :) She also had her first flight! A very short and low one, but nevertheless. She likes to come to us as well; if we put her down somewhere she'll crawl up or down or wherever she needs to to get to us <3

I took a few pics of her the first time we put her in the sun. She kept stretching her wings out to catch the light.



 

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Discussion Starter #19
She threw up her food from her second to last feeding :( She was picking at some broccoli and millet earlier and I think she managed to swallow some, so maybe that might have caused it? Her poop looks normal, and her crop feels normal, and has always emptied before I fed her again. The red veins on her crop seem to be more visible, but they are still fine/thin, not thick and bulging. She had some mucus in one of her nares too, and when she sneezes she sounds like her nose is blocked. Maybe when she threw up some went up into her nares?

I decided to feed her the final feeding because she was still active and flapping her wings and screaming loudly. I made it more liquidy in case she was dehydrated after losing her food. If the vet is open tomorrow (it's a public holiday here tmr) I'll take her. I hope she's okay! :(
 

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Discussion Starter #20
She's okay, the vet figures it was the new food. He says the mucus means she might have aspirated, but her lungs sound ok. Anyway she flew twice again today! She ascended about 4 feet off the ground and went around 3 feet horizontally, and landed on my hand both times. So adorable <3
 
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