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If anyone is handfeeding, or will soon be handfeeding I just made up a chart. You can right click and print it out. Or if you save it for printing out later it is in Jpeg format, so has to be saved as a photo. The print out size fits on an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper.

(click pix for the full view to copy/print/save)

I'm also updating this post with some helpful illustrations for hand-feeding.

Edit by tielfan 1/17/12:

Here's a link to an excellent series of educational pictures on handfeeding tools and techniques that Susanne (srtiels) posted in her photobucket account: http://s525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/Mousebirds-and-more/Other birds/Hand Feeding tools and info/?start=all

The photos at that link include the thumbnails below plus a great deal more, and can answer many of your questions about handfeeding. Keep on reading this thread too since there's also plenty of valuable information in srtiels' subsequent posts.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
I try not to pull any babies until they are 3-4 weeks old. At this age I am feeding 3 times a day. 8cc AM, 5-6cc lunch, 8cc PM I use a 6-6-12 schedule. This means 6 hours between 2 feeding and 12 hours overnight. Schedule is revolved around when I start the day for the first feeding.

Here is something I have saved for postings that may be helpful: You can right click, copy and save the info below to print out for personal use.
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Some Guidelines:

1....Feed 10% 0f body weight. if you don't have a scales that weighs in grams in .1 increments you can find one at an office supply (such as a postal scales)

2....Formula should be the thickness of baby food applesauce and be the temp. of 104-106 degrees when feeding

3...Allow the crop to empty between each feeding.


Re: Hand-Feeding and Weaning babies

I normally pull my babies at 3.5 to 4 weeks of age.

You can use a chart to keep track of when and how much you feed.

Also keep track of the weight of your baby. Always weigh the bird when it is empty. At fledgling age you may notice the baby has lost a few grams. This is normal, especially if you have noticed that they are flapping their wings and trying to fly. Once they have taken their first flight (never let them fly with a full crop, this can cause aspiration if they crash and food gets forced up the neck) they should start gaining a little more weight again.

The reason for weighing is also it can be your diagnostic tool to make sure things are fine. Sometimes a baby may appear fine, but start dropping werght rapidly. If so, this is an alert that there is a serious problem going on.

I start them on 3 feedings a day, 8cc morning, 5-6cc lunch, and 8cc night. The reason why so little is because at this age their crop has shrunk considerably because the parents have already reduced the amount fed.

They are in a big container with pine shavings, with half of the top covered. If they are fully feathered there is no need for heat…room temps are fine.

I place a small bowl with seed, and sprinkle some on the bedding near the bowl. I also place millet in with them.

It takes them approx a week to explore and start nibbling. The container is big enough for them to walk around, explore, and flap wings for exercise.

I write down every day how much I feed per feeding and amount.

Once I start seeing them nibble on millet seed, I will daily decrease the middle feeding by 1cc per day, and reduce daily down to 0cc), and at 9 skip the middle feeding.

When they are down to 2 feeding a day, I will move them to a cage.

By then I introduce greens, veggies (separate dish) during their skipped lunch feeding time.

Once I see them nibbling eating more, then I daily decrease the morning feeding down 1cc per day. Once down to 0, then they are down to 1 feeding (night) a day.

I wait a day or so and then start decreasing the nighttime feeding by 1cc a day. When I get down to it reduced to 2-3cc many times they are starting to refuse the formula. If they still want formula hold it at 2-3cc for a week or so, feeling their crop to make sure they also have food in there from trying to eat on their own.

Once I finally get to where I am no longer hand-feeding I will make sure that at the normal nighttime feeding I change out food and water so that they have fresh, and give more millet or other treats they will eat. At their normal bedtime I feel the base of the crop to make sure I can feel food in it. This goes on for a few weeks before I can consider them weaned.

Sorry,...it sounds long and confusing. But if you write your daily feedings on a calendar it makes it easy. And it is far better to slowly taper down a feeding than to cold turkey skip a feeding.
 

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ya that makes sense, i was taught by another breeder, and i always thought that the older the chick that the harder it was to get them to accept feedings. if i wait until they are 3 weeks what should i expect in temperment as well as brooder temperature, my brooder temp right now (old heat pad ) is 86 degrees i was planning on getting a new one so that it could be at the higher temperature that the younger chicks need, also do you have any thoughts on 1 chick being hand fed, one pair only had one chick and i really want to hand feed but i worry about what age to pull it at so that i know it will be warm enough
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
If the babies are fully feather room temperatures are fine. NOTE: you can also put a thermometer in the nestbox prior to pulling (away from the babies) so that you can get a reading of the temps they are used to. This reading will be just a little warmer than room temps...but if you have them in a brooder, container (you can use one of your nestboxes for their brooder) they should be fine.

As to being harder to feed it depends on your management of the pairs while set-up. If they are used to you checking the nestbox daily and handling the babies once they have hatched several times a day, then the babies should be used to you, calmer and less flighty than if you did nothing. You can also assist feed them from 2 weeks old while in the nest (just a little to get used to the syringe) and this makes it easier for them to adapt to handfeeding.

Always remeber: There are no Textbook pairs I otherwords what is on the internet may be a standard for someone else, but it may not be applicable to you. Do what works for you
 

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Discussion Starter #5
the male was handfed for 14 days old, but i had his sister (complete difference in temperments) he is very teritorial.
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Each baby will have a differnet perosnality/disposition. BUT, disposition is an inherited trait so if you are breeding for pet quality traits always try to hold back the babies with the best disposition as future breeding stock.

I have had totally fledged and parent weaned babies that once handled at 3+ months old were as tame or tamer than hand-feeds, but they were from pairs that had great dispositions.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
OK...how I have always calmed a pair down is from the time they are setup is to have as much movement and activity going on around them. I will also check the nestbox every few hours....first by tapping it on the side and then lifting the lid/door to look in. I call this conditioing, and it will take a week or two for them to settle down and not be so flighty.

I have also found that if a breeder bird was a handfed baby that it will be a viper in the nest....whereas a perent raised or untame bird is docile. the reason for this is that the handfed bird is not afraid of you and the willd one is. As to myself I prefer to work with parent raised birds as my breeders.


Lights are left on 24/7 with any new first time pairs, because I found out if they are nervous they may abandon the nest during the night til daylight...which can cause chilling to the eggs or babies.
 

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when converting from parent fed to hand feeding should parent feeding be avoided
totally,not that i want them too but if i had them all out at one time and parents tried to feed them should it be stopped so it won't upset hand feeding process?the difference between seed and formula is different on lil tummies:love:,don't want to upset crop once change over starts:(. am i right to avoid parent feedings once formula is introduced to babies:confused:
 

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It wouldn't upset their crop, several people on here co-parent, which means they let the parents do a lot of the work but a few times a day they pull the babies out and feed them or handle them to tame them. So if they parents did try to feed the babies it shouldn't hurt them. Unless the stress of losing the babies has given them a secondary yeast infection, but that's a whole other story.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have never had a problem with adding formula to the crop that has parent feed food into it.

i will pull my babies mid-day at about 3 weeks of age. I feed 3 times a day, so if their crop only has a little bit of food in it when pulling I will top it off with some formula to carry it over to the night time feeding.

I'm not sure where the original caution came from to always let a chick empty prior to giving formula, but it is not true. I strongly suspect this practice started from someone that had a problem with a baby and assumed that adding formula to parent fed food was the cause. The breeder told someone else, and that is how things like this become gospel on what not to do.... by other parroting and passing the info along. Many quote this info without first hand experience as truth...sigh.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yes....they will lose some weight when they start flying. After a few days of flying you will see a gradual increase of a gram or so a day in weight gain. Part of this weight gain will be muscle mass as they build up muscle from flying.

Just feed the same amount that you are now.
 

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well this is a document that i have used and it took me a while to find a blank document, the true document is 9 pages but ive only scanned 3 of them on as page 3-9 are basically the same. The first page is the main information on the chick, the 2nd page is daily information with the days date, chicks age, weight loss/gain, total amount fed for that day, and note on the chicks appearance. the 3rd-9th is a each day/each feeding record.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
4 weeks old is way to young to be weaned or be trying to wean.

If you had recently pulled the baby from the box naturally it will be scared and try to fight and resist the syringe. It will take repeated efforts several times a day to get it used to eating from the syringe.

Go back to the beginning of the this thread. There are illus. on how to hold the head for handfeeding. You can practice these hand holds a couple times a day, and use them when you handfeed. you will have to carefully get some formula into the bird.

If the baby does not get adequate nutrition into it's body it's body will become stressed, and immune system is weaker...which can result in stress induced secondary infections such as yeast and/or bacteria.
 
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