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Discussion Starter #1
I have two baby chicks that I am now hand-rearing, I have a couple of issues.

1. The babies never "seem" to be hungry, they don't bob up and down and all they do is hiss at me. (I have been feeding them for 2 days) I am giving them 5 - 7 ml of formula every 4 hours during the day. They are taking it but it seems like I am forcing them to take it rather than them wanting it.

2. I am not sure if I am giving them enough feed. I weighed them and one is 96 grams the other 99 grams. I am not sure how the crop is supposed to look. It's not deflated, but doesn't seem as full as the crops of the parent fed birds. Everything I have read says they need 10% of their body weight, but is that at each feed or overall feeds?

3. When do they stop hissing? I know it's only been two days but is there a point where they actually start to look forward to being fed?
 

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How old are they? Their age can definitely play a part in successful hand raising. Older chicks tend to be much less receptive of formula. 2-3 weeks is the usual pull age. If they seem unwilling, is it possible to put them back with their parents or were they pulled for a specific reason?

The recommendation is 10% of body weight per feed, with the crop allowed to empty completely between feeds. I have had much success using this method.

When they stop hissing is really up to them lol. Mine are usually done being standoff-ish around 3 weeks, but depending on the individual bird's personality, it can be younger or older.
 

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I just went back through your posts and your chicks are nearly 4 weeks old. They will be more challenging to handfeed at this age because they are older and also nearly ready to fledge which is a time they naturally cut down feeding so they weigh less and can get off the ground. The guide I got from this site says 3 feeds daily at 7 5 and 11. The guide amount is 11 - 15 ml per feed which might be ambitious with your chicks. I feed them while together when starting so that once one calls for feed it gets the others interested. They will also be ready to pick at seed now so maybe hang some millet in their cage and scatter a bit on the floor. Handle them often during the day besides feeding time because I know what you mean about the feeding, it becomes a battle every time.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
How old are they? Their age can definitely play a part in successful hand raising. Older chicks tend to be much less receptive of formula. 2-3 weeks is the usual pull age. If they seem unwilling, is it possible to put them back with their parents or were they pulled for a specific reason?

The recommendation is 10% of body weight per feed, with the crop allowed to empty completely between feeds. I have had much success using this method.

When they stop hissing is really up to them lol. Mine are usually done being standoff-ish around 3 weeks, but depending on the individual bird's personality, it can be younger or older.
I pulled them out of the nest because one chick died and I saw a hen later on attacking one of the others, they are actually from separate nests.

I took the sibling to the dead chick and the chick that was being attacked and they are around the 3.5 - 4 week mark.

The 3 that are still in the nest all seem ok except one appears to be stunted. Looks a lot smaller than the others, although it crop seems full at night and empty in the morning.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
They seem to be getting used to the hand feeding, they are fighting me less and accepting more but they have lost weight rather than gained, but they are chirping as well as the hissing now, they also like to fall off the coffee table, they stretch their wings and walk off the edge. I think they are trying to fly. At the moment they are investigating under the couch. I also offered them a little millet spray and they had a go at eating the seeds.

I have not named them but then I am not sure if I will keep them either. 3 people I know have expressed an interest in adopting.
 

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It's normal for them to lose a little weight during fledging, but keep an eye on it. If it gets too low you might have to start offering them less formula more often just to get the calories down (I had to do this with zoe).

Zoe and Panda both used my coffee table to learn to fly. They'd spread their wings and then get right to the edge and then slip off, flapping all the way down. It took them a while before they stopped getting so close to the edge lol. I had cushions on the floor under the table so when they fell down, they'd have a soft landing.

Look out, it won't be long before they take their first flights and then you'll be forever chasing them around at feeding time LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Run into some problems, the stunted baby is always hungry, never seems to fill up and it's weight fluctuates from 60 grams - 70 grams but doesn't seem to hold it's weight. The two older ones are now rejecting food, it's a fight to get them to take a 3rd of what they need. I am not sure if it's because the formula is too thin although I am following the packet directions or if it gets too cold although I keep a cup of hot water to dip the syringe in to keep it warm. They are trying to fly, the three older ones have flown short flights during their time out of the box.
 

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With the stunted baby, I would feed it each time it's crop empties and feed until the crop is plump but still feels a bit bouncy and is not packed solid. Their weight varies hugely so rather feel for the breast bone to see if you can feel plump flesh either side.
Your fledglings are doing what many do, that is reject food. Keep offering the food, some will get back into feeding, some don't. I keep them well supplied with seed, crumble, millet and other treats during this time and find they often have a full crop when I get them out to offer formula.
If they are still in the box think about moving them to a cage so they can have space to explore
 

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Discussion Starter #12
With the stunted baby, I would feed it each time it's crop empties and feed until the crop is plump but still feels a bit bouncy and is not packed solid. Their weight varies hugely so rather feel for the breast bone to see if you can feel plump flesh either side.
Your fledglings are doing what many do, that is reject food. Keep offering the food, some will get back into feeding, some don't. I keep them well supplied with seed, crumble, millet and other treats during this time and find they often have a full crop when I get them out to offer formula.
If they are still in the box think about moving them to a cage so they can have space to explore
Every lesson is a hard lesson learned. I moved them to a cage yesterday but intended putting them back in the box at night, this morning I took one out to feed him, he has not flown much but done a few short flights in the house. This morning I had just finished feeding him and he flew properly, straight out the door and gone...I am so angry at myself for thinking that they would not fly far. Searched for him for over an hour but no luck. I hope he can survive but with all the wild birds we have around here, I doubt it.
 

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Babies will start to reject food as they start to fly. I would have seeds and veggies out for them to try, millet is always a huge hit with new eaters.

As for the stunted baby, I think Shaenne mentioned this in another thread but I would take the baby into the vet and have it checked for yeast. Yeast infection can make a baby always seem like it's hungry.
 

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Stick a cage outside with food in it and see if he shows up. As a baby he can't have gone super far, but without food from you, he has a very small chance of making it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I have put millet sprays, seed and fresh veggies in the cages as well as water, Henry actually drank water for the first time today. Sheldon likes the millet sprays and really gets stuck into them, Speedy (the stunted baby) still wants feed from the syringe although I have seen him pick up seeds from the bottom of the cage. He is gaining weight, now up to 72 grams, but no flying yet. He barely stretches his wings. Sadly Howie has not returned, I don't hold out much hope for his survival.
 

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This sounds like excellent progress for Speedy! Don't expect too much too soon with stunted babies, I learned that the hard way with Zoe. Just take it at Speedy's pace and don't try to rush him at all. Feed him formula until he starts refusing it. He will tell you when he's had enough.

Also don't worry about him not flying yet. He will do it eventually. How old are they now? Zoe didn't take her first flight until she was almost 6 weeks old. I remember because when we took her in to the vet, she'd only JUST learned how to fly and she turned 6 weeks old on vet day.

The best advice I can offer to get Speedy to eat more on his own is make sure he is around the other babies so he can see them eat and learn from them. Panda would barely eat at all on his own until I put Zoe in with him, he learned a great deal from her and he has progressed beautifully since.

It sounds like you're doing everything right. Have they been moved to a cage yet?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
This sounds like excellent progress for Speedy! Don't expect too much too soon with stunted babies, I learned that the hard way with Zoe. Just take it at Speedy's pace and don't try to rush him at all. Feed him formula until he starts refusing it. He will tell you when he's had enough.

Also don't worry about him not flying yet. He will do it eventually. How old are they now? Zoe didn't take her first flight until she was almost 6 weeks old. I remember because when we took her in to the vet, she'd only JUST learned how to fly and she turned 6 weeks old on vet day.

The best advice I can offer to get Speedy to eat more on his own is make sure he is around the other babies so he can see them eat and learn from them. Panda would barely eat at all on his own until I put Zoe in with him, he learned a great deal from her and he has progressed beautifully since.

It sounds like you're doing everything right. Have they been moved to a cage yet?
I don't know what happened, but Speedy is dying. He has not eaten at all the past couple of days, I cannot even force anything into him, he is not begging and he turns away when I try to get food near his beak. He is cold all the time and even if I warm him up in my hands or against my chest, he cannot retain the heat. His crop appears empty but his breathing is laboured and mucus is coming out of his nose and mouth. All I can do now is keep him warm and comfortable and wait for the end.

Sheldon and Henry are fine, they are in the cage and eating seed, millet sprays, drinking water and in general they are healthy and thriving. I bring them into the house to fly around before their feedings, which are three times a day now.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Since I wrote that Speedy was dying, he made a liar out of me, but its been touch and go for three days. Tonight for the first time he begged for food and willingly took 8 ml of formula. Fingers crossed this is a turning point and he starts to come good.

I have been giving him coconut water, anti-biotics and smaller feeds more often, but I have had to force feed him a few meals.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Speedy died yesterday. I am heartbroken.
 
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