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Hello!

I have searched high and low for some one with the knowledge who would be willing to help me. Thus far I have not found anyone.

I have a pair that have just started breeding with no previous experience. Her first clutch was 5 eggs. Her and the male didn't sit on them. I thought I would take them out of their cage and put them with the rest of my flock (4 other males) in a large cage, to stop them from double clutching. But I woke up one morning a few days later to find an egg on the bottom of the cage. So I put them both back in their cage to see if I could save any and if they would actually sit this time around. She continued to lay 3 more.

Sadly neither of them sat well enough to incubate properly but there was improvement made. I tried a different strategy this time around. I left them in the cage with the eggs to see if that would stop her from laying a third clutch. I made sure to mark all the dead eggs with a light pencil mark. This was a week or so ago now.

I just saw them breeding again (to my dismay) a few days ago. And now I see a new egg (of the third clutch) in the box with the others I've marked from a few weeks ago.

So now I'm very worried about her health. She's dwindled down to nothing! She refuses (always has) to eat anything other then seed and spray millet. She will try a few things hear and there if I play in it for an hour and try to convince her how good it is. I worry that even if I do separate her from her mate that she will still continue to lay eggs at this point! How do I get her to eat and gain her weight back? I'm so worried about her. Could I possibly hand feed her like I have previous babies from another clutch? With the baby formula? Or make a puree of good healthy food for her and hand feed her that?

Any help in this matter will be truly appreciated! Thank you!
 

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She probably wont take to hand feeding if she was never hand fed and it would do more harm than good. Does she have a cuttle bone in her cage? A FSL light? All these things will help keep her nutrients up. I would try to put her on the long nights treatment (12-14hrs of darkness a night) and rearrange the cage or put her back in the aviary (if you can control the lighting.) She probably wouldn't have laid any more eggs after that first one in the aviary (it was most likely an aborted egg because she had nowhere to lay it). Since they aren't sitting good it might be best to separate them and repair them with experienced mates.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you. I will try your suggestions as best I can! (She does already have a cuttle bone) The only one I don't want to try is repairing them up with experienced mates. For my female this is the 3rd mate I've put her with to attempt breeding! I really don't want to go through another 3 (or more males) to breed her. I can't find enough experienced males for this nor breeders willing to help me.

I am still very new to breeding but I have the basics in hand I feel. But I am unaware of what an FSL light is? Thanks again!
 

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Just a couple of questions which may help get more answers to your dilemma.
How old is the hen? How old is the male?

You may need to separate the female from ALL of the males for a little while, until she gets her weight back up. Using the tricks (such as removing nest boxes, restricting light, changing diet, changing around the housing) for reducing the nesting and hormone level to get her to stop laying until she is healthy enough to try again.

In addition to other suggestions you will find on this forum, you can also check out this article --
http://www.cockatiels.org/ownersandenthusiasts/converting-seed-junkie-to-pellets.htm on ways to convert the seed junky.
 

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Where are you located? (please add this info to your profile, it really helps) If you're in North America, you can encourage her to eat Nutriberries. They're nutritionally equivalent to pellets but they look like seed balls, so cockatiels tend to accept them more easily than they accept pellets.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I want to thank every one very much for all the help you've given me so far! Every breeder I've found has not wanted to help one such as me who is just starting out. And when I run into problems I want what's best for my birds, but am unsure of what that is with out help. I've read many books, done hours or research over the internet, but it's just not the same as being able to ask direct questions and get direct answers!

I have tried quite a few times to switch my flock over to pellets, but have been unsuccessful every time. I am printing off the suggested article and heading to the store to pick up the Nutriberries stuff.

I still have many more questions but I will put these suggestions into action first. Although... Now that I may have 2 new eggs (which would be fertilized) do I still separate her? Can I force a stop to her laying in the middle of a clutch? And I would loose 2 more eggs (which would make it 12 eggs lost at this point I believe =( ). Is it worth artificially incubating? If so... That leads me to a MILLION more questions! lol

Thanks again!
 

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Is it worth artificially incubating? If so... That leads me to a MILLION more questions! lol
If you have an incubator that will turn the eggs for you then yes you can do this. Its much harder if you have to turn them yourself. But once the babies hatch you would be feeding from day one, every two hours day and night, which I will tell you from personal experience is exhausting. If that does happen you can go to a vet and have them show you how to handfeed.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I had to hand feed like this for my singleton. I had to take her away from her parents at a week old. I was told for that age every 3 hours around the clock. I set my alarm and got up to feed her. She did great! So it will be nothing new for me. She is the only bird I hand fed, but it went really well.

I don't even know where to start in purchasing an incubator that turns the eggs. I don't suppose you have suggestions?
 

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I googled them when I was looking at them, they're kind of pricey but if you are willing to put out the extra money its worth it.
 

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When you're saying she won't sit, how long are you giving her to start incubating the eggs? I have seen hens take up to four days to start sitting on a clutch. I'm happy to answer any questions you may have, you can inbox me, or I will try and stop in here to check on this thread. Good luck, it can be an interesting and frustrating experience breeding these little buggers. =)
 
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