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Discussion Starter #1
I need some advice. My cockatiels laid 5 eggs to which only 1 has survived. The pair seemed to be taking good care of him but today when I opened the nest box to have a check he was on his side making a very distressing cherp.

I also noticed he had no food in his crop so I picked him up and held him against my chest and he was stone cold. After a few minutes he started to come back a little and I managed to start feeding him with a syringe.

The chick then got back to pretty much normal and I put him back in the nest but neither have the adults gone in since. What should I do?

I can't really hand rear because me and my girlfriend are both full time college students. We just cant feed it every 4 hours. The only thing I can do is feed it in the morning and at night.

Help. Please :(
 

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Can you find a local breeder that could possibly take the baby in? It sounds like the parents may have abandoned him. How old is the chick? Feeding only morning and night might not be enough for him to get the nutrients he needs to grow properly and he's going to need something to keep him warm. I would not trust a heating pad, I did and it was a horrible experience with a terrible and depressing outcome. Maybe check with the local bird store and see if they can handrear him instead.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
There is no local breeders i know of. The chick is about 3 weeks old. He was hatched on the 10th of august.

I have let my male cockatiel out of the cage because the female kept chasing him and now the female is in the nest box with the chick.
 

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O good. I wouldn't put the male back in. He may be stressing her out and the baby needs her more right now than he does.

For future reference when breeding, I would definitely take a look around your area and find local breeders you may be able to gain advice and help from in case of an emergency.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Okay turns out the female isn't feeding it or anything. We have managed to find a way to hand rear the chick.

We have been blending egg food to make it syringe able and feeding him that. Do i need to give him calcium or anything? Am i missing anything?
 

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You need to get hand rearing formula from the store. Egg food wont have all the nutrients the baby is going to need to grow properly.
 

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As Roxy said you will need to buy baby bird formula, blended egg food works great as an emergency formula however will not supply the growing chicks with all he needs to grow healthy.
 

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From the info I have the chick should have 4 feeds of 7-10ml each day. The hand rearing mix may have feeding guides on it or there is a wealth of information on this site. Good Luck
 

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Also, have you weighed the baby? If not, I strongly suggest starting to weigh him/her daily. By using a gram scale to weigh the baby each day (before the first morning feed), you will be able to keep track of how well he/she is growing and gaining weight.

Definitely get some hand raising formula from a pet store. It's relatively inexpensive and easy to prepare, just be sure to follow the instructions on the package :)

Good luck!
 

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Also, have you weighed the baby? If not, I strongly suggest starting to weigh him/her daily. By using a gram scale to weigh the baby each day (before the first morning feed), you will be able to keep track of how well he/she is growing and gaining weight.

Definitely get some hand raising formula from a pet store. It's relatively inexpensive and easy to prepare, just be sure to follow the instructions on the package :)

Good luck!
I also weighed before and after a feed, let's you know exactly how much food is getting into the chick.
 

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Ah yes, I religiously weighed Zoe before and after every feed and recorded the results in an Excel spreadsheet. It was very helpful for tracking her growth, particularly when she was having trouble putting on weight!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Okay i have a load of questions to ask because i have never done this before so heres a list and a little bit :L

1. If he is screeching for food do i give him it or is he just being greedy?
2. When do i start putting seeds in with him?
3. When do i stop feeding him with the syringe?

4. He was hatched on the 10th of august and we rescued him on the 1st of September (3 weeks old one day) he looks a lot younger than the age he really is, will this effect him in the future?

5. How long can he go without being fed in case i need to leave the house for a little bit?

6. I put a little toy in with him to keep him company and he cuddles into it. Is this okay?

Pictures of him: (3 weeks of age)


 

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He looks quite behind for his age, which is a result of his parents not feeding him enough during his time with them. I had the same problem with my Zoe, I had to pull her out at 7 days otherwise she'd have died. This was her at 3 weeks old:



She is now a happy and healthy 6 month old (well, 6 months on Sep 14th).

If cared for properly, stunted chicks can live a normal, healthy life. The bird may be a tad smaller than a "normal" adult, but that just adds to the cuteness :p It took Zoe a little longer to wean because I had so much trouble putting weight on her (finding a good hand raising formula will help combat that) and she didn't wean until around 14 weeks.

On to your questions.. I will try to answer them as best I can.

1. Cockatiel chicks are notorious for constantly begging for food. They're ALWAYS hungry, even when they're not. Try to stick to your feeding schedule as much as possible. Over feeding can cause a world of problems, so don't give in to him!

2. Keep an eye on him, and when you notice him starting to pick at stuff in his box (bedding, toys, etc) you can start offering him some starting foods. I gave zoe SOME seeds but as she was so young she mostly just licked them and played with them. I like to start my babies off with some steamed veggies like corn, carrots and beans. Steam them until they're nice and soft, let them cool a bit and then put them in the box on a shallow plate/lid and let him have at it. He'll get more curious and adventurous as he gets older.

3. Babies usually wean between 8 and 12 weeks, but stunted babies can take a little longer (like zoe). Once he gets to weaning age, try to offer him more solid foods and less formula, but keep an eye on his weight so you can tell if you need to increase his formula again.
One big thing is when they reach fledging age, they will start refusing formula, but this does NOT mean he is weaned. It just means he's putting himself on a diet in preparation for his maiden flight. It was a battle to get Zoe to eat during this time, so I started feeding her less and more often just to keep her food intake at a reasonable amount. Once she learned to fly, she was more interested in doing that than eating, so I had to keep offering her food more often. At this time though she was starting to eat more on her own, so I was able to drop her feedings back and she was sustaining herself. You'll just need to keep an eye on your baby's weight and feed him accordingly.

4. As I said above, stunted babies can take a little longer to wean, but providing they're given correct care, they can grow up to be happy, healthy birds. Zoe is living proof of that! I had so many people tell me she wouldn't make it, but we proved them all wrong :p

5. Depending on your feeding schedule, you should be OK to leave him for a few hours without it affecting him. There has been plenty of times where I was at least a few hours late giving Zoe a feed and she's fine. If it's more than a few hours though, you may need to add in one more feed after his usual last evening feed.

6. Having a toy in his box is great! Particularly for a single baby. I did the same with Zoe and she grew quite attached to it. Singular babies definitely need something to cuddle with.

Another thing I will add is I highly recommend using coconut water to mix his formula with instead of regular water. It is excellent for hydration (better than normal water) and as he gets older and you need to thicken his food, you can do it without losing valuable hydration from adding less water. If the baby appears dehydrated (red and dry) using coconut water can help fix this within a couple of days.

Were you able to pick up some hand raising formula from a pet store?

He is just precious :D

Edit: When he starts to forage and pick at stuff more, you may need to exchange his cuddle buddy with something that has a little less hair. As he gets adventurous with picking at stuff he will likely start trying to pick at the hair on his toy and you don't want him to swallow any!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you for the reply. The hand rearing formula is on its way. It should be here Monday hopefully. This little guy had caused me so much stress so I hope he makes it. What formula do you use for Zoe?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'd also like to add since we have had him under our care we have noticed a lot of development in his feet. When we first got him the toes were short and under developed. Now they are getting really long
 

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From the looks of his crop and food on your hands I think ou are mixing it too thick.. It should be like thin applesauce. Here is a video of me feeding one of the chicks I raised in the spring... Your formula for the age of your baby should be a bit thinner than this...

http://youtu.be/r-XVauYbTks

Not enough water in the food can cause slow crop and lead to yeast problems.
 

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It also looks like there is a bit of air at the top of his crop. You can remove it by gently massaging his crop to push the air out, but be careful not to push food back up his throat as this could cause a respiratory infection if it gets into his lungs, or worst cases scenario is he could choke on it.

Also i'm sure you would have cleaned it off pretty quickly, but get into the habit of cleaning off excess formula from his face each time the syringe is removed from his mouth. As he grows more feathers around his face, it gets harder and harder to clean off dried crusty formula, and while it may seem like a pain at the time, it's much, much easier in the long run to clean off formula DURING a feed as well as after to ensure there's nothing left to get stuck on. Zoe HATED it when I cleaned her face and when she got to the point where she could fly, she would try to fly away the second she decided she was done being fed in hopes she could avoid her face being cleaned :p

I am in Australia and the formula I use and best recommend over here is Vetafarm. However I see you are in the US and I don't think you guys have it over there. I am pretty sure Kaytee's is pretty highly regarded over there. Some people have told me that brand doesn't really matter, but I think it does. I have tried a couple of aussie brands and Vetafarm has given me the best results. I used a less known brand for Zoe for the first few weeks and it was horrible. She wouldn't put on weight at all and it smelled dreadful. As soon as I switched her to Vetafarm she started putting on weight like a pro.

What brand did you end up buying?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Just thought i would give a little update about my chick. He is doing great and is now starting to get all of his feathers :)

We have also mastered feeding him properly with hand feeding formula. Everything is looking good so far.

Image of him


The picture isnt the best but he just got fed before this picture
 

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That's great news, well done! It's a very steep learning curve with these tiny babies who have had setbacks but the rewards are so worth it! Keep us posted!
 
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