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Discussion Starter #1
So my little Natsuki - an only chick, who was being plucked by mom almost a week ago and is now being fed by dad alone - has decided she’s had enough of her small accommodations, and wants to share the big cage. The big cage being 30”x30” and, I believe, 33” tall. She’s been trying to get out since yesterday and, I think, with her determination, will very soon. I’ve tried looking this up online, but have found nothing. Should I attach the nest box to a smaller cage and move her (in the box) and dad?

Dad, Larry Bird, doesn’t go in the nest as often as he used to, mainly only for feedings, and not at all at night - I’ve been putting her in a homemade brooder from 11pm to 6am which is now set for 80-86 degrees F, plus or minus (heating pad wrapped in towel under half the brooder. Brooder has aspen on the bottom and the humidity is between 40 and 50%. Also have two thermometer/hygrometers and a small container container of water, covered with a lid with numerous small holes poked, and little stuffed animal in there).

I’ve tried supplementing her feedings five or six times, but she fights me (more than I’d have thought possible for such a young bird!!) and I believe the biggest difference has been only 2 grams in her weight and no noticeable change in her crop size. I weigh her before and after trying to feed her and at certain times throughout the day.

Her heaviest weight was six days ago (on July 20th) at 108g (when both parents were feeding her). Since then her weight has ranged from 90-101g, the average being about 97g. Is this okay for her current age/stage? She’s very alert, but doesn’t really beg for food until her dad actually goes in the box.

Wish I could post the video of her trying to get out, but hopefully the pictures are okay.
 

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Chicks spend a few days looking out at the world before they fledge. 25 days is a little early to fledge but it's normal enough. Many of my chicks fledge at 26 days. At that age they aren't good at holding on to a perch, so it will probably be desirable to put her back in the nest at night for a few days so she can sleep in a safe, comfortable place. Doing it periodically throughout the day isn't a bad idea either, especially if the parents seem confused about trying to feed her when she's outside the nest. She'll come back out again when she wants to, and she may learn to go back in on her own when she wants to if the perch arrangement allows it.

You don't need to move her to a smaller cage. She'll flap when she falls so she won't hit bottom too hard. Just make sure there's nothing that she might hurt herself on when she's going down, and be prepared to pick her up off the bottom of the cage several times a day. You can put her in the nest, or put her on a perch so she can practice her perching skills. It's good that you have a rope perch in the cage - these are easier for fledglings to hold on to than a dowel perch. A natural branch that isn't too smooth is good for chicks too.

Their weight peaks at about the age of three weeks and then drops a bit as they start eating less. It sounds like everything is fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks so much. One more question, if I may: should I continue putting her in the brooder for the evening since dad won’t go in the nest at night, or, since she’s basically fully feathered, let her stay in the nest box?
 

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She doesn't need a brooder at this age, since she's fully capable of regulating her own body temperature. You can let her sleep in the nest or anywhere else that she'll feel comfortable. If you give her some practice with sitting on perches in the daytime, she'll probably be able to sleep on a perch at night without falling off in two or three days.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, she’s certainly full of surprises, this one. She was out of nest again this morning, which is fine except she was walking off the piece of cardboard I had placed on the grate and was struggling a bit, so I put her back in the nest. Next time she tried to get out I caught dad plucking her cheek patch feathers! I wasn’t sure if he was just preening and, because of her precarious perch on the opening of the box, he was pulling a bit too hard, so I helped her back inside the nest.

Once in the box again, things seemed okay until my next chick check. Though there was no blood, he was obviously plucking the back of her head. So I put him in with mom and she’s in the brooder (haven’t had the heat on. I’ll set her up in her own cage tomorrow). Anyway, I’m still struggling to get her to eat with either feeding spoon or syringe, but nevertheless, still trying. Around 8:15 tonight, my son had her out for a bit and I decided to let mom and dad out and see how they’d behave together. Mom totally ignored her. As soon as she saw dad, she immediately began begging to be fed, and, happily, he obliged. As has been the case for the past couple of days, the feeding only lasted a few seconds. Immediately after that, she started stretching - nothing new, but then she flew! Totally unexpected!! She only went about five feet or so, but did it flawlessly. After my heart stopped racing, I admonished her for doing that too soon. Lol. I decided we’d had enough excitement and we were bringing her back to her brooder, but mom and dad flew up to the curtain rod and Natsuki flew right out of my son’s hands and joined them on the rod! (It’s a triple rod and there are lots of ruffles, but it didn’t seem to matter anyway, her landing was perfect!)

We took a family photo then immediately put them in their appropriate places. Am I wrong in thinking that she’s a bit ahead of the curve to be flying at 27 days? I thought it was supposed to happen at closer to five or six weeks.
 

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