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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys
Finally my cockatiels bonded, mated and today the first baby hatched...of course I am panicking, no matter how much advice I got and how many books, sites I have read :rolleyes:
Everyone says I am supposed to take out the empty egg shell pieces, and clean out the nest every day....but the parents will not leave the nest together and they are very aggressive towards me...what should I do???? I do not want to remove the parents with force, they would fight it and maybe even trumple on the baby.

Any advice is very appreciated, thank you!!!
 

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I wouldn't say the nest needs to be cleaned daily...but once they all hatch and begin pooping you can change to top layer of bedding ever so often. You can move the parents out with a kitchen spatula so you can grab the shell pieces.
 

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Hi...congratulations on your new hatchling :)

Don't worry about the bedding for now (what are you using for bedding) it really is not neccessary to change the bedding daily. I ususally wait til the babies are old enough to remove from the nest, sprinkling fresh beddin in the box when needed.

As to the shells....take a quick peek if they are off to the side from the clutch then there is no urgent need to remove them. If the parents keep the empty shells with the clutch then this can be of a concern of the shell sliding over an egg and hindering the hatch.

IF you have to reach into the box fist your hand and present the back of the hand to them and gently nudge them aside. This is less intimidating when they can't see your fingers. If you have to remove a baby to check it, again fist your hand when you enter the box and pick up the baby (or egg) with the baby cupped on your fingers and the back of your hand facing the parent. In doing this it protects the baby if the parent lunges at your hand to bite. Do the same when you return a baby/egg to the box.
 

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And hey, we always love pictures!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes when I checked the nest the 2 broken egg shell pieces were on two sides of the clutch a bit farther away from the baby and the eggs...the baby is laying between the other eggs and Skye the Mom is sitting on them...
 

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I was scared too when we had our first baby. I would tap on the box and speak quietly before i opened the lid, then with my long plastic spatula, id slip it in and push them out, have a quick look and shut the box. After a couple of days they saw that spoon and would just hop out. At first they lunged at the spoon but keep pushing, they soon get used to it !!
 

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You might want to think about taking those paper towels out of the nest, and just have the bedding. Tiel babies back up when they poop. If one backs up over the edges of the towels, coming back it could get stuck between the layers or wind up under the dowels. Or they might not be able to return at all and if not noticed can get chilled and die. The parents get the blame for this, because the observer assumes the parent tossed the baby from the huddle.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have another question please...how often I should give them soft food? Sam is could die for cooked brown rice, they also love scrambled eggs, cooked pasta and some veggies...can I give them for example too much brown rice???

Thank you!
 

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I personally am not a user/fan of soft foods with pairs that have babies. Too many times it has resulted in crop problems, and poor growth because the 'soft foods' do not have enough balanced nutrients.

What is their normal diet? I would stick with what the parents have been eating all during incubation. If you want to give soft foods offer enough that they can finish in 10 min or so. You don't want the soft foods out too long and build up bacteria.

Others can make bertter suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
They always eat these kind of foods without nesting as well, other than that they eat seeds with vitamins, millet, oyster shells, I give them multivitamin drops in their water, but both of them eat produce and cooked goodies since they were born
 

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I don't give my birds "special" foods when they're breeding, just more of what they usually eat. But their regular diet includes some soft items, and they have a very strong preference for the soft foods when they have babies in the nest. I think this is their natural instinct speaking, telling them to feed soft foods instead of dry seed. I give them as much of these items as they want in several installments throughout the day, with one exception - the quantity of cooked egg is limited.

You can give the parents cooked rice, but you don't want them to limit themselves to just this one item because that would be nutritionally unbalanced. Find a variety of other soft high-nutrition foods that they will accept and offer those too. I would avoid the pasta unless it's whole-grain - if it's ordinary pasta it's pretty much empty calories. With whole grain pasta you want something that's not enriched, since enriching adds too much iron and zinc for birds.

You can soak or sprout your birds' regular seeds to make them softer and more digestible, and also grains from a natural-foods grocery. There are instructions at http://talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=9019 Be extra careful about avoiding spoilage since babies are involved.

Besides the sprouts and veggies, my birds' favorite baby foods are organic multi-grain bread (you want something that is NOT enriched) and Harrisons pellets. Pellets are an excellent baby food - the parents eat them then drink water to soften them up for the babies.

A couple of things to be careful about: I'm generally OK with the use of grit (oyster shells in your case) but I don't think it's such a good idea when you have little babies in the nest. I know someone on another board who lost a whole clutch of cockatiel chicks because the parents regurgitated grit to them and impacted their crops. Your birds need a lot of calcium at this time but you need a source that's less chunky and easier to digest, like cuttlebone. If your birds will eat pellets, they'll get calcium and other minerals that way.

The vitamin drops in the water are iffy too, since the dosage is unpredictable and they can promote the growth of bacteria in the water. It's better to let your birds get their vitamins from natural sources (plenty of veggies will do the trick) and from pellets if they will eat them. If your birds have never eaten pellets before then you can expect some resistance, but there are various ways to try to entice them into trying the pellets.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Oh okay I am gonna remove the oyster shells and will quit putting the vitamin drops in the water. They have cuttlebone by the way and love it :) usually my female eats more veggies for some reason but also they both love multi-grain Cheerios. I will try the multi-grain bread too. I tried pellets with them and they never ate it unfortunately....I heard sometimes it is better to use a smaller sized one like for parakeets, i will try that too maybe now it would work who knows.
 

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The problem with Cheerios is that it's a fortified (enriched) cereal, which means too much iron and zinc for birds. It's OK to let them have a little bit once in a while, but it shouldn't be used as a major baby food.

P.S. If your parent birds won't eat pellets you could try them on Nutriberries, which are nutritionally equivalent to pellets and more attractive to cockatiels. Nutriberries are not a soft food, but they're a good source of nutrients if your birds will eat them.
 

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I got the Nutriberries too....Skye does not really want to try it, not even in a crumbled form but the male, Sam loves them!!! :)

And today afternoon the second baby was hatched weeeee
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Tielfan, can you please tell me why you limit cooked eggs? I know the yolk is high in cholesterol but other bird keepers (not breeder!!!) said it is very important during nesting and it is a good baby food...I just mention it because yesterday Skye screamed for 2 hours, I could not figure out why, and she only stopped when finally as a last idea I gave her egg...she ate it like crazy then she ran into the nest :)

Thank you!
 
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