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Conure chick refusing food and vocalizing

Discussion in 'Nursery Rhyme Drive' started by budgietielure, 3/14/19.

  1. budgietielure

    budgietielure Moving in

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    Hi,
    I have a GCC chick, 4.5 weeks old. He is starting to take less at each feeding (fed 4X/day). He has a strong feeding response initially (bobbing), mouths occasionally (like swallowing/tonguing like adult, which I've read is normal in slow hand-fed birds), then after about 5-7 cc's, usually backs up and sometimes squawks when I attempt to give him his syringe. I usually stop feeding him at this point for fear of forcing him, and will either feed him at his next scheduled feeding or give him a few cc's a few hours before it. (His breeder feeds his sibilings 10 cc/feeding, 4X a day. She shoots the food in quickly and some of it will flood/dribble out of their beak).
    My spouse also feeds him, and noticed once, after some playtime, he was more receptive to his feeding. He is also sometimes more receptive when you give him a couple of cc's at a time during his feeding, over the span of 5 minutes.
    My question is what to do?
    Otherwise, he has healthy behaviors (preening, sleeping, flapping, exploring). He is around 83 g. The only potentially concerning behavior he has is his vocalization. Conure chicks have this croaky squawk, but he does it a lot sometimes when we handle or touch him, occasionally even doing what seems to be biting us when we approach him (like an angry squawk + lunge, doesn't look like beaking at all). Other times he is happy to be picked up, will nap in our hands and waddle towards us and try to climb into our hands and over our body.
    Is this normal?
     
  2. sunnysmom

    sunnysmom Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran I Can't Stop Posting!

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    Welcome to the forum. I'm afraid I don't have baby conure experience but will tag some people...

    @webchirp? @Zara ?
     
  3. webchirp

    webchirp Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    No experience with cheekies that young...what does his breeder say?
     
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  4. Zara

    Zara Rollerblading along the road Avenue Spotlight Award I Can't Stop Posting! POSTAHOLIC

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    I don´t know about conure chicks.

    With my lovebird chicks, I would stop feeding when they back off. I would pick up the chick, offer it just one more time (sometimes they accept) then stop.
    If he eats better after playing, then let him play for a while before. I´m sorry I´m not much help.

    I will say, that it is a good idea to weigh the chick morning and night, and before every feed. Write it all down in a notepad.
     
  5. Kodigirl210

    Kodigirl210 Rollerblading along the road

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    Is the baby’s crop emptying completely? It doesn’t sound like it is and that may be why he’s refusing the food. He may have sour crop. Can you please tell me what temp you feed the formula at? Does his breath stink? What does his poop look like?

    A home remedy for sour crop would be to put 1-2 drops of apple cider vinegar in his feedings for a day or two.

    They don’t wean until at least 8-weeks so it definitely sounds like there is an issue as at his body weight he should be eating 10cc’s at least 3x a day.

    If you check those few things I asked about it might point in a more solid direction. Also please check his crop before you feed to see if it’s empty.

    Best of luck :)
     
  6. Mockinbirdiva

    Mockinbirdiva Rollerblading along the road Celebirdy of the Month Avenue Veteran I Can't Stop Posting!

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    How long have you had this chick? At 4 1/2 weeks he is too young to be separated from his siblings. It's always best to let the breeder be responsible for finishing hand feeding since they are more knowledgeable with feeding issues. You may not have the temperature of the formula right or it's cooling down quickly and your chick loses interest in the formula. Taking chicks too young from it's parents and siblings could very well cause social problems in it's behavior towards you. Many people think doing the hand feeding themselves creates a stronger bond with it's caretakers..... just know it can cause big issues. Ask the breeder to finish the hand feeding and only take it back home when it's fully weaned and eating on it's own.
     
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  7. budgietielure

    budgietielure Moving in

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    Thank you so much for all your responses so far. @Zara , that sounds like a good tip.
    @Kodigirl210 his crop is completely empty before we feed. I usually feed him around 106 F, but have recently started feeding at 110 F (breeder said 110 is max), as temp goes down over time. He took the food much better when I did that in his midday feeding. His breath seems fine, poop is a medium green with a reasonable amount of liquid (color has remained consistent).
    His vocalizations are still confusing though.
     
  8. Kodigirl210

    Kodigirl210 Rollerblading along the road

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    I’m not sure if you are aware of what had to happen for you to have the baby conure. They are pulled from their mom normally around 4-weeks. I think yours had to be pulled earlier in order for you to have it at 4.5 weeks. So he missed out on the socialization that would have happened with Mom and then again with his siblings. The siblings normally would provide competition for his food or at least feel that way so being by himself gives less motivation to eat. The socialization in another major issue. He doesn’t know how to act because he wasn’t with his sibs long enough to know. He needs a surrogate where he sleeps. A stuffed animal that has nothing the conure can rip off would help a lot. It will give him a sense of security his missing right now. And his insecurity is driving his actions. He’s vocalizing because he’s calling for his sibs that are now no longer with him. He’s also been reduced to fight in the equation of fight or flight. If you startle him or he doesn’t want to be bothered he’s left with no option but to act to protect himself which is probably why he seems like he’s trying to attack. Try to make sure you let him know you are coming near him by talking softly and give him a moment to recognize and relax. That will probably make it easier on him. Another bonding tool would be to just hold him and cover his body with one hand. This mimics what a mother bird would do with her wing. Hopefully something be helpful. :)
     
  9. budgietielure

    budgietielure Moving in

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    @Kodigirl210 Thank you for the info, it's really insightful. The breeder had pulled babies at 3 weeks prior to us having contacted her. I think a lot of breeders pull at 2-3 weeks. The situation with how we ended up with an unweaned chick was a little complicated, and certainly not favorable, but at this point I am doing the best that I can. He has a stuffed animal we sometimes give him, and he also has a heating pad.
    Thank you so much for the advice. I do try to give him a notice before touching, but will give him more time to relax. And cupping him in hands definitely comforts him. Is there anything else I can do or provide for him to help with his insecurities and fight (fight/flight) response?
     
  10. Kodigirl210

    Kodigirl210 Rollerblading along the road

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    Are you sure the baby is only 4.5 weeks. Did you get a hatch certificate? Most responsible breeders do not pull the babies until they are about 4 weeks old. It gives an equal split of time between the bird parent and the human parent. And 83g is adult weight. That makes more sense and it would make more sense why he’s refusing formula. They start weaning at 8 weeks
     
  11. Kodigirl210

    Kodigirl210 Rollerblading along the road

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    As far as comfort another suggestion would be to mirror. So if he chirps, try to mimic the sound and tone back (unless of course it’s totally frantic). Other than that just patience and love. :smuggrin:
     
  12. budgietielure

    budgietielure Moving in

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    @Kodigirl210 Yes, he will be closer to 5 weeks now. I will weigh him again today and update the post with a more exact weight. I've read that the 8 week weaning guideline is a rough/accurate estimate, but some birds wean before or after it? I don't think he would be weaned since he's so young, but I've given him a few seeds to start nibbling on and will start providing a more varied diet this week for him to pick at, in addition to his syringe feedings. He's been putting things in his mouth/nibbling for a week or two.
    And thanks for the social tips! Will definitely mirror and be patient and loving.
     
  13. Kodigirl210

    Kodigirl210 Rollerblading along the road

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    I still get the feeling he’s older than you think so yes. Here’s a list of food to help him along:
    Cheerios or equivalent. They break up easily so teach them how to break and grind food

    Softened pellets, any soft cooked veggies like peas, green beans etc. and soft fruit like papaya.

    Make sure you monitor and hand feed those type of foods in the beginning so he doesn’t try gulping stuff down and choking.

    You can also leave a Conure seed mix in a bowl as well as bowl of water.

    If he is eating other things you can cut back the formula to 3x a day but don’t stop giving it to him until he refuses it every time you offer for a day or more and until he’s eating enough on his own. That’s why the scale will be important to make sure he doesn’t lose the weight through weaning.

    Good luck :)
     
  14. budgietielure

    budgietielure Moving in

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    @Kodigirl210 Thank you so much for the advice. Perhaps he is older than what I think. His feathers at the tips of his wings and shoulders have started growing in, and 1/3 of the sheath on his tail pin feathers has also fallen off.
     
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  15. Kodigirl210

    Kodigirl210 Rollerblading along the road

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    You are very welcome. I believe this baby is 6-8 weeks old.

    9BB19316-1E37-4352-A140-CF7F49E00A55.jpeg
     
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  16. budgietielure

    budgietielure Moving in

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    @Kodigirl210 Thank you so much for the pic! I just noticed that you had posted this. Going off what the breeder said, he is now 6.5 weeks, but he definitely doesn't look like that photo. He is completely feathered, and flies short distances to us. He is hand-feeding 3X a day now, taking about 10 cc per feeding but more at his night feeding, and eating pellets, fresh fruit and occasional seeds.
    When we got him at apparently 3 weeks, he was half the size of an average palm, totally grey with pins everywhere. Only a tiny tiny bit of red tail feather was visible.
    Any tips on exactly how I should socialize him, since he didn't have his siblings?
     
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