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3 week old questions

Caryl

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Today i was unexpectedly gifted a 3 week old baby lovebird with little instruction.
I popped by a vet to ask what i should feed it and was told baby cereal with a syringe. (I am an Aussie living in Peru so while i will search for proper lovebird baby powder i am not hopeful)
Anyway the little guy took some warm food via the syringe which was great but i have some questions...
Will he chirp or make noise when he is hungry?
Should he be fed every 3 hours? Including all night?
I have put him in a box with a towel folded up over a heating pad but one of the microwavable types - is this ok as a "brooder"? I can reheat during the day/night when he is fed?
Thanks all for any advice!
 

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Britnicorn

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This entire thread is super helpful

My budgie chick made noise anytime he saw/heard me. Even if he was full. It’s baby instinct to start begging when they see mom, and you’re mom when you’re feeding them. Although I imagine your baby will be quiet for awhile since you’re still new to her/him

I don’t think that microwaveable heat pad would be very safe. When you microwave anything there’s always hot spots, plus you can’t monitor the temperature. Chicks need 95-98°F, which slowly decreases once their down feathers are grown. Are you able to buy a heatpad and a thermometer?

That thread I linked has a helpful section on how to make a proper brooder. You’ll also need a wet washcloth in their for humidity

Your baby also looks like they have a good amount of down feathers so I think having temps slightly less than 95°F would be okay

Zara’s the expert here, though, I only speak from my one-time experience
 

Gigibirds

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Well, congrats on your new birdie! I have raised soooo many lovebirds before. Now, everyone has their own methods, but I did not feed them in the night. I fed them 4 times a day at that age, and you are supposed to feed them 10% of their body weight, so be sure to get a scale! Lovebird formula (I use Kaytee Exact and a syringe, but beginners are recommended to feed their birds with a spoon) needs to be served at 105º Fahrenheit I believe (I think that's the correct translation from celsius...). That sounds like a fine brooder, but be sure to keep the box covered and throw in a stuffed animal (or old t-shirt or really just something soft) for it to cuddle with.

Will he chirp or make noise when he is hungry?
- Sometimes, but sometimes not - it depends on the bird (at least it did with mine!)

Should he be fed every 3 hours? Including all night?
-No

I have put him in a box with a towel folded up over a heating pad but one of the microwavable types - is this ok as a "brooder"? I can reheat during the day/night when he is fed?
- It should be, but make sure that you cover the top and that the temperature stays roughly around 75-80º Fahrenheit

Here is a website that I used so much! It was so helpful to me, and I hope it will be to you, too! Hand Feeding Baby Lovebirds From Day 1
 
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Zara

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Welcome Caryl,

I popped by a vet to ask what i should feed it and was told baby cereal with a syringe. (I am an Aussie living in Peru so while i will search for proper lovebird baby powder i am not hopeful)
I beleive in Peru they speak Spanish (My mums Spanish teacher was Peruvian) , so you want to look for ¨Papilla¨ or sometimes they call it ¨Pasta para papilleros¨. Look for those titles acompanied by a smaller type bird on the package and you should be ok.
I always used Nutribird A21 (green top), everyone I know who raised lovebirds also used the same. I have read that Kaytee is questionable, however if it´s all you can find, it´s ok.

Anyway the little guy took some warm food via the syringe
Given that you are a novice, I would highly recommend using a spoon. You can use a small metal teaspoon, or make a real feeder spoon out of a disposable plastic spoon (in the link Britnicorn posted above). It is very easy to aspirate a chick via syringe feeding. A spoon is much safer. It can be a little messier, but just use a lightly damp cloth and wipe the chicks beak after each feeding. Try to get as much off as possible because formula dries down very hard.

Will he chirp or make noise when he is hungry?
I got my first bird at the same age as your little one, and he was quiet for the first week or something like that. After, he started to make the screechy begging sound before food, and afterwards while he fell asleep.

Should he be fed every 3 hours? Including all night?
You will know when to feed by checking the crop. It should be almost empty at the time of each feeding, except the morning feed in which it should be completely empty.
Right now, 4 feeds - every 4.5 hours with a 6 hour night gap. As you chick gets older, you can increase the nighttime, but for now they are very little and a full 8 hours is just too much to wait for food.

I have put him in a box with a towel folded up over a heating pad but one of the microwavable types - is this ok as a "brooder"?
What sort of box? A ¨critter carrier¨ is a good option;
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The problem with the microwavable pads is that the temperature then fluctuates. It goes up when you put the pad there, then as it cools it goes down, then you reheat the pad and the temperature shoots back up again. This can cause serious problems in the crop of a young chick. You need the temperature to be steady to help them digest their food and keep things moving in their system.
A plug in mat is the best option, sometimes you can get them from chemists/pharmacy, or pet shops. Place the mat under half of the box.

Fill the box with 3-4inches of aspen shavings (course pine is ok if no aspen is avail. - never cedar, never fine pine).

A snuggle buddy is a good idea, something small, the same size as the bird, with no loose threads, no loose parts or sequins or glitter or fluff. If you can´t find anything small enough, roll up a sock into a small ball and tie it together.

You’ll also need a wet washcloth in their for humidity
That´s right. On a plate, a moist cloth. Humidity should be 60-65, or as close to there as you can get it. If it is very humid where you live, you might not need it. But you will need a hygrometer to measure the humidity to check - because the heat pad heating the inside of the brooder can dry the air.
You might be able to get a hygrometer at the chemist, if not, look online for a digital hygrometer and thermometer in one, then you can monitor the inside brooder much more accurately.

You will need a stick theremometer to check the temperature of the food. You can get those sometimes at petrol stations (not sure about in peru though)
but definitely in the pharmacy.
Formula should always be served at 40C (105F). Boil the kettle, let it stand for a minute or so for the water to cool down. While it´s still hot but not scolding, add water to the powder and stir well with a fork, or spoon making sure to squish all the lumps and bumps. check the temperature, it should be a bit over the 40C/105F, so wait until it hits the correct temp and then feed.
You should be feeding 10% of your chicks weight per feed, so it could be something like 3CCs at the moment, pull the amount up into the syringe, then release that onto the feeder spoon to administer.

Zara’s the expert here
I understand why you say that, I have lots of experience, but I´m not an expert, I like to think I´m an enthusiast :geek:


If you have questions, please do post them here, there´s a good handful of members here who are knowledgable when it comes to breeding, so usually someone who can help.
 

Caryl

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You guys are amazing! Thanks so much!!
After reading the above links/info i started feeding him with a spoon last night. I woke up at 330am to make sure he was still alive and feed him again.
I will get a thermometer today but i know the heating pad will be a struggle to find... i put the microwable pad under the cardboard box he's in - if i cant get a heating pad should i continue to do this or stop and make sure he is snuggled in?
He took 3mls of food this morning from the spoon and is now sleeping happily. Does his crop look ok to you guys?
@Britnicorn @Gigibirds @Zara :grouphug2:
 

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Zara

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Does his crop look ok to you guys?
In the photo? He needs feeding more.
Did you weigh the chick in the morning? Weigh him with an empty crop and feed him 10% of that number.
 

Caryl

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Ok here is a little update.
I have made a brooder with an old glass bottle filled with water and an aquarium heater. Towel on the bottom then he is inside the smaller critter carrier.
I found a baby bird formula finally so he started on that yesterday and appears ravenous for it. He weighs 34grams but easily eats 5mls of food. I offer it until he doesn't want anymore as i can't tell from his crop if he is hungry! Is this ok?
Also he feeds every 4/5 hours so at 7am 11am 3pm 7pm 12pm then the only time he wakes up squawking is at 430am :( So of course i get up and feed him then too.
He only makes little noises when i am feeding him and no other time squawks for food - normal?
I have read somewhere that he should be having avicakes as a pre-weening treat but of course cannot find them here. Apart from making my own is there anything else i can give him a "chew on". He does nibble at my fingers when feeding time comes.
On another note he tries to climb up my arm when he has had enough food which is so cute!:heart:
 

Zara

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I have made a brooder with an old glass bottle filled with water and an aquarium heater
Do you have a photograph? I don´t think I can picture this in my head.

he is inside the smaller critter carrier.
And this container has a good few inches of shavings in the bottom correct?

He weighs 34grams but easily eats 5mls of food. I offer it until he doesn't want anymore as i can't tell from his crop if he is hungry! Is this ok?
Glad you found the food :) 5 seems quite a lot, really it would be more like 4CC, but if you feed him 5 and the crop is not too packed then it is ok. Just be very careful you are not feeding too much. The crop shouldn´t be hard full of food or the food not going down into the crop completely.
If you are unsure, always feed less. So do 4, and then monitor, as the crop empties feed again just before completely empty. Allow to completely empty once overnight.

He only makes little noises when i am feeding him and no other time squawks for food - normal?
That sounds about right for such a young chick. As he grows you might notice he´s noisy before and after feedings. He might even make the strange begging noise while he falls asleep.

I have read somewhere that he should be having avicakes as a pre-weening treat but of course cannot find them here. Apart from making my own is there anything else i can give him a "chew on".
I´ve never seen those in my country either, my birds have never tried them.
As your bird is four weeks old, if you introduce adult foods, try some mashed warm veggies on a spoon.
In a weeks time, you can offer some millet spray, some finely chopped veggies, pellets (soaked or dry).
Offer adult foods after the formula feeds, never before.

On another note he tries to climb up my arm when he has had enough food which is so cute!:heart:
Mine would try to scuttle back to the brooder, if they needed me to take them, they would climb up me because they know I put them back :rolleyes: :swoon:
 

Caryl

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And this container has a good few inches of shavings in the bottom correct?
I haven''t put wood shavings in as i could only find hamster type shavings and was worried he would eat them - should i get them anyway? He has a blanket then towels and paper towels on top.
I have a friend going to the states next week so she will get me some avicakes but i will try him on some mushed up carrot tomorrow. To be clear it should be cooked, smooth and warm and fed after formula?
That sounds about right for such a young chick. As he grows you might notice he´s noisy before and after feedings. He might even make the strange begging noise while he falls asleep.
He makes little chirpy noises when eating and after when falling asleep - but still not when hungry. I am feeding him every 4/5 hours still until i start the veg diet - am i feeding him too often and not letting him get hungry?
I am trying to get that clump of formula off the side of his face but hes not having a bar of it - i will continue to scrub ;)
He has put on almost half his original body weight in the last 2 weeks and has so many new feathers.. hes growing up so fast :sad5:
 

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Caryl

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Oh and i dont know if he is a he but i call him he! We have given him the name Mojito!
 

Caryl

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Here is a photo of the brooder i made. An Aquarium heater in a jar of water in the corner to provide heat, a towel for him to snuggle into and more recently added a perch to sit on.
** Update **
Mojito is 6 weeks old today! For the past few days after his first formula feed in the morning he goes into his big cage where he has seed, water, perches, toys and a little cardboard box to snuggle in. After his last feed during the day i put him back in the brooder so i know he will be warm - continue or leave in big cage? (temps here are consistently Low7c-High22c and he has his feathers now)
I put a shallow plate of water in his big cage and he dove into it and had his first bath which was super cute.
I have been offering a diff fruit/veg to see what he likes but nothing interests him - he was scared of a slice of orange! I have not been able to find pellets for birds here so its just seed and veg along with formula for now.
Formula feeds are every 5/6 hours including one during the night - is this still ok or should i stop the nightly feed?
He is flying a little now - always to my hair! When he is done with his formula feed he scurries up my arm or flies up and snuggles into my hair/neck. I dont mind this but he nibbles on my neck and hair which is not pleasant. Seems to be very clingy to me... but i suppose i am his mum now! :heart:
Any/all advice greatly welcomed! :)
 

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Zara

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Formula feeds are every 5/6 hours including one during the night - is this still ok or should i stop the nightly feed?
How many CC are you feeding a time? Should be 4.5-6 depending on how much your bird weighs.
At 6 weeks old you should be on 2 or 3 feeds usually. Obviously, not all birds are the same, not all like to follow the book. Those feeds would be morning, bedtime, and one inbetween. During something like 11pm-7am you wouldn´t be feeding them at all )depending on your schedule and the schedule you have mapped out for the bird).

I have not been able to find pellets for birds here so its just seed and veg along with formula for now.
If you can´t get pellets, focus on the veggies and a little fruit. What country are you in?

continue or leave in big cage? (temps here are consistently Low7c-High22c and he has his feathers now)
On the picture they don´t look all preened out yet, can´t really tell properly. I would give them another week in the brooder. Unless you see they visibly are trying to get out to go back to the cage. And if you put them in the cage, maybe try to heat the room somehow, or put a little cardboard box in the cage to climb into and snuggle in.

An Aquarium heater in a jar of water in the corner to provide heat
I have never seen this used before. Did it keep the brooder temperature steady? If it is heating the brooder so well, I´d be worried about the chick burning themselves on the jar.
 

Caryl

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How many CC are you feeding a time? Should be 4.5-6 depending on how much your bird weighs.
At 6 weeks old you should be on 2 or 3 feeds usually. Obviously, not all birds are the same, not all like to follow the book. Those feeds would be morning, bedtime, and one inbetween. During something like 11pm-7am you wouldn´t be feeding them at all )depending on your schedule and the schedule you have mapped out for the bird).


If you can´t get pellets, focus on the veggies and a little fruit. What country are you in?


On the picture they don´t look all preened out yet, can´t really tell properly. I would give them another week in the brooder. Unless you see they visibly are trying to get out to go back to the cage. And if you put them in the cage, maybe try to heat the room somehow, or put a little cardboard box in the cage to climb into and snuggle in.


I have never seen this used before. Did it keep the brooder temperature steady? If it is heating the brooder so well, I´d be worried about the chick burning themselves on the jar.
So he weighs 44g and eats around 5mls of formula a feed. I woke up at 3am to feed him, checked my messages, saw that you said he doesnt need to be fed', checked him in his big cage, he was asleep in his cardboard box so i left him! woohoo! I can finally sleep through the night again?! :woot2:
How many CC are you feeding a time? Should be 4.5-6 depending on how much your bird weighs.
At 6 weeks old you should be on 2 or 3 feeds usually. Obviously, not all birds are the same, not all like to follow the book. Those feeds would be morning, bedtime, and one inbetween. During something like 11pm-7am you wouldn´t be feeding them at all )depending on your schedule and the schedule you have mapped out for the bird).


If you can´t get pellets, focus on the veggies and a little fruit. What country are you in?


On the picture they don´t look all preened out yet, can´t really tell properly. I would give them another week in the brooder. Unless you see they visibly are trying to get out to go back to the cage. And if you put them in the cage, maybe try to heat the room somehow, or put a little cardboard box in the cage to climb into and snuggle in.


I have never seen this used before. Did it keep the brooder temperature steady? If it is heating the brooder so well, I´d be worried about the chick burning themselves on the jar.
I'm in Arequipa, Peru. I have access to all fruit n veg - this morning i have put in his cage 1 slice of cucumber finely chopped and a tsp of cooked quinoa - as well as his seed and water. I will check through the day and see how he goes with that!
 

Zara

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checked him in his big cage, he was asleep in his cardboard box so i left him!
He should sleep through the night. But leave some dry food in the cage as well as a shallow bowl of water should he wake and be hungry :)
 
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