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Baby Bird Acting Odd VERY CONCERNED

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NikkiLS

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Just had a question. I have a clutch of lovebirds that I have been hand feeding basically from day one. The second of the clutch was fine up until a few days ago. He just recently started to not take his entire feeding and is far to young to wean never mind that he isn't eating on his own at all. When I feed him he acts hungry takes 2cc's then stops and stands up really straight almost seems to be sneezing and wobbles. Then after a while seems to return to typical behavior but is loosing weight too. I am very concerned. I plan to take him to the vet but unfortunately the only one around is the emergency vet and I would really like a direction to point them in so they do not try to give me the run around just to ring up the bill. PLEASE any advice, I have never had this happen in all the clutches we have had.
 

birdlvr466

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Nikki could his crop possibly be impacted? Can you see if his crop is emptying completely between feedings? I am not familiar with feeding baby birds so I cant give you much advice. Hopefully some more experienced baby bird feeders can give you some advice.
 

WingedVictory

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More experienced people that raise birds from day one should be on the thread to help you shortly. Two things come to mind from you description, a possible yeast or bacterial infection in the crop that does not allow the bird to take a full feeding or the crop is slow and slightly impacted. Having other birds there you can compare them and see what might be going on. What many breeders do is add a couple of drops of ACV or 1 drop of GSE to hand feeding formula for a slow crop. If it has progressed you may need an antibiotic or antifungal. We use ACV here.

gary
 

Greycloud

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His crop could be impacted or I have seen babies do this if they gobble or fed to fast. They stand up straight and stretch their neck to try and get the food down. Try feeding slower, keep him warm, which I'm sure you are already doing. You need to make sure the crop is empty before you feed again, otherwise they end up with sour crop. If no improvement or he presents with a slow crop I would seek an avian vet's advice.
 

srtiels

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My first thought is what are you using to handfeed with...such as syringe, and type/style of syringe, and how far into the mouth/throat. Alos if you press the crop when empty or almost empty between your fingers the crop tissue and skin should feel like the thickness of a folded paper towel. If the skin feels thicker their could be a possiblity of yeast building up inside the crop.

Also part the feathers on the crop and look at the skin. Compare the skin color to another chick as to color, etc. What you do not want to see is prominant red veins. if these are present and there is a build-up of yeast/bacteria in the crop this can get absorbed through the vascular wall of the veins and into the bloodstream and go systemic (meaning throughout the bloodstream and body)

Also open the chicks mouth, and compare this to another chick that is fine. Does the inside of the mouth look clean and a healthy color? No white build-up around/under the tongue or throat?
 

NikkiLS

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Will try all of this. Should I try the ACV or GSE or just try the feeding slower first?
 

NikkiLS

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no prominent red veins, color of skin and mouth looks healthy. Crop is empty but as I said I cannot get him to finish a full feeding without stretching out and bobbling. They eat by syringe but it barely goes in their mouth.
 

Prince Toasty Buns

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Just had a question. I have a clutch of lovebirds that I have been hand feeding basically from day one. The second of the clutch was fine up until a few days ago. He just recently started to not take his entire feeding and is far to young to wean never mind that he isn't eating on his own at all. When I feed him he acts hungry takes 2cc's then stops and stands up really straight almost seems to be sneezing and wobbles. Then after a while seems to return to typical behavior but is loosing weight too. I am very concerned. I plan to take him to the vet but unfortunately the only one around is the emergency vet and I would really like a direction to point them in so they do not try to give me the run around just to ring up the bill. PLEASE any advice, I have never had this happen in all the clutches we have had.

As BL466 & Gary said, the bird's problem could be crop impaction (etc.) but also could be a few other things.

How old is he? Where do you live if you don't mind saying? Have any pics you can share of him, nestbox, brooder, cage, etc.? What do his droppings look like (Gary might be able to visually analyze them for you from a pic, for the most part)? What name brand formula are you using and how do you store it? How do you feed? Intervals? Temp. of food? Thickness of food? Usual # of ccs or mls he eats? Temp. of feeding area? Etc.

The avian vet visit is probably the best way to handle your current situation.

If simply a crop infection, your little Lovie should be ok if treated quickly and properly. I use the prescription anti-fungal Nystatin (suggest everyone who allows breeding or hand feeds (etc.) have this med on hand). Others use ACV and etc.

If the infection (if there is one) hasn't gotten into the bloodstream or any other organs/areas other than the interior crop, the contact anti-fungal should knock it out. If it has gotten into the bird's system then a systemic anti-fungal like Diflucan (fluconazole) or similar (from your vet) may be needed. If bacterial, Baytril should work (although Baytril is more dangerous for very young birds) - your vet will advise what is best prescription med to use.

Curious as to your answer to BL466's question about crop emptying time?

Will send this for now before distracted by other happenings around my place here. Will also wait for your responses to other questions.
 

srtiels

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First check the crop and mouth to determine if there is a problem going on there, and also what/how you are using to feed with.

If you have any plain yogurt you can add some of this to the formula.

Also check the crop size...it is rare with lovebirds (common with tiels) such as an overstretched crop. If the crop is overstretched the food will hang lower than the opening to deliver the food to the body. If you watch the crop, several times a minute you should see the muscles churning the crop contents. Check to see if you can see this. If the crop is stretched, and there is no muscle activity, do NOT use ACV. From my personal experience it hinders and weakens these muscles.
 

NikkiLS

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Alright well crop is empty and never completely full because can't get the full feeding. They are in a temperature controlled brooder made by Tweety Bird Aviary if you search their website there are pictures. They are currently eating the Exact handfeeding formula. I just tried feeding him by spoon to help him regulate it a bit more on his own. As soon as he got a bit in his mouth he started having trouble shaking his head and making a little almost pip sound. Once he settles down he reverts to typical behavior but clearly something is wrong and since he is not eating enough he is loosing weight. They have been eating just recently 8am,12pm,4pm,8pm,&12am although the 12am feeding is being dropped. I would just like to get a direction to point the vet in before I go. I do not have any pics of droppings, they are about 4 weeks old, there are some pictures in the photo forum of them. We are in NH.
 

srtiels

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Does the baby look dehydratated? Again compare him to another clutchmate that is acting fine. When dehydration is present the toes will be alot thinner. The eyes will not be as rounded. In parting the skin on the body just above the hip joint the skin will be slightly reddened and crepe papery looking. If pulled between your fingers it will tent for a second rather than be elastic and go back to normal when released.

Sometimes if there is not enough humidity in the brooder this can also affect digestion.

Also, are you giving any additives or suplements to the formula. Sometimes additional vitamin supplements can cause problems with the major organs which can also contribute to weight loss.
 

srtiels

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Alright well crop is empty and never completely full because can't get the full feeding.
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What type of bedding are you using in your brooder? Could the chick have ingested some of this and it adherred to the inside wall of the crop. While the chick is empty you can feel the crop from the throat to the base to feel it it is free of any foreign objects.

Also do you know how to crop feed? This may be an alternative to getting the food into the base of the crop with hopes of the chick holding it down.

Also, another thought...in rare instances I have had tiel babies act like this. Sometimes I would have a baby that could not tolerate a certain brand of formula, though clutchmates did well on it. You might want to try a different brand of formula.
 

NikkiLS

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Alright well crop is empty and never completely full because can't get the full feeding.
------------------------------------

What type of bedding are you using in your brooder? Could the chick have ingested some of this and it adherred to the inside wall of the crop. While the chick is empty you can feel the crop from the throat to the base to feel it it is free of any foreign objects.

Also do you know how to crop feed? This may be an alternative to getting the food into the base of the crop with hopes of the chick holding it down.

Also, another thought...in rare instances I have had tiel babies act like this. Sometimes I would have a baby that could not tolerate a certain brand of formula, though clutchmates did well on it. You might want to try a different brand of formula.
I suppose he might not tolerate the feeding although he has been on it for weeks. He does appear to be a bit dehydrated now. I lucked out as he pooped on me when I took him out so will attach the pic. Also he does not appear to have anything lodged they are in carefresh bedding, dye free odorless. I do not know how to crop feed.
 

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srtiels

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EXCELLENT POOP PIX :) Is that also part of it below your finger? If so that look slightly moucousy and could be an inflamation in the digestive tract, such as an imbalance of intestinal flora to a irratant like a protozoa. What type of water are you using? if city water sometimes it can be a source of protozoa and minute amounts of contaiminants. If the water is suspect use bottled (not distilled), and most water companies can test the water no charge if asked.

As to the dehydration you can use Pedialyte as the fluid to mix up your formula. This will help with hydration. careferesh is going to absorb moisture, so you might want to take a salt shaker or something similar and fill it with water and place in the brooder to increase humidity. Skin also can absorb some moisture, so blotting the toes with a water soaked cottonball several times a day may help to.

Do you have a breeder friend that does know how to crop/tube feed? If so they could try to see if the little one can hold down the food.
 

NikkiLS

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yes that is part of it on the towel. I have a bit of water in the brooder to maintain the humidity. I use the sink water so will use bottled now. Do you think I should still see if the vet thinks he needs medicine? If so what should I tell them I suspect exactly. Unfortunately I do not have anyone locally to crop feed. I know what he does get in him he is keeping down it is just a matter of getting it in him.
 

Prince Toasty Buns

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Great questions Susanne, I was about to also ask some of the same ones.

Nikki, I personally have had problems in the past with the Exact formula (not saying that is the cause of your bird's problems). The problems I had may not even have been the fault of Kaytee, maybe it was stored improperly at the place I bought it or may the vendor poked a hole into the bag accidentally (?) or etc. (?) ... Three times I had problems while using that product (whether I was right or wrong about the formula being the cause - couple times the odor of the formula was off IMO). So, I asked around and read different sites and heard other people had some problems also with the Exact formula. I was advised to try the Zupreme Ensure formula which I have been using ever since (about 2 yrs. now). So far, no problems. So, you might want to freeze the Exact you have and asap try the Zupreme?

My gut feeling is that you currently have a low grade yeast/fungal problem or possibly bacterial. if this next feeding does not go well (crop does not empty in timely fashion), then I think the vet visit is your best option to diagnose properly & fully. If it is a yeast infection and it gets between the crop linings, then you have a major problem which may not be able to be corrected = the loss of your lil one. Hopefully this is not the case but time is of the essence to find out what you are dealing with. I wish you could get in there asap/today if possible, maybe last appt. of the day (?). The germs multiply very quickly and need to be stopped before too late. You may even have to leave the bird at the avian vet office for them to crop-feed/medicate around the clock - hopefiully they employ a well experienced tech that comes in during the wee hrs. of the morning to check patients and handfeed/medicate when necessary.
 

srtiels

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OK...from your pix I'd be suspect of an imbalance in intestinal flora. I would add some yogurt to his formula, every other feeding. If you mix the formula for all the babies at the same time this is fine for them to. When I see questionable poops with my babies I will add a pinch of garlic powder to each feeding. This will help too.

Since there is some dehydration present use an electrolyte (pedialyte) to mix the formula with. Do NOT mix in any applesauce or ACV. It contains pectins. Pectins are great to stimulate peristalic contractions in the GI tract to move food along, but they also draw fluids, which makes for a wetter poop. When a dehydrations is present these items need to be avoided.

If you go to a vet what I would ask for is for them to do a gram stain: Gram Stains - Just Cockatiels!

You could also ask him/her to show you how to crop feed, and sell you the tip/tool if needed.

While there ask the vet to access hydration. The vet can give the baby some Sub-Q fluids for hydration.
 
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Prince Toasty Buns

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Alright well crop is empty and never completely full because can't get the full feeding. They are in a temperature controlled brooder made by Tweety Bird Aviary if you search their website there are pictures. They are currently eating the Exact handfeeding formula. I just tried feeding him by spoon to help him regulate it a bit more on his own. As soon as he got a bit in his mouth he started having trouble shaking his head and making a little almost pip sound. Once he settles down he reverts to typical behavior but clearly something is wrong and since he is not eating enough he is loosing weight. They have been eating just recently 8am,12pm,4pm,8pm,&12am although the 12am feeding is being dropped. I would just like to get a direction to point the vet in before I go. I do not have any pics of droppings, they are about 4 weeks old, there are some pictures in the photo forum of them. We are in NH.
Nicole, I would not be dropping the 12am feeding. The birds should not be going 12 hrs. without a feeding. If the crop is being filled to the proper amt. for their age and species, it is better to then spread the feedings apart than to drop off the all important last feeding of the night. Usually that is the very last feeding dropped, not the first or near first. If this is an avian vet you are going to (hopefully it is, sorry if I missed that point), he/she should not need to be pointed in the right direction, he should know exactly what to do and where to start etc. ...
 

Prince Toasty Buns

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yes that is part of it on the towel. I have a bit of water in the brooder to maintain the humidity. I use the sink water so will use bottled now. Do you think I should still see if the vet thinks he needs medicine? If so what should I tell them I suspect exactly. Unfortunately I do not have anyone locally to crop feed. I know what he does get in him he is keeping down it is just a matter of getting it in him.
As Susanne said, it may be that you need to find someone who is well experienced at crop feeding and crop medicating. Leaving him at the vet's office to do this may be a possible option, if the vet does not "take you to the cleaners" to do so. If that is not an option, then maybe you can stop by a local birdie type petshop (if you have one in your area). There might be an employee or manager or owner there who may be willing to help. The pet shop people should have phone numbers of local breeders. Or ask the vet for a phone # of a local breeder, the vet also should know who the local breeders are - whether or not he/she is compassionate enough to give you that number remains to be seen. If not, I would find another vet who cares more about a bird than about stuffing his/her own wallet/purse. JMO.
 

srtiels

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Sorry for all the thoughts and questions. part of that is to have you look and think of anything we are not asking.

OK from what I am understanding is your little one does empty, but just does not have the crop capacity, and having difficulty swallowing,etc.

You had mentioned Carefresh in your brooder. How active are your babies? Many times walking and nibbling, but not ingesting, helps to break down the Carefresh and tiny fibers can be inhaled. This could be a cause of concern such as a source for a fungal infection or these fibers impacting in the sinuses or building up in the thraot as the baby breathes... Just some thoughts for a rule out for some possible causes for what you are seeing.
 
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