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Cockatiel chick not eating

Const.Bird

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I recently got a new baby cockatiel from a breeder. The bird is about 2 months old and has most of its feathers grown in. The breeder handed me the bird formula he used and gave instructions on how to prepare it but every time I try to feed the bird, it's always very stubborn.
I'd slowly cup my hands around its body and put my thumb under its head to hold it still. Then I'd try to insert the syringe in but it never opens its mouth and it takes a long time for me to pry it open without applying too much force. After a while, it also begins to squirm around in my hand so I'd give it a small break where it fluffs up and closes one eye.

For the past couple of times I tried, I've only managed to get around 2 milliliters of the formula down in almost an hour. It won't eat from a small dish with the formula in it either and seems more interested in birdseed. The breeder said the bird was still being weaned and it can't quite crack open the shell of the seeds except millet where the inside falls out.
Is there anything I happen to be doing wrong? I'm a bit concerned as many of the previous birds I've handfed were far more eager and ate more.
 

sunnysmom

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I don't have baby bird experience but will tag some people. If he doesn't eat soon I would consider taking him back to the breeder and asking him to fully wean him. (I personally don't think it's right to sell unweaned babies.) Also, this is a good resource on baby tiels: www.ask-noodles.com

@Zara @Mizzely @Ripshod
 

Ripshod

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My first suggestion would be to see if they'll take the formula from a spoon, or even a small dish - it's a lot easier for both of you. You could also offer some mashed pellets, see if they're acceptable.
Millet will be okay for a while (better than nothing). Would also be worth trying sprouts as a stepping stone to seeds. There's a great guide to sprouting stickied in the budgie forum.
 

Gigibirds

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I don't have any experience with baby cockatiels, but I have tons of experience with hand-raising baby lovebirds from as young as 5ish days old. So, I'll just say that if he is interested in the bird seed, offer some to him!! There is a point where the birds will start flat-out refusing formula, or even spitting out bits that you gave them. They only want solid food! Later, they usually go back to wanting some formula, but he is near weaning time now. Who knows, maybe he will be able to crack some more seeds! But if he can't, and he still refuses formula, then offer some to him on a spoon like @Ripshod said, or maybe some mashed up pellets. Good luck!
 

Zara

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I recently got a new baby cockatiel from a breeder.
When? Hours ago, days ago or weeks ago? If you got the bird yesterday or today, then try not to panic, it´s common they won´t be responsive to a new person feeding them. Dimming the lights, and feeding inside the brooder can be helpful in those situations.
I´m not thinking weeks because you would have had to go to the vet by now.

never opens its mouth and it takes a long time for me to pry it open
Any type of prying open is too much force. By forcing the beak open, even gently, can damage their beak or knock the alignment off, and aside from that, forcing the bird to eat is not going to give them the security they notmally have during the feeding experience, they could start to resent being fed or even become afraid of you.
Given he´s not very receptive to opening the beak, don´t syringe feed. Spoon feed like Linden said above.

I'd slowly cup my hands around its body
Maybe this bird doesn´t like that. Maybe they would prefer you be a little less handsy. Definitely give the spoon feeding a go. See how you get on. If they won´t take it, try dimming the lights, feeding in the brooder.

Be sure the temp is correct.

Ultimately, be sure to weigh your bird daily and monitor closely. If you notice a large drop in weight, you need to gavage feed, and if you have no experience doing that, you will need your vet to do it, or the seller might be able to do it.
 

Const.Bird

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When? Hours ago, days ago or weeks ago? If you got the bird yesterday or today, then try not to panic, it´s common they won´t be responsive to a new person feeding them. Dimming the lights, and feeding inside the brooder can be helpful in those situations.
I´m not thinking weeks because you would have had to go to the vet by now.


Any type of prying open is too much force. By forcing the beak open, even gently, can damage their beak or knock the alignment off, and aside from that, forcing the bird to eat is not going to give them the security they notmally have during the feeding experience, they could start to resent being fed or even become afraid of you.
Given he´s not very receptive to opening the beak, don´t syringe feed. Spoon feed like Linden said above.


Maybe this bird doesn´t like that. Maybe they would prefer you be a little less handsy. Definitely give the spoon feeding a go. See how you get on. If they won´t take it, try dimming the lights, feeding in the brooder.

Be sure the temp is correct.

Ultimately, be sure to weigh your bird daily and monitor closely. If you notice a large drop in weight, you need to gavage feed, and if you have no experience doing that, you will need your vet to do it, or the seller might be able to do it.
I got the bird around 2 days ago. It's become slightly more responsive but still doesn't seem very interested in the formula.

I tried spoon feeding already and putting it in a dish to let the bird eat from but it's much less efficient and it completely ignores it. I don't necessarily "pry" the beak open but it's more so gently poking the beak with the syringe until it opens.

If I don't use my hands, the bird becomes completely unresponsive to the syringe because it is free to just walk away. I tried to loosen my hand a little to give it a bit more space but it doesn't seem to do much. The temperature and consistency is correct and I use a thermometer to make sure. I think I'll try going for another day or so to see how it goes.
 

Const.Bird

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I don't have any experience with baby cockatiels, but I have tons of experience with hand-raising baby lovebirds from as young as 5ish days old. So, I'll just say that if he is interested in the bird seed, offer some to him!! There is a point where the birds will start flat-out refusing formula, or even spitting out bits that you gave them. They only want solid food! Later, they usually go back to wanting some formula, but he is near weaning time now. Who knows, maybe he will be able to crack some more seeds! But if he can't, and he still refuses formula, then offer some to him on a spoon like @Ripshod said, or maybe some mashed up pellets. Good luck!
I'll see if I can encourage it to eat more seeds. I put some in the cage already but it seems prefer eating straight from someone's hand instead. I'm not home for most of the day so I'll get some family members to help out. Thanks for the advice!
 
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