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Urgent Help! 4 week lovebird not taking handfeed formula

lovebird33

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Hi,

I am trying to hand-feed a 4 week old baby which does not even open the mouth after a bit of formula, afterwards whatever I put in her mouth she just throws it off. I am required to for feed her but I am unable to fill the crop for last 24 hours. You can see the bird in the pictures I posted. Also I noticed that the baby's poop has no faeces. What can be the reason for this? Is it sick?

Also when it sleeps at night for last couple of days it spreads legs, and the head drops down, all my lovebird chicks sat down on the brooder when they slept before. Why is this baby sleeping with a drooping head? Any help from expert breeders will be appreciated.

*I have handfed lovebird previously and I know the correct temperature and handfeed mixture, there are other babies too and they are all fine so there should be no problem with hand feeding formula or temperature of brooder.

In the pictures you will see that the bird has made a mess, I took the pictures after feeding her and as I told her I need to force feed as she will not accept food for last 24 hours.
 

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Mockinbirdiva

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Hi,

I am trying to hand-feed a 4 week old baby which does not even open the mouth after a bit of formula, afterwards whatever I put in her mouth she just throws it off. I am required to for feed her but I am unable to fill the crop for last 24 hours. You can see the bird in the pictures I posted. Also I noticed that the baby's poop has no faeces. What can be the reason for this? Is it sick?

Also when it sleeps at night for last couple of days it spreads legs, and the head drops down, all my lovebird chicks sat down on the brooder when they slept before. Why is this baby sleeping with a drooping head? Any help from expert breeders will be appreciated.

*I have handfed lovebird previously and I know the correct temperature and handfeed mixture, there are other babies too and they are all fine so there should be no problem with hand feeding formula or temperature of brooder.

In the pictures you will see that the bird has made a mess, I took the pictures after feeding her and as I told her I need to force feed as she will not accept food for last 24 hours.
I'm a little confused by your post but understand you need to feed the baby. Have you had this baby for one or two days? It's common for a baby -especially with it's eyes open as your is - to refuse feedings when it doesn't recognize you as the food source. It can take 2-3 days before it adjusts to a new environment and a new person feeding. I don't think you should force feed and I'm not exactly sure what you mean by that... can you elaborate on what you mean by force feeding? If the baby hasn't eaten for 1 or 2 days there wouldn't be any feces because it hasn't had any food to digest. So... what temperature are you feeding at? Using a thermometer so you know what the temp is?
Try feeding this one with very dimmed lighting but not so much you can't see what you are doing. That often helps when they not used to a new face.

When you say there are other babies are they siblings to this bird but just this one isn't eating? I have no explanation for this one sleeping like it does, maybe stress, lack of nourishment, I have seen love bird babies sleep on their back similar in age to yours.
 

lovebird33

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Yes I had this baby for less than 2 days. I took it out of the nest box. It is around 4+ weeks old. There are three smaller babies who are 3+ weeks old and they are more acceptable towards the hand-feeding formula. But this eldest one is refusing it.

By force feeding I am trying to put the food into its mouth and it is trying to keep the mouth closed. Other babies open their mouth and accept the syringe :(

I am feeding at around 100-102 degree F

Thank you, last night I tried feeding them in dimmed light as you mentioned and it took some food in. Before I used to light up the room very much so that they can see properly, but when I tried in dimmed light they readily accepted food. Although the larger baby did not eat a lot but it was more than before. I also see she is biting on the nesting materials and paper towel I placed in the brooder, does that mean it is still hungry :|

Yes they are all siblings but this one is oldest around 4+ weeks the others are 3+ weeks.

Please provide any suggestions you have based on the answers to your questions. Your suggestion of using dimmed light was useful but still the baby does not eat as much as others
 

Zara

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By force feeding I am trying to put the food into its mouth and it is trying to keep the mouth closed
Please don't do that.


am feeding at around 100-102 degree F
105 is feeding temperature. Even Nutribird and Hagen don't recommend below 102.5

If you are unable to feed the chick, allow the parents to. Let them out in the same room and they will fly over and feed the chick.

Alternatively, if you have the temp etc correct and this chick refuses food, you will need to gavage feed - not recommended for inexperienced people.

Also, try to clean up the baby right after food or the formula will solidify on their feathers and be uncomfortable and house bacteria.
 

Mockinbirdiva

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As Zara said.... do not force the older chick to take any formula. You did as I suggested and dimmed the lights and you at least got the baby to take a little formula. You can very easily damage the beak on that baby. I think if you had a little more patience you'll find this baby will be more willing to take some formula if you keep them in a group when you feed. Feed the smaller babies first and this one will hopefully have a better feeding response when it sees you are the food source just as the smaller babies do. If this one is not willing to take the formula then put it back with the parents or do as Zara suggested and allow the parents out to fly over to feed it.

Your babies are at great risk of developing a serious bacterial or fungal problem in their crops because you are feeding at a low temperature... another reason the one chick is refusing formula because it's too cool.

I'd like to see your brooder, tell us what temperature your brooder is. What are you using to test the temperature of the formula?
 

lovebird33

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Hi, thank you all for your valuable suggestion.

Today, I followed what you mentioned. Kept the babies together instead of taking them out one by one from brooder and handfeeding. Also ensured dimmed light like before.

The smaller babies readily took in the food as before. To my utter surprise the elder one also opened its mouth almost immediately (last day it was adamant not to open mouth when I presented handfeeding formula) when I took the syringe close, and I could feed her. I was relieved when she accepted food so readily, I did not even have to touch her.

The beautiful thing was once I was feeding the elder one the younger ones were jumping on the syringe asking to be fed.

One thing I notice is that the elder one does not seem as excited to handfeeding as the younger ones do. Only when I take the syringe near it then the birds opens mouth, and after like 6-7 cc of food it stops eating but the younger ones keep opening their mouth as long as I present them with food. The positive thing is it is now eating without any kind. of forcing which is a relief. Yes, the dimmed light and serving food to the other siblings first seems to have an effect.

Regarding cleaning, please suggest what I should do, they make such a huge mess every time. I clean their brooder and use new paper towels and bedding everyday. Also I try to wipe their neck and beak because food spreads when eating. But the handfeeding formula gets sticky and hardens very soon on the chest feathers. I am worried if I try to wipe them very hard they may get hurt. The elder one seems very scared of me and when I try to wipe he gets more scared. I am worried that scaring the bird by wiping will make him ignore hand feeding once more.

My thermometer broke today, so I am unable to measure temperature of food, I will get new one tomorrow.

The brooder temperature stays around 76-80 degrees F. Any suggestions?

The only thing that worries me is that the elder bird is not very much chirpy and a bit lethargic, may it did not eat properly last day thats why, but best thing is it atleast readily accepted food today. It happened all three times I fed them today. Btw before she took handfeeding, I opened the parents. cage, surprisingly the male came near the chick and instead of feeding, started biting the head. So I was forced to take the male parent away.

Thanks Mockinbirdiva and Zara. Please see more pictures of the other birds in the clutch here. Btw can you tell me their mutations? Thanks in advance
 

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Mockinbirdiva

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Hi, thank you all for your valuable suggestion.

Today, I followed what you mentioned. Kept the babies together instead of taking them out one by one from brooder and handfeeding. Also ensured dimmed light like before.

The smaller babies readily took in the food as before. To my utter surprise the elder one also opened its mouth almost immediately (last day it was adamant not to open mouth when I presented handfeeding formula) when I took the syringe close, and I could feed her. I was relieved when she accepted food so readily, I did not even have to touch her.

The beautiful thing was once I was feeding the elder one the younger ones were jumping on the syringe asking to be fed.

One thing I notice is that the elder one does not seem as excited to handfeeding as the younger ones do. Only when I take the syringe near it then the birds opens mouth, and after like 6-7 cc of food it stops eating but the younger ones keep opening their mouth as long as I present them with food. The positive thing is it is now eating without any kind. of forcing which is a relief. Yes, the dimmed light and serving food to the other siblings first seems to have an effect.

Regarding cleaning, please suggest what I should do, they make such a huge mess every time. I clean their brooder and use new paper towels and bedding everyday. Also I try to wipe their neck and beak because food spreads when eating. But the handfeeding formula gets sticky and hardens very soon on the chest feathers. I am worried if I try to wipe them very hard they may get hurt. The elder one seems very scared of me and when I try to wipe he gets more scared. I am worried that scaring the bird by wiping will make him ignore hand feeding once more.

My thermometer broke today, so I am unable to measure temperature of food, I will get new one tomorrow.

The brooder temperature stays around 76-80 degrees F. Any suggestions?

The only thing that worries me is that the elder bird is not very much chirpy and a bit lethargic, may it did not eat properly last day thats why, but best thing is it atleast readily accepted food today. It happened all three times I fed them today. Btw before she took handfeeding, I opened the parents. cage, surprisingly the male came near the chick and instead of feeding, started biting the head. So I was forced to take the male parent away.

Thanks Mockinbirdiva and Zara. Please see more pictures of the other birds in the clutch here. Btw can you tell me their mutations? Thanks in advance
It's the ol' Monkey see.. monkey do trick. Actually, when babies are all in the nest and the parents arrive with food it elicits a feeding response with all of the chicks. If this was the first day this baby actually gave you a feeding response and took the 6-7 cc's then the following feedings should be more receptive now that it knows you are the food source. You should have a hand full of damp paper towels ready and wipe each chick as they finish eating. Improving your feeding technique should eliminate dripping the formula all over the chicks. It sounds to me when you say you take the syringe near the beak they open their beaks to eat. Do you support the head of the chick at all while they feed? It will keep the syringe from popping out of the beak and creating a mess. Make sure you use a thermometer.... if you feed them under 100 degrees Fahrenheit ( 38 Celsius) you will run into problems with their crops slowing and not digesting the formula.

After the chicks eat they normally sleep and aren't that active. If the older chick didn't eat well the past two days it could have something to do with a lack of energy. I don't know anything about mutations.

Brooder temp -
..
Temperature.
AgeTemperature °CTemperature °F
Hatch to Day 2-335.0-36.596-98
Day 3 to Day 14-2131.1-34.088-94
3 weeks to Weaning25.0-30.076-86
 

lovebird33

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Thanks I got a thermometer today.

Is it a good idea to mix acv in their handfeeding formula? I heard it can kill bacteria and fungus
 
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lovebird33

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Also I noticed that by the time I am about to feed the last chick. The temperature of handfeeding formula drops a lot. I put it in the oven to raise temperature. Is that alright. What strategy do you use to reheat the formula?
 

Mockinbirdiva

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Thanks I got a thermometer today.

Is it a good idea to mix acv in their handfeeding formula? I heard it can kill bacteria and fungus
I never added ACV to my formula when I hand fed. As long as you are mixing your formula according to the directions and feeding at the correct temperature there should be no need to add the ACV.

If you have a bowl larger than the cup you mix your formula in ... you can fill the bowl half way with hot water.. the same temperature of your formula and place the cup of formula in the center of the bowl. It should keep the formula temperature steady until you finish feeding the last chick. Scroll down this page and watch the video to see an example of how this person uses this technique to keep the formula warm.

 

lovebird33

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Thanks Mockinbirdiva, I am using the secondary bowl to keep the food warm. Today I noticed that the elder bird was trying to bite on the paper towels used as bedding for brooder. I proceeded to provide a small feeding bowl with some pellets and millet spray. The bird was biting on millet spray but I am not sure whether it was able to eat from it since it is solid food. Regarding pellets, the bird climbed onto the bowl, and started scratching the pellets, spreading them all around the brooder :(. I think it is a sign that the bird does not like pellets and I am thinking of giving seeds like millets, sunflower, oats, flex seeds, rice, wheat, etc
 
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Zara

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The bird was biting on millet spray but I am not sure whether it was able to eat from it since it is solid food. Regarding pellets, the bird climbed onto the bowl, and started scratching the pellets, spreading them all around the brooder :(. I think it is a sign that the bird does not like pellets and I am thinking of giving seeds like millets, sunflower, oats, flex seeds, rice, wheat, etc
Your bird is still only a baby learning what food is. Don´t stop giving them something because you think they don´t like it. For the next few months, keep offering these things. For now, right after formula feeding is when the chick will be more willing to try new foods.
Be sure to offer pellets, millet and some fresh veggies and cooked or soaked grains.
Try to avoid sunflower seeds, those are treats and your bird is a little on the young side to manage to get the hull off right now.
 

lovebird33

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Special thanks to Mockinbirdiva and Zara for your help. All the babies are fine now. The oldest one flew to me today. I have moved them from brooder to a cage since they are all now over 5 weeks of age and I feel a cage which is larger than my brooder will be helpful for them. Here are some latest pictures
 

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Mockinbirdiva

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Special thanks to Mockinbirdiva and Zara for your help. All the babies are fine now. The oldest one flew to me today. I have moved them from brooder to a cage since they are all now over 5 weeks of age and I feel a cage which is larger than my brooder will be helpful for them. Here are some latest pictures
They are all gorgeous babies.... Love the one in the front, such pretty colors. Keep up with the formula until they all refuse to take any more. You might consider placing a couple of perches at the lowest point near the bottom for them to practice climbing on.
 
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