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New to Lovebirds + baby birds... Help!

Rainbowings

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Hi there! I am relatively new to birds in general. My mom did have a family parrot when I was a kid & I had 2 parakeets- but being a kid my mom did most of the work! Last year I got a pair of lovebirds. Not gonna lie- it was a knee jerk kinda thing & that was irresponsible. The parents were obviously not handled as chicks because they will not let me touch them at all. Anyway, not knowing much about lovebirds, I just assumed the box was where they slept. Very naive of me but I honestly didn't think about it beyond that. Well, here recently I found eggs & then of course hatched babies. They had 5 but one passed away. They all hatched at different times but I have a few questions please:

1. URGENT!!!! My littlest baby doesn't want to eat! I have tried formula & I don't think the parents are feeding it as much. The size difference between Pumpkin & the biggest Moose is quite profound! How do I get Pumpkin to take the formula?! It's crop looked mostly empty yesterday. I don't wanna lose little Pumpkin
2. When can I remove the nest/box? What can I put in the cage instead so they can sleep comfortably? I DO NOT want more breeding going on!
3. Can I keep them together as a flock? Otherwise where is the best place to find them good, forever homes? I am already attached & love them but not sure what to do.
4. My adult male (the daddy) Sunny, has started to pluck out his chest feathers. Why would he be doing that & how can I get him quit?

Sorry for so many questions! Thanks so, so much for any help!
 

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Rainbowings

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Thanks for the tags & trying to help... Just replying back to say Pumpkin has since passed away.

After the loss of Pumpkin & Chirp, I now have 3 remaining chicks who all seem to be okay. Moose the biggest, Blue, & tiny Sprout. All have nice full crops & they seem alert & lively! Hoping they all stay strong
 

Monica

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1. URGENT!!!! My littlest baby doesn't want to eat! I have tried formula & I don't think the parents are feeding it as much. The size difference between Pumpkin & the biggest Moose is quite profound! How do I get Pumpkin to take the formula?! It's crop looked mostly empty yesterday. I don't wanna lose little Pumpkin
So sorry about the loss of Pumpkin. :( Unfortunately, this is part of raising birds, especially for first time parents. They don't always get things right and the youngest chicks do have to compete for food from the older and stronger ones.

I would recommend finding local breeders and avian vets where you could get a crash course on raising chicks or simply seeing if a breeder could take over for you.


2. When can I remove the nest/box? What can I put in the cage instead so they can sleep comfortably? I DO NOT want more breeding going on!
When the chicks leave the nest if the parents continue to raise them is when you can remove the box. However, the female may lay more eggs before all of the chicks leave the nest. If this happens, then freeze the eggs, bring back to room temp and put back in. You can also by dummy eggs to replace the real eggs.

A place to sleep? A perch. Nothing that they can hide in and be comfy. Just a perch.


3. Can I keep them together as a flock? Otherwise where is the best place to find them good, forever homes? I am already attached & love them but not sure what to do.
If the cage is big enough and they get along, then sure! However, the parents may attack the chicks which means that you need a separate cage for them. If you can't do that, well, you might try searching at local pet stores, vet offices and, if available, bird clubs. You can put ads up searching for a good home for the chicks.


4. My adult male (the daddy) Sunny, has started to pluck out his chest feathers. Why would he be doing that & how can I get him quit?
First and foremost is a vet check... after that, environmental. However, when I say vet check, I'm talking about a thorough CBC/blood panel, X-Rays, skin and feather samples, etc. It's not cheap. It's easily within the $300-$600 range, if not more. Always best to rule out medical causes first.
 

Rainbowings

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Thanks so much Monica! I really appreciate all the advice. I will see how they get along or if I'll need to find homes & I will definitely be looking into an avian vet for Sunny just to be safe.
 

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I'm sorry the babies passed. That first pic baby looked bad, rest in peace babies. @Monica has great advice. While your at vet , have a giardia test done for Dad, Hope the other babies thrive and grow!
 

Rainbowings

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Thanks so much! Everyone else is eating from mom Sky & what I am supplementing with formula. Sprout is still much littler than both Blue & Moose but has a wonderful appetite.
 

Zara

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This hit me hard because I am having almost the exact same experience.
My wild hen Aldora and my tame Jaime just had a second clutch (they had 2 chicks in August which I kept both).

On the 20 dec we had 2 babies hatch, another on the 21, another on 22 and a fifth chick on the 24th.
On december 26 the smallest chick was with an empty crop and so I dropped everything and went to buy bird formula, I came home and fed the baby. The next day I didn´t check on him first thing in the morning. I found him in the afternoon at the bottom of the pile of chicks, dead.
The same day I noticed the next youngest had an empty crop. I stepped in and fed him.
On the 27th the hen fed the youngest but she has since stopped and Ive been feeding him constantly. He´s significantly smaller than the other 3, who are doing very well. I check on him all the time, I don´t want him to fall to the bottom of the pile and be squashed.
He´s a fighter and I´m not giving up on him. I´ve handfed 4 of my birds so lucky I´m good with them and can get the baby to eat from the syringe.

Dad Jaime has been plucking. He started when the eggs appeared. He plucked and placed the feathers around the eggs. Recently I have noticed stress marks on his tail feathers, So in 2 weeks when the chicks can be moved, I will be putting the divider in the cage and separating mum and dad so that Jaime can relax and recover.

Regarding the box: after I ended up with the extra 2 lovebirds, Nube and Lapis, I didn´t give Aldora a box so she layed on the floor of the cage instead. So she will lay eggs regardless. So maybe a breeders cage so you can split them, or simply destroy the eggs as soon as they´re laid.

I have my 5 as a flock. Mum, dad, 2 chicks and Sydney non related. they all live in 3 cages, but roam my house together. Currently as Aldora has her new babies, she will attack her other 2 that are now adult.

I hope you´re 3 chicks are doing well :)
 

Monica

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@Zara - it's usually best to take the oldest chicks for hand feeding and leave the youngest ones so that the parents can spend more time feeding the youngest and it's less stress on you to feed any chicks pulled for hand feeding.
 

iamwhoiam

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Sorry for the loss of the babies. Hope the remaining ones will thrive and survive.
I didn't keep my babies with mom and dad but clutch siblings did share cages until there were issues and I had to start separating them.
You will have to be vigilant if you keep them and cage them together and if you see any signs of bullying or aggression you will need to separate them
 

Zara

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@Zara - it's usually best to take the oldest chicks for hand feeding and leave the youngest ones so that the parents can spend more time feeding the youngest and it's less stress on you to feed any chicks pulled for hand feeding.
Thanks, that's a good idea. It's 2.50am here, I fed the chick at 2am and I was talking to my partner about maybe we should take the 2 youngest and leave the mum with the 2 eldest. But now you have said that, maybe we should take the 2 eldest and leave the 2 youngest. I'm just worried about keeping them warm.... I don't have an incubator or anything.
If the youngest wasn't so small I wouldn't even be worried about him. Screenshot_20181231-025011.jpg
 

Monica

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If you don't have a way to keep the chicks warm, you can certainly do supplemental feedings to make sure all the chicks get enough to eat. You just have to be aware that younger chicks will naturally require less food because they are smaller. That is, only if the parents need the extra help.
 

iamwhoiam

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They are very cute. A bunch of little fluff balls. :)
 
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