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Urgent Owner surrendered brand new babies. Not eating

Newtielmom

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My local family run pet store had someone surrender a pair of cockatiels, one 7 wk baby( that was kept in the bottom of the parents cage, one 1 day and 2 eggs in a nest box.
I have experience at a vet clinic and wildlife rehabilitation center so I knew it was not a good situation but I have never raised them from 1 day old. The pet store was not familiar with raising baby birds.
They are at my home now. Overnight a second egg hatched and the parents seem to be ok and taking care of the new babies. The 7wk old baby is not looking good though. I do not believe the parents are caring for it or feeding it. It is very quiet, pale puffed up and sitting on the bottom of the cage. I removed it from the parents cage this morning, put it in a box with chips and a heating pad on low on the sides of the covered and vented box. There’s a pellet and seed mixture, carrots/lettuce/millet and water but he is not wanting any of it. I tried formula but he has no interest and did not take much. I was afraid of aspiration.
Please let me know your suggestions. I’m worried about them. Thank you
 

Zara

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Hello Lisa,

For the 7 week old, gavage feed the formula. Either tube or crop needle. If you don't know how, take them to the vet and get them to show you. Given his age, he is extremely unlikely to be weaned.

As for the one day old, it is very much the same as any other chick but obviously on a much smaller scale. They will wiggle more, so use your thumb to gently keep the head in place. Beaks are soft at this age so be mindful not to put any pressure on it. You could get someone to help hold the chick and you feed if that is easier.

Very important, the formula is thinner for day old/days old chicks, and the consistency will change daily. So pay very close attention to the package instructions. Yes, you will probably waste a load of formula because making tiny amounts is not an option as it cools too quick, but better waste a small amount of formula than to feed cold food.
Oh, sorry I just re- read after typing, the parents are feeding the newer chicks?
 

Pixiebeak

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Newtielmom

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This was most helpful to me .

Thank you so much!
 

Newtielmom

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Hello Lisa,

For the 7 week old, gavage feed the formula. Either tube or crop needle. If you don't know how, take them to the vet and get them to show you. Given his age, he is extremely unlikely to be weaned.

As for the one day old, it is very much the same as any other chick but obviously on a much smaller scale. They will wiggle more, so use your thumb to gently keep the head in place. Beaks are soft at this age so be mindful not to put any pressure on it. You could get someone to help hold the chick and you feed if that is easier.

Very important, the formula is thinner for day old/days old chicks, and the consistency will change daily. So pay very close attention to the package instructions. Yes, you will probably waste a load of formula because making tiny amounts is not an option as it cools too quick, but better waste a small amount of formula than to feed cold food.
Oh, sorry I just re- read after typing, the parents are feeding the newer chicks?
Thank you so much! Do you have an estimate of how much formula he should have and how often? He still has not eaten anything on his own.
 

Pixiebeak

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They have to asorb egg sac before eating. In first link , first table , talks about egg sac/yolk
But this really isn't my thing. Listen to Zara , she knows her stuff.
 

Newtielmom

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Hello Lisa,

For the 7 week old, gavage feed the formula. Either tube or crop needle. If you don't know how, take them to the vet and get them to show you. Given his age, he is extremely unlikely to be weaned.

As for the one day old, it is very much the same as any other chick but obviously on a much smaller scale. They will wiggle more, so use your thumb to gently keep the head in place. Beaks are soft at this age so be mindful not to put any pressure on it. You could get someone to help hold the chick and you feed if that is easier.

Very important, the formula is thinner for day old/days old chicks, and the consistency will change daily. So pay very close attention to the package instructions. Yes, you will probably waste a load of formula because making tiny amounts is not an option as it cools too quick, but better waste a small amount of formula than to feed cold food.
Oh, sorry I just re- read after typing, the parents are feeding the newer chicks?
Thank you so much! Yes the parents seem to be taking care of the 2 new babies. There is a 3rd egg not hatched yet. The previous owner had towels in the nest box. I want to switch out to chips but I’m afraid to mess with it with the other egg not hatched and the parents stressed from being moved I’m sure.
the 7 week baby also has splayed feet and can’t perch. I fed him formula 3 times today. His coloring looks better but still lethargic and not eagerly wanting to eat.
Thank you all so much for your help. I really appreciate it.
 

Zara

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I want to switch out to chips but I’m afraid to mess with it with the other egg not hatched and the parents stressed from being moved I’m sure.
You could wait 'til the chick is out of the shell, then do the swap. It must be ready to hatch any time now.

I fed him formula 3 times today
Fantastic!

His coloring looks better but still lethargic and not eagerly wanting to eat
Could be because he didn't eat in that time, dehydration, or from stress.
Infection could be possible (from prev. housing conditions), to fix it would mean taking him to the vet. You will have to keep him warm during the journey.
Don't wait too long, if he doesn't improve soon, tke him to get checked.

Do your best to tape the legs, see if you can get a fix on those legs now before he grows. This link has some suggestions and demos;
 

Newtielmom

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You could wait 'til the chick is out of the shell, then do the swap. It must be ready to hatch any time now.


Fantastic!


Could be because he didn't eat in that time, dehydration, or from stress.
Infection could be possible (from prev. housing conditions), to fix it would mean taking him to the vet. You will have to keep him warm during the journey.
Don't wait too long, if he doesn't improve soon, tke him to get checked.

Do your best to tape the legs, see if you can get a fix on those legs now before he grows. This link has some suggestions and demos;
The 7 week baby was ok this morning. Still not much energy and not wanting to eat. I was able to feed him formula though so hoping he feels better after that. I will try to increase his feedings to 4 times today and hope that helps. Still not sure how much or often to feed him since he’s not eating on his own.
I looked up the splayed information. Thank you so much. I feel like it has to do more with lack of grip or strength? His little toes just don’t seem to grip together to perch on a stick or finger.
I do plan to call the vet today. Hopefully my vet sees birds.
 

Zara

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Still not sure how much or often to feed him since he’s not eating on his own.
Let his crop guide you.
First thing in the morning, weigh him. Then feed 10% of his body weigh every feed, for eg 60g bird = 6CC per feed, Or a 68g bird would be 6.8CC per feed. You can go up to 15% if the bird wants more food, but best to always underfeed slightly than over feed.
Then monitor the crop, when it is almost empty and just has a little bit of food left in, feed again. The crop should only be completely empty one time per day, in the night time so they wake with an empty crop, contents fully digested ready for you to get an accurate weight.
Jotting stuff down can help keep you on track. Doing this for a day will give you a rough guide of how many feeds and roughly when.
 

Zara

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I do plan to call the vet today
That is the best thing to do. Foot problems can sometimes be resolved while they are young, but not always. It depends what the problem is.
 

Newtielmom

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Let his crop guide you.
First thing in the morning, weigh him. Then feed 10% of his body weigh every feed, for eg 60g bird = 6CC per feed, Or a 68g bird would be 6.8CC per feed. You can go up to 15% if the bird wants more food, but best to always underfeed slightly than over feed.
Then monitor the crop, when it is almost empty and just has a little bit of food left in, feed again. The crop should only be completely empty one time per day, in the night time so they wake with an empty crop, contents fully digested ready for you to get an accurate weight.
Jotting stuff down can help keep you on track. Doing this for a day will give you a rough guide of how many feeds and roughly when.
I will do that and start a log also. This is definitely a crash course in being a bird momma. I had no idea how challenging it is. You are all amazing. Thank you!
 

Zara

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The log will be so helpful. It gets confusing very quickly because it is all similar, or easy to forget something.
 

Newtielmom

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A hopeful update!
The parents were out of the nest box so I was able to check on the new tiny babies and give them fresh chips instead of the nasty towel they came with. Their crops were full so that’s a good sign. Still one unhatched egg.
7 week old Baby perked up after this mornings feeding and I saw him pick at millet and clean his feathers a little! His breathing still seems hard/labored, still puffy feathers and staying on bottom of cage- mainly because of his feet I’m guessing.
With his increased activity do you think it’s ok to put him in his own regular wire cage with a soft layer of chips on the bottom and a heating pad behind the back of the cage or do you think it’s better to keep him in the cardboard box with chips on the bottom, heating pad inside on the sides, a lid and vent holes? Or something else? Not sure how much heat he should have. He really did seem to like his wire cage better and that’s where he ate but I’m worried it might be too cold.
still plan to talk with the vet about his breathing and eating and it seems like his nose holes might be a little blocked.
 

Zara

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Keep the 7 week old as he is for now, with the warmth and comfort of wood chips under him. Especially until you get him to see the vet about the feet. They might tape them, so being in the box could be safer than a cage.

Glad you got the nest cleaned up. Bacteria infections can kill chicks.

Still one unhatched egg.
I remember someone taking in a some birds with eggs (very similar to your story), and some eggs hatched, but then there was one or two eggs and time went by and they didn't hatch, I thought they never would, and one day they did hatch. So was an egg from a different clutch, or even different bird. Not sure if those could be possibilities here, but just wanted to share that. Keep the egg for a while :) I'll go find her thread incase it's of any use...
 

Zara

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Here's the thread, it was more eggs than I remembered (it was a few yers ago now),
And it continues here where one of the eggs hatch,

Just sharing in case there's any useful info in there you can apply.
 

Newtielmom

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Thank you so much for all your help. Unfortunately I lost the 7 week old baby today. I’m beyond heartbroken. I was trying to feed him formula and the syringe got stuck and nothing was coming out, I pushed too hard and all of a sudden too much came out into his mouth. He passed instantly. I feel so horrible. It happened so fast there wasn’t anything I could do. I had been struggling with these cheap syringes the pet store had and should have known but just didn’t know what else to get.
Now I’m afraid to even try to hand feed the other babies. My kids cried for hours today. I feel horrible.
 

Zara

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I am very sorry for your loss. That's awful.

I had been struggling with these cheap syringes the pet store had and should have known but just didn’t know what else to get.
UGh, I'm very sorry I did not know that.
Buy syringes from the chemist/pharmacy. If a needle comes with it, ask them to remove and discard it - you only need the palstic parts.
I like 2CC syringes for younger lovies, better control. And a 5CC for those that are larger and eating over 5CC food. You can get 1CC for the really young ones, I used those with my 5 day old.
Pet store syringes are usually crap and overpriced.

Now I’m afraid
Don't be afraid. Go buy better syringes and then do it with confidence.
 
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