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Parents favouring one chick

Zara

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Hi everyone, Happy new year,

So my lovebirds have a clutch born 20 dec(x2), 21 dec, 22 dec (24 dec but that one passed on the 27th).
Since 27 Dec I´ve been handfeeding the smallest chick in the clutch as it had an empty crop and always does when I check on them.
This morning none of the chicks had anything in their crops so I fed them all.
I´ve just checked on the chicks, the smallest had an empty crop, the 2 middle ones had something, but very little in their crops. The eldest has a crop that looks like it is going to explode.

Has this happened to anyone else? Is there anything I can do to make sure hey all get fed?

Also, my smallest just doesn´t seem to be growing, or at least, he´s not growing like the others. He´s so much smaller than the others, I´m scared he´ll fall under the other 3 and be squished.

The hen is wild, she´s very agressive. The dad is tame, he´s fine with me touching eggs/babies etc he liked to come over and help me with the last clutch after I took them from the nest. He still hangs out with his last 2 chicks, who are now grown, the hen attacks them.
 

Zara

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IMG_20190101_190437.jpg
Hard to see on the photo but the crop is almost as big as the chick
 
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Mockinbirdiva

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I've never had that happen though I raised green cheeks and crimson bellies. It's good you are checking your babies to make sure they are fed and that you are able to feed them successfully. It sounds like you will have to co-parent this clutch to increase their chances of survival. As they say, the squeaky wheel gets oiled, so the one chick must be more aggressive in the nest when the parents are feeding so the others get neglected. Without your intervention the others would probably be lost. Will you be pulling them from the nest for hand feeding when they reach a certain age or leaving them in the box? You might want to be prepared with a warm brooder in the event you have to do that if you don't already have one. Just keep an eye on the hen since she is so aggressive ( understandably ... she's protecting her babies) and hope she doesn't attack the chicks. What are you providing the parents in terms of food?
 

Zara

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This is a big concern too, I was worried that Aldora would reject and kill the smallest.

With the last clutch there was only 2 chicks hatched , the parents did great and at 23/24 days I took the nesting box away and handfed the chicks. When I took the chicks, Jaime got the blame and Aldora attacked him. So I bought a cage with a divider, and put the parents in there and put the divider with the bars and 2 perches close so they could be together but so that Jaime would be safe. Jaime is a very small lovebird. The parents would be let out of the cage daily and the babies would be on the sofa so they could all be together, also I would put the babies in with Jaime on his side and he would still feed them sometimes and snuggle with them in the corner near the hen all together (but divided).

My plan is to do something similar with these chicks, and so in about 12-14 days, remove the nesting box and immediately put the divider in to protect Jaime.

Maybe the smallest chick will grow to be a smaller lovebird like Jaime?... I just hope he´ll be ok :(

And the baby that looks like he has been overfed, I wonder if the parents know? I just don´t want anything bad to happen to him either, I´m hoping when I check on them in a little bit , that they haven´t fed him more.

Parents eat seed + pellet. They have a cuttlefish bone and a vitamin peck. I´ve been treating the parents millet for letting me go in the nest. I keep aldora away by giving her millet, then leave a 2inch cut of millet in the nest for her. The first day she banged on the divider to get to the nest, Now she stands and watched me and waits.
 

Zara

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IMG_20190101_223219.jpg IMG_20190101_223228.jpg When I checked back on the chicks, the eldest doesn't look as big phew! The other middle 2 chicks had been fed although again, the youngest hadn't.
There are 3 days between the youngest and eldest.
 

Mockinbirdiva

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This is a big concern too, I was worried that Aldora would reject and kill the smallest.

With the last clutch there was only 2 chicks hatched , the parents did great and at 23/24 days I took the nesting box away and handfed the chicks. When I took the chicks, Jaime got the blame and Aldora attacked him. So I bought a cage with a divider, and put the parents in there and put the divider with the bars and 2 perches close so they could be together but so that Jaime would be safe. Jaime is a very small lovebird. The parents would be let out of the cage daily and the babies would be on the sofa so they could all be together, also I would put the babies in with Jaime on his side and he would still feed them sometimes and snuggle with them in the corner near the hen all together (but divided).

My plan is to do something similar with these chicks, and so in about 12-14 days, remove the nesting box and immediately put the divider in to protect Jaime.

Maybe the smallest chick will grow to be a smaller lovebird like Jaime?... I just hope he´ll be ok :(

And the baby that looks like he has been overfed, I wonder if the parents know? I just don´t want anything bad to happen to him either, I´m hoping when I check on them in a little bit , that they haven´t fed him more.

Parents eat seed + pellet. They have a cuttlefish bone and a vitamin peck. I´ve been treating the parents millet for letting me go in the nest. I keep aldora away by giving her millet, then leave a 2inch cut of millet in the nest for her. The first day she banged on the divider to get to the nest, Now she stands and watched me and waits.
It's always a possibility since she is aggressive and especially that she has a nest she is naturally protecting even if it means to defending her chicks to the death of them. Constant nest box checks will make her nervous and irritable when you are either in the same room and especially as you approach the box and touch it. Your distraction giving her the millet is appropriate but even then she may go in the box afterwards and have erratic behavior towards the babies. It's just an unknown as to whether or not it will happen. Hopefully, by giving them the supplemental feedings it will place less stress on her with hungry babies begging for more food than she is capable of giving. Some hens just aren't cut out to be successful parents in later clutches. Lovebirds have such a drive to mate and reproduce it can be detrimental to their health. The physical strain of her body forming the eggs and then laying is a taxing event for her and then add the stress of hatching babies and feeding them. Some females are incredibly hard on their mates and can cause them a great deal of harm. If she isn't properly caring for them I would retire her from ever breeding again which will mean keeping the pair separate permanently. You certainly don't want those traits passed down to the chicks if that is proven to be true....I'm not certain and hopefully someone else can chime in on this subject.

At least you have a plan and are being proactive for Jaime's safety. Time will tell with your supplemental feedings for the smallest chick and it may well catch up in size with the others. On the baby that looks over fed, most chicks will refuse feedings when their crop is full and they are satisfied but as long as he accepts the food they'll continue to feed him. It sounds like you are doing well at keeping a watchful eye on them and keeping track of their weight. You might consider looking up fresh foods to feed the parents that would also benefit the chicks as well as some cooked foods. I personally would rather give food that has calcium in it than cuttlefish bone. What is a vitamin peck?
 

Mockinbirdiva

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View attachment 293503 View attachment 293504 When I checked back on the chicks, the eldest doesn't look as big phew! The other middle 2 chicks had been fed although again, the youngest hadn't.
There are 3 days between the youngest and eldest.
So the tiny chick weighing five grams is the older of all the chicks? Oh! Just noticed you're in Spain! I lived in Madrid from 1972-1975.. actually the outskirts of Madrid in a housing community called Royal Oaks for the Air Force families stationed there. It's gone now... just a memory.... good times!
 

iamwhoiam

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You might wind up having to pull the smallest one and take over all of the feedings. I hope that isn't the case.
 

Zara

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So the tiny chick weighing five grams is the older of all the chicks? Oh! Just noticed you're in Spain! I lived in Madrid from 1972-1975.. actually the outskirts of Madrid in a housing community called Royal Oaks for the Air Force families stationed there. It's gone now... just a memory.... good times!
The eldest was 14g the youngest was 5g. Yes, I´m down on the southern coast :) It´s a lovely country :)
 

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You might wind up having to pull the smallest one and take over all of the feedings. I hope that isn't the case.
I have been feeding the youngest constantly. I don´t think the hen is feeding him at all. But I return him to the nest to keep warm. I don´t have an incubator although the climate is good here, I´m hoping I can hold on another week at least before removing the nest.
 

Zara

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It's always a possibility since she is aggressive and especially that she has a nest she is naturally protecting even if it means to defending her chicks to the death of them. Constant nest box checks will make her nervous and irritable when you are either in the same room and especially as you approach the box and touch it. Your distraction giving her the millet is appropriate but even then she may go in the box afterwards and have erratic behavior towards the babies. It's just an unknown as to whether or not it will happen. Hopefully, by giving them the supplemental feedings it will place less stress on her with hungry babies begging for more food than she is capable of giving. Some hens just aren't cut out to be successful parents in later clutches. Lovebirds have such a drive to mate and reproduce it can be detrimental to their health. The physical strain of her body forming the eggs and then laying is a taxing event for her and then add the stress of hatching babies and feeding them. Some females are incredibly hard on their mates and can cause them a great deal of harm. If she isn't properly caring for them I would retire her from ever breeding again which will mean keeping the pair separate permanently. You certainly don't want those traits passed down to the chicks if that is proven to be true....I'm not certain and hopefully someone else can chime in on this subject.

At least you have a plan and are being proactive for Jaime's safety. Time will tell with your supplemental feedings for the smallest chick and it may well catch up in size with the others. On the baby that looks over fed, most chicks will refuse feedings when their crop is full and they are satisfied but as long as he accepts the food they'll continue to feed him. It sounds like you are doing well at keeping a watchful eye on them and keeping track of their weight. You might consider looking up fresh foods to feed the parents that would also benefit the chicks as well as some cooked foods. I personally would rather give food that has calcium in it than cuttlefish bone. What is a vitamin peck?
We´re in no rush to be letting them breed again. The divider will be put in the cage straight away. I like that with the divider they can still pass food and preen each other. Plus they will still be allowed out to fly together.
I am not keeping these chicks. 2 are going to a friend of mine and the other 2 we´re not sure yet, we have a few options.
Also, I don´t know how old the hen is, or if she had chicks or a partner before, because we found her.
The 3 elder chicks were fed today, again the youngest was not. Poor little guy.
 

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I have been feeding the youngest constantly. I don´t think the hen is feeding him at all. But I return him to the nest to keep warm. I don´t have an incubator although the climate is good here, I´m hoping I can hold on another week at least before removing the nest.
You don't need an incubator. You can set up a brooder using a 5 gal terrarium or even a tupperware type container that you have poked holes in for air and put the lid on top. With the terrarium you would keep the mesh lid that comes with it on top. You put a towel under the terrarium and beneath that place a heating pad on low to medium under 1/2 of the terrarium. You layer the bottom of the terrarium with paper towels. You can get a small stuffed animal that doesn't have parts that the baby can remove and put that in the terrarium so the baby can snuggle up to it.
When it comes down to it, though, do whatever works best for you. If pulling baby from box and feeding and putting back is working then just continue that. Sometimes that can cause confusion or the parents will hurt the baby. Hopefully that doesn't happen. Sorry the little one is still not being fed by the parents.
 

Monica

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If you want the parents to pay more attention to younger chicks, it helps to take out the older chicks. First time parents don't always make good parents. It sounds like the first clutch was fine as they only had two chicks, but may be overwhelmed with additional chicks.
 

Zara

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If you want the parents to pay more attention to younger chicks, it helps to take out the older chicks. First time parents don't always make good parents. It sounds like the first clutch was fine as they only had two chicks, but may be overwhelmed with additional chicks.
I'm thinking I will take the 2 eldest sooner than I had planned. Atm my 2 yo nephew is over here on holiday, he leaves wedsnesday so I'll take the chicks then and leave her the 2 small ones. The youngest is significantly smaller and less developed. Photos don't show clearly how small he is. The other 3 have their eyes open now too and have for a few days now. The youngest is only a day younger and still eyes closed. I'll attach some pics so you can see.
Not sure I mentioned, eldest hatched 2 on the 20 Dec, 1 on the 21st Dec, and the smallest on the 22nd Dec.
 

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Zara

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Begone

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So adorable! ♥

You already got great advices but I will suggest that you take the smallest one now and not return it to the nest.
I think their is something wrong with it and that's why the parents don't feed it. For that babies protection I would have move it now before they hurt it.
How often do you feed it and with what?
 

Zara

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So adorable! ♥

You already got great advices but I will suggest that you take the smallest one now and not return it to the nest.
I think their is something wrong with it and that's why the parents don't feed it. For that babies protection I would have move it now before they hurt it.
How often do you feed it and with what?
Feeding every few hours with Nutribird. Normally I buy the green top one (I think 21?) however on the 26 when I saw the 2 smallest birds weren't fed, I went straight to the shop and they didn't have it, so I got this one. It has yellow top, it is for larger parrots and "other high energy birds" so it seems OK for lovebirds. The only other food in the shop was their own brand of formula and it said on it "high energy birds" with a picture of an agapornis.

The eldest are now 20 days old, so I don't know what to do... Do I take the 2 eldest now, but will the hen get angry and attack the other birds.. Or do I take the smaller 2... Or all of them? I'm leaning more towards all of them, .. She will still see them during flight time so it won't be a cut throat thing. It's a hard decision to make... I'll upload some pics, I just took 10 mins ago while cleaning the nest and feeding
 
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