You no doubt have heard that Cleanliness is Next to Godliness. I don’t agree that God never gets dirty, but that’s just my opinion. Can you imagine building this world without getting some mud on your celestial robes?
The key to raising healthy chicks starts with keeping the breeding birds healthy, and that is directly linked to how clean their cages are kept. I’m grateful for being retired now so I can clean more often. In the outside aviaries, the flight cages aren’t really cleanable. But the dishes
and waterers must be kept as clean as it is possible to do.
Nest boxes tend to get gooey if you have three or more chicks hatch out. Ants want to investigate the interesting smells, too. Lifting the chicks carefully out of the way, putting down Sevin Dust, http://www.homedepot.com/p/Sevin-1-lb-Ready-To-Use-5-Dust-Garden-Insect-Killer-Shaker-Bottle-7007/100662149 sand, and more hay or whatever nesting material you do use, helps keep the kids clean and safe from insects. I use AIL also to keep the ants out of the food and water. http://www.allbirdproducts.com/newproductpages/avian_insect_liquidator.html?gclid=Cj0KEQiAneujBRDcvL6f5uybhdABEiQA_ojMguetIfAjVlYPa10Su9KKA5i59yrJDk4oaLNUgT-rPkoaAmhg8P8HAQ
Health is also dependent on what the birds are eating and how much exercise they get. You will lose hens left and right to egg binding if they are in small cages and can’t get a good amount of flying done in a day. Calcium supplements are required for inside birds, and don’t often hurt outside birds. http://www.theparrotsocietyuk.org/veterinary-advice/hypocalcaemia
Seeds, and nothing else, is the junk food diet for parrots. Some of the finches and canaries are fine on that diet, because in the wild that’s what they are designed to eat. A few greens are great to supplement that diet. But parrots in general will forage over a wide area in the wild and eat greens, fruits, nuts, insects, seeds, and whatever is available.
In captivity, you become Mother Nature and must provide a variety of healthy foods. Check out how to sprout your own seeds, those will be some of the most nutritious foods you can provide. http://beautyofbirds.com/sprouting.html Cook up some high protein pasta, or better yer, Quinoa.http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=142 Serve it warm or cool with fresh grated carrots, apples, good greens, and a sprinkle of algae or probiotics. Don’t leave the food out for more than a few hours, depending on your weather and climate. If any mold or fungus grows on it, and the birds eat it, you might have some issues to deal with that you didn’t expect.
If you pull the chicks to hand feed, use a good food created just for that purpose. I use Kaytee hand feeding formula. http://www.kaytee.com/products/exact-hand-feeding-baby-bird.php Follow directions, learn from a human being, and expect the unexpected. I add a little Beech-Nut baby food to two of the six or so feedings each day. http://beechnut.com/ I add a few drops of Bragg’s Unfiltered, Uncooked Apple Cider Vinegar to the first feeding every morning. http://bragg.com/products/bragg-organic-apple-cider-vinegar.html
I started weighing the chicks a little late into the process, but happily the babies all gained weight as they should. I knew enough to not panic when they hit a plateau or even lost weight. Chicks will drop a few grams right before they take their first flight. http://www.birdchannel.com/bird-species/baby-birds/all-about-weaning.aspx
A chick has to be able to fly before it can be weaned. It makes perfect sense, you want to be sure you can get around to find your own meals before you stop taking the free meals from Mom and Dad. Both my lovebirds flew and weaned about the same time. The cockatiels are a week or more apart, the oldest took his first flight today. He’s been nibbling millet and pellets, now it’s time to give him broccoli and carrots. The sooner he gets exposed to a wide variety of fresh foods, the healthier he will be.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.