Bird Mommas

I have had the pleasure of helping to raise some lovebird chicks, cockatiel chicks, and one African Grey chick. Right now, I am fostering four button quail chicks. All of these birds were taken away from their real moms and raised to think of Humans as their flock mates. Most of these birds get a little neurotic from the experience.

Maynard 110615

Cockatiel moms are some of the fiercest and most attentive moms I have encountered in the bird world. I have had to chase them off the babies before I could pull the chicks. There was a lot of hissing and ruffled feathers, but I got over it. I doubt the mom bird ever did. (On a side note, one of the hens is named Mom Bird because she is about the best at that job.)

hen and chicks

Lovebird moms have every intention of protecting their chicks and nests, but being a small bird, discretion is the better part of valor. They seem to know, also that there will be more eggs, more chicks, and occasionally one chick left for them to raise. The parents start giving me the eye when they want to chase the chick away. There’s that fine line between the bird being old enough to eat on its own and the parents beating it to a pulp.

Fin sleeping on pink sock

I never met the parents of the adorable African grey parrot that I got to handfeed. Being such a smart bird, he quickly learned to call for me when he was hungry. I expect his mom was every bit as attentive to him. I once worked at an aviary where breeding pairs of CAGs were nesting. When the chicks hatched, the parents would make the horrible screaming cry that would drive off any predator.


Button quail moms have it easy. The chicks hatch ready to rock and roll. They just need to be shown where food is and where water is. For the first three days, they need a source of heat because they can’t maintain their own body heat. My current hen sat very tight on her eggs, a good sign in buttons. After a week and a half, I sequestered the male. He slaughtered the chicks from this hen’s first clutch. Sure enough, four darling chicks hatched and sat under mom whenever she held still.

quail on eggs
Quail on eggs in protected corner of aviary.

Of course, I am the mom to Maynard, Fin, Sunny, and most of the cockatiels. They get possessive, jealous, and don’t play well together. I love them all, and want them to be one big, happy family. Too bad Mother’s Day doesn’t come with one guaranteed wish come true.

Sunny on cage

Have a happy Mother’s Day and treat yourself as well as your mom with extra love. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.


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