When a breeder sets up a nest box for a pair of birds, the hope is that a clutch of 3 to 6 eggs will be laid and hatch out lots of fuzzy chicks. Sometimes the results are lots of eggs but no signs of life. Sometimes there are no eggs, which could mean you have two males in there. And now and then only one egg will hatch.
A singleton chick is always fun to watch. I didn’t pull this cockatiel chick because he reached two weeks old when I had my hands full with other things. He is in the box still with Mom Bird and Ash, my best cockatiel breeders. And he is stuffed so full of food every time I check on him that I have to laugh.
Singleton chicks get fed to bursting by two anxious parent birds. These parents raised clutches of two to four chicks in the past, so they have no idea how to scale back for the one. He takes as much as he can and is growing into a large, beautiful bird. He’s almost all feathered out now.
Of course, I am assuming that his gender is male because these parents give me albino females and gray and white males. This baby is gray and white, but there is a lot of pearling on him and he has the bars on his upper tail that I associate with females. He could be a she and an unusual beauty at that. I may be keeping this one.
I’ve had singleton zebra finch chicks before. The parents are just as anxious to feed that chick as these cockatiel parents are. Often I will get a clutch of one from the lovebirds. Or I will pull all but one and let the parents raise the youngest themselves. This poor bird gets too much of a good thing and opens for feeding whenever an adult comes by.
Because I don’t usually hand feed these singletons I can’t say that they are slow to wean or difficult to socialize. One of the few singles I hand fed is Fin. He’s just a brat, which means he has a strong will and a lot of curiosity. His fighting against being told no is what led to him confronting an African Grey parrot and losing most of his top beak. But he survived the experience and has a working relationship with another lovebird. Surprisingly, Fin may be female. Not sure if it matters to lovebirds as to who’s on top, but Fin takes the “female” place when Rebel wants to make babies.
Any chicks are a blessing, single or a full clutch. Sharing my life with these creatures is a miracle. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back next Sunday.