Surprise Cockatiel

So much goes on with my flock and my hand feeding chores that I can lose track of what birds are doing what. I learned to do a head count daily, to make sure I haven’t lost anyone. When I get too busy, I get surprises. Not all of them are good surprises.

For instance, I didn’t see a button quail hen for a while. I checked on her and she was fine, sitting on eggs inside a plastic habitat thing. Another week went by without seeing her and then the male began to call. He wanted to attract a new mate. That’s when I checked on the hen again, and sadly found she was gone.

bq and mealworms

On the plus side, I got four button quail chicks in the big aviary. I took them inside and they are growing regularly. They are not related to the single male outside, so when I can determine their sexes, I will give him what he’s asking for. The other three have already been tagged by a friend who wants them for her aviary.

With that in mind, I checked the ground nesting cockatiels in the big aviary. I have a long, narrow planter that has been used as a BQ habitat. I turn it upside down and have cut a doorway into the long side. It worked great for my first successful clutch of BQ chicks when they were old enough to live outside. When we rehomed them, I put that planter in the big aviary.

kc and baby closer

Unfortunately, the quail pair in the aviary were not interested in it. The cockatiels, however, love it. I don’t know why. It’s placed under a perch that the ring neck doves love, so it’s covered in their droppings I only moved the doves in there six months ago, so their production is impressive. Luckily I have a new six-sided aviary that will be a perfect home for the doves and a pair or gray finches.

dove in aviary
Dove inside the cage with protected sides.

On yet another side note, my doves hatched out a baby a few months ago in spite of my diligent attempts to pull the eggs or leave them out in the cold or heat long enough to stop its progress. That trick works, but sometimes I don’t leave it out long enough. So I had a doveling that I didn’t want and that Storm, the dad, began picking on and trying to chase away from the nest. Luckily, a friend who had had a single dove once upon a time expressed an interest in the chick. I got it to her before she could think about it too much.

Back to the plastic box. I began missing cockatiels in the big aviary. I only have four in there right now, so it’s easy to see when one isn’t in sight. I checked under the plastic box, and there was KC, a white-faced gray cockatiel, and a pile of eggs. Hissing ensued. Well, I thought, go for it. I checked now and then, sometimes KC would be there, sometimes a lutino named Mel. I gave them two months to hatch the eggs but nothing happened. I pulled all the eggs and went about my business. I did not ever expect the eggs laid by these two to hatch. I pulled the eggs a couple more times.

kc baby and eggs

Recently, I noticed that KC was not in sight but just didn’t have time to check for eggs. I went a couple weeks without doing more than a couple checks. No matter which bird was on the pile, they were alive and well. Nothing to worry about.

No way would that pair hatch any eggs. Wrong! May 1st, I checked the box and found a wonderful surprise. A chick, big, healthy, and being fed by attentive parents. The baby looks like a lutino, red-eyed and beautiful, and will possibly have pearling on its body. Can’t wait to see the end result.

kc and baby

It looks like one or two other eggs might hatch as well. So, in the coming week, I will pull that chick and hand feed it. I already have a home lined up for it. The budgie chicks are weaned and the button quail can go into a cage, as can the turaco chick. I may have to put a regular nest box in for Mel and KC.

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back next Sunday.

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