Yesterday I checked the remaining babies in the blue parrotlets’ box and found that of the four, the youngest looked like he might be bloodied. The only way to be sure was to pull the box and get a good look. The three older ones looked great with nice full crops, but the youngest actually looked to be bruised over much of his tiny body. It was what you might imagine if one or both parents had bitten him but not to the point of breaking skin. Just as disturbing was the crop which had very little in it. I banded the two oldest and put all into another container in the brooder. Next regular feeding was at 7 PM, but when that time came I found that the youngest hadn’t made it.
S**t happens, as they say. Doesn’t make it easier, but it’s a fact of life. I actually take a lot of comfort in what a very smart friend told me not too long ago. She said that the percentage of surviving birds born in nature is a fraction of those surviving for us breeders. It makes sense if you think about it. In nature the birds are plagued with all the problems we might see as breeders, but they also must deal with predators and less-than-ideal weather conditions. It’s no wonder that breeders’ success rates are far greater. We have to remember that when we do lose a baby this way, and focus on how many made it rather than the one that didn’t.
I now have only one baby left to pull for handfeeding. The single baby from the pied pair is possibly just barely big enough to band, but I believe I can wait one more day. I’d like to give the parents as much experience as possible since this is their first time.
I currently have eleven to handfeed, and the smallest of those only weighs ten grams. With that in mind, I am going to a six-feedings-per-day schedule. It means the older kids will not get stuffed quite as much so that they will still be empty at the time of each feeding. The littlest ones need that extra feeding since their crops are just so small they don’t hold a lot of food. Six feedings means feeding every 3 hours and 10 minutes. Not a lot of time to get things done in between, but hopefully it will only be four or five days, a week at most, before I can once again go to five feedings.
On the chicken front, the chicks are now in their 8th day of life, and we have not lost a single one! Last night when I checked them before going to bed, I watched several of them hopping, chest-bumping, and getting enough height that I knew today would be the day to cover their brooder. So this morning I got a wrought iron cage grate and placed it over the brooder. It just barely covered the container, so basically it’s a perfect fit. Now I don’t have to worry about kids hopping out!
Hubby Scott was able to get most of the metal roofing done on the outside coop last night and will finish it up tonight. After that the only thing remaining to do will be to fence their outside yard and then get the electric fencing back in place.
This morning Roo came right over when I opened the coop door and tossed in some scratch feed. Apparently he thinks he is six feet tall and about 300 pounds, judging from the swagger and strut he now has. He used to be so mellow! I guess having a small harem at your disposal will make even the most mellow male a real ass! I whacked him with the plastic scoop. Did that stop him? Sure, after the FOURTH whack! What a beast.
As I sit here writing, Opal and the young formerly-lone male are again beak-fencing. She is another beast. At least he is beginning to hold his ground, though he is still the one to give in and retreat. I’m still hoping they will reach an understanding. If only I could give some of Roo’s bravado to this little guy…