Ziggy and Paco hatched a lone chick on the 10th of October. I like to pull kids to handfeed anywhere from ten days to two weeks old. I know a lot of people wait till they are three weeks, but it has always seemed to me that they eat much better from me and my spoon when they are younger, and that sometimes it’s a bit of a struggle to get a baby to take to the handfeeding when it is nearer three weeks. I’ve been hanging out in the vicinity of the birdroom a LOT the last few days, waiting for my opportunity to nab the little one. Ziggy has been having none of it, and in fact I have rarely seen her so protective of a baby. I think when she has two or three chicks she is a bit relieved when they go, LOL, but with one she doesn’t want to give him up.
This morning the baby was sixteen days old, and I said this is it. One way or the other we are getting that kid! The biggest issue is that with this baby, any time I’ve seriously thought of grabbing him it seems Ziggy knows the jig is up and gets very agitated. Which would be okay, except when she is agitated, she kind of charges at the baby and gently grasps him by the beak OR BY THE HEAD! I said “gently” and she has not left so much as a mark on him, but I’ve been afraid that if she really senses I’m ready to grab him she may grab a bit harder and do some damage. Scott said, “maybe she thinks ‘if I can’t have him, neither can you.'” I seriously doubt that much thought is going into it. I think it’s just instinct, but it could still result in a hurt baby.
So the issue this morning was how to get this baby without any damage. Scott suggested reaching in with something on one hand to get Ziggy to back off and then quickly grabbing the little one with the other hand. We have these heavy silicone oven mitts that proved useless as oven mitts due to their thickness being SO thick you have no feeling of the pan you are trying to grab. That would also mean that even a direct bite from Ziggy was likely to do no damage to the hand inside. So Scott said he’d give it a try. Better Ziggy hate him than me.
It went off without a hitch. Hand in, grab baby with other, hand him off to me, and remove hand and close box. I got my baby! And what a GIANT baby it is! The fact that I’ve been handfeeding tiny little parrotlets that weigh about 30 grams when weaned may have something to do with that, coupled with the fact that this baby weighed in at 100 grams before feeding and with an empty crop!
First feeding was scheduled for 11 AM, to be sure the crop was empty and he was good and hungry. It went well. He’s a doll!
Unless something changes, this little guy – or girl – already has a future home lined up with a family that has three small children. I used to really discourage this, but I’ve come to realize that it really depends on the attitude of the people. If they are doing their homework and really determined to make things work, I think they are every bit as good a candidate as anybody else. My goal is always to have my greys go to homes where the people are dedicated to making it a good fit, and determined to work out any issues as they may arise. Greys are far too smart and sensitive to be shuffled from home to home, and they deserve better.
So the adventure has begun. We will start with the usual six feedings per day, and I will be adding to his online diary daily, both with weights, pictures, and videos. I’m just as excited as I was with the first one I ever raised. 🙂