Thursday, February 09, 2006

3 Weeks Later

Patchie and Silver's clutch consisted of five eggs. Out of those five, four were fertile. All four eggs hatched successfully this time around and the babies are growing like weeds! We chose names that reflect Ancient Greek mythology for each of the babies as my son and daughter are studying it in school and I've always been a big fan. The oldest is Boagreous, or (Bo) as he's nicknamed. Of course, we have NO idea if Bo is a he or a she, but who cares. :-) Bo just turned 3 weeks old yesterday. Already feathered out, Bo is a cinnamon and has a very pretty tawny hue. Not much yellow in the mohawk and his tummy is a lighter shade.. much like the dove gray Silver was when I first got him. No signs of pied markings that I can see yet but he's not done shedding all of the keretin quite yet.

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Next in line is Paris - Paris turned 2 weeks old on Saturday, making him or her 19 days old today. Paris has shed most of the keretin on the wings and is a cinnamon just like Bo but much the tummy, tail and neck keretin still remains so I can't see if there are markings beneath. Ahh.. and Paris has quite a bit more yellow in the mohawk. Paris is QUITE the eater and already outweighs Bo by a few grams. MOOOO! In the picture, Paris is 17 days old and already, he's got ALOT more of his feathers in. 2 days makes a huge difference in the lives of these guys. I have a hard time telling them apart right away but Bo has begun to chirp so when I hear a "Chirp" in greeting, I know its Bo. If I pick up the baby with the yellow-er Mohawk, I know I have Paris. LOL!

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Persephone is the next in line. Born the day after Paris, Persephone is 18 days old. It took quite a while for her to begin to prickle out and she still has all of her keretin sheeths on. I'm not sure but she's either a standard gray or a cinnamon. As you can see, Persephone is very well fed and currently, she's the fattest one!

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Lastly, is little Hektor except he's not so little anymore. In fact, he rivals Persephone is size by about 7 grams. Hektor was born 15 days ago. There is a span of six days between Bo and Hektor so I had concerns about feeding, but Patchie and Silver came through like champs and the whole lot of them were well cared for. Hektor developed a little slower, like Persephone, and has just turned into a pin cushion whereas Bo and Paris where well pinned by their age.

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Because of the age difference and because of the strain it was putting on Patchie and Silver, I pulled the two oldest babies from the clutch when Paris was almost 2 weeks old and Bo was just over. Immediately, the change in the two younger babies still remaining in the nest is amazing. They've put on tremendous amounts of weight and now weigh more than their formula fed siblings. Bo and Paris have had it a little rougher. Problems with slow crop have put a damper on things, but both are back on the right path now and eating what they're supposed too. Now to fatten them up!

Bo and Paris have really grown on me. (Obviously). I feed them four times a day, massage their little crops and worry over them as if I'd given birth to them. I'm aware that I'm going to have to part ways with some of the babies, so though I love the babies in the nestbox, I've tried to remain somewhat emotionally unattached to them as well. At least.. as much as possible! (LOL)! So I've sorta tried to think of it in terms of, "Their babies (Persephone and Hektor) and MY babies (Paris and Bo). Between the two babies handfed babies, I'll still have to make a choice but it will be easier (I think) to choose between two than four. I guess its my defense mechanism kicking in, but these guys are so damn cute I have to put up some kind of shield or my house would be populated with babies and none would EVER leave the nest. LOL I know of people it HAS happened to, but four babies would be way too much on top of my already HUGE flock. After I've made my baby choice, my tiel limit will have reached the max I'm afraid.

More updates later!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Bad JuJu

Well, So far, So good. Little Bo seems to immune to the bad Juju that his or her brothers and sisters from the previous clutch succummed to. I called it the four day curse because each (with the exception of Ramen who died at 2 days old) each died on their fourth day of life. This IS Bo's fourth day and he's still here. At 6 am tomorrow morning, Bo will officially be 5 days old. This evening, Bo passed a poo poo in Kirsten's hand when we weighed him and that's something none of the other babies ever did. The poo looked nice and normal and he was active and wriggling, holding his head up. I was tempted to pull him today but when I saw that he was doing well, I thought another day might be okay.

In other news, Eggamemnon the egg hatched into a chick today! So.. now Bo has a clutch-mate! At birth, lil Eggamemnon (to be named) weighed four grams. This evening, the baby weighed five grams. Hooray! He or she is being fed and there was food in its crop when I checked this evening. Ooh, I'm a happy Grandma (cautiously).

More updates, and pictures to come! Stay tuned!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Little Bo "Peep"

Little "Bo" peeped and pipped his or her way into the world very early on the morning of January 18, 2006. I'm sooo happy! 4 grams at birth, this lil one has doubled his birth weight in the 48 hours he or she has been alive. I guess that's good? I haven't weighed him this evening, but I'm hoping that tomorrow morning, he'll have surpassed the ten gram mark that the largest of their last clutch was at death last time. The next baby is due to hatch tomorrow morning, at that will be even more work for Patchie and Silver. They've been out grocery shopping quite a bit, and prefer to eat out of dishes near everyone elses cage. Weird but I suppose its the flock mentality. I have a ladder and rope going from their cage to the other cage for easy access. A friend of mine said she had the same situation when her budgies were breeding and was constantly letting her male out to feed... opening and closing the cage door behind him. She said she felt like the doorman at a posh Manhattan hotel. Uh huh! Exactly what its like here right about now. The other birds aren't quite sure what to make of it all. I'm not sure Patch and Silver are feeding enough still. If he doesn't gain substantial weight over the next day or two, I'm pulling him for hand feeding and will do the same for the others. I wish there was a chart that could tell me how much baby birds fed by their parents should weigh at certain day increments so I'd know if he was getting enough to eat. Then I'd know what is what. I saw a picture of someone else's baby's (parent fed) at five days old. They had HUGE crops and weighed 22 grams apiece. I can't imagine mine looking like that, yet I hear Patchie and Silver feeding him frequently, so who knows. I guess another day or two will tell. *Let's hope he outlives his siblings from the first clutch and makes it that long*

So.. I'm holding my breath and trying not to get to close to him, but its VERY hard. How could you NOT get attached to something THIS cute?
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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Silent Night

Just a brief update on the nest box situation. Patchie and Silver had another clutch of five eggies. Out of the five, one was cracked and I chucked it. (A sad little incident with a night fright). The other four are fertile so we're expecting another clutch of four babies, just like the last time! Weee! We've named this clutch, just like the last time (can't help it y'know). The egg names are "Boeggreus, Eggamemnon, Eggasus and Adromeggda". You guessed it. Ancient Greek influence. Yah..um.. I watched the movie Troy a few too many times. Can't help it! I wouldn't mind having a clutch with Brad Pitt. Yeowza! Plus, Cameron is studying Greek Mythology in school and thinks it rocks. :-)

So, last night was day 18 for Bo. He didn't hatch, and didn't peep. With the last clutch, Faira peeped on the 19th night and hatched early on day 20. Soooo.. if the same thing occurs with this clutch, hopefully I'll hear peeping tonight and we'll have a chick in the morning! Let's hope so! Eggamemnon was active in his or her shell the last time I candled so on Saturday, he or she should make an appearance, and then Eggasus and finally, Andromeggda will bring up the rear. Bo will be quite a bit older, but I've got hand rearing formula and pipettes ready and since I'm now a stay-at-home Mom, I've got nothing but time on my hands to hopefully see these chicks through if something should go wrong. Hopefully, nothing will!

Will this be another Silent Night? We shall see!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Back In The Saddle

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Patchie and Silver are giving it another go! It was completely "unplanned" parenthood. One morning, I uncovered the cage to find an egg, smashed between the bars of the bottom grate beneath Patchie's high bedtime triangle perch that she shares with Silver. Though she shares the cage with Silver and two other hens, I knew it was Apache's egg. The other two hens were clear on the other side of the cage and the egg was leaking its contents directly beneath her. Poor "Humpty".. the baby tiel who will never be.

After some deliberation as to whether or not I would let them go through with it or not, I finally decided to let them have one more crack at it. Patchie would have to endure her cycle of laying anyway. May as well see if it would be fruitful or not. She get sooo depressed when she's seperated from Silver, and actually, I worried about seperating her AND allowing her to continue laying. I would have to do with her what I did with Taxi. Cull her out from the flock, keep her in a seperate cage but in the same room with the flock during the day and put her to bed in Kirsten's room in total darkness (with her eggs) much earlier than the other birds.

Allowing them to nest (so far) has proved to be the right decision. Not only were THEY thrilled (heheh).. Silver actually stepped up and sang to me AND his nest box when he saw it, but the day after I set things up for them, the furnace went out. The front room is cozy thanks to our electric radiator, but the Kirsten's room and the back of the house was FRIGID! Patchie would have froze back there before I figured it out!

Now we've got a fixed furnace, two eggs in the nest box and another one due any minute now. I have NO idea how many eggs will be in this clutch or how successful they will be as parents this time around. I'm trying very hard not to sail into this with high expectations so I don't suffer the heartbreak of last time, but its hard not to get a wee bit excited. Just as last time, I shall maintain that the safety of Patchie and Silver is first and foremost. I will guard them as their Shepard and make sure they come to no harm in this venture to the very best of my ability. So this marks the beginning of our second journey into parenthood and hopefully, this time it will have a happier, healthier ending.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Turkey Day!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Cockatiel Daycare

This weekend, I got to put my "class" in handfeeding baby tiels to good use. A few weeks ago, Christy e-mailed me, asking if I would watch her babies for her while she took a trip out of town for a weekend. At the time, she had three pinfeathered babies but the number was subject to change as clutches always do. Three weeks later, the big day arrived and those three pinfeatherd babies were now four, nearly weaned! Man, time flies when you're a baby cockatiel. In addition to those four, there were two more. One just out of the pin feather stage and one about 9 days old (just opened its bitty lil eyes). So tiny it still has its yellow down and its' egg tooth. The smallest, is Christy's "darling". A baby that was rejected by Mom and Dad since it emerged from its shell and handfed by Christy since day one. This little one has never known the touch of a parents beak.

So, Christy arrived on my doorstep with a cage loaded with four juvenile cockatiels in various stages of weaning and an aquarium tank containing the two younger babies still needing the aid of a heating pad and covering to stay warm, on Friday night. After a demonstration with the youngest (Refresher course in handfeeding. Hey! It had been like, 8 months at LEAST since I'd seen Carey's demonstration), and a good visit w/Christy, I was on my own for 48 hours. My house suddenly exploded with birds. I went from 7 tiels, to 13! Okay, I know some people who have WAY more than that even, but to make that jump in a matter of seconds.. well.. HEHE! Anyway, it was fun!

The first feeding was a little hectic. I fed the older ones first and they wanted nothing to do with the formula. Well, they ARE older I thought, so I didn't worry. There was a precious yellow pearl who looked almost identical to Taxi, two dark gray babies that looked so similar to one another I had a hard time telling them apart, and a cinnamon that reminded me of Silver when he was a baby, only perhaps a little browner than Silver was at that age. Funny too, because the cinnamon is a full-blood sibling to Neo and Silver as its parents are none other than Jack and Ele. In fact, the only baby in the bunch NOT related in some fashion to Neo and Silver was the pearl baby, who is the offspring of Anna and Cricket (two pearl cockatiels Christy adopted some while back). Once I tucked the older babies in for the night, it was time to feed the youngest ones. First, I fed the babiest one.. (I called it "Downey" because it was still so soft and yellow)and I was amazed the formula went down without any problems. I did get an air bubble in the crop the first time around, but it was right on top, so I gently massaged it and it came right out without any reguirgitation. Next, it was the bigger babies turn. Also a gray baby, with his head just COVERED in pinfeathers. He ate like SUCH a hog! I couldn't believe how hard he jousted on that syringe! I thought for sure he was going to stab himself! Because he was bigger than the lil yellow Downey one, Kirsten wanted to call him "Zilla" but it just didn't fit in my opinion, because he was still tiny. He had this lil devilish beaky grin though, and he'd still beg after I fed him. Almost "gremlin" like. I almost got the feeling like, if I fed him after midnight, he'd turn into something else, so I got to calling him "Mogwai" because he reminded me of that cute little fuzzball in the movie Gremlins.
"Downey" in the tank
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"Mogwai" - Doesn't miss many meals
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Day two seemed as though it was going to start out rocky. Downey's crop wasn't empty in the morning and I thought I was going to have to give him some rice water. Just as I was about to offer him the syringe, he unloaded a poop bomb right on Kirsten (Hehe!) and whalah! His crop was empty! I waited about an hour and then fed him as usual. He slurped it down like a champ and every feeding there after was fine. Mogwai ate like a trooper but the older birdies were being rather testy. Perhaps it was because they didn't know me. I started calling the Cinnamon one "Cinnthia" and she was a little piggy. She begged off of her brothers and sisters and they fed her on demand, or at least, went through the motions of feeding her. She was the first one to eat for me, followed by one of the grays.
"Cinnthia" can't resist
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I nicknamed the grays "Pete and Re-Pete" ... and I figured the older one would be the more independent one, he was "Pete". The younger one ate well for me, as you can see.
Guilt! "Re-Pete" caved in and ate from the syringe too!
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Sunday morning, the youngest of the four (I learned later) the Pearl, which I oh-so-creatively nicknamed "Pearly" decided I was A-Okay and began pigging out on the formula as well.
"Pearly deciding formula is Good Stuff!
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Lil Pete never did take any formula. I was a good "take off" platform though, and a good elevator as well. :-)

Feeding babies every four hours (except at night because their crops need to empty out) was quite the chore, but those babies were SO worth it. I'm afraid Patchie and Silver really wanted in on the action though. The sound of babies begging and the chirping-hiccup sound they make when they suck down the formula drove them into a frenzy every time they heard it. I wonder if I've set the hormone monster into action again? We shall see. At any rate, it was AWESOME to have those six babies here, and I got bit hard with the baby bug. It was hard to give them back, but reality bit me too. The work involved in the care of the little ones would NEVER jive with my work schedule so its a nice dream, but one that will have to wait.