under weight gc chick

by karen

Hi I hope you do not mind me mailing you. I have been looking around your web sit and I am very impressed with it. I am wondering if you would be able to give me some advice, I have a green cheek conure baby and it is now 17 days old. I got the parents back in october from a national bird sale we saw them and fell in love with them. I did not no very much about them, but they produced 5 eggs and 3 were fertile the first egg hatched and they did not feed the chick the following morning I found the chick dead in the box it had not been fed. 3 days later the second egg hatched and I left the chick with mum and dad and I checked it at 7 pm and the chick had not been fed either I called my vet and he recommended that I bring the chick in ( the third egg failed to hatch). I weighed the chick and he weight 4 grams when I bought him in 17 days on and he only weighs 7 grams, he is standing up and starting to walk about a little his claws are growing but he is not gaining weight. I am feeding him on kayte and he is being brooded at 34c, when he came in he was at 36c. I fed him on a mix of 5 to 1 for the first week and fed him every 2 hours around the clock since last wednesday I thought that I would move the feeds to every 3 hours as his crop was not emptying fully after 2 hours and then I give him a 4 hour break from 12 am to 4 am. I feel I am a little stuck so any advice you could give would be received gratefully.

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Apr 13, 2010
under weight gc chick
by: Linda

Hi, I'm Linda, and First of all, your baby bird needs to be seen by an Avian Vet to rule out infection which is common with babies.

Second, if the formula is not warm enough, then the food will not digest properly. Take him to the vet and have him examined and tested for infection and given meds for that. In the meantime, you'll need to be warming the food up where when you put it on your wrist, it is very warm, but not scalding. You don't want the food so hot it burns babies' crop. Test food temp just like you would for a human baby.When reheating food, be mindful to not overheat it. Try and make just enough for that day's feeding as it goes bad in 24 hours.

Also be very careful if using microwave to heat up his formula. Microwaves tend to create "hot spots", and so you must make sure these hot spots are stirred in with rest of formula until they are gone.

He needs to be eating at least 4 meals a day, and you need to ask the vet how much per feeding for his size. The Cockatiels will eat a 10mm(cc) syringe four times a day at that age.You need to get online and do a search on breeding your type of conure. You will find a wealth of information about how it all works as you go along.You'll also have benefit of talking with breeders who are usually very willing to help someone take the best care of their birds.

So, first, get his food warm enough, and second, get him into see the Avian Vet soon as is possible as he is sick is what this sounds like.

All parents will not feed babies. Birds raised by humans from hatching will not know how to feed their babies. This is very common practice with the commerical breeders. Eggs as incubated and hatched, and the babies are handfed from then on. They never imprint on their parents and for all points and purposes do not know they are birds. So you may have bought a pair like that, and they will never feed their babies as they don't know how or why.If they ever breed again, be prepared to hand-feed every single baby until they are weaned.If you don't want them breeding again for a while (once a year is plenty) then put them in separate cages that sit next to each other. The baby will also need his own cage when he's old enough. Once the baby has more feathers, you can cut the heat down accordingly. Don't keep him too warm once he has a covering of the down feathers that are pretty thick or he will begin to dehydrate and die.Once it has a thick covering of feathers, you can put it into a small cage with a towel over it to help it hold in its warmth. Talk to vet about this as being too warm is as bad as being too cold.

Thanks for writing, and let us know how this goes. You have this one little baby, and try and raise him up as he'll make you a wonderful friend.


Apr 13, 2010
Under weight green cheek chick
by: Tracie

Thanks for the compliment! I am sorry to disappoint you, but I am not a breeder and have no clue on feeding babies. I know it is too late now, but it would have been best if the person that sold you the birds would have made sure you knew how to care for breeders before selling them. :-/

Thanks for taking the time to write and get help, once you realized you were over your head. :-)

Linda, a lady that answers questions here often, was a breeder for many years and has lots of great advice. I hope she will read your post and help you with this.

Again, thanks for writing and trying to help this little bird. It seems your vet should be able to give you the best advice, since he/she has seen the bird. I would call the vet and get advice there. I am hoping it was an avian vet, because dog/cat vets know very little about birds.

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