Monday, July 16, 2012

Questions on Pair Feeding Chicks

Sandee, I have a pair of green pacific parrotlets. They have 3 newly hatched young, about 4 days old. In checking on the young over the past few days, their crops have been full. Yesterday I noticed that the male was in the nest box. I didn’t see him out of the nest box yesterday and he is still in there today, huddled over the hen. The babies’ crops look empty. It has been extremely hot in our house and I have kept fans going but the house has been over 80 degrees during the day but it did cool off yesterday. Should I intervene? Maybe give the hen some electrolytes? Take the male out of the box? Handfeed the babies? I have handfed before but not such tiny ones. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Kathy B. Dear Kathleen: Its best to leave them alone. The more you disturb them and that means looking at them, the more likely they are to abandon the nest or even kill the chicks. This is especially true in a first clutch. They are nervous and inexperienced but your interference will bring up their predator/prey reaction and they will most likely just abandon the chicks. I know we humans like to think that we things go better when we are involved, but that isn’t true when it comes to raising parrotlets. Handling the chicks or the parents will almost certainly result in them abandoning or killing the offspring. That is how they survive in Nature. Better to abandon the nest if it is disturbed than get eaten by a predator. Eating offspring will give the parents the energy needed to lay another clutch. I know this seems barbaric to humans but that’s why they are animals. Nature guides them by instincts that have evolved over millions of years and keeping them in our homes, doesn’t change that. They are still very much wild animals that react on instinct – they are not domesticated like cockatiels or budgies to accept human interference. Also, with a first clutch you do not want to stress them out and have them possibly never be good parents. As for the heat, these birds originate near the equator – unless its over 100 degrees I sincerely doubt they will be affected by it. Remember, sometimes the hardest thing to do, is nothing. Best of luck. Sincerely yours, Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S. The Parrotlet Ranch, Owner, Join the International Parrotlet Society, – the World’s Largest and Oldest Parrotlet Organization A Chattering Bird Builds No Nest. Camaroonian Phrase

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