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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-02-2003, 02:52 PM
MrsD
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Unhappy Cockatiel baby- sour crop

I have 2 cockatiel babies, 20 and 22 days old, and I am handfeeding them for 10 days now. The younger looks like it has a sour crop. WHen I went to feed them at 6 am his crop looked full but with a lot of air. I have given him about 2 drops of Pepto Bismal every 2 hours, and some water mixed with applesauce around 10 am. I felt sorry for him (begging for food) and gave him his formula (Exact) with a tiny bit of applesauce and more water than usual at 2 pm- only 5 cc.
Anything else I can do? I am a bit anxious also because tomorrow I am supposed to go to a seminar and my son was going to be feeding them.
How long will this take to clear up? I hate the thought of loosing the bird. I am not sure how I could keep it warm if I take them along.
Help?
 
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-03-2003, 09:57 PM
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Sour crop is pretty common in cockatiels, and usually occurs because their crop doesn't empty our completely before you feed them agan. This makes for a perfect environment for bacteria, etc., to breed and make the bird sick.

If you have a regular veterinarian for your birds perhaps he can give you an rx for an antibiotic. I'm certainly no expert, but wonder about the pepto-bismol. Wouldn't there be a possibility of stopping the bird up even more by using that? If you are looking for something to give the bird more sugar in his diet I've always used clear Karo syrup with all kinds of babies and had good luck with that. I think it would be a little easier to digest at this age.

Have you ever tube fed babies? I tried my best to save one from sour crop a couple of years ago by using the tube and getting out all of the crud that was in his crop. Seemed I got a lot out but it was ultimately to no avail. You can also use lactated ringers, saline solution or warm water to fill the crop, rub it gently to loosen the debris, then flush it back out.

How many times a day are you feeding these guys? Watch their crops closely and make sure that they are empty before putting more food down in there. Hopefully if you withhold food for a bit, try to gavage the crop to wash out what is in there and causing problems now, you may be able to save him.

Did the breeder or your vet tell you to give him applesauce? That's one I've never heard of, but different people have different "cures".

Since you have to be away tomorrow, check the bird closely in the a.m. before you leave and instruct your son on how often he should check it to feed it. It will be much better for the bird if he gets hungry than if you fill the crop past what it can hold.

Good luck. This is one of the hardest things to cure in birds, and it seems to affect the 'tiels more than the other breeds. When I first started hand-feeding birds I was told (incorrectly) to give them just as much food as they could possibly hold. And I lost a couple to sour crop.

Let me know what happens!! I'm handfeeding a CAG now and am consistently concerned that something is going to go wrong.

Send me a private email at [email protected] if you'd like. I'm kinda brain dead right now but will see what comes popping into my head over night.

I really understand how you feel. My prayers go out to this little doughboy.

CRITTERCALL


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-04-2003, 01:29 PM
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The applesauce was recommended by a book, the formula can, and another breeder (who knows a lot more than I do!). The Pepto Bismal was recommended in the same book- Handfeeding Baby Birds by Barron's.
I did take the babies with me yesterday. Today they are the same- one bird is just fine, the other has the somewhat-swollen crop. Maybe not quite as bad. He lost 5 grams of weight since yesterday though. I know it's because I'm not feeding him much.
I was doing 5-6 cc's every 3 or 4 hours yesterday. Today I gave him that at 6 am, but I am now going to use rice baby cereal with applesauce every few hours and see if that digests better.
I don't make a very good breeder- I feel so bad when he cries for more food. He even hops out of the nest box while I am feeding the other, trying to convince me to give him more! Right now I don't plan to do this again!
I have never done tube feeding so I don't suppose I should try that! I am tempted though. I am handfeeding based on what I read rather than being shown. Maybe as a last resort.
:>) MrsD
 
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-04-2003, 09:08 PM
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I've raised a lot of birds but never used either applesauce or rice cereal for them- I'm not saying it's wrong, we all learn different things. (I was originally taught to fill the baby's crop up just as full as possible; I have since learned that it is a lot better for them not to be so full so that they will empty properly.)

Maybe you can check with the breeder you know about an antibiotic. I'm beating my head against the wall trying to remember which one it is.

Oh, I hate tube feeding babies! I've tube fed two Eclectus and they get to be absolutely horrible about it - to the point that it takes one person to hold the bird and one to feed. My gray is using a syringe (a 60cc would be nice, but my hands are too small to hold them and push the plunger!); I use a 12cc syringe and fill it up 4 or 5 times.

Have you tried putting some cheerios in with the babies? Or some cooked rice? Maybe having something like that to munch with/play with would help his hunger and help him heal at the same time.

Is this the first time you've raised 'tiels? I've never bred them, but have brought them home with me before they even pinned. I worked for an aviary for a while and at one point had 30-something babies in one of my bedrooms - 'tiels, quakers, Eclectus, Amazons, Derbyans. What a zoo!! I have a friend (a breeder) who is trying to talk me into getting a male parrotlet to go with my female and breed them. But right now I've been handfeeding something since December and am just about to get tired of it - and with the gray only 7 weeks old I've got a bit longer to go with him!

Keep in touch and let me know what happens. I've been thinking about you guys a lot this weekend but don't know of anything else to tell you that might help. Will certainly be letting you know if I can think of anything!

I think it is a good sign that he is still hanging in there. Evidently he's strong willed and you're doing something right!!

CRITTERCALL


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-06-2003, 08:27 AM
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update on tiel

THis morning he has gained 3 grams. The crop was still maybe 1/3 to 1/2 full. I have been giving him a combination of Pedialyte with applesauce or papaya, and a very little bit of formula and rice flakes (baby cereal). This is a very watered-down mix. And I fed every 2 to 3 hours yesterday, only 5-6 cc's a time.
I am going on the example of breastfeeding; how a bottle-fed baby eats about every 4 hours but a breast baby eats about every 2- and formula is harder to digest. I figure the rice and lots of Pedialyte makes this easier to digest too. He seems to be much happier now that he is eating more.
This morning I didn't think the crop looked as bloated as before (with air); just not empty. I am massaging it to make sure it doesn't get hard in there. His energy is still good- he is actually more active than the other bird. He climbs out of the nest box and comes after any syringe!

I have also been giving this poor creature an obnoxious garlic combination twice a day. I really think it has a good chance of working.

:>) MrsD
 
post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-06-2003, 03:43 PM
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I'm really impressed with your success with this little guy - I know, that and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee!!

I hope he continues to improve - and that little bloated crop goes down soon! It is so frustrating and we get so worried about our sick babies.

Are these babies ones you bred yourself or did you buy them from someone? Just curious (that's the way I am). I've never had any personal experience with breeding birds (or anything else, for that matter). My friend who breeds several different kinds of birds keeps trying to talk me into getting a male parrotlet to set up shop with my female. Those little guys usually have 5 or 6 eggs per clutch - can you imagine how tiny the babies would be?

Off on a tangent - sorry.

I appreciate you keeping me up to date on what's going on with this guy. I've learned with raising animals that you can never learn too much.

CRITTERCALL


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-06-2003, 09:49 PM
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I don't have any advice to offer, but I just wanted to say that I'm glad to hear he's doing better!


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Rhonda
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