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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-12-2005, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
 
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Smile Just bought a baby cockateil

Hi, just bought a new baby (6 mos. old) cockateil. I am hand feeding.

I have a question. When and how do I wean the baby? I just brought the little guy home today. I am feeding every 12 hours as instructed.

I have seed and water in the cage. Was instructed to feed or offer to feed fruits and veggies.

I have visited him/her for the last 3 days and have participated and feed on my own the last 1 1/2 days. He seems to know my voice already and moves to the side of the cage closest to me! He is just adorable!

Thanks for the help!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-14-2005, 10:37 AM
 
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Well, couple of questions first. Have you ever hand fed a baby bird before? Have you ever weaned a bird before? Are you hand feeding formula (baby bird stuff)?

6 months seems awfully old for a cockatiel to still be hand feeding. Be sure to offer warm, mushy foods. Try sweet taters mashed up with a little cinnamon. Veggies, fruit, etc.

Does your baby still cry for formula?
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-14-2005, 12:21 PM
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I agree, 6months seems to be a bit long for hand feeding. ...then again 12 hrs is a long time between feedings for such a small crop. I would expect the bird to be supplementing itself with other food from the cage.

Does your bird look fully feathered? I mean does he/she look like an adult bird? Is it it eating any of the seed at all? In the wild, by the time they are fully feathered, flighted and out of the nest, they are foraging most of their own food, getting relatively little from mom and dad.
What is the formula that you are feeding, and is it by spoon, syringe, or bowl?

I don't mean to alarm you by asking these questions. If whatever you are doing is working fine, keep doing it. I'm just curious about how other folks take care of their birds.



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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-14-2005, 01:39 PM
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I also think that is a bit old for a tiel to be handfed. Handfeeding, if done incorrectly, can be dangerous for the bird.

They usually wean on their own, by refusing the formula.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-14-2005, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
 
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I attended 3 feedings at the breeder before I brought him home. Once to watch, once to assist and once done on my own with them watching me.

He is eating the spray of millet continuously, some of the birdseed. I have been feeding with a syringe as instructed and what the bird is used to. He does not really cry for food but seems to not want it as much since I brought him home on Wednesday. It has only been two days and he has refused as much formula (Kaytee).

I cooked peas, corn, rice and pasta last night. He did not partake that I could see.

His feathers are almost totally there. He tries to fly (must not have full wings yet or have been clipped although I don't think they have). He has a bald spot on top of his head but elsewhere they seem to be full.

If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. I don't like feeding him with the formula. It was suggested that I offer the formula on a baby spoon instead of the syringe. I am aware that the syringe needs to go in the right side of the mouth into the proper hole. I then clean the roof of his mouth with a Q-tip and under the tongue. I then drop a drop of saline solution on the top of his beak(each hole) and wipe him down with a damp papertowel if food got on him.

I would welcome any info. on weaning him and quickly. He does not seem to have much interest in anything but the millet. Good start huh? Thanks for the help!
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-14-2005, 08:01 PM
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Cockatiels naturally feed primarily on seeds of grasses and grains in thier native Australia. At least, that's what I've read and been told by folks who have studied them. That has also been my experience in the few that I've had to hand raise (Usually the parents save me the trouble). They also eat some berries and fruits. I think millet sprays are a great transitional food.

Even though I usually feed my cockatoo babies via a syringe and tube directly into the crop, it can be controversial, and there are many differing opinions on this method. It is not for beginners (IMHO) and is not for the faint of heart. It is probably the most dangerous, as you may squirt food into the lungs ...a very bad thing!

Your bird should be able to eat food out of a saucer or spoon by now. A lot messier, but less stressful, and more fun! (Get your camera ready!)

You might also start transitioning to a pelleted diet at this point. Get one you like and start off by soaking it in warm water to make it soft a palatable. Mix it in with the baby food in the saucer/spoon and let the bird "have at it". Each day make it a little drier and have the dry food available all the time. You should have no trouble.

I will say that some birds always want baby food in my experience. My 15 yr old cockatoo will still beg for any syringe she sees, and she'll still try to give me the head pumping behavior a baby uses to solicit food from an adult. (My wife thinks the bird's first mistake is assuming I'm an adult!)

Sounds like you are being very responsible and doing fine.



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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-15-2005, 03:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mars
His feathers are almost totally there. He tries to fly (must not have full wings yet or have been clipped although I don't think they have).
A 6 month old cockatiel is going to be fully feathered and should be more than able to fly unless his wings are clipped. Are you sure he's 6 mos and not 6 weeks?? Even left to wean on their own, cockatiels are usually fully weaned by 12 or so weeks. Is it possible that you miss heard the age? Did the breeder give you his hatch date?

Does he readily accept the formula? Is he 'pumping' while you are feeding him? How many ml are you giving him?

Quote:
He does not seem to have much interest in anything but the millet.
How much millet do you give him? A 4-5 inch piece once a day is enough, that's usually the first thing birds go after and they will fill up on it.

Quote:
I would welcome any info. on weaning him and quickly.
This will depend on his true age. If he really is 6 mos, try reducing the amount of formula you give him daily a little at a time. For example --(and the amounts are purely for example--not an indication that you should be feeding him that amount) If you give him 7 ml twice a day, reduce it to 6 ml twice a day, then down to 5 ml etc. Just be sure he has plenty of fresh food, seeds and pellets available because he will be eating more on his own.

If he is only 6 weeks, well then that's a whole new ballgame. You do not want to wean him at that age and I really don't want to get into that until we hear back from you on his age.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-15-2005, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
 
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His hatch date is June 2004. He really is 6 months. I am grateful for the information you are giving me.

I was taught to insert the syringe directly into the crop. He is not as interested since I came home. He goes to town on dry millet and will eat his seed (Nutirphase Gold cockatiel formula). I have decreased the amount given. He was taking 15-20 cc of formula the day I brought him home. He is now taking about 10cc. I have been feeding him since Thursday morning. He wants nothing to do with a spoon.

Also, I have been watching his actions and he does not 'pump' for food when it is time to eat. I have been waiting later to feed him also, thinking he is just not as hungry since he has been eating seed and millet.

He is such a joy. He will 'fly' from his perch to me when he sees me. He loves his neck and cheecks rubbed and will make the sweetest sound. He will also bury his beak into my hand or lay his head on the side and continue to make that same sound. When I quit he is upset and nudges my hand! All this since Thursday! I think he knows I am his new 'mom'!

Thanks for all the help! I will continue to ask questions as time goes on!

Mars
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-15-2005, 10:14 PM
 
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Hmmm, wonder what the breeder was thinking keeping him on formula this long.

If he's not begging for it, I'd say don't give it to him. If you want, you could put a small dish with a little formula in it inside his cage, that way you can tell if he's really interested in it or not.

In any case, it shouldn't be too hard to wean him at that age.
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