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Happy Bird Place

Happy Bird Place
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Sunday, May 30, 2010


All of the babies have fledged and the older ones are largely weaned, but unfortunately I had to remove the 2 youngest babies from the clutch of 3 to hand feed since their parents were plucking their feathers so that they are almost bald on the chest and back.  For the first clutches in the fall, both pairs of parents did well.  For the current clutches, both sets of parents have been plucking the feathers of their babies to a certain degree.  And it's both the father and the mother.  After some discussion with other breeders, I feel that the cause, especially of the severe plucking of the youngest 2 babies, are because the parents do not want to feed them anymore and were trying to chase them off.  Other suggestions for plucking include too small of space (mine are in large flight cages, so less chance this is the cause), possible nutritional deficiency (less likely given mine gets all sorts of supplements), and too much protein/mealworms leading to hyper parents who want to mate again (there may be some merit here since I have been indulging them since they seem to wait for the mealworms twice a day to feed their babies).  I am going to force a longer wait time in between clutches next time (the parents were mating and displaying, so I went ahead and gave them their nest boxes back) and decrease amount of protein food especially in between clutches to avoid mating overdrive.

I am always learning new things about keeping birds and am so glad there are so many helpful bird-keepers.

Monday, May 24, 2010

stress bars

I have just learned that the bars on the feathers of my baby yellow gouldian mentioned in yesterday's posting are most likely stress bars, which are usually due to nutritional deficiencies, getting cold, or other health problems.  Since this baby was neglected then abandoned by it's parents before I started to hand feed it, it makes a lot of sense.  It is doing well on on hand feeding and will hopefully molt out to be a beautiful bird. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Growing babies.

When baby grasskeets fledge, they are often bad flyers.  They often flap and stubble around, but somehow rarely manage to actually hurt themselves.  Gouldian babies tend to do better.  If they are fed a good diet full of protein, greens, and vitamins/calcium, they often fly out of the nest like they've been doing it all along.
The grasskeet fledgling still with down in it's feathers.  

This is a yellow gouldian baby is currently being handfed by me.  It is doing very well.
 Here is the baby a week later with more feathers.  This yellow gouldian has bars on it's feathers.  I'm not sure I've seen this before.  It will be interesting to see what adult colors it molts into.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


New grasskeet babies are fledging.  Younger babies are still in the nest, but 4 babies between the 2 clutches are out.  Not flying terribly well yet, but they are certainly trying.  I am trying to make sure all babies are still being fed well.  
These guys will take another 4-6 weeks before fully weaning.  They won't acquire they adult colors until closer to 4-6 months of age, but sometimes can start getting new feathers as young as around 3 months of age.  Gender can be evaluated by looking at the underside of the wings, however.  Males have all black feathers.  Females have a white bar on the under-wing.  If the white bar is somewhat broken, then it's not 100% it's a female and will need to wait for that red chest feather to show up or not to tell for sure.

Friday, May 7, 2010

more pictures...

The mother of the clutch of three taking a look before leaving the nest box.
A male forbes parrot finch.  He recently lost his mate.  I'd like to get him a companion, but he seems ok since he's living among the gouldians.
One of the blue cap cordon blue males.
Here are the 2 baby gouldians that were fostered to society finches.  They've fledged now but are still not fully weaned.
A black headed white breasted (either not a clean white breast or very light lavender since his breast color appears pink) double factor yellow backed male gouldian finch.  He's a great dad.
She is the mate of the above male gouldian.  She is black headed purple split to white breasted normal green split to blue back.  I know she's split to white breast and split to blue because they had babies with white breast and silver coloration (aka yellow blue back).  She's a great mother now but hasn't lost her love of hanging upside down from the top of the cage.
This is the latest baby of the above pair.  It is an only child at this point unfortunately.  There were 3 babies hatched originally, but a few days afterwards, one of the babies died of unclear reasons.  I did not find the dead baby until probably a day after it had died, so either what ever killed it was also spread to the other 2 babies or its decaying body caused the other 2 babies to get sick.  My attempt to treat the 2 babies with antibiotics saved this baby, but sadly was not able to save the other baby.  This sole survivor's parents were great.  I had to take him out to give him antibiotics 2 times a day for several days and they allowed me to do so and never abandoned him.  I'm saying him since I think he may be a dilute.  He's doing well now and growing fast.
 Here's one of the youngsters from earlier in the season.  He's molting into his adult feathers nicely.  As you can see, also singing constantly.  He'll be a black split to orange headed, purple breasted, normal green back gouldian.
 A shot of my newly made larger flight cage.  (Thanks to hubby and dad.)  From left to right, there is a pair of yellow faced star finches (so far no fertile eggs from this pair), 2 gouldian sisters from earlier in the season who are black headed split to orange head purple breasted normal green backs, and a black headed white breasted silver back female gouldian who is from the first clutch of the pair of breeding gouldians mentioned above.
 A trio of young male gouldians who are practicing their singing skills.  Notice the one at mid-level who is listening intently to his brother below him.
 More juvenile gouldians molting into adult colors.  The black headed white breasted yellow backed gouldian in the front is one of the sisters of the silver baby mentioned above.
Here is a wild baby bird I rescued from the sidewalk.  My dog found it on the side walk near a neighbor's lawn.  Unfortunately, no nest sites were in sight and it was not fully feathered nor can it fly or even walk well.  I am handfeeding it currently and it's feathering out nicely.  It still have a few down feathers - looking like evil eyebrows.  LOL.

I think it is a bit too big to be a sparrow, so it may be a house finch.
 It has clearly learned quickly where food comes from.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Here are the clutch of 5.  Getting their colorful feathers already.
 Here's the proud father and the mother.

Molting up a storm

The splendids are growing well.  There was a brief glitch in the clutch of 3 (the 4th egg was indeed dead in the shell - not sure of cause as the embryo had no visible defects).  They appear to be growing slower with half full crops all the time and had what appear to be food regurgitated on top of their head.  Wasn't sure if if they were vomiting or was unable to take food adequately.  To be on the safe side, I empirically treated them with several days of antibiotics and supplemented their diet with handfeeding as well.  They appear to be better - more energy and full crops.  On the other hand, the clutch of 5 are developing super fast.  Their parents are doing a super job.  I have not had to handfeed any of their babies at all.  The babies are becoming a bit more wary of me or namely my hand as I handle them, but I will try to keep up with handling them daily to help retain calmness when near humans.

The grasskeets are in general not great hands-on pets unless hand fed.  Bourkes tend to be easier to tame than the others. 

My yellow females turquoisine has made a full recovery from her bacterial infection.  The trip to the avian vet was well worth it.  I hope she gets over my force feeding her antibiotics twice a day.  The vet thought the antibiotics being grape flavored may didn't.  She's eating well and flying well.  Her boyfriend appears to be happy to see her, but she keeps screaming at him.  Seems to be less mean to him yesterday.  I'll give her a few more weeks before introducing a nest box since it is around their breeding season.  If she's really not taken to him, I may switch him out with a spare bachelor I have who is a normal split to yellow.  I know the normal is in the mood for love since he's been trying to feed all the gouldians I keep in the same flight cage as him.  LOL.

All the goudians and other finches as well are full speed in a fast molt now as the weather is warmed up to the high 80s to 90s.  The amount of cleaning up has definitely increased with the snow storm of feathers daily.  Hard on the back but great for the eyes to see all the juveniles molting into their beautiful adult colors.