Thursday, February 24, 2011
New Birds Update - Working Toward Perfect Health
The middle bird of the stack sings frequently and has a beautiful song, not perfect but very very nice! He is quite a Casanova, as he likes to look me in the eye and serenade me, singing and swaying, even when I am as close as two feet from his cage. Usually, my birds are known to me by their band numbers but I confide that Casanova has a nick name, Mario!
Bottom bird has started singing a little but too soon to evaluate. Over all the seven birds are doing very well with no more problems! My daughter, not a bird lover, asked how much longer are the birds going to be in quarantine? Ideally six weeks or longer. The most critical time is the first two weeks. Although treatment for mites kills the living mites it does not kill the eggs so a second treatment at 10 days is necessary and then I will need some more time to make sure that none are sickly.
Since most of the birds were molting upon arrival, it is important to get the molt finished as quickly as possible and not precipitate another molt. Since a drop in day length will cause birds to molt, it is important to extend their days rather than shorten them. I started them on 7 am to 6 pm but will lengthen probably next week.
Along the same intent of shortening the molt, the birds started on a high carbohydrate diet. The basic seed is L'Avian as it has a higher proportion of canary seed than other mixes. The first day, I also offered canola rape with some canary seed soaked in cod liver oil just to be sure they eat canary seed. Once I had an imported roller who nearly died on me till I figured out that he only ate canola rape and no other seed. I examined all cracked seed and seeing cracked canary seed in a cage, it was stitched to L'Avian.
In addition, they were fed cous cous with poppy seed as mention in the previous post. This is easy to digest and would likely be eaten just because it had poppy seeds in it! Any time I have trouble getting birds to eat something, I put poppy seeds in it... I always start the day with fresh feed and water and then add extras as the day progresses with the most important first thing in the morning.
Next, I offered some fresh soft white bread. One heavily molting bird took to it immediately and I expect in a few days most will eat it. They only have to try it once, just a bite and they will eat it! Bread, being high carb is very fattening and all these birds need to gain weight to come into breeding condition. Males some thin fat layer but not an obstructive "beer belly", hens pleasantly plump.
Since the birds are doing lots of preening, I wanted to give them something high carb to chew on. Steel cut oats is perfect as they love to play with it and shell it. This I give mid afternoon for snack.
I am feeding baby bok choy and they are eating it stem and all. I give them one leaf as I need to make sure they eat a high calorie diet and add some body mass. Along with baby bok choy they are enjoying a slice of golden delicious apple each day.
After the water treatment with ivomec, they received a 24 hour treatment with ABBA high fertility Vitamin E once a week. I have not done this before to stop molting but I decided it was a good addition. It appeared to help as I noted tightening feathers the following day. The daily water is poultry vitamins 1/4 tsp to a gallon of water, 1 tablespoon liquid 23% calcium gluconate (cattle product) and a generous splash of multiple vitamin B.
As it appears molting is under control and finishing, I can add some other snacks including sunflower pieces with brewer's yeast and the dry nestling food containing insects from Linda and Kevin Brown Jeepers Peepers Aviary that was originally posted on October 28, 2009 on this blog, bee pollen and some border veggies. In addition, when I am sure they are not going to come down with something, I will add ABBA mineral grit. Sickly birds should not be fed grit as sickly birds may over eat it, impact and die.
I have window shades up during the day for sunlight and additional table light on a timer so that the room is bright. Yesterday was such a beautiful day, temperature 70 F, that I also opened the windows for fresh air. I enjoyed a nap and occasionally would awake briefly to Mario singing!