Post your questions here.
Wednesday - Chicks Break and Soil 2nd Clutch Eggs
Hi, I have an annual problem in the breeding season, my hens with the cocks go for the first clutch and everything goes well until the second clutch, I introduce the second nest when the chicks are 15-18 days old, the hen builds the nest and lays her eggs, now here's the problem the chicks jump from there nest and sit in the second nest on top of the eggs, end of day i get broken eggs, poop on eggs and hen wont be able to sit on eggs. I move the chicks away but it seems hopeless as they jump again into the second nest. Is there any way to deal with this problem. Thanks heaps in advance for taking the time to help other, also for sharing with us this valuable and extensive information. By the way I raise scotch fancy canaries.
Chicks can change nests anytime starting with their 14 day but to see them it will likely be 18th day or so. Extra nests are important but often the hen wants to old one! It is critical that you remove the eggs each morning as soon as they are laid to protect them from breaking and soiling. I put one plastic egg in the nest when she lays her first egg and that is sufficient for the whole clutch. I use a muffin tin and line it with nesting material (shredded burlap) to hold the eggs till the chicks are out of the cage. You can hold the eggs at room temperature for a week till you can get the chicks out of the cage. Should an egg be soiled, let it be as it will still hatch.
When I see a chick on the floor, I again introduce quartered hard boiled egg to start the weaning process. Most chicks are eating on their own and weaned by 21 days. They are ready for a first cage with no perches. This helps encourage them to eat as they have food right at their feet. Often when I hear of weaning problems, people will report that the chicks just sit on the perch and cry. Birds like to perch on the highest perch. Even weaning chicks go for the highest perch instead of staying on the floor and eating.
Monday - Non-feeding Hen
I had 2 chicks hatch out and within 24hours they died, they was coming up for food, no black spot and no food in their crop ?
Sometimes hens will not feed but most will do so once the chicks are two or three days old. A few things that encourage the hen:
1. Make sure there is good lighting.
2. Feed the hen first thing in the morning, be there when the light comes on and not late!
3. Offer 1/4 hard boiled egg in addition to nestling food. I cut them so that there is a sharp ridge which tempts them to nibble on it. When chicks are banded give only the nestling foods and add greens etc till the first chick leaves the nest and then add the quarter hard boiled egg again to start the chicks weaning. Offer a small dish of brewer's yeast.
4. Once fresh food is in the cage, leave her alone for a few hours. Avoid eye contact with the hen the first few days because if she stress her instinct is to protect her chicks from you rather than feed.
5. If you find that the chicks are not being fed, supplement feed with Kaytee Exact Hand Feeding formula till the hen takes over her duties.
6. Add KD Powder to the drinking water (ladygouldianfinch.com).
A. Cocks Go Out Of Condition
1. I keep borders and live in England and have a bit of a problem, I hope you could share your wisdom.
2 weeks ago the cocks were singing vigorously and feeding their feet, but the last few days seem to have lost interest and won't mate when I run them with a hen.The hens are just carrying on building,laying and sitting without being mated.
I think I may have overdosed the supplements, particularly vitamin E. Do you think they can be brought back to the right level of condition or have I ruined this season?
Hope to hear back from you, Regards Laurie.
Laurie, All is not lost!! Breeding takes a lot of energy and can stress the birds so that any with suboptimal health can quickly go out of condition.
First Look at the width of each birds tail. Wide tails are seen in out of condition birds. Piped (narrow) tails are more likely in condition or can get that way easily. Catch each cock and look at the vent development. Feed border veggies with Breedmax daily to all potential breeders. Get the Orlux brand special optimal breeding vitamins and use them as directed. It is very important that they be getting the two most important breeding proteins methionine and lysine.
Also see if cocks are too thin or too fat. Thin ones increase high calorie foods fatty seeds like sunflower and high carb seed like oats and restrict flying by putting perches about every 4 to 6 inches. Fat ones will not come into breeding condition give them lots of flight and all the greens they will eat and lower fat seeds like canary and oats, give them some hard boiled egg if they will eat it. In the US, we can get Petamine which is a complete diet but rather powdery with a few seeds. My fat ones get Petamine, greens and water.
Second, how many hours of daylight are your birds on? Extend suddenly to 15 hours (includes 15 minute dimming time.) Do not
Third treat the water two consecutive days a week with KD Powder. This is one of Dr. Rob Marshall's from Australia products and I see it advertised on Google in the UK too. This will acidify the crop and promote peak health. Likely you will see the tails pipe in a couple of days. This product is really essential in the aviary as it kills organisms and promotes natural immunity. Try very hard to get KD Powder. (If you absolutely can not get KD Powder use organic apple cider vinegar (has sediment, from health food store) and 40 ml use to a gallon of water and use twice a week.)
Fourth use dividers to place cock on one side and hen on the other and feed goodies to cock and see if the hen will beg him to feed her. With a large number of problem birds, a larger flight can be divided and all none sitting hens can be on one side and any potential cocks on the other. Many times the problem is hens not begging and fighting among cocks will bring them in and stimulate the hens too.
B. Michelle writes about a problem with Foul Smelling Droppings.
Normally the droppings should be odorless and foul smelling droppings indicate an infection most commonly, if it really smells foul is E. coli. This gram negative organism is present in feces (mice and humans and even cockroaches are some of the possible sources).
Contaminated water is often a problem, make sure you are not using a garden hose or water holding tank. Thoroughly clean drinkers. The birds will need to be treated with antibiotics. Contact Joanne at firstname.lastname@example.org and get Trimethaprim Sulfa and also get some KD Powder or see your avian vet.