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    Budgie care tips : From hand feeding stage

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    Chick health and weight – Budgie care


    Keeping Chicks At The Right Temperature – Budgie care

    Budgie care : For the chicks to stay healthy they need to be kept in a place that is the correct temperature for their age. Too hot or too cold will easily kill a chick if not corrected.  You will need to take into consideration your climate, the average temperature of your home and the age of the chicks to decide whether you can use nursery boxes or will need a brooder.

    From 2-3 weeks, the chicks need to be kept at at about 80-85 degrees fahrenheit.

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    If you keep your home at 70-75 degrees nursery boxes can work very well since the inside of the boxes will be about 10 degrees warmer than the outside air, just like a nest box normally would be so long as you keep your chicks with at least one other nest mate to snuggle with. If your home is at a colder temperature, or you are keeping a chick on their own, you will need an added heat source or brooder until they are fully feathered. Once the chicks are fully feathered (if your room is kept at the average temperature mentioned above) they will be fine to not have any additional heat. As the chicks mature you can make a transition to other temperatures if needed as long as you make it a slow transition if they are used to more heat. A sharp drop in temperature should always be avoided for any bird, and especially so for a chick.

    Keep an eye on their behavior, babies that are too cold will huddle together and will be fluffed up, if they are too hot they will hold their wings out from their body and pant trying to cool off.  A baby that is just the right temp at about will be active and exploring their surroundings, not huddled up or listless unless they are sleeping or just got done eating. We always keep 3 sides of our nursery boxes covered to keep them safe from drafts, and make them feel more secure too.


     Cleanliness Is Essential – Budgie care

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    4 1/2 week old chicks

    Other than diet, cleanliness is what has the biggest impact on the health of your chicks. Nursery boxes and cages need to be kept clean at all times, because the chicks will constantly be putting in their beak and eating anything and everything on the floor and in food and water dishes.

    Pellet and seed mixes need to kept fresh and free of droppings too, and since many chicks tend to enjoy sleeping in their food dishes and playing in them this in itself can be quite the challenge!

    Fresh foods including veggies and egg food can only be left out for a couple of hours before spoiling. Hand feeding formula is a breeding ground for bacteria and dries very quickly, so immediately after each feeding is the best time to clean everything so it is ready for the next time.  All utensils including syringes, spoons and thermometers will need to be taken apart as best as possible and cleaned and thoroughly disinfected.

    The chicks themselves will need to be gently cleaned after each and every hand feeding as well. Especially in the beginning before they get the hang of the spoon they can make quite the mess of themselves! Warm water and a soft washcloth will easily remove formula. Again though it is very important to clean them up as soon as you are done with the feeding. Leaving it for any period of time not only make it much harder to get off once it dries, but it will allow bacteria to grow and can cause stunted growth and beak deformities that are hard if not impossible to reverse in some cases.


    What  Healthy Chick Should Look Like – Budgie care

    The best way to keep an eye out for potential problems with your chicks is to know what a healthy, happy chick should look like. With this in mind you can keep an eye out for any unusual behavior or symptoms.

    A healthy chick should have bright and clear eyes. They will have a clean well shaped beak with the top neatly fitting into the bottom. By a few weeks they should have a nice amount of down and pin feathers that gradually come out of the sheaths.

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    A healthy 3 week old chick

    Most well fed and healthy chicks should be fully feathered by 4- 4 1/2 weeks of age.

    Cleanliness in the nest box and nursery cages, and proper perches in the weaning cages should be obvious with smooth well shaped legs, feet and toes. The vent and tail should be clean and free from stains or droppings.

    The keel bone (chest bone) of a chick that is a healthy weight should not be sharp or sticking out, but rather there should be well defined muscle on each side with the keel bone barely being felt.


     Weight Gain – Budgie care

    Weight gain - Budgie care

    3 english budgie chicks at 3 1/2 weeks

    There is no specific number of grams for every chick at any given age. Each baby in a clutch can, and often will, weigh different daily even being raised on the same diet. Genetics plays the biggest roll in determining how much a baby will weigh, as will having a good diet so they to reach their full potential of course.

    For example, what will be considered a normal baby weight at 3 weeks for a wild type budgie chick will be completely different than for a english budgie chick of the same

    age. Most chicks range from 20-80 grams generally speaking from 3 weeks to weaning.  How much each one should gain every day will vary as well. When you keep this in mind you won’t unnecessarily worry yourself if a chick does not hold up to an expectation that for his or her genetic background or size would not normally call for.

    The most important things are that they are gaining weight or every so often maintaining their weight, and that you know what a healthy chick should look like for his or own specific size as was described above.  Most chicks will continually gain each day and not loose it up until the weaning point. During this time some weight loss is normal, but not extreme loss.


    Warning Signs – Budgie care

    Here are some common (but not all) warning signs to look for that indicate something wrong with a chick. All of these signs are serious, and most will require an avian vets expertise and hands on experience to properly diagnose and treat if needed.  If you notice any of these signs, please make an appointment as soon as possible for a check up to see the cause and what can be done to treat the problem.

    Warning signs - Budgie care tips

    Lethargic or constantly sleeping: A chick that constantly sleeps and is inactive is a sign that something is wrong. Chicks will naturally sleep more the younger that they are, but they should still be alert and explore at feeding and playing at regular times throughout the day.

    Slow feather growth: Proper feather growth is one sign that a baby is developing normally, so when this is stunted it is always a cause for concern. There are a number of things that can cause slow feather growth from a virus or bacterial infection, to incorrect formula and feeding amounts. Your avian vet will be able to help figure out what is causing it.

    Crop not emptying: A chick that is not digesting its food properly is in great danger of starving quickly, in addition to the spoiled food that has be sitting in its crop for too long that can go bad causing a number of other problems. A slow crop can be caused by feeding an incorrect temperature of formula, chilling a chick so that its digestion is slowed, or a viral, bacterial or yeast infection among other things.

    Loose droppings: This often is a sign of some kind of internal viral or bacterial infection. Be sure to check with your avian vet if you notice this in your chicks. Too much water in their hand feeding formula can cause excess urine in the droppings, but it should correct itself with the proper portioning of water and formula for the chicks age.

    Chicks constantly begging for food: This is a sign that a chick is not getting the nutrients that it is needing either in amount or variety. A full chick should be content to explore, play and sleep peacefully. In this case carefully consider what you are feeding, how much you are feeding, and how often.

    Losing weight before weaning: Budgie chicks should maintain, or gain weight every day up until they start weaning. If a chick is losing weight it is usually a sign that it is fighting an infection of some kind, or not getting adequate nutrition. Be sure to check with your avian vet right away to see what is causing it.

    Article + Image Source : cutelittlebirdiesaviary

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