Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 3:38 pm Post subject: How tough are these little fellas ?????????
As most of you have read, our weather has been a bit on the HOT side for the past couple of weeks. But the most incredible story has emerged from all of the heat and stress placed on the birds.
We have set up a few pairs which like to continue breeding across the summer months. Whilst it is not the ideal situation these pairs seem to have the whole weather thing worked out and the hens will leave their boxes during the hottest part of the day and return in the evening to incubate through the night. As we posted in another thread we have 5 young babies that are being hand reared during the day and returned to the aviary at night. These are all doing fine and in fact are growing at a greater rate than normal. The extra nutrition that is in the hand rearing mix seems to be of great value to Kakariki.
I read (on this forum) that some breeders discard the eggs once the hen has stopped sitting believing the eggs to be dead. Well, that is not true in some cases. One of the hens left her eggs on Saturday and decided not to sit on them anymore. The temperature on that day was 43 degrees so no-one could blame her for that. I run an air conditioning business and so also became very busy. The eggs were left and I thought nothing of it until Monday night. By that time the temperature was back to the high 20's during the day and much cooler overnight. I decided to remove the eggs as the hen still had not returned to the box in 3 days.
I was lucky enough to get an Egg Buddy for christmas from my wife. This little machine actually monitors the chicks heart beat by placing the egg inside a little compartment. It displays a graph showing the heart beat and also records the heart rate. I decided to test the machine and placed the eggs one at a time into the machine. The first 3 showed no signs of life and so were disposed of. The last 2 showed strong and consistent heart beats. I was amazed and re tested the eggs several times.
Next I placed the 2 eggs into our brooder and set the temperature at 37 degrees which is the required setting. I also increased the humidity inside the brooder by pacing extra dishes of water inside. That was at 8pm Monday night. By 12pm that same night we had hatched 2 healthy young chicks. These were cleaned and rehydrated early the next morning and have since joined the other 5 chciks.
I guess the moral behind this story is that if you are prepared to invest in right equipment and be vigilant the rewards can be very great indeed. I wonder how many eggs have been thrown away with a poor little chick still grasping for life inside. Food for thought.
5 young babies that are being hand reared during the day and returned to the aviary at night. These are all doing fine and in fact are growing at a greater rate than normal. The extra nutrition that is in the hand rearing mix seems to be of great value to Kakariki.
We feed veggies 2x times a day with fruit sundries during the day, so there is a continus flow of fresh food...I mentioned before, it seems kakariki when in hot conditions up there veg intake dramatically.
A pair with 5 chicks will go thru a good cup of diced veggies per day, no wastage.
We leave eggs untill the female has completely left the nest,,,she will scatter and/or bury the old eggs to lay a new batch.....yes we have often been suprised at late hatching, and even 1 or 2 of a batch hatch very late. Well up around the 28 to 32 days. _________________ My Spelling is Not Incorrect...It's 'Creative'
We have found there is a concerning factor with allowing the parents to feed young chicks during extremely high temperatures. Feeding large amounts of fresh food is okay but there seems to be a problem with the parents providing enough moisture on the hot days. The chicks can have full crops of food but without adequate moisture content in the actual crop the food dries out and the chicks die from sour crop. This is when the food becomes stale and the chick cant pass food out of the crop. I believe this is due to the fact that feeding parents mix seed with the fruit before feeding.
Very young chicks are fine because the hen seems to understand that a very young chick requires hydrating in the early days and the food that is fed is usually very runny. However as the chick develops the food becomes heavier and this is when problems occur in hot weather. By removing the chicks and feeding them a "wet" solution of rearing mix the problem can be eliminated.
The eggs that were removed had been buried as Steptoe noted in his reply but they were still alive. My theory is that the hen abandoned her clutch due to the extreme weather and that is natures way of maintaining the balance. We have have simply altered the course of nature by using modern technology.
The chicks can have full crops of food but without adequate moisture content in the actual crop the food dries out and the chicks die from sour crop
I believe this is due to the fact that feeding parents mix seed with the fruit before feeding
Thats interesting, I go along with that....
Its from our observations that we started feeding more often veggies/fruit during the day...The parents would, feed straight way, the moist veggies to the chicks.....As I mentioned before, during hot weather and the fresh veggie intake goes up dramatically. Kakariki in the wild dont have access to dry 'grass' type seeds but rather veggietation, berries, flowers, all with a far higher moisture content.
What your are saying certainly explains our own observations. _________________ My Spelling is Not Incorrect...It's 'Creative'
the extreme hot weather of the past few weeks here in adelaide has meant we have had to try many new ways to keep our baby kakas alive. so far 12 hatched and all still alive and well. i agree with greg , as the young start to break feather they are more likely to suffer heat stress and slow crop emptying. we do very similar to steps ,we feed early in the morning then late afternoon. only thing we do different on the hot days is both feeds contain nearly all greens ie endive celery.seems to keep the young and parents hydrated and the crops seem to empty normaly. water mist the aviaries all day has been a must. we use a nest box that can be opened top and bottom to try and get some air movement, seems tobe working well. allour nest boxes are hung nearly flat in hot weather so the young can spread the full length of the box also works very well.
all our kakariki nest boxes are hung at 45 degree angle rather than 90 degrees as most people do. in the hot weather we tilt the boxes even further, this allows much more room for the young to spread out. Boxes end up being parallel to the ground, hope this explains it.
The chicks can have full crops of food but without adequate moisture content in the actual crop the food dries out and the chicks die from sour crop.
On hot days we now no longer feed dry cat biskets and similar processed foods to nesting and non nesting birds. These where given only occassionally as a treat.
Simply as a precautionally measure. Sour crop has never been a problem here.
Hot day being over 30 C deg in avairy. _________________ My Spelling is Not Incorrect...It's 'Creative'
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