Ask Lafeber

Question:

December 27, 2021

Conure hatchling


First time parents for both humans and birds. The first egg has hatched. What are the next steps? Do I need to change their diet? Is there something else I need to get to help the birds and babies? They do have a nesting box


Answer:

Hi Jessica,

To be honest, these are all things that should have been done before even giving the birds a nest box. Breeding birds should be on a nutritionally balanced diet such as pellets or our foraging foods. A seed diet isn’t adequate for the parents or chicks. You should also be feeding the parents dark, leafy greens, chopped veggies and some fruit. From the time you hang the nest box, the parents should be fed an egg food daily – this can be a commercial dry egg food, or you can cook an egg with the shell washed, crushed and cooked with the egg. This is very important for the hen because she uses up a lot of calcium and protein to form each egg. She will also feed this to the chicks, along with the other foods I mentioned. If she only had seeds, the chick’s crops can get impacted and they also won’t be getting much nutrition. There should also be a cuttle bone in the cage. You can add all of these foods now if you aren’t already offering them, but you can’t take away what the parents are used to eating, even if it is seeds. Hopefully the parents will start eating the fresh foods and egg and be able to feed the chicks. If they raise the chicks, then you need to remove the nest box as soon as the chicks leave it. Your pair much be rested for 6 months in between each clutch and you should only allow 2 clutches per year. The chicks have to be removed from the parents as soon as they are fully weaned. Otherwise the parents will start to pick on them because it is their instinct to make the chicks become independent. If you keep the chicks, you can’t keep males and females together, because you should not let related birds breed. But right now, just make sure they have plenty of foods to choose from to feed the chicks, and give them plenty of privacy so they don’t get nervous and abandon the chicks.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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