Letter 4: Handfeeding?
About 2 days ago my female zebra finch died: she got out and crashed into a window. She had 5 eggs and the male wouldn't sit on the eggs. I have taken them out and placed on a warming pad since I cannot locate an incubator. I'm not sure if we got another female if she would take care of them. We have no other birds to foster them to. I know nothing about handfeeding.
PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!
My e-mail adress is Kevinr@ieighty.net, adress it to Sahra Robertson
Handfeeding Zebra Finches is very difficult you hardly ever know if the fed quantity is sufficient or too much (the crop must not be too tight), if you hurt the chicks or if they have already received enough of the required antibodies contained in the adults' saliva to strengthen their body defences. We should leave it to the birds to raise their young.
Males usually take part in the incubation and rearing business, although they often do not spend as many hours on the eggs and chicks as the female. If the latter gets lost the male will often replace her successfully the older the chicks, the more easily.
My advice: I would simply leave the business to the male. However, once he has found the eggs removed from the nest he may not be prepared to continue sitting on them ...
The fatal accident, by the way, proves my point that Zebra Finches and most other birds should not fly outside their cage:
- A living room or study was not made for birds to live in: windows, cupboards, vases etc. are all unknown to a bird and may therefore turn out to be deadly traps; so make sure your friends never escape from their cage.
- Of course birds must be given their daily "wing exercise", but they don't just need that for only an hour what they need is a spacious aviary where they can cover a little distance on the wing whenever they feel like doing it. It is here that they are on their best, i. e. innate, behaviour.