I've been feeding the one chick once a day, and returning it to the nestbox. Parents have shown no sign of aggression towards baby, and were feeding it also. Yesterday am I pulled to handfeed and baby began a feeding response eagerly, then stopped after just a very tiny bit. I returned to parents, who fed baby. Later in the day, I heard feeding going on in the nestbox. By evening, around 9pm, baby had a mostly empty crop, and Mom had laid a new egg. She seemed pretty settled into egg sitting.
I pulled baby to feed, and got the same half hearted response...an initial pumping and gaping mouth, then quickly closed up and refusing food. I returned chick to nestbox, and checked again this am. Totally empty crop this time. Same feeding response...eagerly started, stopped quickly and barely took enough to just start rounding crop. Mom and Dad are ignoring baby..I don't think they'll feed it at all anymore.
Why is the baby refusing to eat after starting a good response? The formula is slightly thicker than cream soup, andn I tried even thinning it a bit since baby probably hasn't fed in about 8-9 hours well at this point. I tried waiting a bit and trying again, lightly dribbling formula over side of beak, and even swapped a spoon for a syringe and giving little "beak shakes". Nada. Suggestions?
How old is the chick? Their weight peaks around the age of three weeks, but then they start eating less as their growth rate slows down. When they reach fledging age, a huge heavy crop is undesirable because it would weigh them down and interfere with flying.
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Chick is 20 days old. These are the parents that have bred for 4 years and had their clutches pulled at 14-16 days for handfeeding. Based on the fact that they are laying again, I think they are just pre-programmed to double clutch and don't understand why this baby is still hanging around.
The formula is at 104 degrees, and I'm only feeding the one chick, so I don't see that it's likely to be cooling off too much. I put it in a glass jar in a bowl of hot water while feeding to keep it warm.
I don't see any white patches in the mouth or other signs of yeast. Since 8 am this morning baby has passed 3 droppings of maybe slightly thicker than normal consistency. It's not a huge difference from before. Intestines don't look dark or red or like anything is pooling.
I think I'm noticing a little more redness to the skin of baby. Other than that it seems reasonably alert and is standing and trying to crawl towards syringe for food, but never really gets the pumping response going. It does slowly open mouth to take a little, but stops after only a little. Hmm.
Maybe it just got weak from several hours yesterday and last night of parental neglect?
I'll try feeding closer to every 2 hours and see where we get.