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  #1  
Old 03-07-2017, 02:05 AM
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Default Male plucks chicks

I have a pair of cockatiels that are amazing parents. Currently raising a clutch of 6 without even needing to supplement. All fat happy healthy babies.

The mother is a two year old that I raised, and this is her first season, second clutch.

The father is aviary raised of unknown age, having produced in the past. According to the man I bought them from, he never pulled for hand feeding.


I have only one complaint about this pair; the babies are being either plucked or barbered. It doesn't happen until they leave the nest (with 6 babies it's really easy to notice the pattern) and start hanging out in the corner of the cage. There is no blood and the babies do not demonstrate sensitivity to touch in the area. In the last clutch (4 babies) they did the same thing and we just had to wait an extra week or two after weaning for them to refeather before selling.

The diet is Roudybush breeder pellets, Abba Green egg food, fresh greens with herbs daily, fresh peppers, carrots, apples, and other veggies several times a week. Cuttle bone and mineral block constantly provided and they love them. Fresh water twice a day, both parents saw the vet prior to breeding and have clean bills of health.

Usually I would pull them for hand feeding but I have specific reasons not to:
- it seems non violent. There is no blood, the babies actually don't seem to mind, no fear reaction when you touch the area or when the parents approach, etc.
-this pair is going to my sister who is still in high school (currently living with me but moving home in the spring to finish her senior year). I could do the feeding just fine while she is here but 1) I don't want the pair to get used to us pulling them and 2) I'm in my first trimester of pregnancy and the smell of the formula makes me vomit. If it were an emergency I would deal with it, but it's not.

So I don't plan to pull them (plus they are really old for that and the plucking just started a few days ago.

We removed the nest box and placed the babies in a shallow open top box with shavings in the corner of the cage instead to hopefully help diminish his drive to breed.

Any tips on addressing this behavior other than pulling? Thanks!


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  #2  
Old 03-07-2017, 09:45 AM
Fran.bath89 Fran.bath89 is offline
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I have a similar thing happen to two clutches but the difference is this is happening with a pair of Java finches. Same situation tho great parents always sitting right and feeding well and no signs of blood or serious damage. I unfortunately don't know why it's happening to either of our chicks but I do wonder if the chicks will do this in this future to their own chicks? It's a hard one but I personally don't plan to pull my Java chicks as the feathers all come back and some are broken off rather than pulled completely out. But I can say the back of the heads of your chicks match my javas heads. I did notice my javas nest box was abit humid both times they have done this tho I just thought maybe the feathers were effected and the parents then pulled them out. Have you noticed your box being more humid than normal? I clean out my nest boxes after clutches have fledged but for some reason these last two clutches have made the nest box very humid this may be a factor for mine
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Old 03-07-2017, 11:29 AM
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No I haven't noticed that but I also wasn't looking for it. I did notice that the plucking seems to correlate with two events; pins breaking open and chicks leaving the box. Perhaps the "cause and effect" isn't quite in the order I thought it was.


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  #4  
Old 03-07-2017, 12:17 PM
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I have a pair that tends to pluck their chicks before fledging. But once they waited until after the chicks fledged and plucked them then. There were other pairs with fledglings in the same room, and my best guess is that they plucked the chicks so they could tell which babies were theirs. The other adults in the room sometimes fed the wrong chicks, but the pair that plucked the babies always fed their own chicks and no one else's.
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Old 03-07-2017, 02:58 PM
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That is very interesting. This is the only pair of tiels breeding for me right now, but the dad did breed in the aviary in his previous home.


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Old 03-07-2017, 07:48 PM
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It only happened once so I can't say for sure that this is what happened. But they had access to a salt wheel so sodium deficiency wasn't an issue, and the chicks were already out of the nest so trying to make them fledge wasn't an issue. I'm not sure what else that leaves.
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Old 03-14-2017, 01:20 AM
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Firstly I wanted to congratulate you on your pregnancy and whish you good luck!
When you have time, you may try to train the cock (make him be hand-tame). Handfeed babies ( I refer to mine partially handfeed) would grow into wonderful parents and no plucking ever. But ''wild'' birds raised by lazy breeders would pluck the chicks,even if they have enough sodium in their diet. 90% of the birds I have purchased from outside sources are pluckers. However I took my time and tamed one cock. He still does the plucking but considerably less so. Also age may be of importance. I have a hen,who is 8 y.o. and now she occasionally does it-plucks the pinfeathers or plucks the crest off the fledgings. When she was younger she didnt do that, she is hand -tame but not raised by me. And another thing- if the smell of formula upsets you,you may partially handfeed them with gerber non-milk infants cereal (oats) it works great
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Old 03-14-2017, 01:52 AM
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With my birds, it doesn't make any difference whether they're tame or not and whether they were handfed or not. Some do and some don't, and it seems to be independent of how tame they are.
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Old 03-14-2017, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tielfan View Post
With my birds, it doesn't make any difference whether they're tame or not and whether they were handfed or not. Some do and some don't, and it seems to be independent of how tame they are.
But with my birds the difference is significant. I have some tiels now that I have raised myself (using partial hand feeding), they were plucked as babies by their ''wild''parents, but none of them is a plucker now,wonderful parents,on the other hand the birds that I have purchased-do pluck (they are not tame)
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Old 03-14-2017, 05:10 PM
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I'm wondering if the age is more the issue. I have tame a d wild pairs and this is the first time I'm dealing with it. In a smaller clutch I might simply remove the father from the cage, but I'm hesitant to do that with 6 babies.


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