When the Bengalese don't do their duty, almost invariably as the Pin-tailed Parrotfinch chicks
fledge, the only option is to hand feed (supplement) for a few days.
With Pin-tailed Parrot Finches, keep the fledglings being hand-fed with the Bengalese.
Often they resume their fostering duties after a few days as the chicks strengthen.
Syringe - a 5ml syringe is best for balance of - nozzle size,
ease of filling and volume of food.
Drill the exit hole to at least 2.5mm, (3mm is even better), to minimise clogging.
Sand, file or scrape the inner ridge at the inside top of the barrel which is designed to stop the
plunger coming right out.
You need the plunger out to fill the barrel with eggfood.
(inner ridge shown by green line in photograph to the left (click magnifier to enlarge).
Stop the rubber end coming off the plunger. Adhere to the plastic plunger handle with
A teaspoon handle makes a good spatula.
The mix - take a heaped teaspoon of eggfood, remove large seeds and crush to
minimise large lumps which would clog the syringe. Later we used a rolling pin for speed and volume done.
Add a pinch of protein boost and probiotics.
Mix with water until mix is quite sloppy. Leave for 2 or 3 minutes as the water is absorbed.
Add more water for a moist paste which is quite wet but when stirred doesn't run (click thumbnail to left
for a better idea).
Keep this mix in the fridge and don't use the same mix for more than a day.
Dip the part of the syringe containing eggfood in hot water to warm it for 5 minutes. Fill the
syringe with about 1ml per chick.
How much and how often - 4ml is probably the daily maximum (2ml the
minimum). This varies as the chicks age (less as they get older).
Maximum is probably better for first two days. Thereafter, a slightly hungry chick is better as it will
call to the Bengalese and will seek food from the dishes.
Judge your feeding from the chicks. If they are active they are fine. If any close their
eyes after you have stood still in the bird room for a minute or two then feed.
Be a bit ruthless in the morning once they are fledged for a few days, to encourage begging and self-feeding.
Once they are self-feeding you might supplement with only 0.5ml per chick last thing at night until day 10
or even 12.
Watch the chicks - they will let you know.
1 - 1.2ml is probably the maximum at any one
time. Less than 0.5ml isn't worth doing.
The evening feed is the most important. Try to get at least 1ml in, even if it takes two feeds
close together so the chick lasts the night.
The more frequent the feeds the better but we have fed 1.2ml at 7.30am; 1ml at 4pm and 1.5ml at
8pm. The chick was fine.
How - chicks vary right from day one.
There are the beak clenchers, the
chokers, the regurgitators, the fidgets and the blissful - let's get this ml in ASAP!
Once the syringe is in, the food needs to fall behind the lip at the back of the tongue. Don't
depress the tongue as the flap at the back is used like a paddle to swallow the food.
I open the beak with sideways pressure from the end of the syringe My wife somehow opens the
beak with her thumb.
The syringe should enter slightly from one side to keep an air hole open.
(click magnifier to enlarge)
Pause for a bit to let the food go down.
Judge the speed from the chick and pause if it shows distress.
Choking is obvious. Squirming is very different!
Don't keep filling if the mouth is full and food is oozing out the sides.
I've only choked one chick out of probably 30 or 40 hand fed. But that's one too many.