Hand-feeding Pin-tailed Parrotfinch Fledglings

Erythrura prasina

Pin-tailed chicks alter their call as they fledge, sometimes confusing the fosters
many can be saved by hand feeding, or supplementation, just for a few days
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 silicon.

A teaspoon handle makes a good spatula.

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.

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.

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