Friday, May 27, 2011

Ugly Baby!

Here's Chick #2 on day nine.  It looks like this one will have a lot of yellow in his feathers. Momma bird had just eaten a bunch of romaine lettuce, and you can see it in baby's crop.  He's starting to open his eyes.  

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 8 Parents Feeding Chicks

Both Canary parents are feeding the chicks pretty regularly now.  The chicks have become much more demanding for food and it's all the mother can do to keep up, so she allows the male to help out.  And because the chicks are eating more, my twice-daily feedings have become more plentiful.  Besides a food cup of sprouted seed and quinoa (cooked like rice), the breakfast platter on the cage floor this morning includes a piece of raw corn on the cob (her fav), cottage cheese (his fav), boiled egg, romaine lettuce, a blob of the cooked seed, and a sliver of apple.  I think they're glad I'm an early riser, because they attack that plate as soon as it's in the cage!  The corner of the cage with the nest is dark and the chicks continue sleeping until the parents arrive with full gullets, ready to share.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Canary Chicks Opening Peepers

This is Chick #2.  See the little eye starting to open?  They stay sealed shut the first week, then open little by little.
A size comparison.  Chick #3 looks much smaller than the other two, but he's equally feisty!  Here, they're taking  a rest after being transferred to a kleenex in a warm bowl while I changed out some of the nest bedding.  Momma bird has been pooping in the nest (they're supposed to be neat and clean out baby's poop, but that's not happening.  I was instructed by my friend that raises canaries that the babies would get skin rash if left in damp poo.  Since my birds are very very tame, they don't seem to mind what I do and always go back to the chicks.
Smaller Chick #3 on the left.  Chick #1 (black eyes) on right.
Check out those feathers sprouting from their wings.

Doting parents feeding the babies together.

Day 7

Momma bird checks out the morning snack buffet of
lettuce, boiled egg, soaked seed , cucumber and corn.
Today the chicks are 6 and 3 days old.  The youngest seems to have caught up with his siblings, as I cannot tell them apart now.  All three pop their heads up quickly when they hear or feel anything about.  They stretch their little necks with beaks open to the sky!  We can hear the chicks peeps better now...On the first 3 days, they were barely audible. Eyes are still sealed shut, feathers have not started to fill in.

Below is a quick video of the mother hen, still wet from a bird bath, getting comfortable with the chicks beneath her.  She gives a couple of whistles, which signals the male bird that she's seated and ready for food.  He feeds her from the food he has stored in the crop in his neck, similar to a hamster's. The camera was leaning on the cage and magnified the sounds of the busy male bird.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Canary Chicks Day 3 - and we have THREE

How exciting to find that the third chick hatched early this morning!  I woke up at 5 and mother canary popped off her nest and, although the baby didn't show, I saw the empty egg shell. So I swooped in and took the discarded shell (I wanted pictures of it).
Comparison between a canary egg 
and an Eggland's Best large egg. 
I usually add a few drops of food coloring and a slosh of vinegar to my boiled eggs as they finish cooking in the hot water.  It's like Easter all year long!  (The canary egg is in its natural color.)  I took this one picture (below), but Chick #1 popped up, so the other two were hidden from sight.  I left them alone for a couple of hours so the newest chick could gain his strength after all that work hatching.  People have worried about the newest chick fighting for his place in the food line.  I have noticed that the parents feed whoever pops his head up.  Once that chick is satiated, he lays down for a nap and the other ones get their turn.  They don't stop feeding until everyone is asleep.  Without feathers, I can see food in their crop, evidence that all three are being well fed.  
 Three in the nest.  FEED ME!!  Chick #1's eyes are 
black, but it looks like #2 and #3 will have pink eyes.
Folks ask what I feed them while they're feeding their young.  Following online instructions, I boiled some bird seed mixed with quinoa for 20 minutes. Today I minced raw corn, kale, apple and egg with my little garlic chopping wheel, then added that to the mushy wet mix. Jo's favorite goodie is a ring of raw corn on the cob, but she leaves the nest too often to snack, so I am not offering whole corn again until the chicks are bigger.  Jess loves sugar snap peas and both birds adore broccoli and strawberries.

Did you notice in the video that 
Chick #2 had something on his beak?
I called a canary breeder and was instructed on how to remove what we both agreed was a blob of egg stuff from inside his shell that got stuck like glue while he was hatching.  Anything else (parent's poop) would have dried and then fallen off.  The breeder told me that if I needed to clean him or this bird could end up bald and blind, and most likely would have a deformed beak.  It was on his beak and forehead, and covered part of one eye, both nostrils, plus it had head feathers tangled in it too.  A damp q-tip did the trick.
Jo has food around her beak from Jessie's feedngs.
Both canaries are little
but cheerful Jessie is the smallest
Each time I try to get a picture of  Jess feeding Jo,
he leaps up to check out the camera.  Hi! Hi! Hi!
These are very friendly little birds and Jess' reaction is not an aggressive protection thing.  He's just curious yellow...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Canary Chicks Day 2

Aunt Jo, such a good mother bird.  The father, Uncle Jess, is so attentive, feeding feeding feeding Momma Jo.  Then Jo leans beneath the fluffed feathers of her lap to feed her babies.  It's all very sweet.  Both parents have changed their normally chatty banter to baby talk, sweet and soft.The hatchlings are extremely small...including head, they are dime-sized.  My adult canaries are small and the woven nest is barely 4 inches wide.

At 17 hours Old

The egg and both chicks could all fit in an iced tea spoon.
Look at those tiny feet!
And for those of you that haven't heard my male's beautiful Canary song -

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Canary Clutch

After sitting calmly and quietly on her eggs for two weeks, Aunt Jo was a little anxious today, and although she remained on her nest, she moved around a lot, checking beneath her and begging food from Uncle Jessie with a babyish "peep peep peep" and fluttering her wings.  Before I left, I shooed our sweet and very patient Momma Jo off her eggs, and from my short person vantage point, I tiptoed and saw the tops of 3 whole-looking turquoise eggs in the nest just before I ran an errand at 5:30PM.  By 6:30PM, David surprised me with a text picture of two newly hatched chicks!

There were three turquoise eggs, each about the size of a peanut M&M.  Now one unhatched egg and two of the teeniest dime-sized baby birds lay next to the remnants of their halved shells.  Barely audible peeps come from these ugly babies, sporting downy halos of mini fluff about their heads and big black b-b eyes hide under closed lids.  Still feeding from their yolk sac, they won't begin eating until morning, but they are already practicing the open mouth beg.  We are all completely smitten!

Momma Jo was polite enough to allow me a peek and I took the above video of the chicks at less than an hour old.  My husband had just gotten home, and when he saw me videoing the chicks, he panicked, thinking the mother hen would abandon the nest. You can hear Mark having a fit in the video, saying she's going to "freak out".   That won't happen with my very people-friendly domesticated birds.  It is my guess that the chick that didn't pop his head up was last hatched and still recovering from all that hard work.  Egg #3 should hatch in the next 24 hours. The discarded shells were nowhere to be found the next morning and I suppose the parents ate them.  I KNOW which is the last egg laid, as the final egg in a canary clutch is always a more vibrant turquoise than the rest, and this is the one that remains.

My 33-year old niece Karen called, bubbling about "her" new chick, already named Pippa after Princess Kate's sister.  Who will take the other two?  I think my parents may want one, as daddy loves all little animals and my mother can whistle just as beautifully as...a bird!