Hand-feeding baby birds is an amazing thrill! Their fragility is unimaginable. Watching them grow each day and seeing the colours develop as feathers unfurl is so much fun!
Things get tricky, though, when chicks decide they want to eat on their own… then don’t. Enter, Houdini. This little guy has been my big challenge with the current round of baby budgies. When I began feeding him and his two siblings, he promptly climbed out of the bowl they were in, intent on escaping to the bigger world. I named him, Houdini! When Houdini started to refuse baby food, I watched carefully to ensure he was eating and drinking on his own. He was progressing well, until I found him near death.
It is a horrible feeling to hold a bird in my hand, almost weightless, eyes closed, head lolling to the side. The only evidence of life is a tiny movement with each beat of its slowly-beating heart. I sprang into action, first by forcing water droplets into his closed beak, then watery baby bird food… all the while massaging and warming the tiny bundle in my hands. My husband and daughter are very involved with my birds (they don’t have much choice!) so I called in Stephen to warm the chick while I focussed on feeding it.
Hydration and warmth are key. We watched as Houdini fought his way back… eyes opening, head lifting, heart beating faster. I continued to force-feed him as much as I could. Elaine took charge of monitoring Houdini’s progress. All the excess handling has resulted in him being the tamest baby budgie of all… and now he belongs to Elaine! I had planned on keeping this chick for breeding purposes, but now he is a pet. It’s a small price to pay for the gorgeous photographs throughout my website.
Be sure to check out Flashback Photography, and have a look at Houdini in among my 2014 chicks. He is the white chick, flapping madly with all his might!