Not feeding newly hatched babies
I have a pair of three-year old black-headed Gouldians. During and prior to the breeding season I mix their seed with wheat germ oil and use Breeder's Blend or Spirulina. I also supplement the water with calcium plus,Hearty Bird, apple cider vinegar and iodine. I do not utilize all of these supplements every day and use them about 4-5 days a week. I also provide millet sprays as well as garden salad (dried greens). Further, crushed egg shells, oyster shell and shaved cuttlebone is always available. However, usually only 2-3 eggs out of each clutch of 5 eggs are fertile. When and if the eggs hatch the parents do not throw them out of the nest but also do not feed the babies. The parents are great incubators but have, so far, been unsuccessful in raising any offspring. I have an indoor cage and also provide full spectrum lighting for 14-15 hours during breeding season. Is there anything else I can do to enhance the parents success of raising chicks? Thank you!
If the temperature is below 77 degrees where the cage is, I would cover the back and sides with any fabric I had available and I would put a heating pad, set on low under the cage or I would get one of the basking ceramic heat bulbs that is marketed to reptile owners. It doesn' emit light. If you get the heat bulb, be sure to use a clip on light fixture that has a ceramic base. I don't know what "hardy bird"is. Never used it. Spirulina is a seaweed that has a high content of iodine. I would do either seaweed or Iodine, but not both. I like spirulina because if they
need it they will eat it. When things are added to the water, the bird has no control over how much it is getting. You wrote that you are feeding egg shells, but you did not say whether you are feeding finely chopped fresh hard boiled egg mixed with dried egg food such as CeDe Eggfood. I suspect that was just an oversight, but if not, hard boiled eggs are the only source of animal protein our finches get since they won't eat insects. Give a combination of cooked egg and dried egg food fresh daily as early in the morning as is possible and remove any leftover with in two hours. If you are offering cuttle bone and a mineralzed grit with oyster shells at will, I would not add more calcium to their water. I think cutting back on the supplements is the first thing I would try. Is the seed they are getting a seed blend for Australian exotic finches? It needs to be. Dried greens may be part of the problem. The birds need either fresh vegetables or soaked or sprouted seeds daily. I offer both egg food and fresh greens, they like Romaine lettuce, very early in the mornings. The reason for this is that 14 hour days mean spring is here to Gouldians and fresh sprouts would be plentiful at that time too. Be careful if you start sprouting your own seed to follow the directions exactly so that the seeds don't sour.
The first two days of life the parents do not feed the chicks. The chicks are using up what remains of their egg yolk, but after that the parents should start to feed them.
I hope this helps, Jeanie