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The spelling program we use: We have used AAS for 6 years! AAS is an affiliate link. Multiplication Packets For Learning the 4s and 9s. Ocean Unit, 65 pgs. Language Arts Homeschool Curriculum. Dozens of posts about how to create a homeschool writing workshop. Simple Machines Packet and Activities. How to Make a Shake Table Video. Find out why we like AAS in this post: The below describes the feeding technique I came up with for Cheep - remember, I am not a trained vet, so consult yours. Cheep began refusing to eat pellets some time ago, so, given his precarious health, we switched to seed.
I envy people whose birds will eat nutritious mixtures of freshly prepared foods right out of the bowl. But with PDD or whatever it is , the seed is passed through nearly whole and largely undigested!
In other words, the food is not digested well and he keeps losing weight. So, now we sometimes force-feed hand-feed him a high-calorie mush with a small oral syringe, and it seems to help him If your bird will eat a variety of things from a bowl, and you have the time and money, you can probably offer a complex, nutritionally complete natural diet without resorting to handfeeding stuff with the consistency of cream.
When Cheep starts losing weight or acting ill, we start up the force-feeding after a vet trip, of course. Recently, for example, he stopped eating and was as thin as a skeleton -- we were shocked to pick him up and discover that his keel bone, which runs down the middle of his chest, felt as thin and sharp as a razor blade. In well-fed birds, the keel bone is hard to detect from the surrounding muscle and fat and feathers when our cockatiel Tcsh was healthy, it was almost an indentation!
Also, if you've ever dealt with whole chicken breast for dinner, you've seen how much flesh is on either side of the keel bone. Cheep's keel bone has always protruded, but never quite like a razor blade.
After precautionary medication at the vet, he came home - just as thin, even though he was eating again. It was time to syringe-feed. Previously it was Kaytee's Exact baby bird handfeeding powder , or you can also use Kaytee cockatiel pellets blended in a Vita-Mix blender until it becomes a fine powder or else it clogs the syringe. I take a small bit of the powder in a shotglass, mix with hot boiled water roughly per the handfeeding formula directions , a few drops of olive oil enough to add some high quality mono-unsaturated fat calories , and sugar just enough to get it tasting recognizably sweet, but NOT as sweet as most sugary cereals, nor even as sweet as commercial yogurt , and I get a mush that has the approximate consistency of cream.
These days I also add a pinch of spirulina, and mix it all carefully together. If any of this sounds useful to you, please consult your vet first! Some birds perhaps cannot tolerate much fat or sugar, for example. In our case, the sugar not only adds calories, but is otherwise necessary because Cheep-Cheep spits out mush that isn't sweet enough for his taste! I've switched to doing this whenever possible, with this approximate recipe apple, kale, banana, hint of ginger, orange juice.
I tried the "PDD Food" advertised in one of the links below; it's a fine white powder sweet-smelling - like artificial banana scent that seems to be somewhat accepted by Cheep but not as well as the home-made stuff -- I think it gunks up his mouth.
I occasionally use it as an additive to the pellet-based stuff one time he actually seemed to prefer the food with this stuff added , but he seems to do fine without.
Another mixture is described in this product testimonial. In trying Celecoxib , I had to mix it in with the food. I add it near the tip of the syringe and mix it with the food so the bird gets it early, before he gets full. Other ingredients I sometimes include are: Nuts are a good source of good fats and protein.
Lactose is a sugar that many adult humans have trouble digesting - just imagine what problems a bird might have; plus, milk fat is known to be of questionable long-term safety for at least human health.
Variety and moderation are good, and caution is called for with sick birds. Catching and Feeding Our 'tiel Tcsh freely eats things like yogurt out of a spoon if he sees us eating first. Alas, Cheep does not For a lovebird he is very chicken. Hence, once I'm sure the food is at a warm but not too hot temperature, I catch Cheep in a small towel. Then, either I, or a helper and I, force-feed him with a syringe. This is dangerous if one has no idea what one is doing.
I've read that squeezing a bird's chest may suffocate him - so I'm very careful to always leave his chest free to heave! I am always careful to never bend his neck in such a way that it might harm him, especially when catching him and removing him from his cage. I remember that, unlike a human, a parrot's upper mouth upper beak must be free to move in addition to the lower "jaw. For example, I do NOT point the syringe down the bird's throat which can lead to food in the lungs ; I point it sideways into the tip of his beak.
If the food's not sweet enough, though, that little tongue pushes it all right out of his beak! If you have to pry open a struggling bird's beak, two people are necessary -- especially since a tiny bird tongue is surprisingly powerful and good at pushing away syringes -- but if the bird gets used to this, relaxes, and enjoys the flavor, then only one person is needed.
Consult your vet with everything , including how to handfeed, how much to handfeed, what to feed, and where to get oral syringes of the right size. The vet should have a supply or can tell you where to get them. Beaks are sensitive, and I think he finds it pretty gross to have stuff dried on, so it's good to clean up right away.
Despite the cleaning, Cheep-Cheep will typically wipe his beak on handy items nearby, especially his cage bars. He then sits quietly for several hours, as the food and stress seems to make him lethargic and perhaps feel a bit ill - though sometimes he starts eating seed almost immediately after he gets back to his cage!
Obviously the quantity I feed him isn't too filling. Cheep would occasionally throw up some of the mush. There are a few things I think may help: Feed less per session, but increase the frequency of the sessions.
When I can't increase the frequency, I don't decrease the quantity too much, in the hopes that some of the food may be digested. Since Cheep got used to forcefeeding and seems to like the flavor, I let the bird's struggles cue when he's had enough though I do make sure he's had a reasonable quantity.
There seems to be a difference between Cheep's mild protest struggle and his "I've really had enough for now - stop! A couple times when he struggled violently early on, it turns out he was feeling really ill and he threw up everything.
Sometimes I can stop him from throwing up by holding him gently. Sometimes, though, I think leaving him alone is the right thing. I keep the bird warm. Cool temperatures seem to exacerbate the problem. I think I should feed when the bird is active. I have some vague hint that Cheep does better with earlier feedings, when he's more awake and energetic. I make sure the food is relatively warm but not too hot.
Cold food probably won't sit well. I don't forcefeed if the bird has just eaten its normal food. I'm guessing a good time to feed may be when Cheep has just started eating its normal food - then I KNOW he's hungry and feeling well enough to eat. Take the bird to the vet to rule out any other causes! Our Results Several times over the past couple years, I've let handfeeding lapse and Cheep has, over the course of weeks or sometimes months, gone down to skeleton thin.
Each time I have resumed handfeeding, and the results are fairly consistent though I do think he's slowly getting more lethargic every year. At 15 days, the difference becomes obvious, and he actually weighs grams more. Yes, there's actually padding under the feathers at this point, instead of just skin and bone though I do wonder if the new padding is fat or muscle or both. I think he also feels better and starts complaining more about being forcefed.
Things like sudden cold snaps combined with a reduction in feeding frequency can result in sudden weight loss, so I think consistent and frequent feeding during times of environmental stress may be a good idea. For Cheep, a "maintenance" program might be force-feeding him, on average, once a day for 2 out of 3 days. Once every other day is not enough to promote consistent weight maintenance. During the build-up phase daily feeding, with maybe one day off in seven to let his system rest, seems to work well.
Since handfeeding seems to cause him to just sit and vegetate for a while, it's hard to say that he's definitely happier for it. Another reason I think I ought to give him a "break" periodically, once he has enough reserves to handle it. The other proof is in his energy level is when I give him a day or two's break from handfeeding. He certainly seems to be more energetic and cheerful on those days, compared to the days when he was fast becoming a skeleton with feathers.
That's a good sign, even if counterproductive. I must suggest that, without handfeeding plus the lamps, the extra seed, and so on , Cheep would have died over two years ago. He may yet pass on soon, but I've been given an extra two years with him. That's not bad, in my book. Concerns I worry that so much sugar and grease is a strain on the pancreas and liver. Simple sugars like table sugar are not generally healthy in the long run a bit of research shows the problem is twofold: And yet, he needs the sweetness and he needs the calories.
I mentioned these concerns to my vet and she looked me in the eye and said approx. Also, even the pellet mush doesn't look completely digested; vitamin supplementation may be a good idea, though I don't know how much to use who can tell, with this disease? The powder I leave in the freezer. One hint is that the greater the surface area exposed to open air, the faster any food will go rancid.
But in any case, there's a limit to how long anything this nutritious and bland can be stored in the fridge. I throw out anything over about a week old. If I make a mixture using raw fruits and vegetables instead of sugar, four days is the absolute longest I'll ever keep it. All that said, though, I must reiterate that Cheep would've died several times over without this feeding!
Syringe Tricks Technically I think one is supposed to use a new syringe for every feeding?