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Discussion Starter #1
So I recently set up my 2 blue plets with a nest box and they produced 5 eggs. Male is 1 yr old and female is 1.5 yrs old. This was before I learned it was not a good idea to mate blue to blue. Anyhow, they produced 2 chicks out of the five eggs (the other 3 were infertile). After doing some reading on raising plets, I decided to try co-parenting. My decision was based on 2 reasons- 1: I had read that co-parented babies were better adjusted and could still be birds while also being hand tamed. 2: I have been battling some health probs and felt that I wouldn't be able to make all the feedings.

The babies were raised by the parents in a black, plastic, Hagen nestbox with Carefresh litter. I changed this litter every other day. The mother hen is extremely territorial, but by day 10, I managed to begin holding the babies on a daily basis. I did this by using a washcloth to remove the hostile hen from the cage, as she would often leave the nest box to try to attack me without let up.
The babies were very well fed by mom and dad, their crops always very, very full. There was no way for me to also feed them formula (as a coparent) since their crops were always stretched tight with mom and dad's feedings! At four weeks, the parents stopped entering the nest box, except maybe once a day to offer food. I made the decision to separate the babies at this point and do the rest of the feedings myself, along with implementing a setup for weaning. I put mom and dad in with the babies for a few hours the first day, so the chicks could watch mom and dad eat seed and drink water. Same thing the second day. By the third day, the parents wanted nothing to do with their chicks, and even began attacking them. Also, my attempts to give them formula were a struggle, as the chicks showed little interest. I persisted despite and they each would accept maybe 2 cc at each feeding ( 3 feedings per day plus eating millet)

So, long story short, parent raised chicks, but from the age of 10 days I handled them once to twice a day and yet, by the time they were fledged, they were TERRIFIED of me despite.
They are now 5 weeks, weaning well, but are deathly afraid of me! They take off flying and bite!
I guess I am not fully understanding what co-parenting is! What did I do wrong? And what should I try the next time I breed plets? I am going to split the 2 blues and repair them with a different color each.
 

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I'm not sure what went wrong for you but my guess would be that the chick'lets learned from Mom's behavior every time you removed her from the nest box. I'm sure they could sense her fear, probably heard sounds from her indicating her distress every time you approached with hands or washcloth.

I am fortunate to have 2 Mommas who have no major problem with my nest invasions. Skye allows me to do whatever I want to the babies right under her watchful eyes while Nieve will happily leave the next box for a little break whenever I want her to do so.
I have a feeling that they somehow transmit the message to the chicks that there is no reason to be afraid.

I could allow Skye and Nieve to do the feedings and just pull the chicks for cuddle sessions throughout the day, but I prefer to just take them at 2 to 2 1/2 weeks and feed them myself till weaned. Skye actually appears to welcome the day when I take 4 big babies from her and let her keep 4 little ones to concentrate on for another week! I have so far raised 30 chick'lets from Skye and 3 from Nieve, all going to their new homes with no fear of hands, comfortable to be picked up and cuddled.

You may have a much easier socialization experience if you take the babies away from Momma at 2 to 3 weeks, next time, if you are able to handle the feedings. Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
i concur

Thanks for your reply. Your insight seems to confirm my suspicions. I noticed the babies now behave very similarly to the mom. I guess the lesson learned is that if the hen is hostile, you probably won't end up with easily tamed chicks. Take note, fellow prospective co-parenters!
 

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Thanks for your reply. Your insight seems to confirm my suspicions. I noticed the babies now behave very similarly to the mom. I guess the lesson learned is that if the hen is hostile, you probably won't end up with easily tamed chicks. Take note, fellow prospective co-parenters!
My hens are very fiesty as they're not tame but I still manage to end up with tame chicks. I think that what probably made the chicks wild was you taking them away at four weeks old and then having to force them to eat formula. Four weeks is when they tend to start to come out of the nest box and learn to feed themselves so are you sure that the parents were abandoning them?

Another issue is that you said you were removing the hen from the cage. This might have made her even more aggresive and/or flighty. Ideally you shoo her from the box or wait until she leaves by herself, then you block off the entrance to the box (I stick a large sock in the hole) and take out the chicks.

It's also worth noting that chicks often seem to go through a stage of being more flighty a little while after they fledge. I tend to take mine by themselves into a bedroom during that time so that I can do more work with them to remind them how to be tame. I usually use some millet as a treat which works quite well but. They can go off having scritches as well at this time so they need to be gently reintroduced.

The parent birds can make the chicks more nervy around you which is why I take the chicks away from the parent at 5-6 weeks (Once I know that the chicks are weaned) and put them in a separate cage where they tend to quickly become much calmer about hands going into the cage, without their parents fluttering about like morons every time I do something as horrific as feed them!

I try to keep mine used to being picked up briefly but they normally don't like it and I don't expect them to like being 'cuddled' once they're fully fledged and weaned. I don't expect birds to enjoy being enclosed like that. I do expect mine to be happy to sit on a finger, step up and down, do recall at least some of the time and to be ok with some scritches.

Since yours are still only 5 weeks old, they should settle down for you if you re-tame them. It might be easier working with both together at first, as they tend to feel safer as a flock.
 

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I could allow Skye and Nieve to do the feedings and just pull the chicks for cuddle sessions throughout the day, but I prefer to just take them at 2 to 2 1/2 weeks and feed them myself till weaned. Skye actually appears to welcome the day when I take 4 big babies from her and let her keep 4 little ones to concentrate on for another week! I have so far raised 30 chick'lets from Skye and 3 from Nieve, all going to their new homes with no fear of hands, comfortable to be picked up and cuddled.
If you have a pair that insists on having clutches of eight, you could replace a couple of the eggs with fakes so they only have six chicks. That way you won't have to take their chicks away from them at such a young age. (Sorry if that's stating the bleeding obvious!)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Actually, the reason I would remove my aggressive hen each time is because she would completely calm down when I did. It was the only way for me to take the chicks out to change their litter without the mother squawking constantly.
My five week old babies are slowly adjusting to their new cage and are playing and eating. I am gently working with them, but it seems they are less than thrilled to be in my presence. I am hoping that they will learn to trust humans by 10-12 wks so they can be good pets.
 

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Actually, the reason I would remove my aggressive hen each time is because she would completely calm down when I did. It was the only way for me to take the chicks out to change their litter without the mother squawking constantly.
My five week old babies are slowly adjusting to their new cage and are playing and eating. I am gently working with them, but it seems they are less than thrilled to be in my presence. I am hoping that they will learn to trust humans by 10-12 wks so they can be good pets.
The time you spend with those little ones and special treats you offer them while they are out will be go a long way in getting them to realize that you are the source of good things.....they will want to be with you and look to come out of the cage when you approach. Is one a little more friendly than the other? If so, use it to your advantage. Just as they copy bad behavior, they can also copy good behavior as well.

Are the chick'lets boys? Girls? One of each? We'd love to see pictures. Also, you may want to clip their wings to make your training sessions easier. Let us know how you are progressing.
 

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Thanks again for your response and support. The chicks are both female and are now 7 weeks old. Still very afraid of approaching hands, whether I have a treat or not. I try to get them to step up, but the best I can get from them is a 'step-over' and fly away, haha.

I have had a few close calls with flying to danger, so I had clipped them at 5 weeks. I I know it's so young to have clipped, but we have cats, among other potential dangers. Prior to clipping, they were flying alot in a tall cage, so I think they had a decent taste.
I separated them today to begin progress in taming. Hopefully they will begin to seek out human attention. Once they are "caught" they will sit on my finger, but look pretty scared. Then they eventually try to flutter away. I'm trying to just spend a few minutes at a time so as not to over stress them. The eldest pants when stressed. The younger one seems to be more flighty and distrusting. Can't really say if one is easier than the other.
I attached a photo I took today.
 

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You know, it's always hard to believe someone saying they're not sweet and cuddly when you see that picture. Having been those shoes I believe you though.

I'd recommend smaller cages, even a travel cage for them. The smaller the cage the more outgoing. It's good you clipped them I believe - it's step one to success.

You've got adorable babies and a lot of work!




Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

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If you have a pair that insists on having clutches of eight, you could replace a couple of the eggs with fakes so they only have six chicks. That way you won't have to take their chicks away from them at such a young age. (Sorry if that's stating the bleeding obvious!)
Actually if you are hand feeding then 2- 2 1/2 is the norm for pulling the away from the parents.
 

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Such pretty little dolls! Keep up the good work!

Here is a suggestion for the fear of hands.... when one flutters to the floor, pick her up and hold her for a minute, stroking her head and speaking softly, before letting her go. The message they should get is that when I fall down in a strange place and get really scared, the hands save me and make me feel warm and secure.

I have only one pet-store bought p'let (Skye's mate, C) who was not tame when I got him but this method worked well with him.
 

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Actually if you are hand feeding then 2- 2 1/2 is the norm for pulling the away from the parents.
Hand feeding is definitely my preference as it makes things so much easier for socialization. While I can see the point of letting the parents feed till weaned - giving the chick'lets time to learn to be birds, I just love that part of the breeder's experience.

My Nieve just gave me her two little 2 1/2 week old chicks so I could take over!

 

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They are so cute! Good luck with socializing them.
 
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