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I have 2 baby budgies approximately a 3 weeks old which I have been hand raising for 2 weeks since their mother died. In the beginning I was very inexperienced and don't believe I was heating their formula enough for the first day or so. Also they were cold and shivering by the time they were brought to me for help. This led to slow crop which has been slowly worsening but all the sudden tonight they seem much worse. Their crops are not emptying normally and even after 8 hrs overnight still have about 1/2 crop full. Their crops seem very large, and continue to swell after each feed.
I tried puréed papaya yesterday and acv today but now their crops are even bigger, (weighing them forward when they walk). The veins over it are darker and larger than before and after the last feed the formula and water separated in the crop!! And is just sitting there. They look very uncomfortable and full. The one is chirping quietly non stop while it sleeps. And they both have small tremoring after the feed. You can't see them shaking but I can feel it when they are in my hands.
Please help I am very worried.

FYI they are fed tropican hand rearing formula and are kept in an enclosed small animal cage heated to be 90

Again it won't let me add more than one picture per reply so I will be adding individually.

This is before a feed (4 hours after eating). They are starving but as you can see crops are not empty.

After feeding.
This baby still wanted to eat as if starving. This is also the one in which the formula separated in the crop.

Baby 2 after feeding
This one stopped eating on it own. It was also the first one to develop slow crop.
It is a few days younger than baby 1.
 

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I'm flagging your thread for the breeders who are on staff but not everyone is in the same time zone. At the current time, none of the breeders on the TB staff are on-line. :(

Hopefully as soon as someone logs in they will see the flagged thread and respond to you.

I wish there was some way I could help but I just don't have either the knowledge or the experience. :hug:
 

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Edit: Sending you a PM with some links for you to look at

Have you tried contacting an on-line vet for assistance?

http://www.justanswer.com/pet-bird/

Ask a Vet Online. Ask a Vet Pet Veterinary Health Questions 24/7. Online Vet Advice « VetLIVE

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Dr Ross Perry | Helping Your Pet
 

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[nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J5qj3leyrU"]How to exgurgitate a baby bird: - YouTube[/nomedia]

I have no expertise at all in this area. Have your babies crops ever been completely empty since this all started? From things I am reading there are a number of reasons for slow crop, and you have already mentioned a couple of them....formula not staying together, formula temperature too cold. Maybe you can consult an emergency avian vet by phone and see what they think about getting the crop's empty. Hopefully if they are still pooping regularly it's a sign they are getting the nourishment they need to survive....
 

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I am sorry that you are in such a tough situation :(

Are you absolutely sure the chicks are 3 weeks in age? From the look of it I would never have guessed that they were that old, but rather more like 1 1/2-2 weeks in age at most given there development. If they are 3 weeks of age there is definitely more going on here than just a formula temperature issue or even sour crop, although that is definitely a real possibility as well given how slow their crops are emptying.

There are a number of things that can cause the problems you are seeing, but most often the problem is a result of a viral or other infection that is effecting the chicks digestion, which then leads to stunted growth.

Although I have never had a problem like what you are experiencing, I can say for an almost complete certainty that continuing to feed the chicks formula when their crop does not empty completely is likely doing more harm than good, and I would stop feeding solids until you can get the crop moving.

Over feeding can also cause the crop muscles to stretch out so far beyond their normal strength that they can no longer force food up and into the stomach, which can only be corrected with surgery and/or a crop support. How much have you been feeding them at each feeding on average?

Do you have an avian vet in your area? I am afraid that in a situation like this it is going to be essential to get help if you want to save these chicks lives. You need to find out what is causing the stunted growth and the digestion problems in the first place, and to do so will require tests and a hands on diagnosis.

An avian vet will also be able to remove all of the old/rotting food from the chicks crops and hopefully get them moving again without aspirating the chicks, which will cause instant death if you try to do so on your own without experience.

So to recap the questions are:
How much have you been feeding them at each feeding on average?
How much have you been feeding them at each feeding on average?

And also:

Are the chicks still pooping?
When was the last time their crops emptied completely?
 

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Without experience you are not going to be able to fix this problem on your own I am afraid. The babies have crop stasis and the more you feed them the worse the problem is getting. The horrible truth is the babies are starving. Food is only broken down in the crop and needs to get to the gizzard to be digested. With the crop stopped like that the food is just staying there and not getting to the gizzard at all or very little is getting through. That is why they are crying for food all the time, they are hungry but they cannot digest what they have.

They really need an avian vet or someone experienced in hand raising that can use a crop needle to try to remove some of the food from the overfull crops. This is not an easy process for most people to achieve. I have done it and without the specialized syringe it is most difficult. The special syringe is shaped like a V and has two plungers and you basically put some air in with one and draw the excess food out with the other. I have done it with a normal syringe and you have to make sure the end of the crop needle is not touching the bottom or sides of the crop as you will just suck up the skin inside the crop.

That being said if their crops are partly emptying overnight do not feed them at all in the morning, if anything give them a few drops of hot water (at least 40C which is about 100F) and massage the crop to try to break up the food at the bottom to make it slightly easier to digest, some foods when they separate can go rock hard in the bottom of the crop. Be very careful doing this and don't push the food up the crop as it can easily get into the windpipe and be aspirated. If possible then let the crops completely empty. If that happens then only give them a very small amount of very runny food with some papaya in it and a pinch of Dextrose (powdered glucose). Papaya is great to assist in digestion and the dextrose will give them energy. You can just give them very runny papaya heated to 40C (that is papaya mixed with water and made very runny). Sorry about giving the temperature in Celcius as that is what we work on over here and I sometimes get confused with Farenheit. So say give them half a ml of food and let that digest and then feed them the same again. Continue feeding very small amounts and allowing the crop to empty each time.

Crop stasis can be caused by a number of reasons. Food too cold, too hot or too thick are the main ones. Remember in hot weather the bird will draw more fluid out of the crop so in hot weather food should be fed slightly runnier than in colder weather. Just like you drink more fluids in hot weather they will too, and as you are feeding them you have to compensate for this. If you are not using a thermometer to test the food you should immediately go and get a food thermometer. Testing on the wrist or lip is just not good enough. I have been hand raising for 20 years and I still use a thermometer for every feeding, I never trust my instinct on the temperature of the food.

I hope this helps somewhat but I really strongly suggest you try to see an avian vet about this or someone very experienced in hand raising that has experience in this problem. Preferably someone that has experience with using a crop needle. They can be very dangerous implements with the inexperienced.
 

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:iagree: with the other posters. A vet would be your best bet. I've read that you can flush a crop if necessary if you get a chick with yeast or sour crop (its almost like massaging the crop in a way that all the food comes out). I have never had to do this myself (unless i was massaging air bubbles from a budgies crop). the crop would also have to be flushed out. but this might be best if you leave it to a vet Sour and Slow Crop Remedies - Just Cockatiels!
that is a very good website with good info (they have home remedies for crop problems, but I do think you would be better of with an avian vet) this site explains all about different crop problems, etc, even though its about cockatiels, these problems could happen with budgies as well.
 

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If you are feeding them till they stop, then you are over feeding them. They will eat until they are ready to pop.. Lindsey has an excellent page on her site to tell you exactly how much to feed. I'd follow what she does and see if they get better. If you are over feeding, then it would take them longer to process the food.
 

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If you are feeding them till they stop, then you are over feeding them. They will eat until they are ready to pop.. Lindsey has an excellent page on her site to tell you exactly how much to feed. I'd follow what she does and see if they get better. If you are over feeding, then it would take them longer to process the food.
I'd just like to add, you can feed until their crops look the right size, or anywhere from 3-6 ml depending on how full their crops are already
 

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These chicks are in real trouble and need the help of an experienced breeder or vet, preferably an avian vet experienced in chick crop problems. I think they are past the point of you being able to help them on your own. I hope you can find someone to help and they get better, good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
thank you for all the responses. my internet was down (dog knocked cord out) and I just got them.

I took pictures of their crop this morning after a 10 hour fast and have included them below. the crop was a lot smaller which I hope is a good sign. Since i did not get the information to hold feeding, I did give them some thinned out formula but not as much. The last picture is of after eating.

I can not afford the only vet that I could find. does anyone know any experienced individuals in the Hamilton Ontario area that I could hire to show me how to care for this problem?

Cutelittlebirds -
How much have you been feeding them at each feeding on average?
its hard to tell since I have been spoon feeding and it makes a fair amount of mess. a guesstimate would be 4 mls.

Are the chicks still pooping? yes
When was the last time their crops emptied completely? about a week

I am certain they are about 3 weeks. I got them 2 weeks ago and the owner said they were about a week old then.

Kate C
no worries, I work with Celsius as a nurse.
aside from the first few days I have been using a thermometer for their food too. im not a good judge by feel.
I really need someone to show me how to lavage their crops

BudgieAwesome
ive been looking at that exact site for a week!!!and debatingattempting the treatments but have been scared.
 

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They are looking a lot better this morning. They are looking brighter and more alert.

Personally I would at this stage cut down the amount you are feeding at each feed and if you have to feed a little more often but I would also let them completely empty their crop first. By doing this the crop muscle may work a bit better and shrink more to normal and not so stretched. If anything I would give some very watery papaya until the crop starts working properly again. You also didn't say how many times you are feeding them. But usually they should be fed 3 times per day, that is if their crops are working properly. Maybe because of their size 4ml is a bit too much, drop that down to 2 or 3ml, even if you have to feed 4 times per day and make the food runner. Depending on the formula their instructions for thickness of the mix is a bit off, especially for younger birds. Personally I am not too impressed with most of the commercial hand raising mixes as nearly all of them contain soy and I think this is the meal that does harden in the crop when they draw water out from the crop. I am not a fan of soy meal as so much of it has been genetically modified. For this reason a number of years ago I started making my own formula, it does not appear to separate in the crop and is more easily digested by the babies as the main cereals I use in it are partially pre-cooked because they are baby cereals and based mainly on rice. If you want this formula I am perfectly happy to give it to you. But changing formulas half way through raising is not always advised.

As you are in your Summer at the moment, dehydration is a bigger factor than starvation. Baby birds can go at least 36 hours before starvation starts but they cannot go many hours before dehydration. So I would keep them on quite runny food at this time.

Years ago I had to hand raise a baby cockatiel from day 1 and every time I tried to thicken his food slightly his crop would stop. I had to milk his crop about 3 or 4 times every time this happened and basically start from scratch. I didn't think he would ever survive and he was so tiny. I successfully hand raised him but he was much smaller than other babies the same age. By the time he was six months old he had caught up to the other birds in size.

As a nurse are you able to get Hartmann's Solution, if so you can use this to mix with the papaya as opposed to just plain water. You can heat up small quantities in the microwave for mixing with the formula or papaya. This will help to keep them hydrated.

As for how to use a crop needle I am posting a link to Vetafarm Australia. This supplier is run by vets and they have a specialist avian vet with Tony Gestier. They have a range of online videos on various subjects and 2 of them are how to use a crop needle (they also supply them). I am giving the link that has all of their videos as there are more than one is with regards to birds that you may find informative.

Videos - Vetafarm

If the link does not work because you are not in Australia just do a Google search for Vetafarm and go to videos as they also have an international site that I can't access. But the 2 videos on crop needling are also on Facebook.

Just a little thing that I do to with baby birds is that I put a small stuffed toy in the brooder with them, I have a few of them so that I can wash them. But it gives the babies something to snuggle up to like they would with mum and they seem to find some comfort from it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Faerybee- thank you so much for the information via pm. And for flagging my post. :)

Kate c- you are very knowledgable. Thank you for the advice!!

I have been feeding them every 3-4 hours throughout the day and recently started a 8 hour break at night. I will go back to syringe feeding to monitor their input more closely. Also I will do papaya feeds for the rest of today. I am on maternity leave at present so do not have access to Hartmanns but do have unflavoured pedialyte. Is that ok to use? Otherwise I can get the fluids from my vet (for cat and dog) after the holiday.

I love your idea for the stuffy. Definitely going to do that!!! As you saw in one picture they have daily visits with their dad but he doesn't lay with them (he does clean their bedding though which is nice).

If you don't mind sending me your formula recipe I would appreciate it. I noticed the problems started when I went from rice baby cereal to bird formula. I also have a great baby cereal for my daughter with an organic mix of powdered miller, amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa. it is also fortified. Would that be safe for them. Here is the link
Ancient Grain Organic Cereal | Baby Gourmet

I really hope my baby birds will be ok. I need to get their crop working better and hopefully the advice will help.

Should I continue to give them apple cider vinegar? How much?
Also I have nystatin, should I give that? I read candid is common with this issue. How much?
 

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Every 3-4 hours would explain a lot with their crops being so full. Usual recommendations are 3 times over a 16 hour period and babies completely empty in the morning. And the unflavoured pedialyte shyould be fine.

The only problem I have with that baby cereal is the amount of iron, humans need that amount but birds can have a problem with food that is high in iron. Some species more so than others.

Personally I don't use ACV, have really never found the need to. With the Nystatin it would not hurt to go on a course of 5 days of it. Very little will be needed for such small birds and it needs to be given at least 1/2 hour before feeding otherwise it is diluted too much. One drop would be more than adequate. With a cockatiel it would be .5ml or half a ml 3 times a day for 5 to 10 days.

This is my hand raising mix. Everything is in powder form and it keeps quite well. As you are only doing a couple of birds you can divide the formula to a more manageable level. I am quite often doing a number of birds so I make up a few kilo's at at time. The first 4 ingredients are Heinz and I know they make similar products in Canada that can be used. I always make sure I have one with banana in it as it is high in potassium, phosporus and magnesium which is often lacking in seed. When I mix it up I make it like runny yoghurt, not thick Greek style. You may need to make it a bit runnier because of the problems with the babies, if you use this one. I have had lots of success with it and so has a couple of friends who are using it on very expensive exotics.

500g Farex Original Formula Cereal
200g Pear & Banana Cereal
200g Rice & Apple Cereal
200g Fruit & Muesli Cereal
100g Semolina
30g Brewers Yeast
40g Malt Powder
50g Whole Egg Powder
75g Calcium
100g Dextrose
50g Sunflower Seed De Husked
200g Oat Bran
200g Polenta
150g Kelp Meal or Seaweed Meal
200g LSA (Linseed Sunflower & Almond Meal)

Grind in a blender in small batches.
 

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You are doing wonderfully and the babies do look much better. Are they active between feeds, or sleeping and looking cute? I am sending lots of healing thoughts and positive hopes for you . Can you possibly ring a local radio station or email them and ask them to put out an SOS for any breeders in your area perhaps you can get in touch then with somebody with some experience for more encouragement and piece of mind. Take care.:budgie:
 

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Kate has a great deal of experience and I'm so glad she's here to help you.

Cathy's idea of contacting the local radio (or TV?) stations to get the word out for breeders who may be able to help you is a great idea.

Please keep us updated on the chicks' progress. :hug:
 

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thank you for all the responses. my internet was down (dog knocked cord out) and I just got them.

I took pictures of their crop this morning after a 10 hour fast and have included them below. the crop was a lot smaller which I hope is a good sign. Since i did not get the information to hold feeding, I did give them some thinned out formula but not as much. The last picture is of after eating.

I can not afford the only vet that I could find. does anyone know any experienced individuals in the Hamilton Ontario area that I could hire to show me how to care for this problem?

Cutelittlebirds -
How much have you been feeding them at each feeding on average?
its hard to tell since I have been spoon feeding and it makes a fair amount of mess. a guesstimate would be 4 mls.

Are the chicks still pooping? yes
When was the last time their crops emptied completely? about a week

I am certain they are about 3 weeks. I got them 2 weeks ago and the owner said they were about a week old then.

Kate C
no worries, I work with Celsius as a nurse.
aside from the first few days I have been using a thermometer for their food too. im not a good judge by feel.
I really need someone to show me how to lavage their crops

BudgieAwesome
ive been looking at that exact site for a week!!!and debatingattempting the treatments but have been scared.
You said that the only vet you could find was expensive. heres a site with some places near/in Hamilton (who knows, an avian vet may work at one/some if them):
Veterinarians in Hamilton ON | YellowPages.ca?
Also, i don't know if this site will be helpful and if some of the places/people on the site will be near you, but i think this other site has people with avian experience:
HAMILTON PARROT CLUB
I just wanted to add, there would probably be some avian vets around Toronto, as its such big place, but that might be a bit far from where you are (maps can be deceiving ;) )
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have cut down the feedings and frequency. So far so good. Their crops are not fully emptying but decreasing by about 3/4 or more and they are popping :)

They are very active chicks!! Always chirping and moving around. I can even hold easily since they are always trying to climb and run around.

Toronto is a bit far for me personally. I have called quite a few of the vets on the list but some I will try tomorrow after the holiday. I also sent a message to the parrot group you posted. Hopefully they can help or send me in the right direction.
 
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