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Lorikeet chicks
Newly hatched Lorikeet chicks
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           The egg tooth on the tip beak can be seen on the right hand chick which it used to break out of the egg on hatching.








Handrearing Lorikeets is done by many Lori breeders. Not many do this from the egg but in some cases where the parent birds are doing the wrong thing time after time it is then a necessary task. Rearing a lorikeet from the egg can be tricky for the beginner but with patience and dedication it can be achieved. First thing to remember is that more birds are killed by over feeding than by under feeding.








Lorikeet chicks
At 1 day old the eyes of this chick are closed by skin.







How the chick hatches is always important, for this exercise we are assuming that the humidity was set correctly and the chick had a clean hatch without any assistance.


The reason this is important is because of the amount of egg yolk "babies food container" that may be left in the abdomen.


Many chicks die from yolksac poisoning when fed too quickly and too thick after hatching.


The first thing to check is the colour of the abdomen. If you see a dark or black patch in the stomach area then that means the chick hatched with a lot of food left over from the egg. The first days of life are the most critical for any chick, hydration is the key to any good healthy chick. Feed pretty thin for this reason in the beginning and increase the thickness slowly over time.


"YOU DO NOT NEED TO FEED OVER NIGHT".


Firstly do not feed a chick till it has passed the first droppings and if the dark patch is still there at this stage then only feed the chick water or hydrate it till the abdomen is pink or clear of the dark patch.





Lorikeet chicks
14 Day old Lorikeet chicks
At about 9 days of age the eyes start to slit open.





Too many people are scared of having a go because of having to feed overnight, this is not neccessary and can even put the chick back if it is done. It is most important that the chick's system has some time when it completely cleans out.


We have already stated that feeding too early can be dangerous, the same applies to over feeding. It is more important for the handrearer and the chick to get a good rest during the night and for the chick to clean out completely. We recommend the last feed be at around 11pm/midnight and start again around 7am the next morning.


Temperature for the first 3 days can be around the 36 deg C, Day 4 till day 8 temp - 35 deg C, Day 9 till day 14 temp - 34 C and slowly bring the temperature down paying attention to the growth of the secondary down feather of the chick.


From around the 20 day mark the chick will do fine in a box with a heating pad in an upright possition so the the chick can move away from the heat if it needs to or closer to keep warm.


Chicks have been killed by having the heating pad in the bottom of the box as the bird cannot escape from the heat on a hot day.




Lorikeet chicks
20 Day old baby Lorikeets.
Pin feathers are opening and colour is showing through.





Lots of breeders have handreared Lorikeets from the age of 2 to 3 weeks of age and mainly for the pet market. For those already undertaking this sucessfully no need to read on.


For those that are just starting from this age for the first time there are a few points to take note of. Firstly the lorikeets enjoy their food a lot warmer than say a cockatoo.


When feeding a lorikeet from the dish, we make the food between 48 and 50 degrees Celsius. This would be far too hot for cockatoos but if the food for lorikeets is too cool then they start flicking the food all over the place and not eating it.


The same temperature approximately for feeding on the spoon. For those feeding with a crop needle directly to the crop , make the feed no hotter than 46 degrees.





Lorikeet chicks
24 Day old Lorikeet chicks
We can now tell with some certainty what colour we are dealing with







Secondly, the food is to be fed thinner than that for cockatoos. Why? The lorikeets have a very short digestive system and in the wild live mainly on nectar, pollen, insects, flowers and leaves of different trees, shrubs and plants. Feeders to this day will try to imitate this food source from nature (many taking the task too far).


The results from over doing the formula can be seen on our "Colour Myths page" this is mainly due to the fact some young birds cannot cope with the strong formula/s that are fed to them. We feed a commercial formulas at a diluted strength, mixed with rice flour, cooked and blended with the addition of various other things such as fruit and vegetables at times.





Lorikeet chicks
28 Day old Lorikeet chicks
The chicks you have been looking at are all different colour mutation young.
(It would be nice if they changed this much but that is just not the case!)







The next detail to take notice of is first signs of problems. As we have stated, the food is fed warmer and if fed cool the young chicks can cool down too fast or if they are over fed and the crop has been expanded too fast or too big, the crop can turn sour.


The same applies for when food is fed on top of food already in the crop. In the case of sour crop, firstly try feeding the chick just water to clean out fast, if this doesn't work fast enough then head to the local chemist and purchase a little bottle of nystatin oral drops over the counter, this product is to combat fungal and yeast infections.


The bird regurgitating its food is often a first sign indicating sour crop. Handrearers often think that they over fed the bird or fed too hot when they see a bird throwing up, rather than suspect a likely crop problem. This is a problem that needs attending to sooner rather than later. It is advisable to keep a small bottle of 'Nilstat' or similar in the fridge just as a precaution in case problems arise when it's not possible to obtain them. Best results are if the medicine mixed with water is fed 15 minutes before the normal feed and in bad cases only feed the medicine till you have crop mobility again.





Lorikeet chicks
30 Day old Lorikeet chicks
Slowly the wing feathers are starting to grow







One of the reasons this problem can come about is that the handlers do not pay enough attention to the type of bird they are dealing with. The lorikeets have a very runny faeces.


Too often these birds are kept in plastic containers or glass aquariums or similar when the handlers have copied some information from the overseas breeders.


It must be kept in mind that the Lorikeets' droppings are very watery and excessive moisture can create problems if not managed. For this reason we put the chicks as soon as possible onto woodshavings in a cardboard box with a heating pad.


In addition to that we place the cardboard box on a mesh shelf to allow more moisture to escape. The other reason for this is that Lorikeets do not breed in plastic buckets or glass aquariums and the more we can resemble nature the better.


The cardboard box is closer in appearance to the nestbox. It doesn't need cleaning or disinfecting as it can be thrown out and replaced when soiled and is freely obtained.





Lorikeet chicks
35 Day old Lorikeet chicks
The rest of the feathers are catching up to the wing feathers







We have now come close to the weaning off stage. Lorikeets can be weaned off a lot earlier than most parrots. At the age of early feathering the bird will start eating by itself if taught to. The beak is dipped in a small container of the same food.


A mistake a lot of handlers make is to wean off at an older age when the bird wants to lose weight to start flying.


Start weaning when they are still quite keen on eating and they will fill themselves up more than when you feed them.





Lorikeet chicks
35 Day old Lorikeet chicks
The rest of the feathers are catching up to the wing feathers







The other reason for this is that you end up with quieter birds as they are left out of the brooder or box longer and become familiarised with their surroundings.


Birds that are crop fed only spend about 40 seconds out of the box most of the time, earlier weaning overcomes this.

Hopefully this has been of some help to some.






Lorikeet chicks
45 Day old Lorikeets chicks
These chicks are ready to try their wing feathers all too soon
(For that reason we keep a mesh covering over the box to prevent the birds from escaping before time)










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