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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hand rear shama thrush chicks

This is the first time I ever hand rear any chicks so I learn as I go on.  Thanks to the internet, I am able to read as much information available from other hobbyist's blogs, forums, message boards about this topic.  These two chicks are about 6 days old. and have not feed for about two hours.  Similar to what parent bird feed them, I pick medium size crickets which approx. 1.5cm long, remove two big rear legs, crush the head of the cricket and feed to the chicks.  I will try to feed the chicks approximate every hour with couple of crickets or until they stop begging for food.  I also dip/dust few crickets with multivitamin, vitamin B complex, and calcium (powder).  Since they are 6 days old, I just keep them indoor in styrofoam incubator with temperature at night will be 78F and day will be around 85F.

This is the wastes of the chicks after big feeding:

Seven days old.  Their eyes are start to peak to see the outside world for the first time:

06/29/2010: Eight days old and they are fully open their eyes. I think they can see and recognize the surroundings. I can see clearly their tail feathers now compare to yesterday. I feed them about 10 times per day from 8AM in the morning to about 11PM at night. Each time is about 2-3 crickets.

This is typical poops that the chicks secret through out the day.  Sometimes smaller, sometimes large like this (appprox. 1cm across, 3cm long) due to how long between feeding and how much feeding I feed the chicks in previous feed.

06/30/2010: Nine day olds.
07/01/2010: Ten days olds


07/06/2010:  One chick died early morning of 07/04 during my out of town trip.  The cause is that I did not have time to feed it throughout the day (only 3-4 times per day), and de-hydration due to turn on A/C in the hotel room.  The other chick is surviving the four days out of town trip, but is a little weak.  So far, the lone survivor still eating as normal but half sleep and did not active much.
07/10/2010:  The other chick also died but due to some kind of infection on the eye.  One of the eye seems very wet and the bird close its eye most of the time.  Few days later, the bird almost close its eyes all the time and pass away.

Shama pair (H3N1 and H2N1) 2010 Breeding Season

I'll update things happen to this pair in this thread for this 2010 breeding season.

02/17/2010: The pair is introduced to see each other the first time.  The male is in bamboo cage and he can see his mate in her aviary.
02/19/2010:  Introduce the male into the aviary.
03/01/2010: Observed the female starts to carrying materials to build the nest (coconut fibers, dried bamboo leaves, small twigs, etc...)
03/03/2010: Observed mating of the pair around noon.
03/08/2010: I think the female is already laid some eggs, but don't know for sure.  Saw she enters the nest a few times in the morning, each time around 30 min long.  At night, she still sleep outside so if there are some eggs inside the nest, it probably less than 3 eggs.
03/10/2010:  Tonight is the first night the female sleeps inside the nest which means that she starts to incubate her egg(s).  Judging from last year experience, there are probably 3 eggs inside already and first hatching should be on 03/21/2010.  Woot!
03/21/2010:  Eleven days have passed and no sign of hatching yet.  Hope they will start to hatch by tomorrow.  There might be a delay in hatching due to environment temperature since outside temperature was on the cool side (upper 60s, low 70sF) for the first few days beginning of the incubation process.  Average temperature the last week is about 75-80F day time and night time is about 52F.
03/22/2010:  There is at least one egg hatched this morning.  Saw two half empty eggshell on the floor, one from each end of the egg so it could be just come from one egg, or could be from two eggs and the rest of the eggshells are missing.



03/23/2010: There is at least another egg hatch today.  Saw total of 4 half eggshells which is guaranteed that there are two chicks (maybe more! haha....)

03/24/2010:  No new egg hatch today since I did not see any empty eggshells on the cage floor.  Judging from the feeding intensity of both parents, I say that there are only two chicks in the nest.  Hope I'm wrong! haha....
Sad news: In the afternoon after come back home from school, I saw one dead chick on the aviary floor.  Don't know the real reason why this one dead.
04/03/2010:  Two chicks from the first clutch emerged.  Looks like one is male and one is female.

The female chick is above.  The male chick is below.


04/06/2010: Observed that the female is starting to rebuild her nest.  Few coconut fibers, small dried bamboo leaves are carried by her to the nesting site.
04/07/2010:  Around 6:45PM, observed that the pair is mating.  Second batch of eggs is coming soon! :)
04/09/2010:  Tonight, the female sleeps inside her nest.  This means that she starts to incubate her eggs.  Wonder how many eggs she lays this time? Any number of egg is good enough for me, hehe... Expect hatching date April 20th and April 21st.
04/21/2010,: Twelve days of incubation has passed and no sign of hatching.  I'm starting to worry as this pair consistency had chicks hatched on eleventh days of incubation last year.  Wonder outside temperature (particularly lower temperature than ideal) can greatly affect the development of chick inside the egg which cause the delay hatching?
04/22/2010:   Still no hatching sign.  Chance that this pair have babies from the second clutch is pretty slim now.  The question now is what cause it?  I won't know and might not know the real reason at all until next week when I collect those unhatched eggs (if no eggs hatch) and open it out to see if whether no fertilized, chick died in the shell, or ???
04/25/2010: After 3 day out of town trip, I come back home on Sunday's afternoon and after feeding all the birds, I were surprised to see this pair kill few crickets and bring up to the nest. This is the great news as it means that there is one or more chicks inside the nest. The chick(s) must have hatched on 14th and/or 15th days. Viewing the food amount that the parents bring to the nest, I would assume that there would be at least two chicks inside. I'm a happy man after thinking there would be no chicks on the second batch from this pair few days ago.
05/04/2010: One chick (look like a male) came out of the nest today. This means that this chick must be hatched on 04/23/2010. There are few more chicks inside the nest, probably two more.
05/05/2010: Two more chicks (look like male and female) came out of the nest today. Total 3 chicks from this second clutch.
05/09/2010:  Observed the pair mate at around noon today.  The female makes a short call to signal the male and raise her tail up.  The male then almost immediately flies down to mate with her.  The whole mating process is very short with the actual mating is about a second long.
05/12/2010: The female is sleeping inside the nest today. I don't know if she slept inside the nest since yesterday or not (I didn't come out to check), so I just assume that first incubation night is today. Expect new batch of babies hatch on 05/23/2010.
05/25/2010: At least one chick hatched on 05/24/2010. The father shows some aggressive sign to chicks of previous clutch (second clutch) so I begin to catch three chicks from second clutch out. Normally, I usually leave those chicks in the aviary until about 8 or so days after the next clutch hatch to ensure that the young chicks are fully wean and learn lot of other things from their parents. I believe that when young chicks learn social interaction between their parents, they will become great parents later on.
06/04/2010:  One chick left the nest on 06/03/2010.  Three other chicks left the nest today.
06/05/2010:  To my surprise, the Fifth chick left the nest early this morning bring total of 5 chicks in this third clutch.
06/21/2010:   Forth clutch of the season.  One egg hatchs today.
06/24/2010:  Yesterday, two days after the first egg hatched, I found one chick died on the aviary floor.  Again, I don't know exact the reason why this chick dead, but I would just assume that mother nature takes her course and this chick just too weak to survive.  "Survival of the fittest".
06/27/2010:  I make a mistake today that almost kill the rest of the chicks today.  While training for two months old young male shama to learn his song,  the volume on the CD is just little too loud than normal as I forgot to turn down while playing some music on previous day.  After turn on the CD, I left the house to go to the supermarket.  When I come back about 45min later, I saw the male shama H3N1 acts very aggressive with tail flick up and down, flying from branches to branches, and sing very loud.  He also attempts to mate with the female H2N1, but unsuccessful as the female fights back.  After I realize that the breeding shama pairs can hear the song on the CD from the other side of the house, I turn off the CD but it was too late.  The female H2N1 probably just too scare from all the chasing from her mate that she did not attempt to fly up to the nest to check on her chicks despite the chicks keep calling.   The father H3N1 do feed his chicks, but once every two hours while the chicks keep calling almost nonstop.  After observe the pair for several hours, I decide to intervene and get the chicks out to hand raise them.  In this fourth clutch, the female laid 3 eggs, 1 died a day or two after hatched, and two survive until now.
Keep them warm in the incubator and feed them every half hour or so.  So far, this two chicks will have good fighting chance to survive and hope that I can be a good father to them! :))
07/05/2010: One chick died due to de-hydration.
07/11/2010: Other chick died due to some kind of disease (wet eyes)
07/14/2010:  Fifth clutch hatched.
07/23/2010: Total of three left the nest in this fifth clutch.  Looks like one male and two female.
08/09/2010:  One of the chick of the fifth clutch (female) died few days after left the nest.  Sixth clutch begins to hatch today.  This might be the last clutch of the season.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hwamei eats Cherry fruit

In previous blog as see here (Hwamei eats papaya fruit), I documented that one of the male Hwamei that I keep eats Papaya fruit.  The same Hwamei also like to eat cherry.  He can devour whole cherry in just little over half an hour.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Shama pair (H5N1 and H6N2 (used to be H32N2)) 2010 Breeding Season

I'll update things happen to this pair in this thread for this 2010 breeding season.

02/17/2010: The pair is introduced to see each other the first time.  The male is in bamboo cage and he can see his mate in her aviary.
02/27/2010:  Introduce the male into the aviary.
From 02/27 to end of 03/2010:  Both the male and female live happy together in the aviary.  There is no aggression from the male toward the female.  The male sings few times daily but not a courtship song.  Both birds are seems not in the breeding mood probably due to too young (both birds are born last year season).
04/02/2010: Observed the female starts to carrying materials to build the nest (coconut fibers, dried bamboo leaves, small twigs, etc...)
04/09/2010:  Saw broken egg laying inside the bathing container this morning.  Don't really know what happens.  Egg shell seems hard enough, not rubbery so I don't think it dues to soft shell issue.  I took the egg york (still intact) and the egg shell out and put on the aviary floor to take a picture.  Later in the day, Egg york and egg shell are disappear, presumable that either or both of the bird eat them. The female looks fine and acts normal.  She is still sleeping outside tonight.

04/11/2010: The female spend almost an hour inside her nest, probably to lay egg. Hopefully she will start to incubate her eggs soon. This is what her nest looks like:
This type of nest is a small nest that used for several type of finches, not intended for the shama bird.  When I put in the regular wood nest (which normally use for parakeet) over a month ago for them to breed, I didn't think the female will pick this nest and I were too lazy to take it out.  Well, it's too late to do anything now.  Hope she can raise her future chicks successfully in this small nest.
04/12/2010:  Finally she is sleeping inside her nest! So expect eggs to hatch April 23th -24th.  Hopefully eggs are fertilized.
04/25/2010: No sign of eggs hatched yet. If delay hatching in this season is due to outside temperature (based on the observation of other pair of shama who also had eggs around the same time) tomorrow, there should be sign of hatching from this pair. I'll keep my fingers crossed!
05/02/2010: After passed the 14th day mark, I'm sure that the egg(s) are infertile; however, I still let the female incubate her eggs(s) until either she gave up, discard the nest or the eggs(s), or until I take the egg(s) out (which I will probably do so in the next weekend). Hopefully next batch will have better result than this one.
05/13/2010: Did not have a chance to come in the aviary to take the bad eggs out, and did not see the bird discarded any eggs, so I don' know what's going on. However, few days ago, the female starts to rebuild her nest and today, she begins to sleep inside her nest again. Hopefully this time the eggs are fertilized.
05/25/2010: Saw a few pieces of empty egg shells on the floor of aviary today. Finally the lest than one year old male did his job and got fertilize egg(s). I don't know how many eggs the female laid this time but I know for sure that both the parents are proven breeder and able to produce chicks.
06/04/2010:  Early morning of 06/03/2010 I discovered that one chick died on the floor and covered with common ants.  This chick probably got throw away by the parents the day before in the afternoon.  The reason of death is unknown.  Unless this chick got some kind of disease/virus, my guess is that because of the nest is too small and I think there are total of 3 chicks inside the nest, this one might accident fall out of the nest or got kick out by its brother/sister.

In the pic below, you can see that ants almost eat the entire skin of the chick.
 06/04/2010:  Two chicks left the nest.  Might be one male and one female.
06/26/2010: Few chicks hatched probably since 06/25/2010, but this morning I discovered 2 chicks (looks like just one or two days old) died on the aviary floor.  Don't know the reason why :(  Seems that there is at least one chick survive.
07/07/2010:  Two chicks left the nest.
07/10/2010: One chick died for unknown reason.  The other one survive and healthy.  Might be a female
07/24/2010: At least one chick hatched in this third clutch.  Few days later, all 3 chicks are found death on the floor.  I then remove the small finch nest to see if this small nest is the culprit of this madness :)
08/09/2010:  The female choose one of the two wood box nest that is the same nest for other two shama pairs.  She is incubating her eggs right now and should be hatching in the next few days.
08/13/2010:  At least 2 eggs hatched today.  Freaky, Friday the 13th! :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Shama pair (H1N1 and H4N1) 2010 Breeding Season

I'll update things happen to this pair in this thread for this 2010  breeding season.

02/17/2010: The pair is introduced to  see each other the first time.  The male is in bamboo cage and he can  see his mate in her aviary.
02/27/2010:  Introduce the male into  the aviary.
From 02/27 to around mid 03/2010: The male dominates the aviary.  He is the first one to eat, first one to take bath.  He also chases the female once in a while and competes with her for food.
After mid 03/2010: The female is begin to get easier life and I can say that both birds are beginning a so called form pair.
04/02/2010: Observed the female starts to carrying  materials to build the nest (coconut fibers, dried bamboo leaves, small  twigs, etc...)
04/10/2010: Could not find the female at her usual sleeping spot tonight, so she laid some eggs and started to incubate her eggs.  Expect hatching date is April 21st and April 22nd if the eggs were fertilized.  The mystery is how many eggs inside the nest right now? :)
04/21/2010 : As with other pair of shama, no hatching on eleventh days of incubation.  From all publication (books, internet, research papers, etc...) that I read, the incubation period of shama can vary between 11-15 days with an average around 12-13 days so I'm still ok and still hopefull that chicks will start to hatch within one or two more days.  If there is no hatching beyond 14 days, chances are that this batch is not successful.  Keep my fingers crossed! :)
04/22/2010:  Great news!  At least one egg hatched today from this pair.    I'm so excited as this pair is the pair with greater potential to produce long tailed shama than my two other pairs.



04/25/2010: After 3 days out of town trip, I delighted to see all the birds are fine. Seems that the chicks might be little hungry on the 3rd day as I found lots of dead crickets inside the food container, and the chick's fecal size is little smaller than normal (which means that less food intake). Hope it would not effect too much on the chick's development. Seems that there are also two chicks inside the nest.
05/02/2010: Only eleven day since hatched, the chick is out of the nest and it's a male.   I'm little disappointed since there is only one chick, but I'm still very happy that this pair is able to produce and raise the baby successful.  Can't wait to have more chicks from this pair! :)


05/06/2010: Observed the pair mating this morning. Hope that the pair will produce more babies in this upcoming second clutch. ;)
05/12/2010: The female is sleeping inside the nest today. I don't know if she slept inside the nest since yesterday or not (I didn't come out to check), so I just assume that first incubation night is today. Expect new batch of babies hatch on 05/23/2010.
05/22/2010: One egg hatches today around noon time. WOOT!
05/23/2010: Another egg hatches today but for unknown reason, this chick die immediately. From the picture below, it seems that large piece of shell got stuck to the body of the chick cause the death. Don't know the sudden change in weather temperature (a drop of more than 10 degree F in night time temperature yesterday) contributed to this fatality or not.

Top right is the two half of empty egg shell from yesterday hatched.  Bottom is the dead chick with shell stuck to the body.

06/02/2010: FOUR chicks come out of the nest today.  This means that on the second clutch, five eggs were laid, one died right after hatch, and four are healthy. It also seems that this pair produces chicks that are stronger than other pair that I have as all chicks are left the nest at 11 days after hatched instead of 12 days as normal. It happens to two clutches already.

Picture of one of the chick:

06/23/2010: First egg hatched.
07/04/2010: Total of 4 chicks left the nest, but due to inexperience of the caretaker while I were away, only one survive by the time I come back from a four day out of town trip.
07/10/2010 The last chick also passed away due to some kind of disease (wet eyes)
07/23/2010: At least one chick hatched in this fourth clutch
08/04/2010:  Total of 4 chicks hatched.  Two died and got throw away within the first 2 days.  The other two survive on eleventh day and also passed away.
08/09/2010:  The female is incubate her fifth clutch.  Expect to hatch in the next few days.
08/18/2010:  First egg hatched on 08/16.  Seems like second egg hatched on 08/18.