a couple of unfortunate things happened via cold snap in TX

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Matt@atx
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Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:13 am
Location: Buda, TX, south of Austin

a couple of unfortunate things happened via cold snap in TX

Postby Matt@atx » Mon May 02, 2011 9:32 pm

I posted earlier today that yesterday when I checked our gourds on our 1st brood of nestlings that are now 1 week old, they screamed at me in hunger which I had not heard before quite like that (loud).
In addition, our 2nd brood of nestlings hatched this last Friday.
Today after work, I went to Pet Smart and purchased a bag of crickets because the weather dropped yesterday from about 90 degrees to the upper 50's with the low in the low 50's last night. This sudden temperture drop occurred in one day.
I knew they had to have trouble finding food. I brought the crickets back, let the air out of the bag, submerged it in ice water, and placed in the freezer. They appeared still frozen in about 20 to 25 minutes.
I lowered the gourds to find out our first 1 week old nestling bustling with life yesterday next to death today. they could barely open their mouths but could not swallow.
They were very cold to the touch having no feathers, nor do the parents warm them in these conditions. We microwaved a very small water bottle and buried it in the nest. Placed the babies back in after warming them with my body heat as much as I could.
I put a handful of fresh crickets in the tunnel entrance of this gourd and 2 others with new hatched Martins who were more responsive when I opened their port cover.
A few remaining crickets to other gourds and raised the racks because there are other babies that might survive the sooner the parents can get to them and feed them with these crickets 'hopefully".
I felt like this depended on how fast I could get out of their way right now.
I got to this sight as soon as I could from Austin. I did not see the parents return to the gourd with 1 week old babies after dusk.
This cold snap no matter how brief, has killed our babies.
I do not know if the newly hatched babies from this last Friday or today will survive either and do not know how many eggs may die to cold. Now it appears even adults may be at risk from starvation.
I have never fed our Martins because we have never needed to since its a small colony and this cold snap is just plain freaky in May In Texas. They do not know how to take food from us nor do I live here so I cannot do this.
I noted several of my Martins with droopy wings on a nearby powerline watching me as I left crickets.
I also noted destressed bird noises as I lowered the rack and thought at first it was the hungry babies reacting to viberations/noise.
However, this noise came out of a horizontal Troyer gourd with Conley II entrance which I just put up last last Friday afternoon in the hopes of attracting any late sub adults still out there. It appears two sub adults were trapped in it and could not get out.
I opened the port to help one fly out that way and the other I chased through the port entrance prompting him/her to squeeze out through the Conley Entrance and fly away as well. What a SHOCK it is to discover these Conley II Entrances may trap new unexperienced birds in it until they die...
The only other thing I can think is that they were fighting for this last newly erected Horizontal Troyer gourd but why would they not fly out when I lowered it unless they could not. (?)
I bought everything for reputable folks designed by Troyer himself and to spect. I did not modify the entrances in any way
I do not know what the death toll will be or if these Martin parents will lay more eggs or just leave. What a turn of events due to freak freak WEATHER and other reasons I do not know.
Is anyone else experiencing bad things due to this cold snap right now in our region?
2008~(1st yr) 4 pairs, 11 to 12 fledged
2009~(2nd yr) 9 pairs, 41 fledged
2010~(3rd year) 11 pairs. 50 fledged
2011~(4th year) 20 pairs, 23 out of 23 gourds Martin occupied, 3 fledged, the rest died in the drought. (1 new Blue Bird, 3 BB fledged.)
2012~ 26 pairs, approx. 100-110 fledged

Jeff Robinson
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Location: Rogersville, Missouri
Martin Colony History: 2008 thru Current
72 Cavities - 66 Pairs in 2017
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Postby Jeff Robinson » Mon May 02, 2011 10:46 pm

Matt,
Very sorry to hear about the rough times for your colony. Your weather conditions in respect to cool (and wet here also) is the norm for most of Missouri this year. We've been in this cycle for weeks with only short warm breaks. It's supposed to be in mid-30s tonight, and although mine are showing stress from 2 straight days of mid to high 40s with pretty much all-day rain both days in SW MO, they will be feeding hard when it hits 50+ tomorrow morning...mostly because there's an abundance of insects.

Not saying that the quick drop in temps won't in itself cause some stress, but quite possibly, maybe yours is predominantly the drought conditions in your area and shortage of insects more than anything (not to mention the added stress of feeding their young):?:

Jeff
PMCA Member - Bedrock Colony

Scully
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Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

Postby Scully » Mon May 02, 2011 11:35 pm

Well, I will say that tonight will be the coldest its been on this date in the last 37 years (1974).

I have seen (literally, via a nest cam) martins successfully bring eggs at least through weather this cold overnight before. I'll take a quick look tomorrow after it warms up.

Mike Scully
...if the gentlemen of Virginia shall send us a dozen of their sons, we would take great care in their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of them. Canasatego 1744

Chriscreole
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Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:31 am
Location: Texas, Hutto

Postby Chriscreole » Tue May 03, 2011 6:18 am

I looked in on my colony at dusk when I got home and both parrents were in the housing trying to keep the themselves and the babies warm. Some were flying looking for bugs we been keeping the lights on at night so the bugs are attracted, the Barn Swallows get it, maybe the martins will catch on too.
Image
PMCA Member since 2010
Super System 24, All Troyer W/Conley 2 entrances.

3wood
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:18 pm
Location: Whitney,Tx

Postby 3wood » Tue May 03, 2011 9:16 am

I live about 150 miles north of you 3-4 of my 8 martin colony were exhibiting the droopy behavior yesterday. They would sit for the longest time on the upper perches and fluff up and hold their wings out and down.I pray this is the end of our cold snaps. Sorry to here about your babies good luck to you and your colony.

Louise Chambers
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Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Postby Louise Chambers » Tue May 03, 2011 10:15 am

The martins here are eating crickets like crazy, had been for several days already, but the cool temps really increased the consumption rate. We already seem to have an insect shortage from the drought conditions, add in cooler weather and high winds, and it's a situation where feeding nestlings is tough.

There are lots of nestlings 7 days and younger. One nest cam has 3-day-old young, but I can't tell what they are feeding them. The unfeathered nestlings need to be brooded constantly, so one parent has to cover them while the other hunts.

We're trying eggs, too, but our birds just haven't taken to them here. Often, once they accept eggs they seem to prefer eggs - that was so at our Port O Connor site, and at PMCA's Edinboro site. Mealworms are good nestling food too. I'm cutting egg pieces very small, and will keep putting them out. If nothing else, it keeps the grackles from eating all the crickets, since the grackles already like egg. Maybe seeing the grackles eat egg will give the martins a hint.

Scully
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

Postby Scully » Tue May 03, 2011 10:25 am

The fluffed-up, drooped wing posture in martins is analagous to us putting on a sweater, and in itself is not really cause for alarm. Adults here are probably at little risk. Eggs, since they do not need to be fed, are at less risk than are nestlings.

Seventy degrees and breezy today (sixty degress right now), less than optimal but not impossible foraging conditions. One more night in the 40's tonight.

Mike Scully
...if the gentlemen of Virginia shall send us a dozen of their sons, we would take great care in their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of them. Canasatego 1744

Scully
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

Postby Scully » Tue May 03, 2011 12:40 pm

A quick check of 24 gourds (19 broods, five clutches).

Two broods dead outright, both of about five day-old broods. Three more broods with dead or sluggish nestlings.

Feeding IS going on again, down here in San Antonio at least, the martins crowding into the gourds as soon as I put them up.

I'm guessing these deaths were temperature-induced.

Most years we witness some starvation deaths; often nestlings under these circumstance linger for the better part of a week or more, obviously rarely fed and too small to make it. This time the dead broods looked otherwise healthy. None of ours are yet very large.

We will know better this time tomorrow when this weather event is over. At this point I'm going to float a guess of perhpas a 20% nestling mortality rate by the time this is over.

Time will tell.

Also of concern is the fact that our oldest broods (~9 days) are getting to the age and size where they require large insects. This is when the effects of a drought usually makes itself felt. Some years we have lost more than half.

Mike Scully
...if the gentlemen of Virginia shall send us a dozen of their sons, we would take great care in their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of them. Canasatego 1744

jerleen
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:30 pm
Location: Texas/Carrollton

Rain, rain, rain and cold

Postby jerleen » Tue May 03, 2011 2:31 pm

I fed my martins about 1700 crickets yesterday in the cold rain and they were so hungry. I wish we could send some of this rain to you people who are in a drought. I have 32 pair so far this year and discovered 4 new babies yesterday so I am hoping the parents fed them some of the crickets that I put in the tunnel.
I put crickets in the tunnels and put some on the porch of the trio house. The SY's in the trio are a little more timid and don't seem to know quite what to do when they come back. One of my females that was in a gourd under the house stayed and looked so cold and scared when I opened the cap to look inside.
It has been a strange year for us, we lost a male martin to a hawk attack in Feb right after our first martins arrived and then I had a female in a wing entrapment several weeks ago. I took her to Kathy and Penny at the rehab and they did everything they could to save her but the male that was trapped had pecked her on the head trying to escape and she did not survive.
I also spotted over the weekend a female with what appeared to be a broken foot. She was not able to get into a gourd or a compartment in the house so I was not able to get to her. I did not see her in the rain yesterday but did worry about her all day. She seemed to be able to fly okay but struggled when she tried to land or sit on the ledge of the house.
Just wanted to say a big thank you to our rehabbers here in the Dallas Texas area. They are so caring and helpful, Thank you Kathy and Penny.
Sun is shinning today and hopefully all the martins are feeding in the nice weather.
My heart goes out to all of you that have suffered such great losses to the storms. I am always so fearful and lower my house and gourds when the weather alerts come. My martins do not mind it at all when they are in a lower spot and go right back to their homes.
Good luck to all and may this be a great year for eveyone.
Louise thank you too for coming to our North Texas Purple Martin Assoc meeting. We all learned so much from you, please come back to see us.

Dick Sherry
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Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 5:30 pm
Location: Tulsa, OK

Postby Dick Sherry » Tue May 03, 2011 2:48 pm

Matt, don't give up on the unhatched eggs just yet. Over the years we have seen the incubation cycle interrupted by cold weather, and eggs that we thought would not hatch actually did. Some of them had been in the nest nearly 20 days or more, so they could still be viable.

This has been a really tough year over such a large area of the country. You do the best you can to help them, but sometimes it just doesn't work. Keep trying to help, but don't get discouraged.

Matt@atx
Posts: 728
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:13 am
Location: Buda, TX, south of Austin

Postby Matt@atx » Tue May 03, 2011 4:04 pm

Thanks for these reports and it good to see that some sites appear well at this time. it does not appear that all have been hit with nestling losses in the Central and south texas area and I sure hope you do not.
THANK YOU the encouragement Dick, I will save what I can.
Mike, what I am experiencing is nothing compared to what you and your neighbor have recently suffered with Tornado damage. What is incredible to me is how fast you and other got things back up.. 2 days? just amazing.

Now it appears you have suffered the same as my site and it is as you say. These nestlings were healthy, active, no injuries whatsoever, and appeared fed as early as Saturday and Sunday. This appears temperture -induced as you state. This added with no food was too much for them.
The babies in Clutch 1 were trying to tell me on Sunday how hungry they were and I should have known that something was wrong and acted while they could still eat energetically. I failed to know and it cost them their lives. Moreover, I am beginning to suspect something may have happened to one or both of the parents of Clutch 1. Not once did they return to the gourd after I raised the racks last night.....strange
To my knowledge, I have 3 clutches of 5 broods each at this time. Clutch 1 is about 8 days old, Clutch 2 is 4 days old, and clutch 3 was hatching yesterday and probably today.
I cannot return to Buda until early evening with more crickets to feed. At that time I expect clutch 1 and possibly clutch 2 to be dead. With one more night in the mid to high 40's tonight, I expect to lose clutch 3.
This should be an estimated 15 babies not including unhatched eggs or those unfortunate to start hatching today I do not know about yet.
I will freeze live crickets and place them in the tunnel entrances again raising the racks back up as fast as I can to feed all who can live.
I am VERY sorry you have suffered these losses as well along with severe tornado damages suffered.
Points of concern:
Will those who lose their young to this cold weather lay more eggs or leave the site?
Will Martin Parents know they have temperture induced non viable eggs if these have died unhatched? If so, will they lay more eggs, continue to sit on dead ones having no young for the season or leave the site?
These could be additional bad consequences to the ones we must see this week.
2008~(1st yr) 4 pairs, 11 to 12 fledged
2009~(2nd yr) 9 pairs, 41 fledged
2010~(3rd year) 11 pairs. 50 fledged
2011~(4th year) 20 pairs, 23 out of 23 gourds Martin occupied, 3 fledged, the rest died in the drought. (1 new Blue Bird, 3 BB fledged.)
2012~ 26 pairs, approx. 100-110 fledged

Matt@atx
Posts: 728
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:13 am
Location: Buda, TX, south of Austin

Postby Matt@atx » Tue May 03, 2011 5:15 pm

I apologize deeply to Steve Kroenke for getting you confused with Mike Scully in San Antonio after all you have been through with this recent Tornado Disaster you suffered from AND just bounced right back up on 2 feet in 2 days with a crew of awesome .
Scully is also an excellent Martineer and a teacher in SA (? I beleive Mike?) and is EXTREMELY knowledgeable.
My apologies to both of you for confusing both of you excellent members on this forum in my post above.
2008~(1st yr) 4 pairs, 11 to 12 fledged
2009~(2nd yr) 9 pairs, 41 fledged
2010~(3rd year) 11 pairs. 50 fledged
2011~(4th year) 20 pairs, 23 out of 23 gourds Martin occupied, 3 fledged, the rest died in the drought. (1 new Blue Bird, 3 BB fledged.)
2012~ 26 pairs, approx. 100-110 fledged

Scully
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

Postby Scully » Tue May 03, 2011 5:25 pm

Matt,

Just to put things in perspective, the major victims of this strong cold front will be those migrant songbirds that left the Yucatan and other points to fly north across the Gulf of Mexico.

Scott Wiedensaul has it in his excellent book "Living on the Wind" that as many as 45 million migrating songbirds per night will be in the air flying north over the Gulf this time of year.

Seems like a conservative estimate that as many as five million of them first encountered this front last night somewhere over the gulf. A flight speed of 25-30 mph is cut way down in the face of gusting headwinds of about that speed. Most of them will not make it.

The point being I guess that when you're working with wild birds, deaths are going to happen.

I would imagine that most of the martins that have lost broods to the weather will re-nest, most likely I would think somewhere else.

It is very common for songbirds to lose their eggs and nestlings. To pick familiar examples from our area as typical; more than half the total eggs and nestlings of both cardinals and mockingbirds are lost each year. Imagine how we would react if we lost most of the nests in our martin colonies every year :shock:

I believe the normal response to a lost clutch or brood this early would be for the parent martins to try again somewhere else, not necessarily with each other.

For me right now, one silver lining to this particular cloud is that this may increase the likelyhood that some of our new sites may yet get martins this year; those that lost broods somewhere else.

Mike Scully

(and it was Steve K. that suffered the tornado, mosltly here in San Antonio it has been just dry.)
Last edited by Scully on Tue May 03, 2011 5:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
...if the gentlemen of Virginia shall send us a dozen of their sons, we would take great care in their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of them. Canasatego 1744

Chriscreole
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Location: Texas, Hutto

Secrets to feeding Frozen Crickets

Postby Chriscreole » Tue May 03, 2011 5:25 pm

OK I bought a $10 bag of crickets, young ones bout 1/2 inch long. not the big black ones these are light colored, hope there the right ones. So.... how do I get my Martins to eat them just by flippin em in the air? (think Einstein & Ouwie-Gater has ate all the ones I've flipped so far)
Image
PMCA Member since 2010
Super System 24, All Troyer W/Conley 2 entrances.

ToyinPA
Posts: 2064
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

Postby ToyinPA » Tue May 03, 2011 7:59 pm

I lost a clutch of 4 chicks over night last year to a cold front. The parents apparently didn't keep them warm enough.

I checked other nests & found a few sluggish chicks. I removed them & hand fed them crickets dipped in clear pedialyte. I pried the beak open & using long tweezers I placed a cricket in the mouth, as far back as I could so they'd swallow it. I fed 10-14 crickets at a feeding. If the parents aren't able to find food then you'll need to fed 3-4 times a day if possible. Once the weather changes you can stop feeding, if you see the parents bringing in food. I saved several chicks last year. If you can't feed them they will die. Nature can be cruel at times.

Handwarmers can be used to keep them warm during these cold snaps. Wal-Mart has the 18 hour ones for around $1.50 each.

Toy in PA

Scully
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

Postby Scully » Tue May 03, 2011 8:23 pm

Scully is also an excellent Martineer and a teacher in SA (? I believe Mike?) and is EXTREMELY knowledgeable.
Matt,

I am a high school teacher.

I doubt very much that our own Steve K is at all offended.

As for being EXTREMELY knowledgeable ( :lol: :lol: ), the perspective I bring is that of a longtime and reasonably expert bird watcher for whom martins are just one species of many.

I sure don't know everything though, in fact I was surprised that we appeared to lose ANY nestlings last night, and were it not for your posts, I would not have looked.

Mike Scully
...if the gentlemen of Virginia shall send us a dozen of their sons, we would take great care in their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of them. Canasatego 1744

chickadee
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Location: ohio

Postby chickadee » Tue May 03, 2011 9:07 pm

It has been nothing but rain here all month. Only a few dry days. But right now weather has been in fiftys to sixtys. I started giving my martins crickets by putting them inside the gourd and outside on the porch a little in the entrance. They pick them up to move them to get in and seem to catch on that it is food. The weather has been wild everywhere. But you are doing the best you can do. That's all we can do. I hope your birds pull threw.

Matt@atx
Posts: 728
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:13 am
Location: Buda, TX, south of Austin

Postby Matt@atx » Wed May 04, 2011 9:42 am

ToyinPA, Are you feeding each baby 10- 14 crickets each or total of those you feed everytime you feed them (3 to 4 times daily)? Thank you for the hand warmer information. This is an excellent future idea although we may not need it again this year. I will definitely remember this especially when they return in Feb.
Chickadee, thank you for encouragement. One cannot help to blame oneself no matter the reason for losing young. Now I hear we are in for a scorcher summer for the records..... great. more troubles
Mike, though your interest may extend beyond Martins to several other types of song birds, your perspectives are informative, professional, experienced, so therefore helpful to all. You where one that helped my step dad and I get started in 2008 even though you may not remember so I thank you for that (as well as Peggy from somewhere in the Dallas area). :)
Thank you for some answers as well Mike although some do not bring warmth to the heart. If I lose the young due to weather/draught, I lose the pair... :shock: that sucks ..lol
~update (brief as possible)
Clutch 1 (10 days old, 5 nestling) has lost 2 babies. 3 still live which surprised me and I was able to feed crickets to 2 of them. 1 would not eat and after reading ToyinPA, opening his beak and making him eat is what I should have done. He may have died during the night. I was afraid I would injury his beak/head. I noted the crickets I left yesterday were gone and that a parent entered the gourd after I raised the racks. There is possibility the other 2 may survive.
Clutch 2 (5 days old, 4 nestling, 1 egg did not hatch) lost 1 nestling, the 3 remaining move about but slight sluggishness is noted. Their condition appears worse then better from yesterday contrary to clutch 1 and do not appear to have eaten.
Clutch 3 ( 2 day old, 5 nestlings) still live. slightly less active.
clutch 4 ( 1 day old~hatching yesterday and today, est 5) are alive and appear active and hungry.
Total loss known is 3
Crickets are deposited in all 23 gourds with more left specifically to the 4 gourds noted above with hatched young. There is a slew of yet unhatched eggs, viable or not, I must wait and see.
~Points of thought
Due to their age, clutch 1 could possibly be fed successfully with normal size crickets by their parents to increase their survival chances.
Clutches 2- 4 may not be able to swallow grown crickets nor can the parents feed it to them though parents may be able to eat them themselves.
This may account for their sluggish conditions. I did not first consider this when depositing crickets.
We do have small crickets in the frig. which I may try to hand feed early evening.
If Im allowed to keep atleast 1 nestling from every gourd, I should be able to retain the pair though I want them all to live.
other notes~
at 10pm last night, it was approx. 65 degrees which was good. This morning maybe mid 50's ?
Per my OP regarding 2 sub adults stuck in a Troyer Horizon with Conley II entrance. after further thought, it may have been that these 2 were fighting intensly in that gourd and for that gourd to such an extent, they did not know the racks were coming down. The squealing coming out of that gourd could be likened to a Martin who was fighting for their life "desperately". My first impression was a Martin fighting a Starling or a snake. The sound was heart racing and makes one frantic to help. When I first looked in through the entrance, one appeared on top of another and they were very surprised to see me. Whether this from being caught misbehaving by uncle Matt or whether from the stress of a lowering rack system with the inability to get out is still unknown. There were no Martins in this gourd last night at 7pm.
2008~(1st yr) 4 pairs, 11 to 12 fledged
2009~(2nd yr) 9 pairs, 41 fledged
2010~(3rd year) 11 pairs. 50 fledged
2011~(4th year) 20 pairs, 23 out of 23 gourds Martin occupied, 3 fledged, the rest died in the drought. (1 new Blue Bird, 3 BB fledged.)
2012~ 26 pairs, approx. 100-110 fledged

ToyinPA
Posts: 2064
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

Postby ToyinPA » Wed May 04, 2011 12:46 pm

Matt:
Here's what I did to force feed a chick.....I found an old sneaker (ladies). I placed the chick in it, tail end first. This helped to keep it from wiggling to get away. The very tip of the beak has a tiny hook on it. If you can get the edge of your thumbnail on it you can pry the beak open. Place your left hand over the head, hook beak with your thumbnail, while lifting up use index finger on right hand pry the beak open. Grab cricket & stuff it in towards the back of the mouth if possible. Let go so the chick can swallow it. It may take a few tries to get it to swallow it. Some will eventually just open up for you, but others will not. The one I had to feed for 4 weeks, due to parents abandoning it, never opened up for me. After a few days he new when it was feeding time tho.

How many you feed would depend on the age/size of the chick. I would suggest start with 4-5 crickets per feeding for the smaller ones. 3-4 feedings a day if possible. Always make the last feeding about 1-2 hours before dark. The larger chicks would probably need 6-8 crickets per feeding. I had 3/4 inch size crickets. I've seen parents stuff a full sized dragon fly in the beak of a day old chick. If they have problems swallowing the cricket rip or cut the legs off. Course once crickets are frozen the legs do fall of most of the time. I also gave a little water too, after feeding. Just a few drops in the beak with a eye dropper. I would place the chicks back in the nest after each feeding. The parents need to see their chicks are there. Otherwise they may leave. This may only take you a few days to get them over the hump. Keep an eye on them & see if they are growing & look alert. If so then let the parents feed them.

You can also use live meal worms. The ones I had were about 3/4 to 1 inch in size. I cut the heads off with a small pair of scissors. I feared they'd grab/bite the inside of the chicks mouth/throat.

Eggs can be used too, but I think crickets or meal worms would be best. Too many eggs could give a chick the runs.

Pedalyite is an electrolyte. You can pick up a bottle at just about any store that sells baby stuff. Only by the CLEAR kind. I dipped every cricket, meal worm in it before putting it in the chicks beak. This helps to balance out the chicks system & gives it a boost. I just poured a small amount in a dish, tossed in a few meal worms & used tweezers to pick them back up & place in beak. Tweezers that have a bent end seem to work well.

It's survival of the fittest. The parents will feed themselves before they feed their chicks. However if you can offer them some help during bads times it's possible the chicks will fledge.

Matt you can buy crickets much cheaper over the intenet. There are several sites that sell them in bulk from 500 & up. I just got 2000. Most will ship in a day or so & they arrive in 2 days alive. Toss package in a bag, place in freezer for 24 hours. I then sort/bag them in snack size ziploc bags. To thaw place in a glass dish, cover with hot tap water. They thaw in 30 seconds. Drain off water, lay on paper towel & you're ready to go.

Good luck,
Toy in PA

Matt@atx
Posts: 728
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:13 am
Location: Buda, TX, south of Austin

Postby Matt@atx » Wed May 04, 2011 4:35 pm

ToyinPA,

Thank you for such EXCELLENT and very detailed information on how I can try and feed nestlings. I am copying this for reference.

A question ToyinPA. Would you still put 2 to 3 drops of water down the beak at the same time if you dip their crickets/mealworms in clear pedalyite or just do one of the other?
Im just curious, do you know why the adults abandoned the young in the situation you described where you fed babies for 4 weeks?

You closing instruction on how to freeze and thaw crickets will be very helpful as well. THANK YOU. My mom has just purchased 1000 mealworms on line so I suspect the same process can be used for them as well. This is why I am printing your post.

Though I cannot feed them 3 to 4 times daily because of work and I do not live here, I will follow these great guide lines and do what I am able to do with hope that the parents pick up the slack since this cold snap is supposed to be over. One feeding may make my efforts futile but I will try anyway.
2008~(1st yr) 4 pairs, 11 to 12 fledged
2009~(2nd yr) 9 pairs, 41 fledged
2010~(3rd year) 11 pairs. 50 fledged
2011~(4th year) 20 pairs, 23 out of 23 gourds Martin occupied, 3 fledged, the rest died in the drought. (1 new Blue Bird, 3 BB fledged.)
2012~ 26 pairs, approx. 100-110 fledged


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