Parent-rearing

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Pluses and minuses of Parent Rearing Blue Capped Waxbills
Positives
  • natural
  • occupies the parents
  • generally Cordon Bleus are good sitters
  • proves husbandry is very good
  • parent-reared chicks to date fledge earlier than fostered
  • usually fledge in very good condition
  • earlier fledging could be due to more livefood from parents
Negatives
  • variable live-food needs between Blue-capped pairs
  • young birds can lose many clutches while learn to 'parent'
  • ejection of chicks if parents overly 'fit' ie too much livefood
  • chicks abandoned if growth isn't 'right' ie too little livefood
  • can't monitor chicks to move smaller ones to other nests
  • very hard to access nest to close ring
  • chicks get less used to 'our food' than when fostered
  • chicks 'wilder' than when fostered - unused to small cages
  • overall low ratio of eggs to fledged chicks

More on successful parent rearing

To date its been sufficiently mature birds (18 months plus), which have been successful parent-rearers.

If too well fed, hens may start laying at 8 months. These eggs tend to be infertile, laid anywhere and are rarely incubated.

At a year old, good, fertile, potential fostering eggs tend to be laid in the nest and incubated, but chicks tend to be tossed.
To minimise chances of young chicks being tossed by sufficiently mature cocks, do not feed any livefood during incubation.

Once there are chicks, Tony Jochem in his book 'Breeding Estrildid Finches' advises that feeding Pinkies overstimulates even sufficiently mature cocks, so that chicks are tossed.

Buffalo worms for the first 10 - 12 days seem to work well.

Bursting

Although you are less likely to be looking in the nest when parent-rearing than fostering, better to stop peeking at the chicks as they near full feather from days 13 or 14 onwards.

Otherwise, you might induce a 'burst' and the weakest/ youngest could suffer.   If you see fewer waxbills to the perch than when you last inspected prior to fledging try not to look in the nest.

The smallest/ weakest will 'burst' and an extra day in the nest can be the difference between surviving or not.

Weaning - minimise the stress

Waxbills may be weaned at 16 days but with parent-rearing there is no hurry.

After a while the cock will want the chicks to move away if he wants to breed again.   He will start to harrass them, gently at first.   It doesn't get serious suddenly.

When weaned, don't transfer from a small breeding cage to an aviary in one giant leap.

Try an intermediate week or two in a small cage and work up to bigger things.

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