Weaning of young zebra finch
The young zebra finch are now about three weeks old; seeking to escape the lack of space, the oppressive warmth of the brood or just want to discover the world, they will start to come out of the nest.
This exit is not final, because they return there again for 2 to 3 days, but less and less often. Sometimes, when the young start to grow, one of them starts to fly out of the nest a few days before the planned release date, you can leave it out of the nest if conditions permit, the parents will continue to to occupy it. If you need to put it back in the nest, place it softly preferably in the evening and keep your hand in front of the flight hole, until all the young people have found their calm.
One morning when all the young people are out, the nest will be removed for cleaning before a new laying or in preparation for the next breeding season. The nest will be given when young people are weaned and therefore separated from their parents.
It is common for parents to start again before the end of weaning. There are no established rules on the issue: Sometimes parents start brooding while caring for young people out of the nest, sometimes they will pluck young people and stop taking care of them. To the breeder to be attentive in his observations. At home, I prefer to remove the eggs laid on the floor to give them to another couple or to give them back to the couple after weaning when the timing allows.
The weaning period corresponds to the period when the young bird will learn to feed itself and thus acquire its autonomy. It is therefore a delicate period where it will be important to observe the birds so as not to make the mistake of separating a youngster too early from his parents. Generally a young mandarin diamond will be weaned around 35 days of life. Once again, observation is required; and no need to take risks, it's a matter of a few days.
The young chicks were fed by their parents who regurgitated the seeds and / or the mash that is distributed daily at this time. Now they have to learn how to shell the seeds and eat them alone. The faster the chicks will be autonomous, the sooner they will be weaned.
The parents reduce the regurgitation of the mash by themselves.
But if young people feel the need they will go for it alone is easy access food that will serve as a transition. In addition, some breeders offer germinated seeds to young birds: These "soft" seeds are easy to dissect and to ingest. For my part, right out of the nest, the birds have permanent provision of millet cluster (red and yellow that I alternate each day).
For the very first days you can facilitate the access of young people to the food by using small cups not too high, lids jars, small plate, ramekin placed in the bottom of the cage. Some breeders (of which I am a part) do not change anything and keep the traditional feeders in place without observing any particular problems.
During the period of weaning, parents will continue to feed the young, but less and less often. Be careful before separating young people from parents, to ensure that they eat well alone because a young kidnapped prematurely may be unwelcome if you put it with his parents, especially if they have started a spawn.
When you remove your young, it may be wise to place them in an aviary with other young people already weaned, or an old male, an old female so that they finish learning to feed themselves. Finally, some young people are later than others, so be careful.
At home for lack of room for the construction of aviaries, I use large cages 1m20 for weaning young is just as effective provided to put about fifteen young cages. For food, always millet for a couple of days at least, and the "millet" (the millet that falls clusters that I recover from a local producer). For years I gave the young weaned pate but it was a mistake because some young people prefer this food easy to eat and the stop of the pie worried some).
During this same period, the bill of the young is colored and its adult plumage is put in place. The beak clears from the base to the tip to become pink, then will be colored coral red for males and pinkish red for females.
The characteristic plumage of the males appears (blanks, cheeks, throat, breastplate and chest bar). Some very intensive birds in color already have the drawings right out of the nest :
By the third month of their lives young people have their final plumage.
Various problems can be observed during this critical period in the life of the zebra finch, such as parents' aggression toward young people. Often it is linked to the excessive excitement of the couple who think more about reproduction than weaning for various reasons:
- Too much vitamin intake
- The search for materials for the next brood where the quilting of young feathers
- Attack of the young to move them away from the nest. That's why I advise you to remove the nest a few days after the release of the chicks.
But sometimes, it will simply be due to the aggressive nature of the bird. They are not all identical !! Contrary to popular belief, some pairs of mandarin diamonds are very bad nurses. It may sometimes be necessary to separate the couple (most often the female is left with her young). Some use cages with grid separations. Parents continue to feed young people through the grill.
But of course, it should not be confused with a slight aggression aiming towards the end of weaning to push young people to fend themselves a little more alone.
Some points that it seems important to summarize here :
- Hatching of young people 12 days after the beginning of brooding (usually from the 3rd egg)
- Out of the nest at about 20 days
- Withdrawal at about 35 days
- At parents' disposal of the farmed pâté distributed daily. The mash is put in preparation, then at the birth of the young (not during the brooding)
- As soon as you get out of the nest, you always have cluster millet available to young people
- Food easily accessible for young people
- An aviary or flight cage for the good development of the musculature of the young bird
And of course a daily monitoring of the evolution of the autonomy of the young birds.