on the needles

Saturday, July 22, 2006

This weekend sucks!!

And it's not because of the migraines, PMS or cramps. Nope, despite all of those things at once, the suckiest thing this weekend has been a huge disaster in finchland.

Remember that Sirius and Rowena had five live eggs due to hatch at any time? And remember I was a bit concerned about Sirius and his "casual" attitude towards his parental responsibilities? Well I thought he was a bit of a deadbeat dad but I didn't expect him to turn into an assassin! That's right - the dreaded chick tossing.

I had been lulled into a lovely false sense of security due to Godric and Minerva's super parenting so it was a huge shock when I came downstairs Friday morning to discover two dead chicks on the floor of the cage. I was hoping against hope that somehow they were perhaps just initially startled by the appearance of the babies and this had for some reason caused them to throw out the first chicks - hoping they would settle down and parent the rest of the babies. But nope - later in the day when I checked I found a third chick on the floor. He was very cold but still alive. I did what I could to save him (too long to go into all the detail) but to no avail and he died overnight. And now the last two eggs have been abandoned and will not hatch.

I'm just devastated over the loss of the baby birds. It seems like such a waste to go to all that trouble with the eggs and then ditch the babies. My theory is that Sirius and Rowena have never actually raised their own babies before. I got them from a breeder (this breeder was NOT my friend Elvira, who has beautiful birds and raises them the right way) as an "established pair". But some breeders never allow Gouldian's to raise their own babies. As soon as the Gouldian's lay eggs, the breeder takes the eggs and gives them to Society Finches to foster. This causes the Gouldians to turn around and lay another clutch of eggs right away - thus maximizing the number of Gouldian eggs the breeder can get each season and of course bringing them more money. I think it is a good idea to have Society Finches around to possibly foster Gouldian Finch babies in an emergency situation. (Societies will feed just about any youngling who begs for food.) But the practice of doing this constantly and on purpose is what leads to Gouldians becoming bad parents in the first place.

Needless to say this will be the last clutch for Sirius and Rowena. I don't raise birds to make money. I care about having healthy babies who know how to be Gouldians - like Godric and Minerva.

So that's the bad news. The very very bad news!

The good news is:

These are the three babies from Godric and Minerva's second clutch. Fat and happy and well fed - just look at those crops! They are ten days old today. I took these pictures when I banded them.

Look at those faces! Just adorable. No yellow backed babies in this bunch - but maybe normal, dilute or blue - too soon to really tell.

So that's life huh? The good and the bad. I'm just so happy to have the good and not just the bad.


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