Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Letter from Holland - Temperature For Raising Chicks

17th April 2009

Hallo David,

It has been a while since I mailed this question. I just admired your latest hand reared chicks. They look absolutely fine and healthy. What good food can do for a bird.

The shama chicks I raised are doing fine and turned out to be two males. That turned out to sing totally different. By the way, a mother bird will never stop brooding at night when her chicks are young here because night temperatures in Holland can be very low even in spring and summer (5 degrees Celsius). It is spring now and 15-20 degrees during the day is very warm for us.

I have another question for you. I am now trying to hand rear an other bigger species of birds (jays). These birds weigh approximately 6 grams at birth.
Do these chicks have to be kept at lower temperatures from the start?? Do you have experience in hand rearing bigger birds?

Best regards,

April 20th 2009

Hello Ime,

I have only limited experience with hand-rearing non-shama species. However, from my research into breeding birds, the principles are the same.

If the eggs are artificially incubated, the temperature is reduced by about 1 degree, 2 days or so before the chicks are due to hatch. The reason is that the temperature within the egg will rise as the chick nears the end of its development.

Upon hatching, the chicks are maintained at the same temperature for a day. The temperature in the brooder is then gradually reduced until what would be room temperature in the tropics. At night in the tropics, the temperature can fall to 23/24 degrees centigrade.

In the tropics the insectivorous female will not sit in the nest at night after the third or fourth day after hatching as the chicks will be able to keep themselves warm. When hand-rearing, it is quite easy to determine in the temperature is too warm or too cold for the chicks after they are 4 days old.

When the chicks are at rest, if their necks are stretched and extended over the nest and their beaks are agape, the temperature is too warm and the chicks expose as much of themselves as they can as this helps to cool them. If they are crouched together at the bottom of the nest, then the temperature is too cold.

Hope the above helps.

Best regards,

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