Baby canary close to death - Pigeon-Talk
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Teresa's Avatar
Teresa Teresa is offline
Posted 1st August 2010, 06:32 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Portugal
Posts: 633

Baby canary close to death

I've just been handed a 2-week old baby canary who was separated from his mother yesterday because she was pecking him and wouldn't feed him.
Since then he's not eaten or drank and has been exposed to room temperature.
He's cold and listless, eyes closed, looks dehydrated, and his breathing is very fast and shallow. He hasn't pooped for hours. I've put him on a heating pad and will give him electrolytes as soon as his temperature has stabilised. If that works, I will give him some formula next (with an eye dropper?), but I don't know how much and how often to feed him, or whether he will need medicating.
Any advice greatly appreciated -- this is a real heart-breaker...
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Dobato Dobato is offline
Posted 1st August 2010, 07:24 AM
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Teresa, probably like most here, I don't really know anything about baby canaries. However, I did a search for you and posted some links below. I imagine much like a neo-natal baby pigeon they need to be kept warm (95 degrees or so) and both warmed and hydrated before attempting to feed. Make a hydration fluid by adding 2 teaspoons of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) to 8oz of warm water and use an eye dropper (like in the video clip(s), but instead of food, hydration fluid) to give maybe 4 drops to start and another 4 drops a half an hour later and see if s/he has perked up a bit. Before feeding real food, like in the links, I would also want to get some energy into the little one, by taking an equal amount hydration fluid and mix it with and equal part of honey, so a 1:1 mix (1 teaspoon of each), and give 4 drops of this a few times to make sure s/he has enough energy in her/his little body to start to digest real food.

Good luck with this little one,


Last edited by Dobato; 1st August 2010 at 08:58 AM..
Teresa's Avatar
Teresa Teresa is offline
Posted 1st August 2010, 06:25 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Portugal
Posts: 633
Thank you so much, Karyn!

The baby is still alive, the breathing is softer and he has moved a little, but hasn't opened his eyes at all.
The heating pad and the electrolytes have worked a treat, and I've even managed to give him a little runny formula, one tiny drop at a time placed inside the tip of his beak -- he swallowed it okay. (I was very careful, to make sure he didn't aspirate.)
I've since discovered that his left foot is broken but I haven't tried to splint it or anything while his life hangs in the balance. Poor baby, he either fell or was pushed off the nest last night, because his owner found him in the bottom of the cage this morning. I also found his father was ill some time back and wasn't taken to the vet's or medicated properly. There's a possibility that the baby may have been ill too, and that's why he was rejected. He may also have other injuries.

Thanks again. I'll keep you posted.
Dobato Dobato is offline
Posted 1st August 2010, 09:04 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
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Teresa, thanks for the update. Well, you put the brake on they way things were going for the time being, let's hope it is enough to turn things around for this little one. Did the father survive his sickness and any idea of what it was or the symptoms he presented? You do have your work cut out for you, as s/he will need food every few hours for a number of days yet, you may want to still give a bit of hydration fluid, but by tomorrow I would think that this baby should get enough fluids from the hand formula going forward. As for the foot, a bit of tape placed below and above the toes should be enough to splint the foot for something this tiny, here is a link where vet wrap was used to get an idea on it. Again, good luck, and please keep us updated.

garacari garacari is offline
Posted 1st August 2010, 09:12 PM
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 174
You've done all the right things so far! Very important to keep this baby warm. How feathered is the bird? In addition to the heating pad (do not put him on it directly) try to keep the air around him warm and dark (maybe a shoebox).

Best way to feed the little guy is with a one cc/ml syringe with a white tip. If you don't have it, a dropper will do. However, it's much less difficult to aspirate the bird with a syringe and white tip.

Important feeding tips - the food must be warm. Depending on the age of the baby he will have to be fed either every 15 minutes to half hour in very small increments, e.g. .01-.03ml for a hatching, .3-.6 for a nestling and 1.0 every 30-45 for a fledge.

Don't worry too much about water right now. Use a very runny solution of Kaytee Exact (or similar). If you see signs of extreme dehydration, try mixing the formula with a Pedilyte solution rather than water. If severely dehydrated and vomiting the best was to administer fluid is subq - but I don't think you're at that point yet.

Keep checking in!
Teresa's Avatar
Teresa Teresa is offline
Posted 4th August 2010, 04:20 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Portugal
Posts: 633
Thank you both so much for your feedback!
I have good news: baby is so much better!

On Monday I took him to my avian vet. You should have seen everybody at the clinic going all goo-goo-ga-ga over the little fellow! She confirmed he was no longer dehydrated and was recovering well, but was a little concerned about the left eye which he wouldn't open (but did 2 hours later).

About the foot, she couldn't feel any fracture on the toes, and the toes on the other foot have also started to curl, so that he stands on his ankle joints. But there is sensitivity on both feet, and he can push back against our finger.
The vet said it would be best to wait a few days, because even the lightest splint might be too heavy for him. But the method used in the link is very interesting, and I'll bear it in mind. The vet also said to watch for any signs of splayed legs -- I haven't seen them, but made his nest walls steeper, just in case.

He's going to be 3 weeks old on Friday. I've been feeding him every 2 hours until midnight, then 4 am, then every 2 from 8 am onwards. He's very alert and peeps enthusiastically for food. I've called him Xi-ri.

First pic, last Saturday, when I got him:

And today (you can see his left foot in this one):

garacari garacari is offline
Posted 4th August 2010, 04:28 PM
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Oh! He's looking so much better!!!
zosterops zosterops is offline
Posted 4th August 2010, 04:44 PM
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Location: Alberta , Canada
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i just finished weaning my baby canary 3 weeks ago he is the sweetest baby lol
its easy to see whats in their crops at this stage give him a week and you will know when he is hungry he/she will make lots of noise well mine did every time i walked in the room
have fun with it not everyone gets to rais baby canaries by hand
Teresa's Avatar
Teresa Teresa is offline
Posted 4th August 2010, 05:23 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Portugal
Posts: 633
Zosterops, you're so right, he's a bundle of joy!
Can you imagine that his owner amitted she'd only handed him over to me cause she didn't want a dead creature in her house, rather than because he needed help? Some people, honestly!!

Karyn, I forgot to tell you about his father -- he survived and looks well, but I don't know if he simply got over it or became a carrier.

Do you want a laugh? This was me trying to feed him earlier on, whilst holding the camera with one hand and laughing all the while. Between us, we made an unholy mess!...
Dobato Dobato is offline
Posted 4th August 2010, 08:46 PM
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Posts: 4,445
Teresa, you have done a remarkable job of bringing this little back from the edge, you should be proud of yourself, at this point, as not everyone could have done this, the title of your thread, based on the first photo, was a very apt one. I watched the video and it was very entertaining, seeing his little crop fill up. The one thought I did have was that if he is getting all his hydration just from the food, you may want to make the hand-feeding formula just a touch thinner so it has a little more moisture content.

Another thought I had is, just before feeding so his crop is empty, is to do some gentle therapy on his legs and feet, To very gently massage and slowly unfurl his all his toes a number of times, so the can start to get used to them being extended, and pump his legs up and down a bit, as this should also help bring some limberness and strength to the general area. Keep up the great job.


Last edited by Dobato; 5th August 2010 at 05:57 AM..
TAWhatley's Avatar
TAWhatley TAWhatley is offline
Posted 4th August 2010, 09:36 PM
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Location: Lake Forest, CA, USA
Posts: 21,208
Wonderful job, Teresa! Very well done! I hear you on the "I don't want it dead at my place" .. I get that quite a bit when people bring me little ones that are truly knocking on death's door when they arrive.

Doing some physical therapy on that little clutched foot would be great as Karyn suggested. You might also consider making a tiny little "shoe" for that foot.


spirit wings spirit wings is offline
Posted 5th August 2010, 05:49 AM
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Country: United States
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That is adorable, I really hope he makes it! best wishes for you and the little one.
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Ede-bird Ede-bird is offline
Posted 5th August 2010, 07:29 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 166
I just found this thread, and want to tell you that you have done an excellent job with this baby! It sounds like his eyes opened right on schedule I am a member of other bird forums that have sections for special needs birds, so if Xi-ri's little feet remain clubbed feel free to PM me for some info. I have a special needs Grass Parakeet that was horribly crippled by the "care" of a previous owner, and have set up a special cage for her - she bumbles happily along chirping and saying 'hello' and living a contented and as pain free as possible life
Maureen and Cooter
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mr squeaks mr squeaks is offline
Posted 5th August 2010, 12:44 PM
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Location: Mesa, AZ
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Thumbs up

Teresa, I'm flyin' by to add my KUDOS for the remarkable job you have done with Xi-ri!!

He sure looks so enthusiastic while being fed!!

And, I'm so glad you were able to have your Vet check him out!

I, too, will be avidly waiting for updates! One of these days we will be saying "I can't believe that is the same canary!"

Sending ALL THE BEST with Love, Hugs and Scritches

Ivor Ivor is offline
Posted 5th August 2010, 02:30 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Location: San Francisco, California
Posts: 450
Oh my god what a lovely baby!!! Teresa you must to feel very proud of yourself, you did such a great job, he is so fragile and tiny but even that you put all your efford, Now you can say that is your own baby and you laid that egg!!! ~



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