My husband often muses how much more time I would have each day if we didn't have a menagerie of pets, but I love being surrounded by critters and tending to them never feels like a chore. Three years ago, we bought a pair of zebra finches for our aviary and every 6-7 weeks since they have produced a batch of between 3-7 chicks, which we give away to our local birdshop.
Zebra finches are such good parents and I would watch them in fascination, as they took turns in relay, tending to their young and feeding each other. Earlier this week, the mother finch died. She left behind a nest full of young chicks which the father finch valiantly tried to rear himself. I bought him a new girlfriend in the hope that she might help him out - but raising chicks wasn't her thing. Sadly, raising the chicks by himself took its toll on the father finch and three days later he died too. That left me to play the role of Mum Finch. When I retrieved the nest, there were actually five little chicks, but two had already died, probably from dehydration as the father just couldn't feed them near the end. So now I have been playing Mum Finch for three days, giving the chicks formula via a syringe every couple of hours, and so far so good!!! Fingers crossed, they will continue to do well and thrive. They do look a little ugly at this stage, but another week, when they are covered with feathers and they will look very cute. You can see the little sacs either side of their spine full of formula - (I probably over feed them a bit, but they seem to be doing well).