Thursday, 20 October 2016

Styrofoam incubator - Avoid Power-Outage Deaths

Where would I purchase one of those computer backup batteries for my small Styrofoam incubator? 

Do they work well? For how long will they run a brooder? 



The electric current can go out for many reasons, such as lightning storms, hot weather and power outages from accidents or fallen trees. There is even talk that this year, during the hot months, the electric companies are going to do perform temporary controlled blackouts in several cities throughout the United States without warning. This can kill eggs and very young baby birds in incubators and brooders!

I use a computer backup battery, which can be purchased at almost any computer-type electronic store or large office supply store, such as Best Buy, Circuit City, Good Guys, Office Max or Office Depot. These stores usually carry backup batteries in several different sizes and prices. The more powerful the batteries are and the longer they run, the more money they cost. You can also buy them from online stores like MacMall and even direct from the company. Their 

I have simple batteries, which are smaller and cost under $150 each, connected to a few of my brooders and incubators. These little power units have run my brooders for more than four hours when the power failed, and I must say they kept the temperature just right, and the brooder and incubator were not harmed in any way. The batteries also have an alarm that beeps when the power goes out. This has awakened and alerted us that the power was out. The unit continues to beep as long as it works without electricity. I found these units to be very reliable tools for raising birds. As soon as the power comes back on, the unit changes back to the regular electric current, and starts to recharge the internal battery system. My first unit is still running, and it is more than four years old. If I leave my home for a few hours, I know that all the babies are safe if the power goes out, because those backup batteries turn on automatically and keep the chicks warm until I get home.

Coaxing Pairs To Breed
I breed sun, peach-fronted and green-cheeked conures. Recently, I purchased a pair of brown-throated conures and a pair of Senegal parrots. Neither of these new pairs will enter their nest boxes. It has been a month since their acquisition, but nothing seems to be happening. I am mostly interested in the brown throats, because it is very difficult to find information on them. The Senegals and brown throats came with the same box they nested in before. The brown throats had a very small box. I gave them a new box, grandfather clock style. They do not even perch on the entrance at night, whereas the Senegals perch on the entrance hole and the male peers into it periodically. The male Senegal has a bare head down to the neck. The hen is feather picking him a lot. He bends and enjoys her mutilation. There is no sign of breeding from those two, but they are doing plenty of picking. The hen has one perch chewed almost to kindling. As for the brown throats (that I've become quite fond of), they do not seem to chew or look at the box at all. I read that they excavate termite mounds for their nest in the wild and that it is recommended to use cork inside the box for their chewing pleasure, but I think this is bizarre. Any suggestions to entice these two pairs to do some breeding would be appreciated.

First of all, you have not had the pairs long enough for them to be ready to nest. Even though some birds will go to nest immediately after a move, many need to settle in and wait a few months or longer. With your brown-throated conures, I would do things a bit differently than you have. If, indeed, they are a true breeding pair, I would not change the nest box provided with them. I would set the birds up with what they are accustomed to. You did not give me the dimensions of the nest boxes, but what you think is too small may be just perfect for that pair. Many of my bigger conures, such as Patagonian, blue-crowned and cherry-headed conures, will only nest in small cockatiel nest boxes. I even saw a pair of nandays producing babies in a nest box not much bigger than a parakeet nest box. Just think, in the wild they would use small quarters, because that would be all they could find; not these big "apartment" sized holes. I do not use grandfather clock style boxes for any of my smaller conures. I have found them to be too large for the pairs. My pairs prefer smaller boxes. And, I do use cork inside some of my conure nest boxes. The birds really seem to enjoy chewing it up, and, it keeps them busy. So, if your pair of conures do not nest in the next few months, why not try their original box and see if they like that better?

As for the Senegal parrots, they can be a bit trickier to get to nest. Many Senegal parrots are really seasonal and will only breed late winter into spring. Many Senegal parrots also need more time to adjust to their new surroundings, whereas conures seem to settle in much more quickly. Some Senegal parrots will not even use their nest box off-season.

As for the hen's mutilation of the male, I have seen this at times. If it becomes too much, you can separate the pair for a month or two and then return them together in hope that they will just stop this bad habit. Sometimes this works. But it sounds like the male is not bothered by her over-grooming him. Sometimes the feather follicles can become so damaged that the feathers may never grow back. This does not hurt the bird at all, it just looks different. It sounds like the pair likes one another. So with this pair, I think they need much more time before you worry about them nesting. See what happens with them in winter or spring, and let them get used to their new home.