Baby Antigone (aka Tiggy) hatched Jan 18, 2006 and a few days later, 3 other siblings followed! Tiggy's proud parents are Patchie and Silver. Since Patchie and Silver lost all of the babies in their very first clutch, these babies were tensly anticipated and guarded over very carefully by both "humans" and birds alike for the first few weeks of their lives.
At first, we thought Antigone a boy (probably because she was born first) and we named her Boagrius, or "Bo". Its hard to break the habit since she spent many months being called "baby Bo" so many times, I still slip. Poor Bo-Tigrius is one confused tiel! But, she's a very quiet lil birdy and has the look of a hen, so we're fairly certain "he" is a "she" despite our initial thoughts.
At 2 weeks old, I pulled Tiggy and her sibling Paris (the second oldest baby) for handfeeding. Patchie and Silver were having a hard time keeping up with four babies. Handfeeding two baby cockatiels was QUITE the experience.
There were a few bumps along the way. Slow-crop seemed to be Tiggy's biggest problem and I feared she would need to see our veterinarian. She pulled through and is a healthy cockatiel now but I had a few sleepless nights. As a result of raising both Tiggy and her sibling, Paris from such a young age, they've become very strongly bonded to me. I'm their MOM.
Despite the setbacks, Tiggy never lost her appetite.
She grew and grew, and went from the little pincushion baby that looked like a dinosaur to a sweet little thing with feathers. She now has a face everyone loves! With her sweet personality and special bond with me, how could I give her up? I had to keep her. In fact, it never crossed my mind that she would ever go to another home. I've gotten a front seat to the developements of a baby cockatiel, and that has to be the best of all. When she began to flap her wings, I would sit with her and do "flappies" to strengthen her wings. As she grew more confident, I actually launched her into the air. My heart soared along with her as she took her first flight. Especially since she circled the room and landed safely on my arm. Mom - her safety net. Now, she's trained to fly to me when ever I hold up my finger. We're "working" on STAY! It can be quiet a nuisance to be working in the kitchen and have a baby cockatiel fly in for a landing right atop your head!
It has been such a joy to raise these babies, but no easy task. Its taken 10 weeks of hand feeding (beginning at 2 weeks) for Tiggy and Paris to become independant enough to eat completely on their own. Well, I shouldn't say completely. Tiggy especially, lives to divebomb cereal bowls. Of course, Paris will also be staying with us. I can't imagine my flock without these two babies. They're so incredibly tame and sweet.
Sadly, we will have to part with the two younger siblings, who we named Persephone and Hektor. . Though I would love too, I cannot keep all four. Hektor is showing signs of being a male. He sings constantly! Persephone is an identical twin to Hektor, but is quiet. Both birds are dead ringers for their Dad, Silver. At 3.5 months, the babies will soon be going through their first molt. Tiggy already has new flight feathers spouting and pin feathers on her head. We should know soon, who the boys and who the hens REALLY are!