In one of the nestboxes out in my aviary the two babies have had almost all their down pecked off their backs and sides! The main feathers don't seem to be harmed, but the skin is irritated and there are a few pinpricks of blood, and from what I've heard feather plucking is a progressive thing. One baby still had some down left, and I moved them in with a different pair and took the parents out, hoping I could save the rest of the feathers.
I love my birds, and I really don't know what keeps going wrong. I'm doing everything I can to keep them healthy and happy, but it has just been one thing after another. If anyone sees anything, (and I do mean anything) that they think I'm doing wrong, and/or have any suggestions, I am really open right now. More like it, I'm at the begging stage.
Sorry I didn't see this sooner mate! I know what you mean - I had to remove the cock bird from the breeder as he was plucking the babies. I'd never bred this male before so didn't know he'd do this. The hen successfully raised 3 of the 4 chicks - the 4th I fostered out. Their feathers are pretty good now - I'll post pics in breeding. The best thing to do in that situation is to take the cock bird out as he was probably wanting to breed again and the hen won't when she's got chicks. Chin up Liz - breeding birds is oftentimes a heartbreaking thing but when you hold a fledged chick in your hand it all feels worth it.
Thank you so much for the encouragement and advice Karen. I've had so many things go wrong the last couple seasons that I just hit my limit for that day and lost it. I felt about ready to quit altogether, although I never actually would. Sorry you had to be the recipient for my meltdown...
Like I said, neither parent had done it before, so I took them both out before they could do more damage. The other pair seems to be taking good care of the bubs, and they are doing okay, it looks like the feather shafts weren't hurt too badly.
aww im so sorry to read this Liz, it's awful when you ahve to intervene with nature, but soemtimes it has to be done, Im so glad you havent packed it all in, you did the right thing by fostering them out to the other pair, things can only get better sweetheart xxx