Just-hatched parakeet chicks look nothing like the beautiful birds they will become. Completely bald, their eyes are closed and their long necks are too weak to hold up their heads. For the first three weeks, the hen cares for the babies and the male feeds the hen. He then helps the hen feed the chicks until they're weaned at about 6 weeks old.
Check the nesting box frequently when the eggs begin to hatch. Parakeet eggs hatch every other day, so some chicks will be significantly bigger than others in the same clutch. Remove empty egg shells, and observe the chicks' crops to be sure they're being fed. Their crops are located on the front of their necks and will appear plump and full after feeding. It's normal for the hen to wait several hours after a chick hatches to begin feeding it.
Pay special attention to the smallest chicks. If any chicks aren't being fed, you may have to place them with foster parents. One or two babies can be moved to a nest with similar-aged chicks. Check often to be sure the foster parents are caring for the new babies. If they aren't, you will have to hand feed them. If you choose to hand feed, purchase baby bird formula designed for parakeets and follow the package instructions.
The Nesting Box
Once the chicks are starting to feather, clean the nesting box weekly. Wash and dry your hands before beginning. Block the entrance to the nest, keeping out the hen. Place the babies in a large bowl lined with paper towels. Keep the chicks warm, and work quickly. Empty the nest and place fresh bedding inside. Place the babies back in the nest and open the entrance so the hen can enter.
Food stuck in a chick's upper beak can cause bacterial infections or an undershot beak. If you can see uneaten food, gently clean inside the beak with a warm, wet cotton swab. Splayed legs are legs that extend outward from the hips. This condition can be caused by inadequate bedding, a dietary imbalance or the hen sitting on a chick for too long. This problem can be corrected if discovered early, while the chick's bone are still soft. Consult your veterinarian if you see signs of splayed legs.
Karen Mihaylo has been a writer since 2009. She has been a professional dog groomer since 1982 and is certified in canine massage therapy. Mihaylo holds an associate degree in human services from Delaware Technical and Community College.