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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Once again I've been given the amazing opportunity to hand rear 2 Swallows.. well, for now anyway. At least this time I know what to do!!<br><br><br><br>
About 2 months ago I visited my Nana's house and found a tiny, featherless bird being eaten alive by ants. I phoned my best friend, who's mum is a vet, and hand reared it for the rest of the day (there was no nest in sight). As soon as I got home (a 2 and a half hour journey) I handed the bird in at the PDSA centre. The bird died a few hours later, but at least in warmth and comfort. That experience was magical for me. Although it was a bad situation, I learned so much from it.<br><br><br><br>
Earlier this evening, I went down to the farm near my home to feed the horse. But I noticed something odd. A new family of Swallows was nesting in a (previously owned) nest, hidden in the roof of a barn. Except I could see something hanging out -- it was one of the chicks!! It's legs seemed to be stuck, and it was hanging upside down, wings flapping. Horrified, I kept my eye on it. Sadly the parents could do nothing -- they sat on a beam near the nest and were staring at each other.. as if asking what they could possibly do.<br><br>
Then the inevitable happened.. I saw a streak of grey plunge down and into the stable below. It had fallen <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/shocked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":eek:">. A few mintues later, just to make things worse, the neighbours cat arrived. It killed a whole nest last year. After half an hour, I knew nothing could be done. The bird had survived the fall. It was too young to fly, and the parents could do nothing either. The nest was in the middle of the roof, so it was impossible to put the chick back <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("><br><br>
So I did what any animal lover would.. I got a box, filled it with hay in a nest shape, and went in to get the little bird. Only when I went into the stable, I found that the <i>whole nest</i> had collapsed -- there were about 4 other chicks lying on the floor. I'm surprised I didn't cry. I thought they were all dead, but when I touched one, it moved. It's amazing how precious and delicate life is. Despite 2 or 3 others dying when they fell, this one had survived. So I put it in the make-shift nest with the other one and took them both home.<br><br><br><br>
They're now both sitting on an electric blanket in my room. I've wrapped towels around their nest box to retain extra heat. They're lovely and warm and settling down for the night. They're very different from the last bird I hand reared-- they're a lot older. They've got their feathers and look quite fluffy, but haven't opened their eyes yet. Like my first foster chick, they're absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately they'll probably die of the shock, but at least I've tried my best.<br><br><br><br>
Now I just have to decide whether to take them to the PDSA centre tomorrow and let them handle it.. or do it myself. Personally, I don't want to feel responsible if they die (which is most likely) so might feel better if the PDSA took them in. However, they're settled where they are right now and I don't want to take them away from their warm electic blanket and risk their welfare by putting them in a whole new environment. Another point is that I'm on school holidays and I'm not working, so I'm at home all day. I wouldn't like to put a burden on the PDSA when they're already a very busy clinic.<br><br><br><br>
What do you think? Opinions and support much appreciated. Will keep you all updated <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Wow... I wish you the best of luck! I'm sure they could not be in more caring hands. Would the PDSA give you advice on how to rear them?<br><br><br><br>
Swallows are such lovely little birds. I have held three in my hands -- they used to fly in the windows of an apartment I used to rent. I had to rescue one from a wastebasket, one from a curtain, and one from a cat... these were adults so it was very different, but it was so amazing to hold such a tiny living creature in my hand for a moment.<br><br><br><br>
Good luck and let us know what happens!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow borealis, that sounds amazing!<br><br><br><br>
Swallows are beautiful, aren't they? I think they have to be one of my favourites. They're such gorgeous colouring, and they are amazing at flying.<br><br><br><br>
So far my little chicks are doing well-- they've survived the night, which is a good start. I've fed one of them this morning, but the older, bigger one is refusing to eat <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("><br><br>
Also, they're cuddling up together (I think). This was a bit worrying at first, because I thought the bigger one was kinda beating up the younger one. But I've noticed that it's actually moving closer to protect the smaller one whenever it chirps. At least I think so anyway <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":love:"><br><br>
The little one is chirping a lot, and is quite a greedy one. The bigger one moves around a lot more, but doesn't chirp and won't take any worms *sigh* the joys of parenthood, eh? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"><br><br><br><br>
I need some good names now.. any suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Update --<br><br><br><br>
it's 9:30pm and both chicks are still ok. The smaller one is eating really well, but the large one won't eat anything. I'm very worried <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("> I've tried everything, but it just won't eat the worm. I've put seed in the nest box just in case and it won't eat that either. Maybe tomorrow, if it's still alive, it'll want to eat.<br><br><br><br>
The fact that they didn't die from shock overnight is good enough for me, so I'll be upset if they die but at least they've had a few peaceful days without a cat in sight. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Rubberhead. Unfortunately I don't have any cat food at my house, and the bigger chick passed away last night <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("><br><br><br><br>
The smaller one, which was eating fine, has lost it's appetite too. I think the shock has caught up with it. I'm pretty sure it's going to die sometime today, and there's nothing I can do about it <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":(">
 

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I'm sorry. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("> But you did a good thing. They were warm and safe, and you gave them a chance to survive. You did your best!<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
I was looking up swallows in my bird book, and realized that the birds that used to fly into my apartment were swifts, not swallows. I always get them mixed up because they look very similar. But either way, it is amazing to have your life closely intersect with that of a small, fragile, wild creature, even for so short a time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The smaller one slipped away later this morning <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("><br><br><br><br>
I buried them a few hours ago. Poor little things! They were so cute. At least I tried my best for them.<br><br><br><br>
You're right, it's amazing being in contact with a wild creature. I hope in the future I'll be given more opportunities-- and hopefully one with a happier ending <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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VeggiTash;<br><br><br><br>
Think of it this way - they were warm and loved up until the very end. And the cat didn't get the chance to eat them! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
Ya done good! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
awww Crystal that's really sweet. Thank you. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 
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