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Thread subject: Are both chicks always fed when a fish is delivered?
Name Date Message
Judy 05/22/05 06:06 pm I just tuned in to the tail end of this last feeding and noticed that one chick was being fed continuously while the other begged for food and was not fed. It's possible that I just missed the feeding of the other chick which I assume is the younger of the two. Poor thing turned to his daddy for food while mom was feeding the other chick and then dad promptly took the fish away.
Tiger 05/22/05 06:22 pm It is hard to explain why both chicks did not get fed in these circumstances. However it is quite usual fo the older chick to demand and get preferential treatment.
Shelley 05/22/05 06:27 pm This is sometimes difficult to watch, Judy. Last year, when there were 4 chicks for a short while (until the youngest and much smaller, died), the other 3 chicks actually pushed it away, preventing him from being fed. Their aggression was really hard to watch. Even when only 3 were left, aggression was obvious. These two we have now are so close in age and size right now, that we aren't yet seeing that aggression. There also isn't yet much competition. As they grow quickly, they will need more and more food and what is brought in, isn't always sufficient.

Just why Betty seems to feed the biggest first, or the most, I don't know. I do remember noticing, though, that she seldom if ever, intervened when the chicks became aggressive. I guess it's all hard-wired and instinctive. Survival of the fittest, etc...

So far, I have seen her feeding one, then the other although, she does seem to have been favouring the first-born at times.

I don't know if I answered your question, exactly. I guess someone else will be able to be more specific than I have been.
Mickey 05/22/05 06:38 pm Its quite simple. She will feed the chick whos the strongest to approach or "reach" her beek. When you see her "offering" food then taking it away,your observing a Mother making its child stronger. At this early stage the chick needs its neck muscles first. (to reach to its Moms beek for fish) The parents have never been observed in 3 years here to intervene in chick battles. Once the strongest chick has had enough ,the 2nd strongest usually gets fed. And so on down the line. Its going to get ugly in the nest before it gets easier to watch.
Judy 05/22/05 06:39 pm Thanks for the information. I do remember last year and the demise of the fourth chick. I'm hoping that the other chick received food tonight and I just missed it. I did observe her feeding one and then the other at previous mealtimes and was puzzled by watching her feed just one chick while the other was obviously begging for food. That fish looked quite large so I know there was more than enough to go around.
karen h 05/22/05 09:04 pm Hi Judy-
I watched that feeding and was worried about the second chick but was gratified to read the observations and see that he got a good meal later this evening! The greedier the mouth, the more it gets fed (squeaky wheel gets the grease).
Judy 05/23/05 08:12 am Thanks Karen. As Mickey pointed out, "Its going to get ugly in the nest before it gets easier to watch." Although I realize that this is way it has to be, I still feel for the little guys when they don't get fed and are still begging for food. If the fourth egg hatches, I may have to turn the camera off and just read the obs for awhile to know what happens. I don't think I want to witness what might happen.

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Last modified: Sat Feb 18, 2006