and Growth Rate Documentation


Zulie is the first offspring of my Blue & Gold Macaws, Bobbie & Neon. Bobbie was syringe fed as a baby and didn't have the necessary imprinting that cup feeding gives to know how to feed her young properly. So I had to pull Zulie from the nest and hand feed him from day one. Fortunately I had the foresight to document his growth for educational purposes with this photo page. There will be new images posted every three days until he's grown, so keep checking back from time to time and watch Zulie's progress. A lot can happen in just three days as you can see by these photos below.


A little update 5 years later 9-17-2014... Zulie turned out to be a female, and she now up to 1,331 grams or 2.97 pounds on my home made special formula. Keep in mind that Zulie's mother only weighs 1,024 grams, and her father is only 1,000 grams, Zulie is now nearly 1/3rd, or near a pound larger than either of her parents. I am pretty happy with the results of my new formula, you can't get those kind of results on commercial formulas. Now she is paired up with a Huge 1,400 gram Harlequin Macaw waiting for a nesting box to climb into (photo to right).

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Day One
Day Three
Day Six
Day Nine

Day Twelve
Day Fifteen
Day Eighteen
Day Twenty One
Day Twenty Four
Day Twenty Seven

Day Thirty
Day Thirty Three

Day Thirty Six
Day Thirty Nine
Day Forty Two

Day Forty Five
Day Forty Eight
Day Fifty One
Day Fifty Five
Day Sixty
Day Sixty Five

Day Seventy
Day Sevent Five
Day Seventy Nine
Day Eighty Seven
Day Ninety Six


Day Ninety Six...8-8-09
I told you he was flying! This is not the best camera I have for color (it looks a little orange to me), but I haven't figured out how to stop action like this with my good camera yet. At almost 14 weeks old, Zulie enjoys flying but he still has a lot to learn, like don't land on a wall hung picture or something that will fall off a shelf. But he can maneuver around the room without running into things, and he is spilling speed well when landing on my hand, which is very good. I've been taking him out on walks with the dog, so he can see the sights, hear the sounds and learn the neighborhood. This way when he is free to fly, nothing will freak him out and send him off into the next county, and if it does, he will be able to find his way home.

Day 96 and Zulie is practicing his flying skills



Day Eighty Seven...7-30-09
Zulie went in to visit our local Board Certified Avian Vet, he was a little under the weather with a yeast infection. Everyone went Ga Ga over Zulie, and we were complemented on how Zulie has no stress marks/bars in his feathers. That could be the diet I raised Zulie on, or it could be that Zulie is an ultra calm bird and always has been. I told Dr. Remington what I used in my homemade formula. She thought it did a good job, that Zulie is a beautifully feathered baby. Coming from a Breeder/Vet this was a real compliment! It was Zulie's first time seeing a vet and he seemed to have fun pooping on everything, which saved him the humiliation of having a butt swab.

I figured Zulie had a yeast infection when he went off his feed, and I was right. It's quit common with baby parrots during the stress of weaning, it won't go away and can become very serious if left untreated. But I had a pill left over from when Kyan had it when she was a baby (5 years ago). So the minute I realized that he could have a yeast infection, I started him on the med to hold him over until the vet could see him and we could get more. I also had to force feed him through the ordeal until he started eating on his own again, so he wouldn't lose weight. All in all he came out of it pretty good. Dr. Remington had a hard time finding any yeast left in his system, it was gone from his throat, but a little still showed up in his stool. Now that I have the meds to finish up his treatment with, I can make sure that it doesn't come back again. Everyone in the office had to hold and stoke him and Zulie was eating it up the whole time!

Searching for the Yeast Dr. Remington examining Zulie
Oh yea, that's the spot I can't tell who likes who better



Day Seventy Nine....7-22-09
At eleven weeks old Zulie is all but weaned, he refuses a morning feeding but demands some formula in the evening, before I put in his fruit muffin and fresh cut veggies & fruit desert in for the night. Lights out at 10:00 pm and he has a hard knot in his crop of solid food to sleep on. His tail is getting a little ratty from staying on the wire floor of his cage, so I put a T-stand next to it and leave the door open so he can climb out of his cage and sit on the perch when he wants. He likes this because he has room to flap his wings and get strong enough to fly. In a few days of bathing him the tail will look like new, but to me he's a beautiful bird anyway, with lots of personality. I am so glad he is one of the ones that I saved back for myself. It will be a pleasure working with him, he is already learning to lay on his back without freaking out. But his nails are sharp as razor blades, so tomorrow I will start making him a concrete perch so he will always have a place to condition his beak and wear down his toe nails.

  Day Seventy Nine....7-22-09



Day Seventy Five...7-18-09
Zulie is going through a tramatic time...WEANING, he begs when ever I am in sight and doesn't want to coroperate. So I am leaving him alone until he stops begging and accept that he must feed himself, it will only be a short time. He loves my fruit filled muffins, sweet potato, apples, orange slices and banana with a formula paste ball on every plate. This is something he can't walk away from until it is all gone. I feed him this menu three times a day and he's been eating it all, but if I am there, he expects me to put it into his mouth for him, and won't eat. His looks have not changed much from the last photo, he's a beautiful Blue & Gold Macaw with a half grown tail


Day Seventy...7-13-09
What can I say, Zulie looks like a Blue & Gold Macaw all that has changed this last 5 days is the length of his feathers, his spunkiness and his coordination. He can climb the cage walls, perch on my arm without hanging on with his beak, and run on carpet without falling on his face.
  Day 70



Day Sixty Five...7-8-09
At nine weeks old now, Zulie is pretty much feathered out and looking good, but he kept dumping his dry food all over the place, so I decided to make a few minor changes in his cage. I added a full perch with a perch mounted food bowl that is spill proof. His fruit & veggie bowl is pinned between the door and the perch so he can no longer spill that either. The first day the perch was installed, he easily learned to perch. He has a rather unorthodox sleeping position for a bird, he likes sleeping on his side, but he continued to soil his bed. So I reduced it to just large enough for him to lay on (bottom right corner image) and this solved that problem as well. Just like a kid, he keeps me on my toes.
  Day 65



Day Sixty... 7-3-09...
At eight and a half weeks old, Zulie hasn't begged for food all day, which is good, but it made me feel a little guilty, so I fed him just before I took this photo. He's not filling up like I would like to see, but the begging behavior is gone and he's eating on his own. This doesn't mean that he is weaned by any means, but he's well on his way, and is not allowing himself to go hungry. The towel by itself was not working out, after my nap I would see that he was walking through his stuff, so I put a wire bottom in with his soft towel bed for him to sleep on until he learns to sleep on a perch. The food in the left bowl is Pellets, Walnuts and Cheerios. Middle bowl ...Apple Sauce and the bowl on the right... Slices of Orange, Banana, Red Beans and Broccoli.

  Day 60


Day Fifty Five...6-28-09...
Zulie now has a bigger cage to give him the room he needs to strengthen his wobbly legs, learn to walk and flap his wings. He has a training perch to practice perching without the fear of falling, so far he thinks it's a chewy toy. He also has weaning food of diced watermelon, Cantaloupe, Pineapple and Cheerios to practice eating on his own. He likes the juice from the Watermelon and Pineapple, but hasn't eaten the pulp yet, however he is eating the Cheerios. In this type of cage where he will be living on the floor, a newspaper liner wouldn't be absorbent enough, so I'm using a bath towel that I change and wash 3 times a day.
  Day 55


Day Fifty One...6-23-09...1,188 Grams
It was a small weight gain for Zulie this three day period, with only 28 grams. You can see how all the yellow is coming in on Zulie's belly much better now, the pins will start pluming out as the days go by. I can't seem to get him to hold still for a picture these days unless I let him play with the ball. He's just like a little kid...wanting to explore everything he sees, with no attention span.
  Day 51


Day Forty Eight...6-20-09...1,160 Grams
Zulie only had a 37 gram gain this time, but not because he wasn't getting his 140 CC's per feeding, he's working it off. Plus the air conditioning went out for 24 hours before the guy came out and fixed it, and the extra heat could have thrown him off...its been HOT! He has yellow pins coming in under his wings, on his belly and on his legs, that will be pluming out soon.
  Day 48


Day Forty Five...6-17-09...1,123 Grams
What a difference three days make, Zulie has more feathers pluming out and weighs 1,123 Grams (2 1/2 pounds). This is a 96 gram gain, and at this point... he's 83 grams heavier than either of his parents, at only 6 1/2 weeks old! Which was my goal... to have him grow bigger than his parents. He will pretty much be full grown at 6 months old (4 months from now), and he will lose some weight to trim down for flight, and some during weaning. But so far... its looking really good that he will be a bigger bird than his parents are, at maturity.
  Day 45


Day Forty Two...6-14-09...1,027 Grams
Zulie is now 6 weeks old, and with a gain of only 44 grams over the past three days, it looks like Zulie is leveling off. He's standing, and walking to build strength, and he's sleeping less now. So he's burning off a lot of calories as he puts energy into feather growth. He's eating 140 CC's of formula at every feeding, so he's not missing any meals. Yellow is coming in on his belly and under his wings, but mostly...he's covered with fuzz.
  Day 42


Day Thirty Nine...6-11-09...983 Grams
Zulie has gained another 73 grams this 3 day period, but as you can see his is putting a lot of energy into feathering out. Many pins are pluming out on the tips, you can see the beard coming in more than ever, his tail feathers have doubled in length, and he is completely covered in a warm coat of fuzz. Since he already looks like a Blue & Gold Macaw, most of the changes from now on out will be feather production, pins will get longer and plums will be breaking out of the ends, filling in with more color.
  Day 39


Day Thirty Six...6-8-09...910 Grams
A weight gain of 95 grams was seen over the past 3 days, which puts him over 2 pounds by a tad. Zulie's body is covered with an insolated coat of gray down, the pin feathers are longer. Stripes around the eyes are more defined, the yellow pins go all the way under the beard, and you can really see the beard this time. Oh yea... that pesky little egg tooth finally fell off on day thirty four, and you can see how scrunched into this plastic shoe box he is becoming now.

Day 36


Day Thirty Three...6-5-09...815 Grams
Zullie is much bigger now, gaining 109 grams in the past three days, which makes him only 92 grams away from being 2 pounds. This image angle shows better how much he has out grown his old sleeping box, he use to be able to stretch out in this plastic shoe box with room to spare, but not any more. The pin feathers make me think he could be part Porcupine, notice the green is coming in on his forehead, and the yellow is much more defined around the ears, all the other pin feathers on the wings and tail are blue. And that pesky little egg tooth is still hanging in there.
Day 33



Day Thirty....6-2-09....706 Grams
At 1 1/2 pounds on day thirty Zulie weighs 93 grams more than three days ago, he's eating 100 CC's of formula, four feedings a day. His yellow pin feathers are showing up around his ears and under his beard. The wing pins are much longer than ever. I think the fact he is not gaining as much weight each three day period now, is that more of his energy is going into feather growth and he's moving around more. But still...you can see how much he has out grown his sleeping box, it is now his feeding box and he has a sleeping box that is twice as wide. He also has a day time box that is four times as big, so he can move around more and strengthen his wings, legs & neck muscles.

  Day 30



Day Twenty Seven....5-30-09....613 Grams
Here it is day twenty seven and he's fuzzier than ever, 112 grams heavier and is eating 90 CC's of formula at each feeding. Notice that egg tooth is still hanging in there, the facial stripes around the eyes are more visible, and the wing pins are coming in like gang busters. Zulie's eyes are now fully open as well.

Day 27


Day Twenty Four.....5-27-09.....501 Grams
Holy Moly, this little guy is quickly becoming not so little any more, gaining another 135 grams in this three day period, has put him 47 grams over a pound. You can see the white pigment showing up in his face, and the impressions of the feathered stripes coming in around the eyes, and his shoulder pads have developed. His feet are darker, his beak is black and the pin feathers are popping out all over him with the tips opening up with fuzzy down. He is now on 4 feedings a day, every 6 hours, and eating 75 CC's of formula each feeding.
  Day 24


Day Twenty One.....5-24-09......366 Grams
With 133 Gram gain in the past three days, he should reach one pound (454 grams) the first part of this week. His eyes are open and he's checking everything out. His down pin feathers have broke through the skin, and the wing feathers are pinning out as well. His feet are much darker and he's eating 55 CCs of formula a feeding and sleeping 5 hours between feedings. What a relief!
  Day Twenty One



Day Eighteen.....5-21-09.....233 Grams
He's 79 grams larger than three days ago, and has out grown his second container so he's moved into a plastic shoe box to give him some play room, at least for a short while. You can't really see it in this photo, but the Macaw white facial pigment is starting to show up, and notice the black edge eye lid has developed. Down feathers are about to break out of the skin on his back, and his feet are getting darker.

  Day 18


Day Fifteen... 5-18-09... 154 Grams
With a gain of 72 grams, he has almost doubled in size in the past three days and is quickly outgrowing his feeding container. Polka dots on his back are more pronounced where the down feathers are growing in under his skin. Slits of his opening eyes are getting larger, and notice he still has his egg tooth on the tip of his beak.

Day Fifteen

Day Twelve... 5-15-09... 82 Grams
His crop is expanding nicely, and his beak is constantly getting darker, polka dots are appearing faintly on the back and there is tell tale signs of his eyes beginning to open.

Day Twelve

top Day Nine... 5-12-09... 48 Grams
His beak is darker now than before, and the crop still expanding little by little, other than size not much else has changed yet.

Day Nine

top Day Six... 5-9-09... 32 Grams
His beak is just starting to get a little darker and his crop is starting to expand a little.

Day Six

top Day Three.... 5-6-09..... 23 Grams
Gained 5 grams and still sleeping.

Day Three


Day One.... 5-3-09... 18 Grams
Weighing 18 grams after freshly hatched and dried. Notice the two eggs that he's resting on, in the nest they rest on each other or on unhatched eggs. The curse of feeding day one babies is that you feed every two hours for the first two weeks... 24/7.

Day One



This hatching baby Blue & Gold Macaw is not Zulie... its a sibling, but since this happens in an unpredictable moment, it is not easily caught on camera. I thought it would be good to include these images in this series. Notice in the bottom left image the baby's feet were the first thing out of the shell, It looks like an egg with legs, he literally kicked his way to freedom. You might ask "Why its in the plastic container?" Right before hatching, it makes it easier for the baby to break out if it's in a high humidity environment. The egg is placed on a dry tissue, on a saucer, that is placed over a wet gauze pad in a ventilated plastic container to raise the humidity and enhance the chicks ability to hatch on its own. Low humidity otherwise can cause the chick to stick to the inside of the egg to the point it may need assistance. This "Bagging" technique is widely used with artificial incubation to keep the humidity high during the last days before the hatch. Click on any image below to enlarge.

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Copyright © 5-18-2009. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, Last Update 9-17-2014

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