Magpie Chick

To: Russell Woodford <>
Subject: Magpie Chick
From: peter crow <>
Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2007 22:30:39 +1000
It is probably best with young Magpies to not do all the things Chris suggests but to leave nature take its course as so often the adults will continue looking after the bird without any human interference. i sometimes wonder if all the taking care of very common birds (Magpies) isn't more for the satisfaction of the carer than for the real good of the common bird.

On 10/12/2007, at 4:48 PM, Russell Woodford wrote:

Begin forwarded message:

From: " Chris Lloyd" <>
Date: 10 December 2007 3:36:53 PM
To: "Russell Woodford" <>
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Magpie Chick

Just a couple of quick points on magpie husbandry:

Diet should be premium mince steak and either Vetafarm's Insectapro or Wombaroo Insectivore (most large pet shop should stock one of these) in a ration of 60:40. Add some calcium at about 1% of the weight of the other two. The bird should get at least 3+ hour sunlight per day. Usually they are fed on demand which will depend on development stage. Feeding is done by placing a ball of the above mix on the end of skewer dipping it in water and pushing it over the tongue and down the gaping throat. The ball size should be about 3/4 of the width of the gape. 2-3 balls each feed and allow it to sleep. Feeding is between roughly an hour or so after sunrise and up until an hour or so before sunset. It will eventually need transition to live food but this may be assisted by behavioural exposure.

Housing: This will depend on development stage. If it is fully feathered and perching it should be reared outside and exposed to all elements with some basic shelter. It is important that the substrate not be abrasive (concrete or similar) but rather leaf litter, and that any perches are greater in diameter than it digits when closed. If not perching then it should be inside at night while in plastic ice-cream sized tub with kitchen paper on the bottom. If the bird is not fuly feathered it is not thermoregulating and will require some thermal support through a heat pad or similar particularly at night.

Behaviour: The bird will need consistent exposure to other magpies. This may mean some agonistic behaviour but this is to be expected in a territorial species. If the bird is not caged and is consistently attack just protect it in a cage but contimue to allow some interaction or at least sight of adult magpies. This is critical to a successful release otherwise it will become excessively humanised.

Disease: "Bumblefoot" a bacterial infection of the soles of the feet can be an issues if inappropriate substrate or perches are used. Many ground foraging chicks can present with "Gape worm" this nematode will appear as white threads or nodules in the mouth and throat. This needs to be treated with "Ivermectin" (sheep strength) or similar. Avian Pox is possible if mosquitos are active and will present as reddish white lumps on the exposed skin of the legs, feet and face. Protect the bird from mosquito strike and apply some betadine or saline wash to the lumps to reduce the secondary infection risk.

Please feel free to get in touch if we can be of use. Ciao
Chris Lloyd
Training Officer
PO Box 260
Forestville NSW 2087

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