Rain & Feeding

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Post Reply
ToyinPA
Posts: 2126
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

Will this rain & cold weather ever end??? UGHH!

Nest building started then came to a screeching halt, as the weather turned worse again. Right now it's a whopping 45 here/wind chill 42. It's to drop into the low to mid 30's tonight. Some areas of PA & upstate NY have snow in the forecast.

I flipped 300 crickets to 17 Martins at 11:15 AM. At 12:30PM I flipped 2 scrambled eggs. They are still sitting on the wire waiting for more food. It's been like this for 6 straight days. We haven't had many good feeding days since they first arrived April 6th. If it's warm enough it's either too windy or raining for them to find food. Talk about a crappy spring. I'm going thru crickets like crazy.

I thought one Female was going to fly in my window when I opened it to let them know I'd be out soon to feed them. They are all very hungry, even to I am doing my best to keep them feed. We've had so much rain & cold they are not leaving the houses except to come to the wires when I feed.

I have 12 ASY Males, 4 ASY Females & 1 SY Female. Most of the Females get little to eat. Today one Female sat, all puffed up, just watching. The Males are very aggressive, when it comes to food & when the females try to catch crickets or egg they attack them & knock them out of the way. I try to get some to them, but it doesn't always work. Shocking no rain in the forecast for the next 3 days. I just hope they can find food.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
sugarcreek
Posts: 215
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:43 am
Location: Sugarcreek, Ohio
Martin Colony History: 2016 First Yr.

Weather broke a little in Ohio, still a chilly 58 but the sun is shining and mine are all out feeding today.
2016 - 1st Yr. 14 Compartments 4 Active Nests 9 fledged, 2.25 Fledged per Active Nest
2017 - 2nd Yr. 36 Compartments 18 Active Nests 65 Fledged, 3.61 Fledged per Active Nest
2018 - 3rd Yr. 54 Compartments 43 Active Nests 169 Fledged, 3.93 Fledged per Active Nest
2019 - 4th Yr. 108 Compartments 67 Active Nests 209 Fledged, 3.12 Fledged per Active Nest
2020 - 5th Yr. 108 Compartments ?
Larry Kronemeyer
Posts: 491
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:27 pm
Location: Illinois/Millstadt

Toy,
I am so sad to hear about the awful rain in your area. It's a terrible struggle just to keep the martins alive with weather like that. I know, we just went through a nine day weather event. Here, nestbuiding had already turned to egg laying. I lost at least two females even though I fed our birds. I use a tray feeder and two days in a row we also lowered housing and placed food directly in compartments. We had an ASY male flutter to the ground the first day after the weather broke and we brought him inside and did our best to stuff him with crickets. He was feisty this morning and very restless so we released him this morning. I have know idea if others may have perished that I just didn't see. I'm positive that local colonies suffered losses.
Birds of all types honed in on my trays. All were struggling. Lots of young of other species were washed from their nests. So sad. The wind has finally settled today and we have a great martin day on hand. Good Lord thank you.
Lots of crickets and mealworms got them through... encouragement from you and other landlords got me through. Hang in there. I know you take will care of your martins first and yourself second so please please be careful. Praying for you and the martins.
Keep us updated when you can.
Judy
Larry and Judy Kronemeyer
est. 1999
1-12 compartment Trendsetter and 4 gourds(crescents)
1 T-14 and 4 gourds (crescents)
12 gourd rack (crescents)
Member PMCA
cransy
Posts: 145
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 7:48 am
Location: watkins glen,ny

Terrible here in NY too. The birds are stressed out. I feed 500 crickets today to about 24 birds. I'm out of crickets until tomorrow afternoon. I think this week is going to be stuff until Saturday. I just ordered 5,000 crickets for this week. Keep up the good work Toy. Ed, how are things up your way?
ToyinPA
Posts: 2126
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

cransy wrote:Terrible here in NY too. The birds are stressed out. I feed 500 crickets today to about 24 birds. I'm out of crickets until tomorrow afternoon. I think this week is going to be stuff until Saturday. I just ordered 5,000 crickets for this week. Keep up the good work Toy. Ed, how are things up your way?
Cransy:
Feed eggs until your crickets arrive. It'll keep them going.

I would say 4-6 eggs. Add a little water....2-3 tablespoons. Scramble up in a glass dish. Pop in the microwave for about 1 minute. Then remove & stir. Try another 30 seconds. Keep going until done. Dump out on a plate to cool & chop into 1/4 inch pieces. Flip from a spoon or tray feed.

PS: Never add water to eggs if parents are feeding chicks. Causes too many wet poops.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
ToyinPA
Posts: 2126
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

Larry Kronemeyer wrote:Toy,
I am so sad to hear about the awful rain in your area. It's a terrible struggle just to keep the martins alive with weather like that. I know, we just went through a nine day weather event. Here, nestbuiding had already turned to egg laying. I lost at least two females even though I fed our birds. I use a tray feeder and two days in a row we also lowered housing and placed food directly in compartments. We had an ASY male flutter to the ground the first day after the weather broke and we brought him inside and did our best to stuff him with crickets. He was feisty this morning and very restless so we released him this morning. I have know idea if others may have perished that I just didn't see. I'm positive that local colonies suffered losses.
Birds of all types honed in on my trays. All were struggling. Lots of young of other species were washed from their nests. So sad. The wind has finally settled today and we have a great martin day on hand. Good Lord thank you.
Lots of crickets and mealworms got them through... encouragement from you and other landlords got me through. Hang in there. I know you take will care of your martins first and yourself second so please please be careful. Praying for you and the martins.
Keep us updated when you can.
Judy
Judy:
Glad to hear he made. Well done :). It's not easy having a colony at times, but the rewards are so much worth the effort. I notice the Females hang back, because the Males are too aggressive, so they don't get to eat much.

I have a small shoe box size, but taller, plastic tub I use for rehabs. My husband drilled holes in the lid & spray painted the outside white, so it would be the same color as the Martin houses are. I have a small room (5'x6') before attic. Think real old house (103 yrs). In that room I have a dog grooming table. I set up rehab shop on the table when needed & can close off the room to all light/sound/etc. I also have a swing away desk light that I put a 60W incandescent bulb in for heat. Works great. Tip: Dip crickets or meal worms in Pedialyte. It helps to get their electrolytes back in line.

We just got a peak of sun pop out for a few minutes. The Martins were sitting on the wire waiting to be feed & off they went. Temp hit 60 for a few minutes then dropped back to 54. I hope they can find something to eat. I'll be flipping later for them tho, as I know they'll need it.

I'm doing aqua therapy twice I week right now. Therapist said we'll move to floor when he thinks I'm ready.

My husband helps me with everything. He stood on the back steps holding the plate of eggs, because it was raining & he didn't want me to get wet. So I was flipping from the steps. Then just like that the rain stopped, so I sat on my stool. Just got done & dang started to rain again. Neighbors are out trying to mow wet grass. Dark clouds moving in, so more rain coming soon. This system is just sitting & spinning over us. Same as you had.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
cransy
Posts: 145
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 7:48 am
Location: watkins glen,ny

I'll try the eggs in the morning! Thanks Toy!
BillieJR
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

I am so impressed and love to read about the dedication of the martin landlords here. You go above and beyond for your birds and I'm learning from you all. I hope the bad weather ends pronto. South central Wisconsin is finally getting sunshine and hopefully warmer temps for this upcoming week. Some rain, too, but not as much and not quite as cold as it has been. Good luck to all of you who are feeding and dealing with the bad weather.
Billie from south central Wisconsin
Larry Kronemeyer
Posts: 491
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:27 pm
Location: Illinois/Millstadt

Toy,
I learn something every time you make a post! I like the plastic tub idea, I'll be shoppingng for one.
I know about old houses, grew up in a 100 yr.old house and now live in a much newer one ...only 90 years old. Lol.
Still praying for you and yours.
Judy
Larry and Judy Kronemeyer
est. 1999
1-12 compartment Trendsetter and 4 gourds(crescents)
1 T-14 and 4 gourds (crescents)
12 gourd rack (crescents)
Member PMCA
ToyinPA
Posts: 2126
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

Larry Kronemeyer wrote:Toy,
I learn something every time you make a post! I like the plastic tub idea, I'll be shoppingng for one.
I know about old houses, grew up in a 100 yr.old house and now live in a much newer one ...only 90 years old. Lol.
Still praying for you and yours.
Judy
Judy:
I don't remember where I bought it. It had a white lid & the bottom part was sort of clear like Tupperware bowls. My husband spray painted the bottom part with white Rust-Oleum paint. I was using a cardboard shoe box, but it got too hard to keep clean.

I also bought a small heating pad with the adjustable thermostat (getting hard to find). I set half the box on the heating pad, so if the bird chooses it can move away from the heat. I line the bottom with a few layers of paper towels. I use 6 inch long bent tweezers to hold crickets to feed.

When warming a bird up if they stand up with beak open they are too hot & can dehydrate. Reduce heat & offer dry cat or dog food soaked in Pedialyte until just soft. Never just give liquids, as you can drown them.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
Larry Kronemeyer
Posts: 491
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:27 pm
Location: Illinois/Millstadt

Thanks Toy!
The bird rehab does something like that. Looks like a plastic shoe box only a little bigger with a gathered cloth cover. Not opaque just clear...I think painting it would be aless stressful for the bird. I've been using the large shoe boxes from Larry's shoes for initial holding then using a pet carrier turned on end. Dark, roomy, easy to clean and I can add a perch . But it is bulky and rather airy (beach towel cover).
Rehab also used tweezers ( it's coming back to me now) and little glass saucers for live food.
I also remember now that one of the older martin books recommend science diet light cat food, soaked, for emergency feeding. Somewhere I have instructions from the rehabber in Texas ...I will dig that out and keep close by.
Never thought about a heating pad...hmmmm...need to look into that.
I use my enclosed porch for my work area, warm and bright and can hear the colony. And I can close it off from the rest of the house..
Now I have to decide what to do with the live crickets I bought..he did eat those. Do I keep them alive or freeze them? Never have kept live crickets except for fishing.
Thanks
Judy
Larry and Judy Kronemeyer
est. 1999
1-12 compartment Trendsetter and 4 gourds(crescents)
1 T-14 and 4 gourds (crescents)
12 gourd rack (crescents)
Member PMCA
ToyinPA
Posts: 2126
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

Judy:
Freeze them.

When I buy crickets it's usually 4000-5000 at a time. They come 1000 per box. We put the boxes in paper bags, tape them shut & into the freezer for 24 hours. Then I dump them out onto newspaper & sort the trash out. I have a clear plastic cup marked where about 100 crickets should be. I count out the first 100 to make sure. Then I put 100 in a snack size zip bag. I put 10 of those bags in a gallon size freezer zip bag. Then all those bags go into a paper bag. Paper helps to keep things from getting freezer burnt.

To thaw I dump them in a glass dish & fill with hot tap water. Dunk the crickets a few times & let them set about 1 minute. If I am thawing more than 100 I will drain & do hot water again. Just make sure they are thawed & don't feel cold. Drain well & dump onto paper towels to dry off a bit. Then they are ready to flip. I have a special plastic dish I use to take them outside. Note: Their legs & antenna will fall off.

The sun is out & we have blue sky :). Temps dropped to 35 last night. Supposed to get to upper 50's today.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
BigT
Posts: 101
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2003 9:34 pm
Location: Grove City, Ohio

I fed my birds a total of three dozen scrambled eggs over the weekend. They seem to prefer the eggs over crickets. I have also read that the calorie and protein count is much higher with the eggs than crickets if you can train them to eat them. Problem is it gives the birds the runs and things get a bit messy.
Larry Kronemeyer
Posts: 491
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:27 pm
Location: Illinois/Millstadt

Hahaha....I have 3000 frozen crickets in the freezer right now. Went thru 3000 already plus a few sandwich bags of the big mealworms and one huge bag of dried mealworms. Scrambled eggs are added sometimes but the starlings will kill for scrambled eggs...so we don't use them much. We are trying to get that population under control. Hard in a small neighborhood..everyone thinks all black birds are martins...("oh look I have martins too! They are nesting in the hole on my garage!) :evil:
I just wondering how to keep my live crickets alive to have on hand for rescued birds.
I think I will just buy as needed from local bait shop. The live crickets are now in the freezer...waste not!
I also looked at the possibility of raising mealworms...ugh..not for me right now.

Toy.... you should do videos!! Seriously.

Judy
Larry and Judy Kronemeyer
est. 1999
1-12 compartment Trendsetter and 4 gourds(crescents)
1 T-14 and 4 gourds (crescents)
12 gourd rack (crescents)
Member PMCA
ToyinPA
Posts: 2126
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

Judy:
Crickets have a short life span. Maybe 6-8 weeks. You can put them in a very well ventilated container. Think mesh screen top. Use the cardboard egg crates & paper towel & toilet paper rolls. They like to hide in dark places. Potato peels, apple peels, tropical fish food, cricket food, etc, for food. Wet paper towel for water, changed daily. Wet sponge works, but they grow bacteria quickly. Keep then in a dark place. Not too hot, cool is better. If you have too many in the container they will eventually feed on themselves. According to info they need a lot of room to move about & bred. You can use wheat germ as floor base. Container must be cleaned to keep from getting bacteria, etc. If it were me I'd just buy them, LOL.

We had to keep some for my step sons scorpion when he left for the Gulf War. Trust me a cricket container stinks.

Fluker Farms has all the supplies & info you need to raise crickets or meal worms.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
Post Reply