Unweaned Chicks


Letter

I just purchased 2 unweaned chicks from a breeder, one is a 5 wk old cockatiel, and the other a 8 wk old green cheek, I have concerns but things are going well but i did research and talk to lots of breeders and pet store owners b4 my purchase, I have concerns still My reason for wanting to play a part in the hand feedings was to bond better with the birds, but mostly to get experience, I have thought seriously of going into this more, as well as my mother has a pair of lovebirds with a clutch that should be hatching in about 10 more days and she wants them hand fed and has no experience with birds hardly at all, I did feed some baby sun conures at a local pet shop, and also fed a clutch of baby tiels at the breeders home but i know i may still get my heartbroke but I am being very cautious and watching the birds closely especially the tiel she is younger and more fragile the green cheek is just full of himself and eating seed quite a bit, I would appreciate any info or help u can give me, I certainly dont want to be one of those ppl that kill a bird due to inexperience it would break my heart, but i do want to gain experience, please forward any response to my main email.

Reply

Well I know it's hard to get experience handfeeding when everyone says you shouldn't do it without experience. My own experience came from observation. I breed for many years before beginning to handfeed so I knew the anatomy of chicks as well as the signs of a sick one. For me switching to handfeeding was a snap.

One book I highly recommend you buy is "Parrots: Handfeeding and Nursery Management" by Howard Voren and Rick Jordon. It's a great book, easy to understand and contains virtually everything you need to know about handfeeding. It's a great resource and I use it all the time. It's good that you did some research beforehand and talked to lots of breeders. Hopefully they'll be there to help you should anything go wrong. If you're planning on handfeeding more birds you should buy a gram scale and weigh your chicks daily to make sure they are not losing weight (all chicks lose some weight during weaning though). This is also a great thing to have around for your pet birds too. Take their weight maybe once a month or so and record it. This way if your bird is sick the vet will have a healthy weight to compare with. There is a common misconception that babies will bond better with the person who is handfeeding them. This is not true. Birds are very social creatures that live in flocks in the wild. This means they bond very easily in captivity. You don't have to handfeed them for this. I personally like to handfeed all my pet birds because some breeders don't do a very good job socializing them and I like to make sure it's done right. This doesn't make the birds anymore bonded with me though.

I haven't handfed any green-cheeks so I can't tell you anything specific about them. I can say that teils are the easiest bird to handfeed. Their feeding response is strong, they eat fast and grow fast. I do have a handfeeding FAQ you can check out, this may answer some of your questions. Don't hesitate to e-mail me again if you're having trouble or need another question answered. Good luck!

Feisty Feathers
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