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the first parrot blog
Sunday, April 11, 2004
To Wean Or Not To Wean
There is much discussion in the bird community regarding whether a baby bird should be sold before it is weaned. We have seen or heard both sides of the argument. It is clear to us that no baby should be sold to anyone besides an experienced handfeeder until it is on two-a-day handfeedings and is eating well on its own.
On the positive side we see new owners giving the juvenile bird much more attention than it would get in a breeding/handfeeding environment. This increase in socialization at an early age appears to be good for the baby.
It's not so much the bird bonding with the new owner as the owner bonding with the bird. Many first-time owners are fearful of parrot beaks. It's hard to be afraid of your new bird when you have fed it for 4-6 weeks until it is weaned.
On the negative side the new owner rarely maintains adequate body weight of the baby. This situation usually corrects itself during the first year. From a size standpoint, this seems to be determined during the first 10 weeks prior to two-a-day feedings.
We have also heard of inexcusable mistakes caused primarily by overconfident buyers. Instead of listening and learning from their breeder, they dismiss all instructions as trivial and have the attitude that it is simple to feed a baby. It is simple if everything goes right.
An experienced handfeeder knows what to do if something goes wrong. All of us have a feel for each baby in our care. We monitor their food intake and general health several times a day. We know what the baby's weight should be at any age and take steps to correct an underweight bird. We also know when to stop relying on our own experience and take an underperforming baby to an avian vet for testing and advice.
Sell or not? We use the same experience to read our buyers. We know when a new owner is mature and responsible, asks the right questions, expresses the proper concerns, prepares in advance for the baby to arrive and calls us with a million questions. Is a new owner willing to be trained over a few weeks to care for their new charge? Do they live close enough that we can visit to answer questions and see the baby?
This is a very difficult and emotionally charged topic. Even experienced handfeeders started as novices with their first bird. I suggest that, as a prospective owner, you ask yourself if it's worth the risk. We know that the rewards are great.
- posted by J-Birds @ 7:50 PM |
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