So you bought an unweaned baby...

Laurasea

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Aug 2, 2018
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Go to first page in this thread and read if you have unweaned baby!
 

LaManuka

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So it would appear overnight we have had another new member who has had the devastating experience of having attempted to hand-raise a conure of around 5 weeks old, only to find "something went wrong" and the baby died. This sort of thing makes me very angry indeed at breeders and sellers who continue to perpetuate the fairy tales that finishing off hand feeding is easy (it’s not!), or that the bird will form a stronger bond with you (it won’t) etc etc etc, without telling the buyer the grim reality which is that if you get something wrong during this critical period the bird will most probably die. Particularly in this time of social restrictions and lockdown it can be even more difficult to find a certified avian vet to help save the baby's life.

Please if you are reading this and have been considering getting a "lockdown pet", two things are most important.

1. DO NOT BUY AN UNWEANED BABY!!!! Unweaned babies are a high risk venture at the best of times and if you're in lockdown or your local vet is closed chances are higher than usual that your baby will die.

2. A "lockdown pet", just like a Christmas one, is forever, and not to be discarded or forgotten about when this whole pandemic finally blows over. You will have a parrot on your hands with the intelligence and emotional needs of a child anywhere between 3 and 7 years of age (the bird that is, not the child). Your bird will require, nay demand, your love and attention and affection for at least the next 30 years, maybe 50, maybe so long that you will need to make arrangements for it's care in your last will and testament. When we say birds are forever, we really mean it!

Please please please people if you are reading this do not be tempted to buy an unweaned baby bird at this time, or indeed at any other time. Go back and read page one of this thread before you even think about it. A fully feathered and abundance weaned young bird socialised with humans before purchase and which has been eating solid adult food for a good few weeks is a much safer bet and you will be rewarded with a companion who will walk through life with you and love you unconditionally for years to come.
 
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azgardezi

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Can anyone recommend me a feed other than Kaytee? Someone I know lost his bird to Kaytee. I am currently feeding the Psttacius baby formula. My bird has grown all of its feathers but still has not weaned.
 

wrench13

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Hmmm, Kaytee is the go to formula for weening. Are you sure they a) mixed it to the right consistency? and b) Has it at the right temperature? Thats critical, and c) Knows how to ween baby parrots? If not done right, it will kill the baby, regardless if a) and b) above.
 

azgardezi

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May 2, 2020
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Hmmm, Kaytee is the go to formula for weening. Are you sure they a) mixed it to the right consistency? and b) Has it at the right temperature? Thats critical, and c) Knows how to ween baby parrots? If not done right, it will kill the baby, regardless if a) and b) above.


There is a possibility that the Kaytee feed he bought was expired. Since the formula is imported and is very expensive to get in bulk, most people tend to get smaller packets that are apparently taken from the bulk packaging.



Then there is the possiblity of a and b that you mentioned.



Yes he has experience in weening baby parrots.





A non expired Kaytee is what I would go for.
 

birdiemama

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Doobie, a Pineapple Green Cheek Conure baby about 6 weeks old (on May 11, 2020)
SilverSage, thank you very much; your post was most helpful and informative. Now I am angry too! But, I am trying to learn everything I can so all this will have a positive outcome. So far, so good. I'm no expert but I will be extra careful. Thankfully, QuakQuak is 'flying'. I am very careful about the temperature of his food, and he seems to be active and content. I'll keep an eye on your thread. Thanks again.
 

Saash

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I love this thread, I really do - it does exactly what it should do, it places a warning, it places a reprimand, and then it gives help to people in need!

So I found this really useful article to place on this thread, may it help someone out there!

I keep coming up on posts from people with very very young cocketiels. This person posts for help, gets very little help, and days later the baby dies. I feel like its the same person every time.

We need to be ever aware that although there's this perfect first world scenario of the right people doing the right job, every now and then there is someone that just doesn't know and needs real help.

The one thing I picked up that isn't really in the article is about cages - baby birds to not belong in cages. They need to be safe, comfortable, warm, and germ free. When they start waddling around, they shouldn't find their way into high places with no supervision so they can plunge themselves to their death. Rust is toxic, galvanised metal is toxic, the wrong floor can damage the babies feet or legs. But otherwise, this is quite a helpful link.

https://www.futurepets.com/trivia/birds-handfeeding.htm
 

SailBoat

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The sad reality is that an ever larger number of first world breeders are pushing unweaned babies of all species into the hands of buyers that haven't a clue what they are getting into. In near all cases this is based around increasing their profits based on younger Parrots allowing the buyer being able to 'bond' with their new baby. In addition, the buyers are equally in the wrong as they want the baby earlier to reduce their costs. This convoluted reality results in an ever increasing number of babies passing or developing behavior issues that haunt that Parrot for a lifetime.

There is a ton of shame to be spread around on both sides.
 
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Plady

New member
Jun 26, 2022
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Today I spent several hours trying to help someone save a baby bird they had purchased unweaned. The baby died; they are usually almost dead by the time the new owner realizes something is wrong, not because the owner doesn't care but because they are not educated about what to look for or prepared to handle the disasters that almost always arise when the inexperienced bird lover brings home a baby who is still hand feeding. So let's get one thing clear; YOU SHOULD NOT BUY UNWEANED PARROT CHICKS!

-The bird will NOT bond to you better, in fact it often DAMAGES THE BONDING PROCESS.

-It is NOT cheaper; what you "save" on the original fee you will spend in formula and other supplies and that's assuming you don't spend hundreds or thousands of dollars at the vet trying to save your new baby because you made mistakes an experienced hand feeder never would have made.

-It is NOT easy or simple. Sure, in theory it all makes sense, but there are a hundred nuances and details that can spell disaster if you ignore them. And ask yourself: why is the seller so eager to sell the bird so young? So that YOU get to shoulder all the risk, work, and expense that is involved with raising that baby.

- It is NOT ETHICAL! Some people live in countries where the only way to get a parrot is to buy an unweaned baby or a poached bird, or worse; an unweaned poached baby. However, the majority of my readers live in places like the United States, Canada, and Australia. For those people with ACCESS to ethically and lovingly raised parrots to KNOWINGLY CHOOSE TO PAY SOMEONE TO TORTURE PARROTS TO DEATH (yes, that's what selling unweaned babies to inexperienced people amounts to) is completely inexcusable.

At this point a lot of you may be thinking "Boy, she is being really harsh, she should really tone it down, that's not very professional." Well guess what? I'M ANGRY! Why? DEAD BABY BIRDS TICK ME OFF! They break my heart, they make my blood boil. The poor owner of the bird who died today did everything he knew how to do! Everything he was told to do! He thought he knew what he was doing, he thought everything was going fine, until suddenly it wasn't. And he didn't have the equipment, knowledge, or other resources to save his bird. So if you want your back patted and to be congratulated for buying an unweaned baby, this is not the place for that. But if you have realized that you may be in over your head and you want someone to help you keep your new best friend alive, THAT I will do my best to help with. So let's get down to it.

1) TEMPERATURE IS EVERYTHING! Temperature is the most important part of raising a healthy baby parrot; the temperature of the formula and the temperature of the living environment.

-Formula MUST be between 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) and 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 degrees Celsius). Any cooler and not only will your baby likely reject the formula, but his body will be unable to digest it properly leading to malnutrition. In some cases the food, not being digested, can even begin to spoil inside the body and from there you quickly see a spiral into bacterial infections that can kill within a few hours of the first symptoms. If the formula is too hot you risk internal burns. Unlike human babies, parrot chicks may not initially show signs of discomfort if the formula is too hot; they may swallow an entire feeding only to have their throats and crops severely burned to the point of being life-threatening. Even if the birds don't kill the bird outright they open them up to nasty infections that can kill very quickly, often before the new owner can even notice symptoms.

-The living environment temperature depends on how many chicks, how old, etc, but the baby needs to be kept warm enough for their body to function normally as if a mother bird was constantly brooding him. For a baby that is not fully feathered this us usually between 96 degrees Fahrenheit (35.6 degrees Celsius) and 99 degrees Fahrenheit (37.2 degrees Celsius). If the baby is standing upright, panting, and holding the wings out from the body he is too hot. If a group of babies is piled on top of each other, they are too cold. You want a temperature where babies can sleep comfortably without needing to crowd together or stand up and pant. It is more difficult with a single baby, so lean toward too warm rather than too cold. Start at the high end and only turn it down if the baby seems too warm. Remember, the baby should have clutch mates and/or parents to snuggle with and alone in your home he cannot regulate his own body temperature. If he isn't kept warm enough his organs cannot function properly and you open him up to many complications such as slow crop leading to bacterial and fungal infections and rapid death.

2) TIMING MATTERS! It is important that your baby be fed often enough. Generally speaking (and this is VERY GENERAL, different species have different needs) babies who don't have a full covering of feathers yet should be fed about every 4 hours during the day, and can go 8 hours over night after about 3-4 weeks. Once they have that covering of feathers they can start going 6-7 hours between daytime feedings. Trying to cram too much food into the crop does stretch it an enable the baby to take more food at a time but can lead to problems with sour crop, crop stasis, etc all leading to (can you guess?) bacterial and fungal infections that can kill your baby overnight. Going too long between feedings can also have a negative impact on the psychological development of the little guy.

3) FORCE WEANING IS CRUEL! Force Weaning is when you reduce the amount of formula you are feeding and make the baby fill up on solid foods. Sounds normal, but is actually very damaging and contributes to all sorts of emotionally damaged behaviors like biting, screaming, plucking, phobias, cage aggression - the list goes on. The proper and humane method of weaning a baby parrot is Abundance Weaning. This method is simple: You keep offering the formula until the baby decides HE doesn't want it anymore for at least 5 days in a row. Guess what? Knowing that the formula is coming actually gives the baby is very firm foundation from which he can venture forth and explore. Just because the baby has started trying solid foods does not at all mean he is ready to lose the formula. Keep offering it until the baby decides he doesn't want it.

4) EARLY CLIPPING IS DANGEROUS! I'm not going to get into the pros and cons of clipping an adult bird but it is VITAL to the physical and mental development of young parrots that they be allowed to LEARN TO FLY. And I don't mean "get their first few flights", I mean they need to become FLYING EXPERTS. Yes, it is scary for you to watch them crash, but this is the appropriate age where their minds and bodies are prepared for and eager to learn these skills. Even if you plan to clip your bird they NEED this time to gain crucial mental skills such as how to react to new things, how to avoid danger, etc. Not to mention they need to learn the skill of flying DOWN. That's another heartbreaking situation I get asked to help with a lot. So many escaped parrots WANT TO COME HOME but can't because they never learned the complex skill of flying downward. But that is a whole different topic. Another reason it is absolutely crucial to allow baby birds to keep their flight feathers is for balance. The crop is right there on the front of their body and if they are crashing to the ground on it because their flights are clipped, they can force themselves to vomit and aspirate. On that note, "play time" should be before feedings, not after, for the exact same reason; you don't want to be bumping a full crop.

Ok folks! That is by no means a guide to a well rounded parrot, but it should at least help you hopefully keep your baby alive. If you see ANY signs of illness such as lethargy, difficulty breathing, refusal to eat, disorientation, dull eyes, nasal discharge, failure to empty crop, etc, contact an Avian Vet immediately. You should have one on speed dial now.
What exactly happened to the baby that died. Please let me know. I bought a 8 wk old GW only because I couldn't find one elsewhere . I've handled many babies but I'm not feeling confident with handfeeding this macaw. Probably because a baby died on me last year but it had a disease. But I all of a sudden lost my confidence.
 

LaManuka

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What exactly happened to the baby that died. Please let me know. I bought a 8 wk old GW only because I couldn't find one elsewhere . I've handled many babies but I'm not feeling confident with handfeeding this macaw. Probably because a baby died on me last year but it had a disease. But I all of a sudden lost my confidence.
Hi @Plady, welcome to the Forums, though I am sorry for the difficult situation you find yourself in.

Unfortunately the author of this thread, @SilverSage, has not visited us for just over a year now, so I am not certain that you will get a reply here. We do have a private messaging service, but again as you are a new member you won't get access to that until you have amassed 10 posts on the forum. In the meantime, if you'd like me to I am happy to forward your enquiry to @SilverSage on your behalf, although again I cannot guarantee that you'll get a response.
 

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