Hand rearing baby birds can be attempted for a variety of reasons. You may be wanting to raise birds for the pet market, increase production from your birds, or are forced to had raise babies due to poor parenting. Whatever the reason, every aviculturist needs to be prepared to tackle hand rearing if the need arises. It can be a very rewarding experience, but is also an extremely time consuming process. So, if you have a choice in the matter, consider carefully whether you really are able to devote the time and commitment to it. If you do decide that you wish to hand rear baby parrots, then there are some important principles to follow to ensure that your baby birds grow up happy and healthy.
This first part will concentrate on the feeding up until weaning stage, while the second part will look at potential problems that can arise. We would also recommend that before anyone commences hand rearing for the first time it is a great help to consult with an experienced hand rearer and have demonstrated the techniques that will be used.
When to start hand feeding
It is much easier to hand rear birds if you leave them with the parents for the first couple of weeks – just until they begin to open their eyes. This means that the parents do all the difficult initial feeding, including those middle of the night feeds. However, do be careful not to leave the babies too long with the parents, as it can be extremely hard to get them feeding on the hand rearing formula if they are older. Sometimes you will need to feed babies from day 1. This can be extremely difficult, and time consuming, particularly for smaller species and should only be tackled in an emergency.