To an inexperienced bird enthusiast the idea of buying an unweaned baby bird so the bird will bond to them sounds like a good idea. The truth is Ė that if this baby survives, he or she wonít be any more bonded to you than if the breeder had weaned it properly. Of course, if the baby does not survive you wonít even have a bird.
I donít think that risking a baby birdís life is worth the thrill of handfeeding that baby.
A baby bird has to feel secure & safe and must not be allowed to become hungry or he is not going to wean properly to be the healthy happy bird that you want to have for your companion. A change in homes at the crucial weaning stage with an inexperienced handfeeder is not the best thing to happen to him because a hungry or insecure baby will not try new foods.
Serious problems can result when an inexperienced person handfeeds a baby bird. The formula has to be mixed to the right consistency as well as the right temperature. If the formula is too hot, the babyís crop could be burned. If the formula is too cold, the food may not digest in the crop properly and the baby will not get enough nourishment to thrive. If the formula is too thick, it will not digest properly and if it is too thin, it will not give the nourishment required.
Bobbi Brinker has written an article for Winged Wisdom regarding handfeed parrots. You can find it at Handfeeding Parrots.
Dennis Saydak, who is the breeder of my beautiful African Grey Jewel has an article on his website at Weaning - A Most Critical Period.
Amy Patria has written an article for Winged Wisdom on this subject. You can find it at Avoid Unnecessary Loss of Life.
Some people have successfully handfed their baby bird without any previous experience. Most of them admit that they had no idea of what they were getting into and would never consider doing it again. Many people have had serious problems while handfeeding their baby and either lost the bird through death or ended up owing much more in veterinary bills than they would have thought possible.
Too many baby birds have died because an inexperienced person decided to handfeed when they were not fully prepared to take on this job. Please do not take the chance. Let the breeder do his job. If the breeder says that it's easy & anyone can do it, please look for another breeder.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop by the Bird Forum anytime.
Comparative Avian Nutrition