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to Hand feed Parrotlet Babies
I use Kaytee's
Exact Hand Feeding Formula and hot water. I don’t microwave
the formula – ever. I've heard too many horror stories
of baby birds being burned with hot spots in micro waved formula.
What I do is quite old fashioned and simple – a hot water bath!
I use a glass coffee cup to mix a couple of tablespoons of the formula
(I keep the dry mix formula in the freezer) then start adding hot
water till it’s the consistency of smooth thick pudding. Then
I fill up a larger bowl of the hottest tap water and let the coffee
cup rest in the hot water bath. It keeps the formula the perfect
temperature. If you feed cold formula – the babies can’t
digest it and you’ll lose babies from a crop impaction. You
don't want the formula too hot or too cold – it needs to be "just
right" like porridge in the old nursery rhyme!
use a 5cc syringe on the babies that I remove at 10 days of age, anything smaller
I extend the tip with a narrow feeding extension tube. And the rule of thumb
I use is 1 cc for a 1 week old baby six times a day, 2 cc for a 2 week old
baby five times a day and so forth. You’ll know when they can handle more
food and start “talking” to you when they see you coming. When they
are four weeks old – I feed them with the syringe until they turn away – they
look like fat little pigs but I let them make the decision that they’ve
had enough! And they do!
When you hand feed, insert the tip gently in the baby’s beak, tipping the
beak ever so slightly upward. You should be on the left hand side of the bird’s
beak. Never straight in – the formula will enter the lungs and you’ll
drown the bird. Of course, wipe any spills off the baby. Learn to feel the baby’s
crop before you start, it should feel like a deflated balloon until you finish
feeding, then it should feel like a water filled balloon. You don't want to put
feed into a gullet that is already full of undigested food. And I feed them gradually;
never a hard squirt or they will choke.
I store my clean, washed syringes in a solution of water and Novasan (it’s
a bacteria wash that vets use and is readily available at your local Tractor
Supply store or your feed store may order it in for you, I think that Jeffers
catalog carries it also, along with syringes and tips, Jeffers has excellent
customer service people also.)
At about six weeks, they can be moved into a cage.
Continue to diminish the number of feedings. They should be completely weaned
by seven to eight weeks of age. Millet, a bowel of water and the smallest seeds
in the mix on a flat dish is the
first food they generally start to nibble on but before you know it – they
are eating like the adults. We try to keep our babies in with just weaned young
Parrotlets. They learn to eat faster if they can see their older
weaned, I would never put them in with older Parrotlets. That could be disastrous.)
babies some are more attached to "the bottle and mommy" than are others.
Weaning is not something that can be forced so enjoy your babies while you can,
before you know it – they will be out of your nest!
For hand-feeding information from Kaytee, click here.
On a few occasions I have left the two youngest chicks in the nest
to be raised by the parents. They generally fledge at about four
weeks of age although they will still be fed by their parents and
continue to sleep in the nest box. A close watch must be kept on
the behavior of the parents toward the chicks. The male parent
may be aggressive toward all male chicks. If the hen starts to
lay another clutch of eggs, she also may be hostile toward her
offspring in an effort to evict them from the nestbox.