Raising Young Birds
By Amadeus Adams
Have you ever been to a pet store and wondered how all of the young birds are raised? As a bird-breeder I hope to shed some light on this topic.
You need an unrelated fertile pair of birds to get good quality fertile eggs. It is important that the parents have a bit of room in their cage to fly around as stronger birds are more likely to be successful mating. Once the birds have mated and if you are lucky you will suddenly notice that you rarely see both of the birds at the same time. This means its likely that the female is nesting. We wait for the rare occasion that both male and female are out of the nest to look at the eggs. Try not to touch the eggs at all as some birds can tell and will then reject the eggs. We have a special mini flashlight to look at the eggs with. If the birds have been sitting on the eggs for a few days and the eggs are fertile then the flashlight will show tiny veins in the egg. If the eggs stay clear after several days then they are not fertilized.
Hatching The Eggs
Ideally the parents can hatch the eggs themselves and look after the birds for the first few weeks. The amount of time a bird needs to spend with its young generally varies with the size of the bird. The bigger the bird the longer it will need to spend with its young. If the parents are really bad at keeping the eggs the correct temperature or looking after their young then you can consider using an incubator to hatch the eggs with. After the baby birds have been with their parents for a few weeks we generally take them out of the nest and put them into a brooder. The brooder is a temperature controlled area that is the ideal temperature for baby birds.
In order to get the birds to be friendly with people you will want to hand feed them. A human feeding the bird develops a bond and the bird loses its fear of people and can be quite affectionate. There are special formulas you can buy that are specifically made for feeding baby birds. Generally you get a powder and mix it with boiling water. Once it is the correct consistency and temperature you can then feed the bird with some sort of a pipette or in some cases a spoon. It is very important that the food is at the correct temperature. Too hot and you will scald the birds throat and possibly kill it and too cold and the bird will not want to eat it. You also have to be very careful and not force the formula into the birds mouth as you may hurt it. Believe me — you will feel terrible if you hurt one of these precious animals in any way while caring for it. You will also need to feed these little birdies often. Five or six times a day is ideal. I would often stay up late and my wife would rise early to feed them.
It is ultra important to keep the baby bird and its surroundings clean. Wood shavings with fresh super absorbent paper towels (the soft kind not the rough ones) over the shavings is a great way to keep things clean. Also keep the bird clean as well and wipe off any formula that gets onto it. Do not give a baby bird a bath however as this often is like a death sentence.
Talking To Your Bird
If you are raising some sort of parrot then one of the best times to teach it words is while you are feeding it. I often repeat the words hello or pretty bird while feeding and it seems that they catch on pretty quick.
If you follow the advice I have given you will likely raise happy, friendly, and healthy birds that can be someones’ future friend.
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