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Thread: For those who want to start hand feeding!

  1. #1
    Mom of 3 fids Chick Tailfeathers Supporter!Tailfeathers Supporter! DesertDweller's Avatar
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    For those who want to start hand feeding!

    Hi all,

    I've had many decades - yes, decades - of experience hand feeding numerous types of birds, from sparrows to Indian Ringneck parakeets. I actually prefer to hand feed all of my birds.

    Now, for the big caution to anyone who is thinking about wanting to hand feed a baby bird.
    Each bird species requires different hand feeding techniques. Passarines (which include sparrows, finches, canaries, etc) are 'perching birds'. They have conical shaped beaks if they're primarily seed-eaters. Birds such as starlings, blackbirds, etc. have pointed, flatter beaks. They're primarily insect/meat eaters, but they're also passerines.

    Then comes the psittacines - the parrots! What a variety of sizes, shapes and needs!

    Most of the perching birds that people would hand feed are very tiny as hatchlings. And, they typically have extremely wide mouths at that time. As the baby matures, the mouths get smaller until they resemble the adult birds' beaks. It takes skill to feed such a tiny bird, but it's relatively easy to see where to feed them because of their enormous mouths.

    Parrots, on the other hand, have hooked bills, thus the term 'hookbill'. It takes a great deal of skill to be able to hand feed a baby parrot. The special syringe used for feeding must be positioned from the LEFT side of the baby's beak and directed to the RIGHT side of the baby's throat. It can be disastrous to make a mistake when hand feeding a parrot.

    I recommend that before anyone even thinks of attempting to hand feed any parrot that they get in-person instruction from a professional birdkeeper. Let a pro actually show you how to feed the bird and practice in front of that pro.

    NOTE: After over 40 years of hand feeding numerous types and sizes of baby birds, I finally encountered a bird that I am unable to hand feed. I bought this 7 week old Yellow Naped Amazon, and the shopkeeper, who's known me for many, many years and always trusts me to hand feed, let me take Benny home. The following day, I brought Benny back to let him be hand fed by the shopkeeper. I was unable to manage such a large parrot. It takes such a different technique to hand feed Amazons compared to Indian Ringnecks, cockatiels, etc. that I couldn't do it. I need to be trained further before I'll be able to hand feed my bird.

    Just know: if you are concerned about your ability to hand feed, please don't do it. Yes, it may be a fun thing to do and you might think that you will develop a better bond with your bird by hand feeding, BUT, it's far, far better to leave the hand feeding to an expert and have a live bird as a result rather than take the risk of accidentally killing your bird.

    I'm going to visit Benny once he's off night feeding. I'll visit him every day to develop a bond. And, until I can feed him properly, I'll leave that to the pro.

    Good luck to you in whatever you may decide to do with your bird!!
    Whitefaced Pearl Cockatiel Smokey Bear: Hatched June 14, 2018
    Whitefaced Pied Cockatiel Wolfie Barry James (Wolfgang): Hatched approx: December 25, 2017
    Yellow Naped Amazon Benny Francis: Hatched March 24, 2018

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    Tailfeather boomer girl's Avatar
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    Re: For those who want to start hand feeding!

    Great post Pat. No doubt it will help out people. Sorry you could feed Benny but it least you know the he is in good hands at the shop.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

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    Mom of 3 fids Chick Tailfeathers Supporter!Tailfeathers Supporter! DesertDweller's Avatar
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    Re: For those who want to start hand feeding!

    Yes he is in good hands. I am very fortunate. However, I will be taking Benny home next week when he's off night feeding. Jeff gave me his schedule for hand feeding and I'll bring Benny back for his meals. This will be the best of both worlds - having a chance to bond like I want to and getting help with the feedings!
    Whitefaced Pearl Cockatiel Smokey Bear: Hatched June 14, 2018
    Whitefaced Pied Cockatiel Wolfie Barry James (Wolfgang): Hatched approx: December 25, 2017
    Yellow Naped Amazon Benny Francis: Hatched March 24, 2018

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