Weaning

Hi Leanne,

Cage too large for baby that clumsy. Will get hurt if it falls. If it isn’t eating other foods, four weeks will not be enough time to wean it, regardless of how old it is. Even my little birds must be eating on their own without formula for two weeks, and holding their weight, before I consider them weaned. To get to that point, they have to be eating on their own and refusing formula so I can cut them back, and that transitions down from either fewer formula feedings in a day or less formula per feeding….over a period of days/weeks, depending on the bird’s preferences and needs.

That macaw has a long way to go.

I keep my babies in a darkened (not pitch black) brooder until they are mostly feathered. This allows them an environment similar to what they would experience if they were with their parents, so they just sleep, eat, and snuggle with each other. Once feathered and demonstrating an interest in thier surroundings, they are offered veggies and some dry food and light. I probably keep them in the brooder too long, but don’t want them in a cage until they are fully feathered.

For me, feathers are the clue as to when they are able to leave the brooder or not. I don’t raise large macaws, but my eclectus wean around 16 weeks, African greys and amazons around 14 weeks, Jardines around 13-14 weeks, senegals and meyers around 10-12 weeks, cockatiels, quakers and such around 9 weeks.

gloria

The bird is fully feathered & primary feathers are clipped 😦 I had already thought of padding the bottom of that cage, but sounds like we need to raise the floor also. According to the owner, the first day (Sunday), the baby sat on the perch & held the side of the cage with it’s beak. Now it is getting on & off a swing in the top of the cage, but it is very clumsy. I will also suggest a towel over part of the cage for security & something to snuggle with.

I think the baby is thin, to me it felt borderline thin for an adult (according to the breast bone/muscle ratio) & a baby should be more plump than an adult, right? The owner has only been getting about 80 – 90cc in the bird twice daily since Sunday night, but did get about 110cc last night. I instructed the owner to add a 3rd handfeeding midday, to not only increase the amount of total formula daily, but also in case it regressed when coming to it’s new home. When I first saw the bird, it was rocking back & forth with head fluffed & making grumbly noises, is this a sign of hunger?

What do I need to know about handfeeding formula? The owner is using Exact Macaw Handfeeding Formula. What can/should be added? The bag states 102 to 110 degrees and he is using a digital thermometer you take a person’s temp with, is this o.k.? Is there anything we should add since the bird is thin? I tried to feed the bird a walnut & it didn’t seem to have any idea what to do with it, wouldn’t keep it in it’s mouth.

I have never desired to have a baby bird, but looks like I’ve got some learning to do now! Thank goodness this owner is taking me seriously & is very open to my help. However, I can’t do it without the assistance of others more knowledgeable than I, so thanks for the help! Leanne

Hi Leanne, You might want to read Phoebe Linden’s article on the PBR site on abundance weaning. http://www.petbirdreport.com/abundance.shtml There’s also a good article on weaning by Eb Cravens at this site: http://www.feathers.org/library2.htm You have to scroll down as there are several articles there. At this point, the bird should have lots of different types of food in the cage that it can explore, even if it doesn’t eat a whole lot. Can start trying to feed warm mushy foods by hand – things like sweet potatoes mixed with rice or some other grain, bananas and walnuts mushed together, warm, dampened 7 grain bread, etc. Too bad the bird has already been clipped, but nothing you can do about it now. Hope these articles help. Best, Pat

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