Weaning - The Psychological Dangers - Talk Parrots Forums

Parrot Breeding, Chick Raising, and Parrot Handfeeding Discuss all aspects of breeding parrots as well as raising and hand feeding chicks.

 4Likes
  • 1 Post By Solace.
  • 1 Post By catalinadee
  • 1 Post By utoomom
  • 1 Post By Anton_27
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 06:10 PM Thread Starter


 
Solace.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
Posts: 799
Thanks: 0
Thanked 87 Times in 52 Posts
Rep Power: 26
                     
Weaning - The Psychological Dangers

After hand feeding and fledging, the next stage in a parrot's life is the weaning stage, and this one is not only critical but it is also very dangerous. I will try valiantly not to rant and rave as much in this article as I did in "The Dangers Of Hand Feeding Baby Parrots...and WHY it is encouraged." No promises, though.

In the above-mentioned article, I covered the greatest physical dangers of hand feeding -- starvation, aspiration pneumonia, crop burns, bacterial and fungal infections. When it comes to the weaning period, a new danger is added to the already long list. This is a non-physical danger, but one that can do serious harm to a parrot's future pet potential. This is the psychological damage that can inadvertently be caused during the weaning process.

HORRIBLE Advice

I have repeatedly heard of incidents where pet store personnel and/or breeders gave the following advice: "If a chick keeps begging when The Books [italics mine] say it is old enough to be weaned, ignore it. When it gets hungry enough, it will learn to eat on its own." This is called "force weaning,." Please, DO NOT FOLLOW THIS KIND OF ADVICE. Is that clear enough?

This advice should not be followed for a variety of reasons.

First, it is important to understand that individual animals do things at their own speeds. For example, children learn to walk when they are ready, not when The Books say they're supposed to. The Books deal with averages, not individuals.

Second, unless the chick has been thoroughly vetted by an AVIAN veterinarian, you don't know if it is healthy. We have learned that chicks with a medical problem need hand feeding much longer than healthy ones. By the way, YOU should take your new chick to the vet, even if the store or breeder has already done that. Take copies of the bird's records if you are going to a different vet. You need to establish a good relationship with your avian vet, and learn what avian medicine can teach you regarding the care of your new bird.

Perils of Force Weaning

If you force-wean your parrot chick, you could set it up for permanent behavior problems later on. Force weaning entails discontinuing hand feeding when the chick is still begging for it, based on the belief that hunger will force the baby to start eating on its own -- hence the name. Force weaning is the method of choice for people who find hand feeding inconvenient - for whatever reason.

However, the inconvenience of hand feeding should not be considered more important than what is psychologically best for the parrot chick. To be blunt, if someone does not have the time or inclination to wean a bird properly, then the bird should be raised by someone who does. The best idea is to buy ONLY from a highly reputable pet store or aviculturist, and not bring a baby home until it is already fully weaned. As they say, let the experts do it.

Incredible Insecurities Later

Bappies that are force weaned often display massive insecurities later on in their development. These insecurities generally really blossom in the age range of 8-18 months, as parrots begin to develop more independence. Force-weaned birds often become extremely high-strung and prone to stress, and rigid in their eating habits. The development of serious phobic behaviors is typical of force-weaned African greys. Cockatoos who are force-weaned often become chronic whiners, driving their owners crazy with the sound. The large macaws, who are probably not truly "food independent" in the wild until they are over a year old, are often the victims of force weaning. After all, most people don't really want the responsibility of months and months of hand feeding. When macaws are force weaned, they generally get into patterns of obsessive food begging, often with repetitive wing-flicking and "gronking" (typical macaw begging sound) well into adulthood. These aberrant behaviors make sense when one realizes that these force-weaned birds were probably in terror of starvation during a critical period of their development.

Viable Alternative

Suffice it to say that birds grow into better eaters and more secure, stable pets if they are not starved into feeding themselves. Generally speaking, bappies should be hand fed until they start weaning themselves by walking away from the food syringe. I have talked to many aviculturists who have made the same comment, and they don't quite understand why -- it seems that the more well-fed baby parrots are, the more interest they show in the bowls of food in their cages. And the more interest they show in eating on their own, the sooner they will wean themselves naturally -- without the terrors and insecurities of babies that thought they were going to starve.

Weaning - The Psychological Dangers
Sweet Parakeet likes this.
Solace. is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Solace. For This Useful Post:
Sweet Parakeet (08-16-2019)
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-17-2012, 04:00 AM



 
catalinadee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: UK
Posts: 17,637
Thanks: 1,593
Thanked 2,007 Times in 1,575 Posts
Rep Power: 99
                     
This is great. I have known of a few breeders who 'force wean' their birds. I wouldn't do it. Right now I'm hand raising Harvey, the cockatiel. He's not remotely interested in food yet but I still feed the little one!

- Alexandrine parakeets Holly, George, Koda & - Crimson rosella Kasumi Orange winged Amazon parrot Paulie
catalinadee is offline  
post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 11:09 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Australia
Posts: 15
Thanks: 10
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
 
I didn't realise you could force wean. I just thought they learnt to eat seed whenthey were ready lol
heyholly is offline  
 
post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 01:11 AM



 
catalinadee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: UK
Posts: 17,637
Thanks: 1,593
Thanked 2,007 Times in 1,575 Posts
Rep Power: 99
                     
Weaning - The Psychological Dangers

Not necessarily. Force weaning usually involves just leaving the birds to get so hungry they look for food
Sweet Parakeet likes this.

- Alexandrine parakeets Holly, George, Koda & - Crimson rosella Kasumi Orange winged Amazon parrot Paulie
catalinadee is offline  
post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 11:57 AM
 
utoomom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Sunny Florida
Posts: 235
Thanks: 42
Thanked 59 Times in 55 Posts
Rep Power: 7
 
That just BREAKS my heart!! I couldnt see any living creature going hungry...heck, I take care of my animals before I take care of ME!
Sweet Parakeet likes this.
utoomom is offline  
post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 09:07 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 13
Thanks: 0
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Rep Power: 0
 
Other than the obvious problems like possible undernourishment the hand feeding is a vital part of nurturing the younster through and into complete independance. Something the parents would do. So if a younster was genuinely hungry they would be fed but also if it's just feeling a bit insecure about life they will be fed when asked by the parents, small ammounts mostly. This is the part of weaning that is the most difficult to achieve, but it is no less vital than the full meals the younster had by hand before. Without this nurturing they lose confidence and can become problematic.

This is parrot speak for a hug, a little regurgitated food.

Force weaning never achieves anything positive, it's positively destructive instead.
Sweet Parakeet likes this.
Anton_27 is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Anton_27 For This Useful Post:
Sweet Parakeet (08-16-2019)
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Talk Parrots Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome