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<article> Do Not Purchase Unweaned Babies

4676 Views 13 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Rainbow*Russ
If you are not a breeder, or are not totally experienced, then you should NOT purchase an unweaned baby bird - of any kind. There are many possibilities of injuries, accidents and death... that would be horrible if it happened to you, especially if you are not experienced.

Why should you NOT buy unweaned babies?

How good a pet does a dead bird make? Don't fall for the lies about hand-feeding. An experienced hand-feeder can raise a loving, sweet bird who will quickly bond to you and become part of your family flock. You do not need to take on the risky, sometimes extremely difficult task of hand-feeding.

Inexperienced hand-feeders have been known to...

-Burn a baby's crop, causing a slow and horrible death.
-Accidentally get food in the bird's lungs (aspiration), causing pneumonia and death.
-Not properly sterilize equipment, leading to bacterial infections and death.
-Underfeed a fussy, difficult baby, thereby causing slow starvation that can cause permanent developmental problems or, more likely, death.
-Force wean a baby due to poor guidance from the breeder, leading to food & behavioral issues for the rest of the bird's life.
-Feed too cold formula or re-used formula from the fridge causing problems with digestion and illness, food refusals, and worse.
-Not realize the bird wasn't getting enough food until the keel bone is sharp and protruding, damaging organs through malnutrition because they had no idea how to weigh a bird and monitor its progress, especially during weaning.

Do you want to join the sad club of people who have killed their precious baby birds because they believed they would have a better pet if they hand-fed the bird themselves? Many people who have done this will tell you they feel guilty to this day about it! How good a pet does a dead bird make?

Copied from: Do Not Purchase Unweaned Babies - The Linnie Forum
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I cannot tell you how many people have come to me wanting to get an unweaned baby because they have been told, if you want your bird to bond to you, you need to hand raise it yourself. Or who could not wait for their baby to wean and want to take it to finish it off.

Weaning is one of most dangerous times to lose a baby. They are starting to refuse food so they can lose weight to fly and it is so easy to think they are weaned and don't need you to feed them anymore. They appear to be eating seed when they are only just playing with it. At this stage they are still not drinking water themselves and dehydration is one of the biggest killers, long before starvation. At this stage when they are starting to refuse food you have to step in and force feed them using a crop needle. Definitely something that should never be attempted by a novice. So very easy to put the needle down the wrong hole, push it down too far and perforate the crop, or just have the food too hot. Food fed by crop needle cannot be as hot as food fed with a spoon or even a syringe. With spoon or syringe if the food is too warm the bird will spit it out, as they do when it is too cold. But with a crop needle they have no choice but to eat it as you are putting it directly into the crop not into the beak. Even after about 15 years of hand raising I still use a thermometer with every single feed. I do not rely on testing the food on my inner wrist or my lips. The ambient air temperature can give you a faulty test. Hot weather the food will feel cold and cold weather it will feel too hot when it is actually not.

Yes I had to learn and had to start somewhere but I have the availability of a good bird club with many experienced people to help me out. And I had another bird breeder very close to me who taught me how to do it and guided me along the way.

I am always happy to teach someone else on how to hand raise. I don't want to pass away with the knowledge I have learnt over the years to go with me and be wasted.

I will never ever sell a baby bird to someone who does not know how to hand raise already. I have spent years building up a reputation and I will not destroy that by selling to a novice who then does their best to destroy that reputation because they did the wrong thing.

I also believe that every person who breeds birds should learn how to hand raise birds by all methods, especially a crop needle. If there is a problem with the babies being fed by the parents they should be able to take over themselves and not have to rely on someone else to get them out of trouble. I had an incidence a few years ago where a man who was breeding very expensive mutations lost the hen of one of them. The variety was one in which the father did very little with regards to raising the chicks. He waited over 24 hours to seek assistance. I did my best with this bird, got the bird to wean and was just waiting for it to become established on its own before returning it to the breeder. All of a sudden the bird went backwards and stopped eating and drinking. I had to start force feeding it again and within just over 24 hours it died. The bird had been left in the nest box for a full day and night before he contacted me. The father did not brood it and the baby chilled. Not a lot but sufficient for it to do damage. The birds kidneys failed which is what happens when a baby birds temperature drops, not much 2 degrees celsius is enough. Sometimes it will kill them immediately but often it does not happen till many weeks after the temperature drop. The kidneys always fail. Imagine my heartbreak after spending over 6 weeks with this baby raising it up and weaning it only to have it die like that. The breeder then set about destroying my good name. I received threats from him and his wife and also had harrassing phone calls constantly. He killed his baby no one else did, he was responsible. He should have learnt what to do instead of putting someone else in the position he put me in. I felt I could not refuse to help him out of his situation. If you want to breed very expensive birds you learn to look after them yourself. Luckily most of the people he spoke to were experienced breeders and they saw what the problem was and did not blame me. But how many others that may have come to me for a bird did he also speak to and believed him. I have possibly lost untold sales because of this.
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I hate going into pet stores and seeing unweaned babies being sold or someone telling me about how they got an unweaned baby and they've never hand fed before.. :( It makes me SO angry and I see it happening so much more often now.

If you don't have the experience in handfeeding then don't buy the bird, as much as it steals your heart, there's so many things that can go wrong. The best thing would be to find a breeder, have them teach you how to hand feed, get the experience and then think about. But still, once you buy and unweaned baby from a pet store or breeder, pet stores especially are only going to replace that baby with another unweaned baby to be sold, sadly the cycle continues..

If anything, go to a breeder, a well known one if possible, and wait until the baby is weaned to pick it up and pay for it, don't buy an unweaned baby and risk so many things going wrong and the babies life could be shortened because you don't know what to do or you could make a huge mistake and end up with a baby having a lot of complications or worse, finding it on the bottom of the cage passed away.

JMHO. :)
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Solace in NSW it is actually illegal for a pet shop to sell an unweaned baby to anyone experienced or not. The bird must be independent and perching before it can be sold. If you are in NSW and see a pet shop doing this report them to the RSPCA.
someone was selling unweaned Linnie's on kijiji.i was very tempted to get one but i didn't.the babies were sold very fast.i am glad i did not get would have been very hard to live with the fact that i could have killed the baby Linnie and knowing that it would have suffered.:(good post nick.i didn't know about the dangers of hand feeding but now i do.i will never forget it.:thumbsup:
Great post, Nick, and great additions Kate and Solace. Living where I do, I get people who come in to our shop all the time and gripe that they can go to Miami and get a baby bird for a quarter of what we charge and raise it themselves... It sickens me that our customers do this. Then, when the baby is crashing, won't eat, and has a serious illness or disease, they come running to me expecting me to fix it, but won't spend the money on the vet :frown: I know they were working on passing an act to make it illegal to sell unweaned birds, I don't know if it was a county, state, or nation-wide petition though.
That is so sad! It makes me remember what happened earlier today, i will post the horrors of a local pet shop later...
Great post Nick. It should be illegal everywhere to sell an unweaned baby. Even if you have hand fed, and your baby didn't die, there is always a possibility of beak deformities as well from spoon feeding incorrectly with the lower beak.
:insanity: If only all people were responsible and followed these guidelines
I never knew you could get an unweaned baby. At the bird store I go to, they hand-raise all of the birds, but they won't let you take it until it is weaned. You can put down and deposit and visit as much as you want, but you can't take it home.

I thought that was how all breeders/bird stores did it... That is so sad :(
i must agree and every time i hear a person buying a 4-5 week old tiel i just fear for the bird i no that hand feeding can take 9-12 weeks long depending on the individual tiel i had one take 14 weeks one mistake some make is a proper brooder setup i do have pics of a brooder setup step bye step if anyone is interested i,ll forward the pics to you or i will make a post of the pics
I have a friend who purchased a lovebird that had been force weaned too early :(
It was overly aggressive (even for a lovebird) severely underweight, and in horrid feather condition. She brought it to me not knowing what to do and because I was handfeeding Snowflake and Riley at the time I mixed her up some formula. The poor thing was starving! We were able to bring her weight back up and wean her out properly but she has always been an overly aggressive lovie, as well though I don't know if it is related or not but when she had babies of her own she did not feed them.
It should not only be illegal to sell out of the nest but it is highly inethical to force wean a baby too young! Not all birds wean on the same schedule!
Obviously as a first-time bird owner, I should have done more research about hand feeding and weaning baby birds; I honestly didn't know any better when I purchased my rainbow lorikeet at 30-some days old. I always knew Taiwan wasn't on the up and up when it came to dogs - some puppies are sold at 20 or 30 days old, but I've always been a dog person so I knew that was so horribly wrong.. probably should have made the correlation to birds, but sadly, I didn't.

I can only hope that I don't do any of the aforementioned things to Nibbles.. I'm seriously so anal about every aspect of feeding him - sterilizing the equipment, using a thermometer, etc. and I hope it all pays off in the end.
really Tiffany, people actually sell puppies at 20 days there, thats horrible, 7 weeks is too early let along 20 days, that must be frustrating for you to not be able to stop them
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