If you’re in the parrot market, you might talk to several breeders to find the right bird for you and your family. As you may have noticed, breeders will sell their young parrots at different ages, between 8 and 12 weeks. If you’re wondering when it’s safe for a bird to leave its mother and come home with you, the answer isn’t entirely straightforward. However, common wisdom says You should not bring any young parrots home until they are fully weaned, generally between 6 and 10 weeks of age.
In this article, we’ll discuss what this means in a bit more depth, as well as tips on what to do if your parrot regresses and whether or not you should adopt an older parrot.
What Does It Mean to Wean?
When parrots are born, they are completely helpless. Early in life, they are deaf, blind, and hairless. As a result, they depend entirely on their mother to feed them. Like other birds, adult parrots chew and regurgitate their food to feed their young. They do this because baby birds are not able to break down their own food.
Chicks are feathered at about 4 weeks of age, but they cannot fly and are still learning to break down their own food. They will usually learn to fly before they can feed themselves. Being able to fly is an important step in the process because it means the bird will be able to find its own food and avoid predators. During the weaning process, chicks learn to be less dependent on their mother and begin to feed themselves. This process doesn’t always happen overnight; it takes a week or two for the young parrot to be completely weaned.
What Should I Do If My Baby Bird Regresses?
Sometimes, breeders sell young parrots as soon as they are weaned. When this happens, your pet may not eat as much even though it seems hungry. This phenomenon, called regression, can occur as a result of the stress that young parrots experience when brought into a new environment.
- Related Read: How to Read Parrotlet Body Language
If your bird is regressing, you will need to feed it to ensure its nutritional needs are met. You can purchase commercially available hand-feeding formula for your young. You will also need a syringe and a feeding scale to help you divide the amount of formula to give your pet. Make sure the syringe is small enough for your parrot; they are small birds, to begin with, but at about 2 months of age, your bird is unlikely to reach adult size.
Try to find out from your breeder how much to feed per day. This will help you figure out how much formula to get each day. When it comes to the feeding process itself, place your bird on a table or other easy-to-reach surface with a towel underneath to reduce spillage. Your parrot will most likely get used to being fed with a syringe if it was hand-fed by the breeder or previous owner. If your bird is being fed by its mother, be careful when directing the syringe. Birds have two external openings in their beaks: one that leads into their cache, and one that leads into their lungs. Be careful not to let the formula flow into the second opening leading to your bird’s respiratory system, as this can be very dangerous.
Continue to feed the bird regularly throughout the weaning process so that your parrot eventually no longer needs formula. In addition to pellets, try offering other foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains such as millet to help broaden your parrot’s appetite. Gradually reduce the number of formula feedings per day until your parrot is completely off formula.
- Read Related: How to Tie Your Parrotlet (6 Proven Tips)
Is Adopting an Older Parrotlet a Good Idea?
While many families prefer to adopt young parrots, there are many older birds seeking homes. Parrotlets can live up to 20 years, so there are many different reasons why a bird may be repatriated during its life span. For example, some birds are sent home after their caregiver dies, or when a sad family can no longer care for them. Even though the birds you find in the shelter may be a few years old, chances are they still have years to live. Adopting an older parrot will give him the opportunity to have a comfortable home to live out the rest of his days.
Of course, some people repatriate their parrots due to certain qualities in the bird that they cannot tolerate for whatever reason. If you’re thinking about adopting a pre-owned parrot, be sure to gather as much information as possible about the bird’s history and behavior to determine if it’s a good fit for your family.
If you are wondering what is the optimal age to adopt a parrot, there is no one right answer. However, it is important to ask questions about the bird’s weaning process before bringing it home. It is best for a bird if it is fully weaned before being moved to a new home, otherwise there is a chance it will retreat. Of course, if you’re open to adopting a pet, there are plenty of adult parrots that need a great home. Whether they are 6 months or 10 years old, adopted parrots can make wonderful pets.
Featured Image Credit: Yokwar, Shutterstock