Ask Lafeber

Question:

July 30, 2020

Free flight&hand feed


Hello Dear Brenda,

Your information and advice have been always very precise and helpful. Thumbs up! Now I want the parents have a free flight, i got an Idea and I don’t know if it is stupid or not, if i take the two 2 weeks old babies with the parents on my Garden Porch? Do you think if the parents have a free flight and then they still feel responsible for the babies and come back to feed them?! That is my dream to let them that freedom.
As you have advised me to do a coparenting, now I have started feeding the little chicks with a Versele-Laga A21 Formula, they tried it, but I feel like they like to be fed by the parents more, should I continue feeding them until they get used to me too or what?

Thanks a Million and God bless You 😘🥰🙏🏽
PS. You were right, know they try eating new things like boiled egg with salt and pepper on it! And Lettuce too!

Birdy Regards,
Shad


Answer:

Hi Shad,

I am happy to hear that the chicks are doing well!

As to moving the parents and chicks – this is a definite no! Moving captive nesting birds almost always results in them abandoning the nest and any eggs or chicks. It’s best to leave things as they are. Some owners make the mistake of cleaning the nest box and then placing the eggs or chicks back, and this often results in abandonment. Of course there can be exceptions and some pairs tolerate more interference than others, but to be safe, it is better to not change anything until the chicks are weaned.

If your Garden Porch is safe and enclosed in a way to keep predators out, then it might be a good place for the parents later on. It depends on your climate year round – birds do not tolerate heat very well at all. They can actually adjust better to cold than heat. But any temperatures low enough to cause a frost or freezing would be too cold. They also do not always tolerate extreme changes in temperatures very well. Such as if they were used to being indoors, and you moved them outdoors where the temperature difference is 15 degrees F or more. Other dangers are predators – snakes, rats, domestic cats & dogs or any wild predator in the area. And any exposure to wild birds can expose them to parasites and diseases. We actually hosted a webinar on this topic last month, so I will post the link to the video below in case you want to watch it. The Vet discusses the advantages and possible dangers to housing birds outdoors. It is certainly worth watching and will help you determine if you can make your porch area a safe place for your parent birds. One advantage is the weather will prevent them from wanting to breed all year like they will do indoors if you allowed them to.

When you co-parent, it does not have to include feeding the chicks. You can still take them out and interact with them, and they are at the age where they will be more aware of being handled. You can have the formula there for them to sample if they want to – that is a very good formula you bought. And soon they will be old enough to pick at foods, so you can offer them soft foods like cooked brown rice with chopped veggies or some scrambled eggs. You can even mix the formula where it is thick enough for them to bite it. It is best not to add salt to anything you feed them. It won’t hurt them to get some salt, but I wouldn’t add any. When you have them out, introduce them to different foods and once they leave the box and the parents are weaning them, keep a variety of foods in the cage for them to try. Once they have left the nest box and are no longer going back into it, remove the box or the parents will try to nest again even while they are weaning the chicks. And I am sure I mentioned that you need to move the chicks to their own cage once they are weaned. If you do decide to move the parents to the porch, an ideal time would be once you remove the chicks. Moving the parents will definitely prevent them from trying to breed again right away, because it will take a while for them to get comfortable in the new enclosure. You can wait to give them a nest box when the weather is warm enough. But the grown chicks can’t live with the parents or they might breed with the parents or each other – they do not know better and in the wild, they would naturally get separated by the time they are old enough to breed.

Webinar: “Indoors or Outdoors: What is Right for Your Parrot?”

Thanks for the updates!

Brenda

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