Things Most Buyers Don't KnowWritten by:
Some of the reasons why unweaned babies should not be bought or sold include:
1) Bacterial and fungal infections that can result from poorly understood or poorly applied principles of hygiene.
2) The failure to recognize subtle or obvious signs or symptoms of illness or distress.
3) Weaning is a stressful time and the experiences during that time will stay with a bird his whole life.
4) A baby bird will eat scalding hot formula.
5) A weaning baby can starve to death with food sitting in front of him.
6) Water drinking is a learned behavior.
7) The expiration date on each container of hand rearing formula should be checked before purchase.
8) Pressure on the beak of a handfeeding baby will deform the beak.
9) The internal organs of a baby can be bruised by picking him up incorrectly.
10) Feeding utensils must be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
11) There is a window of age, opportunity and development when, food-independence truly begins. The experienced breeder or handfeeder knows this.
The cautions I list have been from years of hard-learned, painfully-learned lessons by those who bought unweaned babes.
Baby birds can be force weaned - they are simply refused hand rearing formula. They learn to eat on their own or they die. Inexperienced buyers who fail to understand how to bring a baby bird to food independence can permanently affect a bird's life - forever.
Baby birds who are force weaned are birds who very soon begin the long sad journey from home to home - each new home decreases the pet potential of this most special of all companion animals.
A baby who is weaned inappropriately or improperly will learn the wrong
lessons. A bird is severely impeded regarding issues of trust love, security and bonding when he is forced to learn to eat before he is ready if he wants to live.
It isn't the controversy associated with weaned vs. unweaned that makes this such an emotionally charged issue. What is at stake is someone's baby bird.
As a breeder, I know what CAN happen. I know about babies who are underfed and stunted; babies who wean when they are 8 months old; babies who suffer from crop bum, bacterial and fungal infections, chronic begging, food trauma, etc. The list goes on.
Additionally the buyer is taking a serious risk because there is no guarantee on an unweaned baby. There CAN'T be because who can tell when a baby suffered a particular trauma; who can know the state of hygiene the buyer offers; a baby can't be vaccinated until a certain age; the PBFD semen can't be done on babies younger than 5/6 weeks. How can a buyer tell if an unweaned baby bird is healthy? The financial and emotional stakes are enormous for the buyer.
Weaning and socializing are best left to those who have the experience in both of these areas. Both affect a bird's relationship with humans for his whole life.
It is a myth - an urban legend - to claim that a bird bonds only or most to those who feed him. What about the second and third and fourth and fifth and sixth hand birds out there? Who do they love? Do they only love the ones who fed them? Not likely.
If an experienced, caring breeder does it, it usually gets done right. If an experienced caring breeder does it, the baby bird will stay in the home the breeder has carefully selected. A well-behaved responsive, trusting, tame bird will be a well-loved, intimate and permanent member of the family. That's what I want for your babies and for all the babies.
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