Sunday, March 27, 2011

Question and Answer on Handfeeding Young Bourkes

Back & forth feeding is efficient.
They share a mother's beak, so why not?

Shawn asked a question today about feeding baby Bourkes who have fledged, but were still being parent fed when their father unexpectedly died. Their mother hasn't been doing enough, and the question is "how do you take over feeding when the youngsters aren't used to hand feeding?"

Here's my answer:

Shawn, I'm sorry to hear of your loss.

When baby Bourkes are used to being hand fed you can get away with three or four times a day for fully feathered birds (more often for younger ones). However, since yours aren't used to it, I'd offer them food more often for the first few days. Feed them as long as they'll let you. When they shake their heads and scatter Exact Handfeeding Formula on you, that usually means they're full. 

A clutch of three healthy baby Bourke Parakeets.
Meanwhile, offer them easy things to eat. If you can, buy nestling food. I get mine online from PetSolutions, however, it probably won't reach you fast enough. Millet spray is also easy for babies to start eating. My birds love cooked corn and perhaps your youngsters will try to eat it. Petite peas, cooked carrots, fresh greens that are cut up, like spinach, kale, etc. Anything to entice them to eat something on their own.

Be sure to talk softly too them when you try to hand feed them and be sure the Exact food is warm, but not too hot. Test it on your wrist. If they are hungry they should accept it. You might have to put it into their mouths at first...just a drop at a time to begin with, but they should want it when they taste it. Feed them as much as they're willing to eat. Parent birds stuff their youngsters so full they look like they could burst.

The key to taming them, since they are already feathered, is to handle them a lot and "sweet" talk to them. See my other blogs on taming birds. You may be starting late for hand feeding, but it should work okay. You have a good chance for exceptionally tame, sweet birds. Best of luck!

Here is a link to the post Shawn commented on:   Hand Feeding Answers

Nearly weaned, and eating some on their own.
I kept my favorite bird, Rosie, from this clutch of four and
it was painful to sell the others. They were all very loving.
By the way, although all my adult birds want nest boxes up, I've yet to do so. I limit my birds to two, possibly three, clutches per year and I want to be home during the entire process in case anything goes wrong. Since we may take a trip in a few weeks, and someone else will care for the birds while we're away, I'm going to wait until our return to give the birds their nest boxes. They can still raise two or three clutches this year prior to cool weather.
Peace & Blessings.

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