HOW WE RAISE BABIES AT AZPARROTS
Babies are fed by their parents until they are 2 to 4 weeks old, depending on the species. This gives the babies the immunities needed to be healthy adults and the experience of being a bird and being loved and cared for as a bird. Later, if destiny puts them into a breeder situation we believe this experience will help them as they become bird parents and interact with another bird as their partner vs. a human companion.
Until feathers develop babies are safely snuggled into their own little “nests” in temperature and humidity controlled brooders. The Baby Nursery is on a separate air system for both heating and cooling and babies can be observed by prospective families through a large window much like those of a hospital nursery.
Gerry hand feeds the babies, so if you have questions about the babies he is available to tell you their progress and diet. The babies are weaned using Commercial hand feeding formula with additional natural nutrients as required for each individual species. They are comfort weaned on their schedule, not ours. Once they begin to feather and can go into a baby cage they are moved to the big kid room to begin their socialization and interact with other babies, older birds, and people. Older babies usually teach the younger ones about food, so as soon as they show interest, along with the normal hand feeding Gerry tempts them with a medley of fruits, veggies, sprouts, and seeds. We purchase fruits and veggies by the case directly from the suppliers in order to offer the freshest food available and all of the possibilities of foods that you may give them in their new homes.
We believe that it is important that babies become socialized to accept various species of birds in preparation for multi-bird families and to be comfortable NOT being the center of human attention. To facilitate this, all our Babies play together daily in the nursery outside their individual sleep cages. One of their favorite things to do is to play on a “tree” that is filled with toys and hidden treats. Our babies are raised as if they were going to be here with our family forever.
Visitors in our home are handed a baby in a blanket to hold, or a fledgling to play with while visiting. Everyone interacts with one another. Babies learn that it is safe be held and talked to, and played with by an assortment of people with various degrees of confidence. Older birds get the opportunity to show off their new skills, and we get to “test” our potty training progress. J Social interaction is vital to the emotional health of all living things and the birds thrive.
BABY BIRD DEVELOPMENT
Birds were born to fly. Our Babies are left flighted until they can fly confidently. This is a delightful time as we coach and encourage them taking their first flights. Often the older babies teach the younger ones to fly. Being able to witness this is an incredible and delightful experience. A baby must be completely confident about flying, have the instinct and ability to make a U-turn, bank around a corner, hover, and land before we trim their wing feathers one at a time.
University studies have shown that bird's brains develop more like humans that any other species other than human. Thus it becomes even more important to their emotional health that they learn to fly just as a baby learns to crawl and walk. Flying, along with the socialization they receive, creates babies that have the tools to become confident, secure adults, able to accept new circumstances in their lives as they mature.
WHICH BABY IS RIGHT FOR ME?
We strongly recommend that you do your research before committing to live with a Feathered Five year old for his/her life time of 35 to 100 years. Try to visit and interact with as many of the species you are considering and be open to new possibilities before making a final decision. Birds should not be considered disposable. A healthy Bird can outlive all the other pets you may have and often outlive the human with whom they share their lives.
Even after researching it is vital to accept that birds, like all thinking creatures have a “mind of their own”. Much like children in a family, no two have identical personalities. A knowledgeable person who works with a variety of species can tell you their "typical" traits, as each individual species do have a predisposition toward certain traits. But, no one can predict with certainty how your bird, raised by its' breeder and with its' own life's experiences and the added ingredient of your family, will develop as an adult. Learn as much as you can, but enjoy the fact that each baby is unique and accept that you will be a huge influence in your babies' development.
BABIES GROW UP
Like humans, birds go through a Hormonal Development stage. During the adolescent age of your bird the hormones will at some point kick in. All birds, like humans, react to this differently, and like human, most outgrow it. During this time your sweet little feathered bundle of pleasure may become difficult, unreasonable, and unpredictable, just like an adolescent human. Your bird is just as confused by this as you were when you went through it. If you will just put yourself in your birds place you will understand what they are feeling and experiencing and know how to cope and help them. You got through it, your parents survived, and so will you. Be dedicated to your friend, tune into his or her needs. Your bird will learn to cope with his or her mood swings and your friendship will be strengthened by your caring.
Sometimes, sadly, an owner may have to part with their birds for one reason or another. If you find yourself in this situation we will try to help you find a good home for your feathered treasure. Many people are willing to adopt an older bird into their families. If it is a behavior problem that you can't solve perhaps we can offer some suggestions or you can get help from another source before giving up. If all else fails let your breeder know you have to re-home your friend. Contact us if it is one of our babies, please. Our babies mean too much to us to be shuffled from home to home.
We usually band our babies although sometimes a clutch will slip by us or we may have been asked to not put a band on. Sometimes bands become a problem. Some birds become annoyed with them and begin to over groom the area which can lead to plucking. Some birds may actually have an adverse reaction to the metal. Micro Chips are an alternative method of identification that your Avian Vet can discuss with you. Your babies' band can be removed by an Avian Vet if you prefer. Your Vet will know if your state requires your bird to be banded. Keep up to date pictures of your baby. Be sure and get close ups of their face and feet. Keep any information and paperwork that you receive where you purchased your baby in a place where you can find it quickly. If you have your babies' band removed, keep it. Should you ever need proof of ownership all of these things will aid in the identification process.
Several other things come to mind that may help in the case of a lost or stolen bird. Remember clearly what words your bird speaks and if possible teach him at least one word or phrase that is unique. For instance his name, if is unusual and he can say it; or a little song or special tune. A bird that will come to you when called is a definite plus. Begin teaching your baby to fly or walk to you when you when called. This could help him get the courage to fly down out a tree if he gets lost or identify him as yours if he is in someone else's' possession.
At AZParrots, our babies' parents are housed outdoors in flights ranging from 8X8X12 feet to 4X4X6 for the smaller pairs. Each is appropriately designed and sized for the species. Parents benefit from the sunshine and enjoy the pleasant weather most of the year. The Arizona Summers are hard on all of us but the aviary is covered for filtered light and each flight has its' own roof over half the flight to give the parents a choice of sunlight or shade. Because the flights have automatic misting and watering systems it feels 10 to 20 degrees cooler in the aviaries. Having clean water several times a day and misting from early morning to evening feeding insure all birds are able to bath and drink at their leisure. Even though we strive to create as natural a setting as possible within the confines of our aviary we are never satisfied that we give our birds enough comfort, so we add and improve as often as possible.
Gerry and I house and care for Macaws, Eclectus, Africans, Cockatoo, Conures, Hawk heads, and various others in the Parrot family. Gerry changes water dishes and food dishes for clean ones twice a day as he goes along talking to the adults and checking to insure they are safe, comfortable and have their needs met.
Often we are asked to give a tour of our aviaries to prospective buyers of our babies. We use to do this but in the last couple of years we have closed our aviary to visitors because of the potential spread of infectious diseases and theft.
If you wish to know more about AZParrots and our babies just let us know. It is important to us for our baby's sake that you make the right “match”.
Gerry & Dee Kennedy
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