THANK YOU for selecting your new addition from AZParrots.
We know that you chose this Baby over many others and we value your trust in us.
We all know babies are fragile. We have loving protected, cared, and nurtured this baby for you. We trust you to give your little one a safe home to grow up in; to keep your baby warm, safe, protected, and properly fed. All of our babies are accustomed to receiving fruits and veggies, along with seeds, and nut pieces, daily.
Please get to know your baby well. Learn to read his/her moods, attitudes and body language. If at any time your baby does not eat, has diarrhea, acts like it has a chill, bleeds, has a discharge from its nose, eyes or mouth, or seems listless, call your avian vet immediately. Birds of any age hide their symptoms until it is too late, but a baby can go down very quickly. Your observations can save your birds life.
Protect your baby
We strongly advise everyone to resist the temptation to take your new baby to pet stores, Bird Marts, or meetings where other birds are present. Be selective about taking your baby with you to visit where other birds live, or letting people who own birds handle your baby until it is about a year old. You can unwillingly expose your baby to diseases to which your baby has not built up a resistance. If you yourself go to these places, wash up before handling your baby.
PICKING BABY UP AT THE AIRPORT
Be prepared and expect to have fun! This is a great time. You are excited, your baby is excited, anxious, curious, and possible frightened. Your baby wants to be RESCUED from this terrible thing that has imprisoned him/her.
Go prepared to take baby out of that carrier. Give him a chance to stretch and relieve him/herself and then reassure, cuddle and coo over him/her. Smile. Speak in reassuring tones. Let baby see your happy expressions. Extend your hand and say step up. Cuddle baby up to your heart and snuggle him. Many babies like to be patted like a human baby as they lay against your heart. He is looking for reassurance from you that all will be alright now and you won’t send him/her off on that dreaded airplane again. Make sure baby gets fresh water and food as soon as possible. This is the time to be your baby’s hero. Don’t miss this wonderful bonding opportunity.
If you have to put baby back in the carrier talk to him in reassuring tones as you drive and repeat the happy release scenario when you get home.
The first 24 hours will be an adjustment for the baby whether he/she exhibits it or not. We hope your baby will be excited to see you and be all over you with hugs and kisses when you remove him/her for the carrier but some babies are more reserved. We always prefer to send a baby to its’ new family during the day so the two of you have a chance to get to know one another before bed time. . Be prepared to allow your baby to rest after the trip to your home but try not to put him in his cage. He needs to rest but he can rest on your lap or up against your heart. This is an important bonding time for you and baby. Try not to miss it. This is not a time to stop by your friends to show him off. YOU need to be the center of baby’s world today.
When you get home take your baby around your home and help him acclimate to his new surroundings, sounds, other pets, etc. Do this while you are holding him and making over him. Let baby see his new cage but don’t put him in it. Let him eat with you and sit with you in the evening before putting him in his cage. Each baby has its’ own way of expressing him or herself. This is a quiet time for the two of you to learn to trust one another. You will learn a great deal about your baby in the first few days by observing his body language. That night make sure baby gets a good nights sleep. Leave a little dim light on so he can see where his perches and dishes are if he wakes up.
First thing in the morning, speak to baby as you approach and gently but firmly take him out of his cage. Say “UP!”, or step up, firmly but kindly. Let him eat with you. Baby needs to be reassured that you are going to be the source of his food and pleasure. He needs to learn that you are not going to eat him; he is safe and you are his protector. If you are planning any vet visits, visits with friends, etc, put it off until baby has slept and awaken at your home, in his safe environment, twice. If you do these things you will have a friend for life.
FOOD FOR BABY
Food bowls need to be readily accessible to baby, on his/her level. Be very observant to insure baby is eating. The transition of going from his or her first known home with us to a new home may cause a baby to revert to needing, or desiring, hand feeding. If baby is not eating after a good night sleep you may need to help him/her by providing warm, soft foods, offered by hand. Mashed potatoes, rice, warm all natural apple sauce, pasta, oatmeal; anything warm and soft offered by spoon or fingers, or even in a bowl, will do. Baby may need extra comfort and security during this time. Soft words and warm food is a great bonding tool and important to babies well being. In the wild baby birds follow their parents for months and ask to be fed. This is a natural way for them to ask for love and be shown love.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO MONITOR BABY’S’ FOOD INTAKE DURING THIS TRANSITION PERIOD.
Soft food should be provided at all times. Fresh or frozen vegetables in the smallest size is a good choice with small pieces of papaya (aids in digestion), broccoli, cauliflower, slightly cooked sweet potato, and corn on the cob cut into small “wheels” being favorites. Sliced oranges and apples, and cut grapes are enjoyed by most species. Avoid cherries and never give avocados. A limited amount of soaked and cooked beans such as pintos, black-eyed peas, soy beans & brown rice are also good for baby as baby matures.
Small pieces of raw walnuts, almonds and pistachios are enjoyed by most species. Nuts are required for Macaws for healthy development. You will have to assist some birds with cracking large nuts at first to help them.
In our opinion fresh foods are preferred. We believe birds that have as natural a diet as possible live longer, healthier lives. We do give our parrots Large Hook Bill seed mix and nuts. Some people supplemented their birds’ diets with medium size pellets of 14% protein and 5% fat. These are fortified with avian vitamins and minerals. . Some parrots may not eat both seeds and pellets. Products we have used in conjunction with our fresh food diet are Pretty Bird and Exact fruit flavored pellets. The diet we offer our mature birds can be found under our HELP FILE button at FEEDING PARROTS.
All birds should have as spacious a cage as you can provide. When getting a cage plan for the toys and dishes that will take up space. Bigger is better when it comes to bird cages. Toys should be in place in the cage before your bird arrives. Keep changes to a minimum after baby arrives until he/she has adjusted to his/her new environment.
Baby has been use to a smaller Nursery cage for resting. A small cage for the first week is a nice transition for a baby as s/he becomes acclimated to you and his/her new home. If you can provide both, do. You will find many occasions to use your Nursery cage later. When baby first arrives a big cage may be intimidating along with all the other changes so be aware and have lower perches in the cage so that if s/he gets frightened and falls s/he won’t get hurt. Many people put a towel in the bottom of the cage also for the first day or two until it is evident that baby is climbing and perching confidentially.
To keep Babies nails nice and trim, one of the perches should be a concrete perch. The other perches should be of varying sizes. It is very helpful to a caged bird and better for their feet, to have perches that vary in thickness, texture and shape just like a trees branches.
A play stand placed in another area of the house where you spend your time is nice to have. This is a welcome change of pace for your baby. A play stand with busy, fun things to play with and eat is an excellent way to keep your baby off the furniture and in the room bonding with you when you are doing other things.
Most birds enjoy a variety of toys, but some birds may be afraid of a new toy at first. Introduce the toy gradually. I like to let the baby see the toy in a neutral environment and make it their choice to accept the toy or not. I offer more than one choice toys at a time. When baby is allowed to choose its own toy there is no fear involved. Many people have found that placing the toy at a distance in view, then closer, then on the outside of the cage, and then finally inside the cage works also.
Even handfed birds have the natural instinct to avoid sudden changes. In Nature the environment changes slowly. Trees don't fall down when you fly over to land, or jump out at you and yell, and branches take a long time to grow. Sudden changes are scary and remind birds of predators and storms.
A warning here for those who like to cover your birds’ cage a night. ALWAYS speak and let your bird know that you are approaching to UNCOVER the cage. I’ve been told of birds that have been traumatized by someone yanking the cover off or flipping it up without warning. On the other hand, teaching your bird to play peak a boo is helpful preparations for that unexpected, out of control time when you bird does get startled by being uncovered without warning.
Even the most lovingly handfed baby can be spooked by all the changes involved in transferring from his/her Nursery to a new home with strangers. If this is the situation with your baby then practice moving slowly and with sensitivity. Let your baby set the pace after the relocation. The first day just make sure your new friend has everything he needs. Position your babies cage in a place where s/he can see everyone move about. Within reason, where the most action is in the household is the best place for him/her to observe you and be entertained and comforted.
When you walk past the cage, stop to say hello and offer a treat from time to time. Birds are listeners. They listen for the location of their flock, for information about their environment and to know if they are safe. When it is quiet in the forest there is a predator. Leaving a radio or TV on when they are left alone in the house will help them to feel secure. Leaving a bird alone in a silence house can cause them to be frighten and edgy. When you suddenly appear s/he may be startled and think you are the predator. Continue with this routine for as long as it takes for let her/him to settle in. All birds are different, just like children from the same family they don’t react the same. Even the shyest of birds will eventually respond to your consistent reassurance and will happily come to you for the comfort and security you represent.
When a bird trusts you to come to you it is very important that you respond in a trusting manner. If you react with a flinch, or pull your hand back, you will lose his trust. If you leave your hand there, you both will feel a bond after that.
Our babies come to you knowing how to step up and step down on command; it is up to you to reinforce this understanding for your baby. A simple way to do this or to teach a baby to step up is to offer your hand with a small treat in it as you tell him to step up. Let him/her have the treat while in your hand and as soon as he has tasted the treat offer a second one in your other hand and hold it so that baby has to step up to get it. If you have worked on trust, baby will be comfortable enough with you to do it.
Baby will likely test the firmness of this new “perch” with his beak. This test will not hurt, but baby may grip you firmly with both beak and his toes. It is not intended to hurt you and you need to stay calm and encourage baby to relax. You will have to be confident and trusting also and allow this as you say “step up”.
Always maintain eye contact with a bird as you establish trust and as you work with him/her. Continue to reinforce the step up command as your baby matures so that his/her reaction to the command will be instant.
AZBabies have been held many ways by both Gerry and myself, and by many trustworthy friends, so they are adaptable to change and differences in snuggles. However, my favorite way that I use with all of our babies from the smallest Caique to the largest Macaw is up against my neck. I put their heads under my chin with their little hearts up against my heart and pet them gently all over. I rub their heads, necks, wings, under their wings, tummy, and tail. I massage their feet and scratch their beaks with my fingernails. I do this very rhythmically and calmly, speaking comforting things to them as I do it. Often they go to sleep. Each baby has a favorite place to be rubbed. You will find your babies favorite petting place if you spend a little confident, relaxed time together.
For me, a good place to play and earn babies trust is on my bed. I cover my bedspread with a baby quilt that is easy to wash and prepare the area with some bird treats and a toy or two that babies like. I take baby out of his/her cage and if baby is unsettled, move him/her slowly into my bedroom. I am very careful to not allow anything to frighten baby during this move and I speak reassuringly to him/her as I walk. If a bird is frightened I close the door, but most babies aren’t.
I do a similar thing with mature birds that are new to me. I give them a chance to get use to the environment in the bedroom while I sit comfortably on the bed and pretend to ignore them. I don’t make eye contact until them until they try to get my attention. I sing, hum, read, whatever, and they seem to appreciate the calmness and the quiet. They get relaxed, explore, and start coming over to check out the treats or toys. Then I follow their lead and body language until they are comfortable stepping up and being touched.
Your baby has been raised to be gentle and accommodating. Babies don’t bite out of anger but may bite or nip out of fear. Any bird can and will bite under certain circumstances.
Be careful not to interpret balancing or exploring as biting. A baby uses it’s beak to steady itself and to feel if where he is stepping is secure. This is NOT biting. Babies also close their beaks on fingers as a way of asking to be comfort fed. Some pump and beg for several months and will even revert from time to time as adult birds. This is NOT biting. Birds also like to touch you with their tongues. This is not biting either, but they will have to put their open beak on you, and in the case of a Macaw this can be intimidating.
DO NOT allow people to put their hand up to your baby for “step up” and then pull away. Do NOT allow anyone to hit, throw, of yell at your baby. If your baby actually is intimidated or frightened into biting, which is unlikely, most babies can’t bite hard enough to hurt you. Firmly tell your baby “NO”. DO NOT tap on your baby’s beak or blow in your baby’s face as a way of correcting behavior. Think how this would make you feel toward someone rapping you on your nose. Obviously, this will not make your baby feel good and safe with you.
There is a very kind way to train your baby not to bite, should it actually gets to that point. Gently apply pressure to your babies tail, thumb on the vent, fingers on top of the tail, as you firmly say “NO!”. Several no’s, as needed, and gentle but firm corrections will teach your baby that biting a human has unpleasant results.
For older birds that can safely perch on your arm and fly safely to the ground without harm there is another more active method. Rotate your wrist TOWARD you slightly but quickly. Do this with a firm “NO!” as you move your arm. You will throw them off balance and distract them. Be careful to do this slightly. This is not an earthquake movement or one that will make your bird fall. It is more the movement of a branch in a quick gust of wind, not a tree branch breaking. Expect your bird’s feet to tighten when you do this so it will be advantageous to keep nails blunted. Some birds will fly off, but they will be headed toward your chest. Stay in control. You can actually hold them up against you and protect your hand by doing so as you prepare for the next attempt. As soon as the attempted bite fails, making eye contact, praise your bird with an enthusiastic “Good Bird!” as he steadies himself. For older birds only; if you have a difficult bird that is a bitter, of course you can put him down when he bites, but not in his cage. Use a training stand for this.
It should be mentioned at this point that my first instruction to a person picking up a bird they don’t know is to make a fist with your thumb tucked into the palm and give the bird the back of your hand to step up on unless it is a baby. Your fist and wrist are a lot less vulnerable then those fragile, tasty fingers. How steady is a finger anyway, unless it is for a budgie? A fist with the thumb tucked into the palm is very hard to get hold of with most beaks and if you are bitten it won’t be but so hard and may not even draw blood. Joking!
Some birds are going to really test you, so be prepared to preserver. Don’t wait until you are tired or in a rush to do this, and if you are afraid of being bitten, wear thick, long sleeves. Give the bird fewer places to hurt you so you can be braver. Birds know if you are intimidated. They see you flush even if you think you are hiding it. If you have a really difficult bird to train give them a pine nut (or some other small, favorite treat) in their cage and let them get a taste for it before you start the training. When they obey you during their training reward their good behavior with another pine nut. Pine Nuts are small and are eaten quickly while the memory of why they are getting the treat is fresh in their minds. Never reward indifference or disobedience from a bird.
Do not put your baby away or separate yourself from the baby if you get nipped. Put yourself in the baby’s position. Their natural parents have feathers. They would nip to get their parents to understand their needs and it would not hurt their parents, so don’t teach them by an excited response that they can get your attention by nipping. Instead, distract your baby if he nips or is doing something he should not be doing, just like you would a human baby.
Be someone the baby wants to be with. Give your baby a toy, a treat, or simply walk around the room talking to your baby in a cheerful, happy, friendly voice to get your babies attention refocused.
Our baby’s parents are housed in
outdoor, covered aviaries, under trees and Grape Vines. Our couples are housed
We raise very few babies each year, so we are able to give them the care and attention that they deserve and that we enjoy. Babies play with other species of birds, so they do well in families with more than one bird. They are cuddled, held, talked to, played with and loved daily.
Even though it is very difficult to keep up with babies that fly, we DO NOT trim wing feathers until the baby is a confident flyer. University studies have shown that a bird’s brain more closely resembles and develops like a human brain than any other species. Thus, flying well is extremely important to their emotional well being. This is just one of the reasons our babies grow into stable and calm adults. They are all as much a part of our family and out visiting and interacting with family and friends as the birds we call our pets.
We get an immense amount of pleasure from seeing our babies go to good, loving homes.
When that little baby lights up your eyes we know our work is accomplished and we feel satisfied.
We hope you enjoy your new baby as much as we enjoyed raising him or her.
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR NEW ADDITION!
Dee and Gerry Kennedy
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