I DID IT! Or Handfeeding 101

I’ve wanted to handfeed baby parrots for years and years. Don’t ask me why. Just seems so neat to have a little bundle of feathers become attached to you. And I had planned to start on October 31st, when my birds were exactly the right age, three weeks. However, things snafu-ed and I thought I just would let it go.

My coach, Thea Evans, owner of Thea’s Parrot Place https://www.facebook.com/theasparrotplace talked to me a week later at the bird club meeting. She convinced me to meet with her the following Sunday and she would take me in hand. When she got here, we pulled the two youngest lovebird chicks, and the oldest cockatiel chick. She helped me set up a heat source, a bin, and we mixed up the food. She did the first feeding while I watched, and it seemed so easy.

The important things are the temperature of the food, the cleanliness of the utensils used, and keeping the babies warm in between feedings. Thea told me to feed every three hours, the last time right before bed, and the chicks would be fine overnight. I knew that parent birds don’t feed at night, so it seemed obvious that I wouldn’t need to wake up and do that. Last night, at 3 AM, the cockatiel had a different opinion. But it seems they just get a little concerned if the house is too quiet. I came out and talked to them, and they were quiet until real morning.

The food has to be no hotter than 109 degrees F. and no cooler than 104 degrees F. I microwave the water, pour it into the dry feeding mix, and check the temp. It’s a bit too hot. I add a few drops of cool water. Uh-oh, it’s cooling fast! Some day I’ll get a little pot that keeps the formula at the right temperature.

I use Kaytee handfeeding formula because it’s readily available and lots of people have good results from it. Here’s a weight chart they devised. I would prefer one page for the three chicks, but I will manage. http://www.kaytee.com/assets/013/25893.pdf There is a ton of information on the web about handfeeding. This one states different temps for the food, but not off by much. And the list of ages when the birds can be moved to a cage, or decreased in feeding times, is very helpful.


Here are some photos of my trio. I am just thrilled that I took the plunge. There’s one more cockatiel chick in the nest. I’ll pull him when his eyes are just opening. And the violet love birds are laying another clutch, so I will be having a good time for the rest of the year. Just can’t leave the house for more than three hours. I’ll be back on Sunday.

Featured imageNunu needs a bath!

Featured imageHe would rather sleep.

Featured imageViolet Lovebird chicks.

Featured imageYou kids clean up your room!

Featured imageMaynard the supervisor.

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