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Complete Psittacine by EB Cravens

Parrots magazine June 2011

Having Empathy for the Parrot Parents

An online birdkeeper who is also a hobbyist sent me this enquiry about her breeding pair of psittacines:

“I always have a guilty feeling when I remove babies from my parrot parents. I am excited when I have a new chick to feed and raise, but a part of me really goes out to the Mom and Dad. How much trauma do you think they feel when we take their babies from them?”

For many years I have been quite concerned about the health and stress level on psittacine parents who find their chicks stolen away at an early point in their nestbox nurturing phase.

The responsibilities of raising parrots in captivity go far beyond just guaranteeing that the young birds are raised well and provided for, and consideration for breeding pairs is also important. Aviculturists need to realize that nesting parrots are operating on an intimate darkness/sense/touch level when they have new-borns in the nesting chamber. In some ways parents, especially the hen, are in a state of trance with a single focus only, that, being the baby birds. From the early stage when activity is apparent inside the eggs, our hens are totally attentive, and mostly out of sight for fourteen to twenty days after hatch.

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