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Dear Parrots magazine,

Not for the inexperienced

I have just seen an ad selling un-weaned parrots and am horrified. It also stated that they artificially incubate eggs and hand-rear. These are just the wrong things to do that will damage the life of a parrot.

To sell un-weaned chicks should be a criminal offence unless going to an experienced aviculturist. Selling to inexperienced owners will undoubtedly raise many issues, as hand-rearing is not a task for the weak hearted. I have known of many who think there is an easy profit to be made, but eventually come to the conclusion that they have jumped in too quickly, and discovered just how time consuming hand-rearing is. I used to hand-rear all my babies, but now leave it all to the parents that do a much better job than we humans will ever do.

Like Eb Cravens, who has raised his chicks in a covered basket to maintain darkness, so to emulate as much as possible how parrot chicks would be raised in the wild, in a similar way, I used to keep my chicks in a drawer with a small gap so I could keep an eye, which kept them in the dark until their eyes were open. Even then, a gradual change to a lighter surrounding is important, and not raised in ice cream tubs under bright indoor lights.

However, I have learned an important lesson about the potential problems with hand-rearing, which is why I now let the parents raise their young. I have found by experience that, against some opinions, parent-reared chicks will tame down and make as good a pet/companion than any hand-reared bird, and will more than likely, avoid the problems of sexual maturity and bonding with humans as they get older.

Jenny Willings, by email




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