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Dear Parrots magazine,

Beware of bright lights

It was only recently when I read an article about rearing parrot chicks that I was horrified at the pictures I saw. These chicks, and I have seen many similar photos, were sitting under bright fluorescent lights in what looked like ice cream tubs. These poor chicks were glaring upwards no doubt waiting to be fed again, but these bright lights could only do damage to their under developed eyes.

Breeders should be aware of this potential injury and how chicks in a natural nest in the wild would be reared by the parents probably in a tree nest cavity, which would be dark or at least in a low light environment.

What I think is very concerning is that it appears many breeders rear their chicks in a brightly lit environment, and although may look clean and hygienic, such bright environments are not good for young chicks. I can also remember visiting a facility many years ago when I saw young chicks, only a few days old, in drawers that could be pulled out like any drawers in your kitchen. At first I thought this was not good for the chicks, but on further thought, I could see the sense in it. As the drawers containing the chicks were partially closed and in subdued lighting, they emulated a natural nest and kept young eyes away from bright lights.

It is so important that chicks, as soon as they are hatched, will be given the best possible care and thought when being reared in an artificial environment that is not a natural nest cavity. I remember reading in this magazine how Eb Cravens keeps his young chicks in baskets covered with a towel in order that they can develop and grow in as near as natural environment as possible with low light.

When I think of how many chicks must be reared under bright lights and in ice cream tubs, or similar plastic containers surrounded with kitchen towel or paper tissues, my heart sinks, as it is so important that unless these chicks get the proper care and understanding in their early days and months, their long lives will probably be blighted by continual health problems. These early days are the most important times of their lives. I urge breeders to think carefully at what they are doing when they bring these amazing birds into our world and whose lives can span many decades.

Emily Smale, by email




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