The New Baby
Bringing home your new baby parrot is very similar to bringing home a human baby. There really isn’t anything difficult about the process but it has a tendency to make people nervous and apprehensive. What I would like to give you here is a few guidelines to make the experience as easy as possible on both you and the baby.
Don’t Isolate The Bird
For the most part, your baby parrot will be used to interaction with humans (mostly our family). The feeding and cleaning process involves handling the baby, talking to the bird, and moving him/her from one area to another on a regular basis. The minimum handling for one of our babies is three times a day. Some of the species that we raise when very young are being fed as often as every 2 hours. Isolating the baby would make him feel insecure. Talk to him and keep him in an area where he will be able to see and be around the members of what will be his new family. Introduction to the other household pets can wait for a few days, but the members of his human flock should get to know him as soon as possible. If the baby is still being hand fed treat him like an infant. Cuddle and stroke him, this will reassure him that you are going to continue treating him in a manner which he is familiar with.
For more information on the type of handling and things to be careful about with a baby, please see the section on hand feeding. If the baby is weaned (eating on his own) he may or may not want to be cuddled at this particular point in time. It depends upon the individual bird’s personality and how he deals with the stress of change. If he seems to be uncomfortable with being touched, try talking to him, offering him treats (see our suggested treat list). Allow him to adjust at his own pace, remember that when a bird weans he must achieve a sense of independence and self reliance in order to survive. Even a weaned baby, after an adjustment period, will want to be handled and played with in the manner that he has been accustomed to.
Try to imagine how you might react if you were removed from your home, put through a variety of new experiences (car rides, plane rides, shipping cartons, strange noises and smells) and then deposited into an environment where everything was focused on you. Every baby reacts differently, some regress and want to be babied; some become aggressive, asserting themselves; some withdraw to take it all in and all possible combinations in between.
One thing I can assure you, with love, patience and the proper food they all will make the adjustment into your home within a few days. Trust your gut instincts when dealing with your new bird and remember that you are beginning the relationship at this point. If you are nervous and uncomfortable, the bird will know it, if you are patient and kind the bird will sense it and in both cases the bird will react accordingly.
Don’t Change The Diet
This doesn’t mean that you can’t make changes in the bird’s diet if you so desire later but I strongly recommend that you do not make any diet changes for at least the first two weeks. After that diet changes should be made gradually. Please read the section on diet and follow our tried and true methods for instituting diet changes. The bird has just gone through a major change in his life and maintaining good food intake is crucial for his ability to adapt to all the new things. To risk the bird not eating because of a diet change is to risk the bird’s health.
Most baby birds will adjust to a new environment and people in about 48 hours. Some babies seem to take everything in stride and appear to adjust right away, while other babies adjust to the basic things in two days but take a little longer to adjust to other factors. Every bird is different, they have their own personality. After 48 hours if you are comfortable that the baby has adjusted (for the most part) then I recommend that you begin the process of teaching your bird how your house runs. It’s your bird and he is going to be part of your life so now is the time to let him know how it’s going to be.
There are certain things about a bird that is natural to him, things that are preprogrammed through instincts. Some of these things may not fit into your lifestyle so, modifications may be called for, not only for the bird but for you too. An understanding of the birds needs and desires will go a long way in establishing a working system so that the both of you will be happy. These wonderful, intelligent creatures can be the most delightful pets you will ever own or they can turn into a bad experience. A lot is dependent on your understanding of their nature and designing a lifestyle that works for both of you.