The myth that handfeeding your baby will make it bond to you better!

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As a breeder, I have often heard statements like the following:

 

I would love to get an Amazon baby some day, and finish handfeeding it myself, so it would be my bonded baby, or just to get a weaned, loveable one.
 
Here was my response:

I may have been misinterpreting your statement, and please forgive me if I am, but this brings up a common misconception.

 
As a breeder, I often get calls from people wanting to finish handfeeding their own babies. When I ask why, they say that I think the baby will be more bonded. I disagree with this for babies in the wild do not bond to the ones who feed them...they do not bond to their parents. They wean and go out into the jungle and bond to their future mate.  
 
Handfeeding and socializing is certainly not rocket science and I think many folks are capable of it. However the interested individual should do lots of research both via the Internet, books and talking to breeders, to learn the ins and outs. There are certain aspects of socializing a youngster that I believe are critical to producing a well socialized bird who is tolerant of change, not as phobic as some . I would be more than happy to explain how we wean and why we do what we do, but that would be lengthy. Finally, there are health dangers such as burned crops, malnutrition, pneumonia due to aspirated food, sour crop, and bacterial infections.
 
While there has been much physical harm and emotional harm to parrots due to inexperienced handfeeders, I do think this is not always the case. My point here is that it is a myth that a baby will bond tighter to you if you are the handfeeder. Breeders who try to convince you that it is "easy" and that the bird will bond to you better are most likely just trying to save themselves a few weeks of work. I have heard of cases where macaws were weaned weeks or even months before the particular species would normally wean. These practices can cause long-term behaviorial and health problems.
 
Sooooooooo, if you are up experienced or willing to learn about weaning a baby, go for it...but if you are doing it only because you believe you will have a tighter bond, I would advise letting the breeder finish the weaning for you.
 
Blessings,
Beth

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