When asked the question, “Should I wean my Caique baby at 6 weeks or let it go to 7 weeks?” My first reaction was a question. Why are you hand feeding a baby bird and have no idea when or how to wean. Better yet, why are you on Facebook asking random people how and when to wean your baby? For starters Caiques don’t wean at 6 or 7 weeks generally speaking. They wean closer to 14-16 weeks when done properly. Anyone can learn the skill of hand feeding a baby bird, it is not rocket science, however the process of weaning is born of knowledge about each species dietary needs and each bird’s pace to weaning. Force weaning is never the answer! Baby birds should be allowed to set the pace for weaning from hand feeding to solid foods, called abundance weaning, it should never be done by a set number of age. Birds who are forced to wean early not only end up with nutritional deficits but also psychological problems from their unmet needs.
There so many other factors to consider when hand feeding a baby. Yeast infections in the crop causing crop stasis, better known as “sour crop”. Knowing how quickly the crop should be emptying and what to do when it doesn’t. Bacterial infections due to re-heating/re-using formula or not properly cleaning feeding utensils. How much formula the baby needs at each stage of it’s growth is another must know issue. Babies who are fed too much formula can end up with a stretched out crop that may have to be corrected with a “crop bra”. And one of the most commonly seen issues, burned crops, because the person did not know to use a thermometer or to not use a microwave to heat formula because it can cause hot spots in the formula. These burns require much medical care, as they can burn through the full thickness of the crop, causing food to leak out rather than baby absorbing it. If baby’s are not fed the proper amounts of formula they become stunted or like a failure to thrive baby. So many risks and all at the expense of the bird.
Please, be smart, be informed and be educated! Hand feeding a baby bird does NOT bring about an automatic bond, this is a myth! The same bond can be gained by respect, love and patience with an adult bird. It is a bank account of trust that you build with any bird. Yes, I am totally pro adoption but I have all of the above skills as well, because not only do we need to know these things for babies but many are also of use with ill birds. If you insist on a baby bird, and I hope you don’t, then make sure it is fully weaned before you purchase it.
>One last thing, unless you can do and know all of the things discussed above; do NOT pair your birds and set them up with a nest box! Just like humans, not all birds are good parents. Sometime parents refuse to feed babies or will even kill their own babies, both of which leaves you to either hand feed them or allow the babies to die. Again, be smart, be educated and be informed.