About Abundance weaning...have a ?

Posted By: Razzle'sMommy

About Abundance weaning...have a ? - 05/14/08 10:51 PM

I went to Avian vet today and Razzle has received an very good report. She told me he or she is very intelligent and is amazed how well behaved he was and not shy to her, also about Razzle's Talkative personality and non timidness towards new people. So far I have wrote down approx 20 clear spoken words from Razzle and he is only 5 months.. his weight is perfect.. still need to find my gram scale to follow journal and he looks very good and progressing excellent for Razzles YAY.
Here is where I am confused about the weaning and I really do not know what to do.
Where I got Razzle from they were feeding 1 morning and 1 night of the KT weaning formula. He was eating a wide variety of pellet and fruit special veggies until he came home to me. I was told he would be fine to come off but I was wondering if I should keep on this and move to only nights? Razzle eats all day, alot of fruit, pellet, and I have been introducing veggies, I also made a mash with the pellets and added veggies, he ate some not too much but he IS eating good. All is ok until last night when my Husband came home around 6:30 pm right about when they were feeding his last weaning formula and Razzle puts himself into a feeding position and cries to him. I had a cockatiel when I was younger and handfed her for weeks before she came home with me and this is same thing as she did when I was weaning her.
I called and asked who was feeding the weaning to the bird and sure enough it was a male...could Razzle be associating m husband with him? And this is why he is expecting the food? Should I after 5 days give her some weaning formula..does this mean she wasn't ready even though she is eating very well?
I talked to vet and she said that is really up to you but she said she would stop the feedings and the bird will know, she left and she will not be fed that anymore. I do not want to back track but I want her happy and full as well. Would it be a good idea to maybe give her rice or oatmeal at night as a replacement? I am sorry soo many questions I just want to make sure I am doing the right thing and when I see her like that which only started yesterday by the way I feel like giving like taking the baba away from the baby. She is only 5 1/2 months old and I know having a chick it is a very important time and I want to do the right thing.. and advise or experience would be very much appreciative!
Posted By: EchosMom

Re: About Abundance weaning...have a ? - 05/14/08 10:55 PM

Cockatoos can take a good year to wean. Razzle will let you know when she's ready - she'll start rejecting the handfeeding. wink

ETA: Even if a young bird doesn't "need" handing feeding formula physically, weaning is also a very important emotional process. Google "Weaning Sadie" for a great article on the subject. Sorry but I can't post the link because it sits on a breeder site.
Posted By: Elliott

Re: About Abundance weaning...have a ? - 05/14/08 11:16 PM

IMHO...feed as long as Razzle will take the formula. At least to feeding a day till they start refusing it. After that still offer some and if they take it fine, if not that's ok too.

My 20+ y.o. M2 will take a handfeeding every now and then. Usually Tut will be not eating like normal and I'll spoon feed him some warm mushy oatmeal and boy does he perk up.
Posted By: Razzle'sMommy

Re: About Abundance weaning...have a ? - 05/14/08 11:47 PM

Thank you both! I am off to read a bit more, after I go get some formula! I had a feeling stopping may be a bit too much, just wasn't too sure because she is eating alot, but I will offer both and I am going to read some more!
Posted By: Razzle'sMommy

Re: About Abundance weaning...have a ? - 05/15/08 04:20 AM

I have read the article and I really want to thank the 2 of you and Elliot for the article! I really wasnt sure if she was just making that sound to my husband because maybe Razzle just got excited to see him come home and really bonded with her... she only cried to him, it wasnt an all day cry, only heard hen hubby got home!
I am SOOO happy to have found this place and trusted my gut to ask you all even after asking the vet and local cockatoo breeder!
I am telling you the minute she saw the container and me mixing ..she cried..after heating the boiling the water and using a thermometer to make sure temp came down according to package she cried. I threw it in the freezer for a few to cool off fast for her! I felt soooo guilty she looked and acted like she couldnt live without it, her head started bobbling up and down.. I cannot tell you how bad I felt! The spoon didnt seem to work fast enough so I put in an extra feeder bowl we had held it up to her and she munched down about 3 or 4 tablespoons of the formula and then happily went to sleep. THANK YOU, Thank you!! xooxoxoxxo
I also picked up some more pellets today, she was on zupreme and mixed fruits and nuts and I added 2 other pellets to her diet for mash and for eating, she liked the alphabets (cant recall name sorry) I also made some carrot and spinach mash and put in freezer to mix with the mash daily, veggies so far dont seem to be a favorite! Can I mix the formula with veggies and fruit? I am going to the diet board and look up. Thank you again!!!
Posted By: Elliott

Re: About Abundance weaning...have a ? - 05/15/08 12:50 PM

Couple more suggestions.

Offer different type of pellets. I found out the hard way that feeding a single type of pellet. I couldn't get them and was unable to buy them for several weeks. They were not eating well and I had to prepare more food for the flock. Feeding different pellets at least lets me have something to offer when I cannot get their regular pellets.

Also, spinach should not be given very often, if at all. It binds to calicum and makes it unable to be absorded by the body. Try kale, mustard greens, or collard greens.
Posted By: EchosMom

Re: About Abundance weaning...have a ? - 05/15/08 02:41 PM

Happy to have been some help to you and Razzle. I think the last sentence in "Weaning Sadie" says it all - "Baby cockatoos aren't suppose to cry". Good luck with her!
Posted By: Razzle'sMommy

Re: About Abundance weaning...have a ? - 05/15/08 03:03 PM

Thank you again, we just finished the morning feeding, she only took about 2 teaspoons this morning of the formula then looked at me and I knew she was done. At this moment she is eating fruit, pellet mix. I did get 2 other pellets yesterday after cruising the diet forums. I don't recall the name because I purchased by pound but I got the one that looks like alphabets and a smaller one. I have already mashed a good amount (3 different pellets) with my majic bullet (LOVE IT) and put aside to make her mash with assorted fruits and veggies. She seems quite content! wink
Posted By: rockinseattle

Re: About Abundance weaning...have a ? - 05/15/08 08:46 PM

Food Independence & Transition Weaning
by Sally Blanchard

This article is copyrighted and may not be reprinted without the written permission of Sally Blanchard or the PBIC, Inc. Contact us for permission.

The Difference between Weaning and Food Independence

Weaning is the process by which a young parrot learns to eat on his own. In the wild, food independence is a gradual process started long before a chick has fledged. However, no young bird could possibly be weaned until he has learned to fly and can travel with his parents and the flock. During these travels, a young parrot learns from instruction and example about foraging and gathering his own food. While he is still in the nest, his parents (and in some species, other caretaker birds) are responsible for filling all of his nutritional needs. Breeding season usually comes during and just after the rainy season, which guarantees abundant food for parrot babies when they hatch.

Chicks are fed whenever the parents have food to give them and not according to some arbitrary timetable. In the last few years, nest box videos have clearly shown that parents don’t feed according to any schedule and do not let the crop empty between feedings. Wild parrot babies are not deprived if there is abundant food available. At first, most of the food is partially predigested by the parents and then regurgitated into the baby’s beak as pabulum. As the chick matures; the variety and consistency of the food changes. Gradually he learns to manipulate larger pieces and different types of food. By the time he fledges, he is familiar with many of the foods that will be available to him throughout his life but he does not yet know how and where to find them. He does not know where foods grow and how to take them from the plant and manipulate them for his consumption. These lessons take longer. Although he reaches a point where he is pretty much eating on his own, his parents continue feeding him until his food independence is evident. While the odds are against the successful raising of every parrot chick, wild parrots have evolved to be good parents. It is their biological imperative to raise their young as well as possible for success and survival of the species.

Domestically-raised Chicks and Food Independence

Almost from the beginning of modern aviculture, it has been acceptable to deprive domestically-raised baby parrots of food to force them to wean. Sadly, the concept of the “weaning cage” was developed by breeders who did not really understand the emotional needs of baby parrots. The idea was that when it was “time to wean the bird” he or she was put in a small cage with one perch and a bowl of food (usually nothing but seed). The theory was that if the bird had nothing else to do, he or she would automatically eat rather than go hungry. I’ve walked into far too many bird shops and aviaries with agitated, head-bobbing, wing-flicking, whining babies housed in cages with nothing to develop their curiosity. Imagine a young parrot learning to eat in the rainforest. After he fledges, his parents and/or flock teach him foraging techniques, food choices, and food manipulation through guidance and example in a rain forest smorgasbord. Learning to eat is an adventure and is certainly not based on boredom or deprivation.

Too many of the protocols that became entrenched as far as the breeding and hand-feeding of parrots had much more to do with the convenience of the people involved than the developmental needs of the chicks. Some parrots are forced to wean long before their natural weaning time. Years ago, someone decided this was the way to do it and few breeders challenged this accepted method. In the mid-80’s, as most of my work shifted from taming wild-caught parrots to working with domestically-raised parrots, I began to see a correlation between weaning trauma and behavioral dysfunction. Weaning trauma is the insecurity and dysfunction caused by deprivation and/or forced weaning, gavage feeding until weaning, and inadequate nutrition. The more handfed parrots I worked with, the more obvious this cause-and-effect connection became.

I discovered that parrots who were fed a limited amount of food on a strict timetable ultimately had behavioral problems in their new homes. Bappies who were fed an abundant variety of healthy foods frequently during the day were far more secure with their new human family. When I was hand-feeding my young Amazons after they came to live with me I often fed them soft, moist, and warm foods with my fingers which mimic the beak feeding of an adult parrot. I usually fed such foods as cooked yellow-orange vegetables such as sweet potatoes, yams, winter squash, and carrots but any nutritionally sound gloppy food was accepted. Now several companies make manufactured hand-weaning foods. I prefer the ones that have no artificial coloring. These nutrition-packed pellets are soaked in warm/hot water and then finger fed to eager chicks. However, I still prefer pieces of steamed vegetables or mashed fresh fruits … preferably organic. Breeders who interact with their chicks in a nurturing manner create a more emotionally secure chick. With a good hand-feeder, there is never any desperate food begging or excessive hunger. Breeders who feed their chicks abundantly have reported to me that they weaned more readily if they are fed as needed instead of being deprived of food in an effort to force them to wean. Parrots who have been abundantly weaned with nurturing techniques are clearly more secure and contented, and have much greater pet potential than chicks force weaned with deprivation.

Excessive Food Begging and Regression Weaning

Hopefully, if you have purchased a baby parrot, he will be secure, well-socialized, and fully-weaned. Even if this is true, you may have some problems with immediate adjustment. Many recently weaned birds become a bit insecure in a new location and will begin food begging again. Some parrots even become excessively aggressive when they get too hungry. I have worked with more than one hyperactive baby grey who was not getting enough to eat and was throwing himself out of the cage when someone opened the door. Caregivers confused this with aggression when it was actually hunger.

Excessive food begging beyond weaning is common with several species but there are far too many crying cockatoos and gronking macaws who are insecure from being underfed. Many handfed macaw bappies have not been fed well enough or long enough. In the wild, these large parrots are still being fed by their parents up to a year of age or older, yet many macaw chicks are weaned and expected to be food independent before they are 4 or 5 months old. Some parrots who are forced to eat on their own too soon become insecure because they don’t even have the physical skills to successfully manipulate their foods. A macaw, or any other parrot who normally holds food in a foot to manipulate it, can’t possibly be food independent until he has developed the dexterity and balance skills to hold food in his foot without losing his balance. Therefore, early socialization that involves working with other skills will also encourage food security.

Several years ago, I bird-sat a newly weaned Green-winged Macaw. The owners were appalled when they returned and discovered that I had to start hand-feeding him again. No amount of logical explanation would calm their unreasonable anger. They would only listen to the advice of the bird’s breeder who seemed to have no concept of what had happened. The breeder told them I had spoiled the macaw by feeding him again. With all the confusing changes, the bird had become quite insecure and started food begging almost incessantly. He needed some extra hand-feeding and cuddling to feel secure again, but they felt that since he was weaned, he was no longer a baby. He was a baby and was still going to be a baby for close to a year. Even though they seemed unwilling to follow my advice, I tried to convince them that they needed to watch him closely for the next month or so and handfeed him if he became agitated or exhibited any food begging behaviors.

Be Prepared - Regression Weaning

Food begging from a weaned bird is not necessarily a sign that the bird was force-weaned or weaned too young, although parrots with hand-feeding trauma are more likely to become insecure in a new situation. When you bring your bird home, it will be important to have some of what he has been eating on hand, even if it is not what you plan to continue feeding him. The first few days in a new home is not the time to begin converting birds to another diet. Don’t ignore your baby if he becomes insecure and wants to be handfed some more. The old adage “Do not pay attention to a screaming bird” does not apply to an insecure, recently-weaned parrot. In order for him to comfortably eat on his own, he needs to feel secure. While you do not want to reward him for begging by running up to him and grabbing him up to cuddle, it is advisable to “regression wean” him by offering food with your fingers, a spoon, or syringe a few times each day until he is more relaxed and secure in his new situation.

I received a call from the new caregivers of a 5 month old Hyacinth Macaw. He was sold as a fully weaned bird when, in reality, this is far too young for this macaw to be properly weaned. The bird called constantly and was driving the couple crazy. The breeder told them not to start hand-feeding the macaw again. Luckily they called me and I insisted that they start hand-feeding him again, whether they used a syringe or fed soft foods with their fingers. They followed my advice and called me within a few days saying, “thank you, thank you, thank you!” The macaw weaned on his own several weeks later. Unfortunately he was somewhat stunted physically but turned out to be an emotionally healthy Hyacinth.

Do not let anyone convince you that a food begging bird should not be handfed again or he will never be weaned. This is nonsense. I don’t recommend regressing a weaned parrot to complete hand-feeding again or getting him to “pump on the syringe.” Hopefully, he will accept some warm, soft foods from your fingers. If this doesn’t seem to work, try a spoon with the sides bent up or ask your breeder, veterinarian, or bird shop to provide you with a syringe and some hand-feeding formula and have them show you how to use the syringe to just dribble some formula into his beak. Then gradually transition him to take food from your fingers. As he becomes more secure, offer him a crock or plate of nutritious steamed veggies and show him how to eat from the bowl. This activity helps his sense of security and also helps him develop a healthy appetite. Most regression-weaned chicks will readily wean themselves once they are more secure. If not, gradually reducing the amount of food being handfed will encourage weaning.

Recognizing the signs of Food-begging in Baby Parrots

- Feathers are fluffed, especially on head and neck.

- Wings are held slightly away from side.

- Rapid wing flicking.

- Head bobbing with open beak.

- Lunging with head and beak.

- Repetitive calling.

- Excessive frenetic, and even aggressive energy.

In macaws, the call is a repetitive “gronking” sound. In other parrots, it may be a beeping or even a rapid-fire machine gun eh eh eh eh sound. Excessive food begging can be a sign of weaning trauma, malnutrition, or even a sick baby parrot. Check with your avian veterinarian to be sure. Weaned parrots who are doing a lot of food begging need to be reassured with “regression weaning” even though they may be considered “weaned” by the breeder.
Posted By: SpockAToo

Re: About Abundance weaning...have a ? - 05/16/08 02:47 AM

Originally Posted By: Elliott
Couple more suggestions.

Offer different type of pellets. I found out the hard way that feeding a single type of pellet. I couldn't get them and was unable to buy them for several weeks. They were not eating well and I had to prepare more food for the flock. Feeding different pellets at least lets me have something to offer when I cannot get their regular pellets.

Also, spinach should not be given very often, if at all. It binds to calicum and makes it unable to be absorded by the body. Try kale, mustard greens, or collard greens.

I mix Kaytee and Zupreme pellets together with Veggie Crisp Delight because Snow White seems to like different aspects of each. I started buying them in 20 lb. bags because it's so much cheaper, and I've been using them in some of the foraging toys where most of the food will be wasted anyway, so I'm going through quite a bit of food.
Posted By: Razzle'sMommy

Re: About Abundance weaning...have a ? - 05/16/08 03:26 AM

oh wow.. After really seeing what was going on I am floored.. Razzle is definitely NOT ready to come off the hand fed formula. I feel so bad still. She did cry again when hubby came home tonight but I made sure my daughter, husband and I took turns feeding her until she turned away and wanted some potatoes and cooked peas we made her. I mixed with a bit of applesauce and fed by spoon..she seems to be doing pretty well with it! She went right to bed after thanking us by talking up a storm! She has a good 30 words (phrases included) that we understand. We started saying her name on Saturday when we made a decision or it could have been Friday lol and she is saying her name already. I also have her grabbing her ball and throwing it to us..she knows she is rewarded with a nutri berry immediately after and loves tossing the ball to us! She or he is VERY smart..I really plan on Potty training her as I have my conure , right now we are rewarding every time she goes potty. I spend a great deal of time with her in every room of my house making her comfy and learning new surroundings. I let her watch me eat and offer her almost everything I eat. I am a diabetic, so basically every thing I eat she can! My daughter and I have printed out many of the foraging ideas from the site and plan on making a bunch of them and toys this weekend.

I really thought since reading these boards since December of last year I knew alot and that we were ready (and we are), apparently there is much to be learned still! and I know there will always be more to learn. I love her dearly. She has become a very very huge part of this family! The is just something very very special about her! I am just more thrilled every day we all bond and learn new things about her! Thank you again, Lori
Posted By: Razzle'sMommy

Re: About Abundance weaning...have a ? - 05/16/08 03:28 AM

PS , I did take a look about spinach and noticed it should not be offered much. I dont think as a baby I should be giving to her, I am afraid of her becoming accustomed to it, so I will wait till she is older. Thank you though or the heads up, you all are very very informative! *U*
Posted By: ChloeG2

Re: About Abundance weaning...have a ? - 05/17/08 02:46 AM

One more hint...when Razzle is ready to be a "big too" & eat all by his/herself...sit with Razzle while he/she is eating.
When Chloe (our G2) finally didn't want to be hand fed 'cus she was a "big girl"...I was so pleased for her. After the first couple of "eating by herself" meals, I started to wander around the kitchen doing this or that.
Well....little Chloe figured out that if she eats like a "big girl" the Mom-person doesn't sit with her. So, she stopped eating like a big girl & we're back to hand feeding, again.
Now, that I'm a more educated "mom-person," I realize that I needed to sit with her until she was completely comfortable being a "big girl."
In nature, there usually is a "watch bird" when others are eating. This is especially noticeable with our regular crow family visitors. In that "we" are their "flock"..."we" have to assist in some of the "flock" duties, like keeping watch so that they can enjoy their "dinner."
LOL...sure do wish these little buggers came with manual!
ChloeG2's Mom-person

Posted By: Razzle'sMommy

Re: About Abundance weaning...have a ? - 05/17/08 03:23 AM

Hi Chloe, thank you.. I did notice that when she is in her cage she doesnt eat much at all, but I am a stay at home mom so she is perched all day on play stand and I make sure to give her "alone time" also. But she does mostly eat when I am on the florida room and she is pretty much taking whatever I offer, except veggies right now, she ate some of my peas last night but took hunk of carrot and celery and threw it. When I fed her this morning she was done after 10cc's (I think cc;s) and went right to her food bowl and picked up some pellet and fruit, tonight it was about 25 before she turned away. My daughter put some homemade bread in the bowl and she decided after bobbing and crying to go for that. She cried for about 2 sec after food was in mouth and started talking to my daughter with food in her mouth "what are you doing" where are you?" mama" Yeah baby" Razzle" pretty bird.. and there is more she says! We are just soo happy to be a part of this group! You all are so very helpful! Thank you again.
Posted By: TaraRose

Re: About Abundance weaning...have a ? - 05/17/08 05:51 AM

My goffins is 2 and he will still take a hand feeding as many times a day as I will give it to him. If I let him he would probably take 3 or 4 a day and completely stop eating pellets. He will take the baby formula from a syringe, spoon or straight from a cup or bowl. What do you guys suggest for this situation??

(Sorry to steal the thread!)
Posted By: Razzle'sMommy

Re: About Abundance weaning...have a ? - 05/17/08 07:15 AM

no its ok.. its not stealing! I have done enough myself and would really like to see responses, you did the right thing posting!
Wow 2 years? Is there a point when they are just whining to get their way? I have only just started and I think she is ok without morning.. if she does cry for it tomorrow morning I will only give her her night feeding. We will have to see what happens. I do know she does eat allot of everything else! Are you offering allot of different things? Have you read the articles above? They are very informative! Good luck, will watch for responses. Lori N
Posted By: TaraRose

Re: About Abundance weaning...have a ? - 05/18/08 04:21 AM

He doesn't necessarily beg for a feeding (sometimes he does) but if I offer formula he will readily take it over pellets. Maybe I am misunderstanding what you guys are meaning.

My goffins is one of the best eaters I have ever had. He eats TONS of different stuff..pellets, bread, veggies, fruit, tuna fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, oatmeal..I actually would be better off listing the things he DOESN'T like to eat. LoL
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