Friday, September 24, 2010

Fertile Eggs, Taming Without Hand-Feeding

I was wondering if you would give me your opinion. I currently own two parrotlets and the have five eggs not sure if they are viable or not but the female will not leave the nest so I am hopeful. My question is I know nothing of handrearing babies and was wondering if it is possible to tame the babies around 5-6 wks for pets? Thank you for your time and opinion.

Dear Jodi:

Thank you for your email. The fact your hen is brooding really is no indication of whether or not the eggs are fertile or will hatch. She is driven by instinct to brood the eggs whether or not they will hatch. Even pet hens with no mates can produce eggs and they too will sit and brood them often for the entire 21 days of incubation.

I’m assuming this is a pair of Pacifics? If so, then it is extremely unlikely you will be able to tame the chicks without hand-feeding them from 10 to 14 days. If it were, most people wouldn’t hand-feed since it is extremely time consuming – they need to be fed every 4 hours at least 4 or 5 times a day as well as handled and socialized. This is called ‘imprinting’ and it is done to overcome the natural wild instincts that parrotlets have since they are not domesticated birds like cockatiels or budgies (parakeets). Moreover, parrotlet pairs are extremely aggressive especially hens and will not tolerate interference so removing the chicks, handling them and placing them back in the nest almost never works; the hens often kill the chicks. This type of co-parenting can work with larger birds such as macaws but parrotlets are too biologically hard-wired to accept this kind of intrusion and more than likely will abandon or kill the offspring.

You can let them be parent-raised. They will not be friendly nor will you be able to handle them as pets but they can be sold as breeders.

Sincerely yours,

Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S.

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