Baby ringneck parakeet

I want to know when to stop handfeeding my 8-week old ringneck and start weening it/giving it pellets,fruit etc.?

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Nov 30, 2009
Handfeeding a young bird
by: Linda

Congratulations on your new baby, and you may start him on weaning food at about 8-9 weeks. You will keep handfeeding him 2 to 3 times a day while you are introducing new foods to him. This is also a perfect time to get him on high quality, organic pellets. Get the correct size grind for your smaller bird. You can introduce him to the right kind of diet right off the bat and save time changing him from seeds later.

Weaning is a process, so do not be in too big a hurry. Starting with small amounts of fruit like banana, and baked sweet potato is a wonderful, healthy and readily acceptable food for weaning babies. Get some pellets in different shapes, this is also good for babies as they explore the new world of solid food. You may wish to soak the pellets some at first, so they are softer and easier to eat. Add a little filtered water warmed some in the microwave and pour into a little of the pellets. This food as well as any fruit and veggies will need to be removed within two hours as soaked food and fresh food goes rancid in that period of time.Do not feed much fruit and veggies as the idea is to get him eating the pellets. Never feed more than 10% of the diet in fruit and/or veggies even when he is completely weaned.

Handfeed your baby as always in the morning. By lunch, he will be hungry again, so here is where you can start the introduction to new foods. Try one food at a time at first or he will be overwhelmed. Start with the pellets as he needs to go ahead and get used to them right away. If he eats some of these foods, you are on the right track. Handfeed again later in the afternoon and put more of the pellets in his bowl and/or some of the sweet potato in another treat dish for him at the same time. If his crop is not full by the night feeding time, please feed him formula again. Watch carefully as to how much he is eating at a time. I recommend not putting in too much new food at a time as you'll just waste it when it has to be thrown out. Soak the pellets until you see him eating a lot of it, then see if he'll eat it dry. Weaning is a process, so don't allow him to be too hungry, just hungry. As he eats more of the new foods, you will be able to cut his formula back to a couple of times a day. Time frame varies with each bird, so allow him to be hungry after the morning feed. He'll cry and let you know he's hungry. This is where you can start getting him used to solid food. You may wish to offer him the new food by hand for a while as he may be frightened by it at first.

If later on he does not like the pellets dry, add a little bit of organic, naturally sweetened apple juice and see if he likes that better. So start out with organic pellets, baked sweet potato and/or banana. Once he is weaned, introduce new foods one at a time as birds are usually afraid of new foods.

Keep us posted on your progress. Thanks for writing, Linda

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