Ringneck parrots are one of the oldest domesticated parrot species in the world. Originally from India, they make sociable pets that can sometimes be taught to talk. The best way to ensure your parrot is tame is to hand-raise it, which means caring for the baby bird instead of its parents. Sometimes ringneck breeders are forced to hand-raise the young if the parents abandon the nest. The main component of hand-raising is feeding the bird early and feeding often.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- An incubator
- A brooder
- Eye dropper or plastic pipette
- Baby bird formula
- Unflavored electrolyte solution
Pull the eggs or baby ringneck from the nest. Depending on the circumstances or your plans, you can start the hand-rearing process early by pulling the eggs from the parents' nest and placing them in an incubator. However, if you are facing a situation where the parents have abandoned their nest or are acting aggressively after the eggs hatch, you need to take the young out as soon as possible. Finally, even if the parents are attentive, you may wish to take the young out of the nest soon after they are born. Some experts say to do this before the birds' eyes open, but other breeders have been successful with hand-raising even after leaving the baby ringnecks with their parents for up to four weeks.
Keep the parrot warm. If the ringneck parrot was hatched in an incubator this shouldn't be a problem. However, if you are taking the young bird from its parents immediately after birth, you first need to put it in a brooder to warm up. The ideal temperature for a newborn ringneck is 35 degrees Celsius, although some breeders may keep the brooder warmer at 36.1 to 36.6 degrees C. If the bird starts panting, take it out immediately and decrease the brooder temperature by increments of one degree until the bird appears comfortable.
Give the ringneck parrot its first meal. A bird hatched in an incubator will not need to be fed for the first six hours. For a young bird that was taken from the nest, make sure it is warm before starting the first feeding. When removed from the brooder, ringneck parrots can get chilled within a few minutes. The first meal should be an unflavored electrolyte solution. This is used to check if the bird's digestive track is functioning properly. It is best to use a plastic pipette but an eye dropper will do on short notice. Place one drop of the solution in the bird's mouth on the left side. Most birds will accept the solution while some need to practice with the pipette method.
Feed the bird often. When hand-raising a ringneck parrot, you are committing to feeding it every two hours for the first two weeks, even through the night. If the bird accepts the electrolyte solution and it passes through the digestive system with no problem, you can move on to hand-feeding formula, which is available commercially. For the first five days, use the electrolyte solution instead of water when mixing the formula to prevent dehydration.Watch the bird's crop to see if it is getting full, and also make sure it is passing regular, healthy droppings. The crop is a thin pouch near the bird's throat that stores food before digestion. Ringnecks are generally weaned around eight weeks and can start eating pellets and seeds a few weeks prior to that.
Spend time with the ringneck parrot. The most important component of hand-raising a tame, friendly ringneck parrot is the feedings, however the time spent with the bird when not feeding is also important. Be sure to handle the bird often and expose it to other birds and people to increase sociability. Talk to it frequently in a gentle, calm voice. Teach your bird its first command, stepping up onto a finger or hand.
Tips and warnings
- Keep your hands and all feeding materials clean and disinfected. Young ringnecks are susceptible to illness and infection.
- Follow the bird's lead on speed and amount of food to feed. Let it beg for the next squirt of the pipette and don't force more food into the bird's mouth if it is full.
- Always use fresh food, do not save and reheat leftover formula from a previous feeding.
- Hand-raising a ringneck is a big commitment. Seek advice and help from a breeder or veterinarian if this is your first time.
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