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Sandra May 31, 2024

How do I know when a parrot is ready to wean?

Weaning a baby parrot off of formula and onto solid foods is a gradual process that varies depending on the species and individual bird. You should consult with a professional breeder, avian vet or parrot expert on baby parrots, formula feeding and weaning but here are some tips. 

This blog was to answer a question I got on YouTube: 
I know that this video is pretty old, but how do I know when they are ready to wean? Am I supposed to leave food out for them to try or something else?

Signs Your Baby Parrot is Ready to Wean

  1. Feather Development: Most baby parrots are ready to start the weaning process once they are fully feathered. This usually happens between 8 and 12 weeks of age but can vary!
  2. Interest in Solid Foods: When the baby parrot starts showing interest in what you’re eating or pecking at solid foods, it's a good sign they are ready to start weaning.
  3. Decreased Crop Feeding: The bird may start taking less formula during feedings or refusing formula altogether.
  4. Weight Stability: A steady weight is crucial. Monitor your parrot's weight before and during the weaning process to ensure they are maintaining or gaining weight.
  5. Behavioural Cues: If the parrot starts playing with food and seems to be exploring different textures, it’s likely ready to start transitioning.

Steps to Wean a Baby Parrot

  1. Introduce Soft Foods: Begin by offering soft, easy-to-eat foods like mashed fruits, cooked vegetables, and specially formulated weaning pellets. Make sure these foods are cut into small, manageable pieces.
  2. Gradual Transition: Continue offering formula while gradually increasing the amount of solid food. You can start by offering solid food once daily and gradually increasing it as the bird shows more interest.
  3. Consistency: Offer solid foods at the same times every day to establish a routine.
  4. Monitor Health: Keep a close eye on the bird’s droppings, weight, and overall health. Any drastic changes might indicate the need to slow down the weaning process and immediately see an avian vet.
  5. Encourage Foraging: Encourage natural foraging behaviour by scattering food around the cage or using foraging toys.
  6. Patience and Observation: Every bird is different. Some may take to weaning quickly, while others may need more time. Be patient and adjust the process according to your bird’s needs.
Species-Specific Considerations

Different parrot species have different dietary needs and weaning times. It's important to research the specific needs of your parrot species and consult with an avian veterinarian. You shouldn't get a bird from a breeder that isn't already weaned; that's a red flag! Always opt for already weaned parrots, as it is a delicate process. 

Consulting a Professional

If you’re unsure or facing difficulties, it’s always best to consult an avian veterinarian or an experienced bird breeder for personalized guidance.