Weaned vs. Unweaned Babies

At Hartman Aviary, we like to see baby parrots in the hands of someone who can give them great deal of attention at the same stage their wild cousins are leaving the nest. For the average size parrot, like an African Grey or an Amazon, this is about 8 to 10 weeks old. The first 30 to 60 days after a baby begins to peak out of the safety of the nest is the most important time of its life. During this relatively short period of time a parrot has to learn many things to insure his chance of survival. That little brain is programmed to build neuropathways at the fastest rate in all of his life. These neuropathways can only develop as a response to environmental stimulus.

The first 30 to 60 days after leaving the nest a parrot has to learn language, how to avoid predators, forage for food, parrot body language, flock etiquette, fly and a host of other behaviors that can only be properly learned during the appropriate developmental phase of the brain. Parrots learn so fast that, by the time an average parrot like an african grey is 4 months old, he has developed 75% of all of the neuropathways he will get in his life.

This is the same stage of life a human experiences at two and three years of age. The "terrible twos" are when we are a learning sponge, getting into everything and trying the patience of everyone. For survival reasons this stage happen much sooner in parrots.

There is no way a breeder can spend the amount of time necessary to expose multiple baby parrots to the tremendous amount of situations necessary to get the maximum brain development. All areas of the brain have to be developed areas of the brain have to be developed during their optimal development time frame for each part of the brain. Individual areas of the brain cannot be properly developed out of sequence or once their window of opportunity has passed.

Breeders that keep their babies until they are weaned do not understand the sequential development of the neuropathways of the avian brain. They assume that a healthy friendly baby can become a healthy friendly adult. I doubt that any of these same breeders would allow their children to be raised in a sterile nursery with a limited number of caregivers until they were 5 or 6 years old; which is the same stage of development as most weaning parrots.

A baby raised without a great deal of tactile and mental stimulation generally develops into a low-functioning adult. Don't be fooled by the "I raise great babies" statement. You want to know what kind of adults they raise.

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