hand feeding VS Parent Raised Babies

Hand-fed birds are those sequestered from their nest as soon as they are hatched and fed by hand until they fledge. Such birds are widely regarded as the gold standard in bird keeping.

Behavioral problems are common amongst hand-reared babies, leading to controversy about the benefit of this approach. Generally, hand-reared individuals tend to be intelligent, adjustable animals, who develop distinct identities.

Benefits of hand fed baby birds

As a general rule, hand-reared birds make idyllic pets as they are calmer around people and easier to train than those raised by their parents. They tend to be less affected by environmental stressors and new entities or animals. Hand-fed birds demand human companionship and may prefer people to their own species.

The drawbacks to having a hand-fed baby bird

The aforementioned benefits may boomerang and affect both bird and owner. Hand-fed birds regardless of gender may view human beings as potential mates and adversaries. When it’s breeding season, such birds can be very hostile toward “mates” that don’t respond desirably, and to people that they feel are competing for their mate’s affection.

Moving out physically can be an issue for hand-reared birds. Activities like climbing, handling food, flying, and perching can be problematic for birds that have not enjoyed the benefit of parental grooming.


This approach involves the rearing of birds who are nurtured and cared for by their parents but and groomed by human keepers daily. In many quarters, it is the ideal counterbalance between hand- and parent-rearing. The keeper can spend around fifteen to thirty minutes handling the bird daily, starting from weeks 4 to 5 of the chick’s existence. This technique has been known to develop relative domesticated babies.

Intriguingly, some co-parented birds seem to be less terrified at the sight of new objects and environmental fluctuations than hand-reared ones. Co-parented birds pick up vital maneuvers from their parents and often better in terms of wellness and size than those that are hand-fed. Raising babies with a formula is rife with difficulties.

The main downside of co-parenting is the defensive and hostile behavior from bird parents. Long-term, affectionate pets may violently guard their nests against intrusion. There is also the danger of severe bites, while the day-to-day movement of the baby in and out of the nest may stress the adult out, leading to ailments due to weakened immune systems. Stressed parents tend to attack their babies, sometimes fatally.

At King’s Cages, we pride ourselves on being the foremost authority on bird wellness concerns. Visit www.kingscages.com to view all our offerings.