Hand feeding Indian ring-necked parakeets comes with many benefits, but you need to do it carefully to avoid malnutrition or other severe health conditions.
You’ll want to make sure that your birds are comfortable with you and open to the experience.
So, how do you hand feed Indian ringnecks?
To hand feed Indian ringnecks, wash your hands and prepare a vet-approved, species-specific formula according to the directions for your bird’s size and age. Then, warm the food to about 100℉ and gently offer it to the bird. Put the bird on a gripped towel and slip a syringe through the beak.
How To Hand Feed Baby Indian Ringnecks
If possible, it’s best to get hands-on training from a breeder or other avian professional before attempting to raise or feed baby birds, including ringnecks.
Make sure that you’ve become comfortable with the process before you try feeding on your own.
You should make sure that you understand the Ringneck temperament before attempting to raise or feed them. It also helps to learn the difference between feeding baby birds and adults.
What Kind of Temperament Do Indian Ringnecks Have?
Indian ring-necked parakeets, also known as Rose-ringed parakeets or parrots, are known to be temperamental but are tame when provided adequate attention.
They’re very energetic and playful birds and develop the ability to talk very well as they age.
To avoid developing a neurotic Ringneck, make sure that you give your featured friend enough attention and enough free time outside the cage, especially at a young age.
You also want to avoid roughly handling these sensitive birds.
Due to their large tails and personalities, it’s important to provide a large cage and plenty of toys.
They may even destroy their toys when they play with them, so be sure that you’re checking your toys for things like exposed wires and replacing them as necessary.
With proper care and attention, Indian ringnecks can be loyal and caring companion pets.
You’ll just need to make sure that they aren’t exposed to stressors regularly if you want to avoid biting behaviors. That means eliminating startling noises or sudden changes in the environment.
Special Considerations When Feeding Baby Birds
Baby birds require more liquid in their diet the younger that they are, so make sure that you’re mixing the formula appropriately for their size. Don’t forget to adjust the quantity and quality of the food as the birds grow.
Smaller birds like the Indian Ringneck Parakeet will require more frequent, smaller feedings. Make sure to accommodate their rapid growth phase, which happens for the second and third weeks of life.
But don’t overfeed your birds. Your bird should relieve itself within about four hours of feeding if you’re feeding it the right amount.
If your bird isn’t eating correctly, consult a veterinarian who can diagnose the problem and offer the next steps for you in the feeding process.
You should also weigh your bird before and after each feeding. Expect some weight loss throughout the weaning process, but not too much.
Again, talk to a vet if you notice any drastic changes or are concerned about the health of your baby birds.
Steps for Feeding Indian Ringnecks
Once you’re ready to begin feeding your Indian ringnecks, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands thoroughly to avoid spreading any infections to your birds.
- Follow the package directions to prepare a commercial hand feeding formula, following the appropriate ratio of water to solids according to your bird’s age. Ensure that you prepare a fresh batch for each feeding time, as bacteria can grow in leftover formula.
- Warm the formula to about 100-108℉ (37.7-42.2°C). To do that, you can use a double boiler or bowl on top of a pot of hot water, but don’t use a microwave. Formula that’s too cold won’t be processed quickly enough in the crop, where formula that’s too warm can burn the bird.
- Place the feeding dish inside a bowl of warm water, and keep it there to maintain a proper temperature between feeding sessions.
- Stir the formula before measuring the temperature, and then continue measuring the temperature throughout the process to make sure that it doesn’t drop too low.
- For extra assurance, check the temperature of the formula by placing a drop on your wrist before feeding your birds.
- Place the bird on a surface that’s easy to grip, like a dishcloth or a towel.
- Gently take the bird’s head in your hand, stretching the neck and steading the lower beak with a thumb or finger.
- Use a feeding implement like a syringe, feeding tube, or spoon and touch it to the lower left side of the beak, angling the tip of the utensils towards the right side of the throat. Avoid placing the tip at the center of the throat, where the esophagus is.
- Gently and slowly release the food, being very careful not to flood the beak.
- Consult a veterinarian or breeder, or refer to the package directions about the frequency and quantity of feeding that’s necessary for your bird’s age and size.
- Once you finish feeding, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly again to avoid spreading any bird-carried pathogens to you or other members of your household.
What To Avoid When Hand Feeding Birds
If you’re hand-feeding birds, you’ll need to make sure that the birds aren’t eating too much or eating too quickly. Overeating can cause unhealthy weight gain, and eating too quickly can lead to aspiration pneumonia.
Notice the smell of your bird’s breath, too; if it’s sour, it may be a sign that the food isn’t passing through the crop properly.
You should also make sure that what you’re feeding the birds isn’t too runny because this can cause malnutrition. If this is the case, you’ll notice their poop becoming clear rather than a healthy white.
Conversely, if your formula is too thick, it can cause crop impaction or even death. Watch for signs that formula is too thick: dry feces with clear liquid and indigestion.
It’s best to avoid weaning your baby bird off if its parent too soon, waiting about three weeks before taking the baby bird away from its parents.
However, you also don’t want to wait too long before weaning your baby bird off its parents, as a bird that’s too old won’t take to hand feeding.
Benefits of Hand Feeding Birds
Although hand feeding is only a substitute for parent-raised birds, there are many advantages to taking this route.
These birds tend to bond more quickly and strongly with humans, meaning they can make for better pets in the long run.
They also become less afraid of other household dangers, like cats, dogs, and young children.
Nutritional Needs of the Indian Ringneck
Indian ringnecks have strong appetites and need a full and balanced diet to stay healthy.
At a young age, this means having access to a veterinarian-approved formula specific to the species, and at a later age, a diet of pellets and fruits and vegetables.
Some of the best foods for birds include Lafeber’s Nutri-Berries and Lafeber’s Avi-Cakes.
Indian ringnecks take to hand feeding well if they’re weaned at about three weeks of age. You simply need to prepare the appropriate formula and heat it to the proper temperature.
Then, take care to carefully insert the food into the bird’s mouth, away from the esophagus, and without flooding the beak. This will allow the bird to eat appropriately slowly.