Parent Raised vs. Hand Reared Birds

by David T. Longo

Longo�s Aviaries Inc.
Meaford, Ontario, Canada

I should have been more clear and careful with my words about breastfeeding vs. bottlefed was in reference to the early developmental stages, I cannot speak for humans, I'm not a human person (so to speak) was that they are better nourished by their parents, they have better weight gains, all developing factors will better replicate their developmental stages as they would in the wild and thirdly less risk of disease or illnesses in the future. Not all of the feral flocks were parent raised but I'm sure there are some parent raised ones that are there who had a better understanding not to rely on humans and fend for themselves and may have taught this to others!

Now that the last Spix's Macaw cannot be found they are most likely aborting reintroducing the other 5 captive raised Spixs'. There are none to teach and train them the proper survivability skills. What we are implementing here is Conservation, not birds for the pet trade. We are trying to implement the same practices that occur at most zoos. We work with CAZA, AZA and other conservation groups worldwide! We parent raise the birds from parent raised stock and still go into the nest every day and weigh our young. This is scientific procedures taking place, I do not see how it isn't. The parents may not be as co-operative but still feed their young! They do not abort their nests, they are given the opportunity to breed once a year not two, three, or four. I'd like to see how long those hens live down there after burning them out for such a short period of time. I am not pointing fingers but think some of us are handfeeding all of our young is that if we either run out of room with them in the future or need more funds to finance the keep of their birds, handfeds are easier to turn over without the welfare of where they are ending up! If this is the case, perhaps we should not breed so many of what particular species are flooding the market! We are permanently denying them the opportunity to raise their young, this is in some opinions a form of cruelty ! For those birds that kill their young or mutilate them. They should either not put them to breed or put the monetary value aside and give them a chance to raise their young.

Let me make this clear, I do not think it is wrong to handfeed, I just do not think it is wrong to handfeed all our young! We should give the parents the opportunity to raise and enjoy their young. Our birds are at our mercy in captivity and if given the choice would rather choose to be with their own kind not with us. I believe it is probably too late but am an optimist! Who are we who have existed no more than 150,000 years to wipe out what has existed for 50,000,000 years. Perhaps I hate to admit but is another branch of evolution taking place right in front of our eyes and no one is doing anything about it, at least almost no one!

Dave T. Longo
Longo's Aviaries Inc.
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