Pet Parrots – Hand Rearing VS Parent Raised Birds

Hand-reared Parrots Vs Parent-reared Parrots for Pets

It is important to realise that parrots are intelligent, adaptable animals, and individuals develop distinct personalities.  This clouds the issue of hand vs. parent rearing, as experiences later in life can affect a parrot’s behaviour, for better or worse, regardless of rearing technique.

Hand reared means that the baby birds are taken out of the nest soon after hatching or ideally the eggs are incubated and then hand-reared.

As a general rule, hand-reared birds make ideal pets, being calmer around people and easier to tame than those raised by their parents. Many actively seek out human companionship, stimulation and, indeed, may prefer people to their own species. They tend to be less stressed by changes in their environments and novel objects or animals, and are more easily taught to perform tricks and imitate words.

Most eggs will be incubated in an incubator, some will let the parents incubate the eggs and take the chicks when they are a couple of weeks old, but the idea of using an incubator means the chicks immediately imprint on humans, so the bond is stronger.

This is good for a pet but may affect breeding abilities if you want to use them to breed from. Birds may also display sexually towards humans at breeding times, they could become aggressive or protective over their owner.

Another way to rear pet parrots is to co-parent with the birds, so the parents look after the chick but the human handles the babies often. Some people believe that this lets the parents teach the babies to be a bird, how to fly, hold food etc. Co-parenting can be risky, as the parents will not want you to touch the babies, one study I was reading about on google scholar was about a controlled experiment between hand reared and co-parented parrots, one incident made the mother upset and she bit & killed one of the babies.

Handled babies will generally not display aggression towards the handler & will approach the handler, whereas non-handled babies will be aggressive, fearful and will want to get away from any human. Handing non-tame birds would make them stressed as they are not used to human contact.

So if you want the bird as a pet its best to go for hand reared and if you want them to breed then you want parent raised/wild caught birds.