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New baby lovie reverted to hand feeding - how to wean again


Moving in
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Megan Youd
Hi everyone,

I recently picked up a weaned baby lovebird (about 8 weeks old) that was fully weaned. I understand that some babies may revert to wanting comfort feeds upon arriving to a new home. Unfortunately, this baby doesn't seem remotely interested in eating on his own now that we have him here. It's been a week and I am handfeeding him to ensure he remains hydrated and fed.

Currently he is in a large 'breeder' cage with pellets, water, seed and nice fluffy millet sprays. After handfeeding he will pick at seed but he prefers to try and get to our shoulders rather than dedicate time to eating on his own.

I feel like I've missed something or caused a problem. Can anyone help me with steps towards getting this little guy back on track?

I haven't had a baby in over 6 years but I've never had a bird fully revert on me like this.

The breeder told me to only offer formula before bed and to make sure he is eating enough seeds during the day. This morning I gave him formula to get him started and placed him back in the cage with all his food.

Outside of this little guy I have an 8 year old Fischer and a special needs Green Cheek Conure who is 6. I was caring for a 10 year old lovebird by hand feeding due to her poor health but we lost her in december. So I have experience with hand feeding.


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Are you offering the same foods as the bird was eating with the breeder? It´s important to give them what they know.
What food bowls are you using? Are they similar to what the bird had before? Maybe they´re too big or too small?

Handfeed in the morning and before bed. Offer foods right after both feeds and throughout the day. You can try offering foods in your hand during the day.

Sorry to hear your other bird passed away.


Strolling the yard
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Very sorry about your loss :(
I do not have any advice but good luck because when I got my first bird it reverted back to wanting formula without me realising cos I was new and sadly the next week it died. You seem quite experienced though. Also I don’t know much about lovebirds but 8 weeks old seems pretty young…


The Best Bird Toys
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Zara gave you good advice. For the most part a bird will wean itself. It is our job to offer food to eat on it's own and supplement with formula. Birds kept in groups will wean faster than single birds. Since yours in now alone it may take longer.

Not to worry though. If he is fully fledge and was weaned just keep up the morning and evening feedings until he give them up.

Another important suggestion. Do you have a scale that weighs in grams? A normal full feeding is about 10% of the body wieght. So if your bird weighs 60 grams then 6 cc of formula or just over a teaspoon full. I do not know how much lovebirds weigh so this is just an example. If your bird is eating enough food to sustain it's weight without formula and is not begging for food from you then it is weaned. Maintaining weight is the key, that is why a scale is needed.

Another note is that babies will beg for food wanting comfort or attention or simply out of habit. It doesn't necessarily mean he is hungry. So sometimes you will get the situation where a baby begs for formula but then does not eat it. In this case you can keep offering until you get tired of it or the bird stops begging. I also find offering the first meal of formula about 2-3 hours after the birds wakes up sometimes helps a weaning baby to accept more food. Sometimes if you offer it to early they will not really be hungry and will not eat much.

If your baby is eating a large amount of formula at each feeding you should keep offering the feeding at that time. Babies favorite time to try new foods on it's own is after having had its fill of formula. It seems weird but hungry babies are so focused on getting formula that they will often ignore big bird foods.

With weaning the idea is to get them to try new things so be sure and present a variety of foods in his dishes.