Bird Food & Toys
Enter to Win
Tips 'N Trix
Bird Music Selection
Link To Us
last edited: 06/20/12
This page is dedicated to those unweaned babies who have
passed on to the Rainbow Bridge. This is a story about Taylor and about Ashley.
Our eighteen-week-old CAG, Taylor, died suddenly today in my
arms. Rest in peace, my sweet boy. When we got this little treasure about a month
ago, our initial vet check disclosed a bacterial problem which we immediately began
treating with antibiotics (as instructed by our avian vet). He seemed to respond well,
although he had shown no initial underlying signs of any problems. To the contrary,
he appeared to be in much better health than we were accustomed to seeing in pet stores
(we bought him from Petco in Danvers, Massachusetts).
A week after we got him home, I gave him his formula in a syringe that was apparently too
hot, and he developed a burn-hole in his crop. This was our first experience with an
infant bird, and we simply didn't know any better. We got him treated immediately, and
after a few days of observation, the opening was stitched up without any apparent ill
effects. The site of the surgery closed cleanly, there was no sign of any inflammation or
other indication of problem, and he seemed to be settling in with us a happy, healthy
This morning, his appetite was off and he seemed a little lethargic; we attributed this to
some extent to the fact that I had been up late the night before watching television, and
he probably hadn't gotten his normal allotment of sleep. He ate some, and then went back
to his perch
and appeared ready to a morning nap. We went off to do some errands, and were gone
for several hours. When we returned, Taylor was on the floor of his cage, again apparently
sleeping. However, he was so lethargic and atypically quiet that I was concerned enough to
call the vet. As I was getting him out of his cage I found evidence that he had vomited
while we were out. The vet told us to bring him in, which we did; they took a blood sample
and gave him an injection of antibiotic to stabilize him, and told us to keep him warm and
quiet for the rest of the evening. His weight had dropped, from 350 gm to 314 gm, in the
week or so since we had stopped formula-feeding him.
We took him home, with him snuggling up against me shirt, his head cradled in the crook of
my neck, with a towel over him for warmth. When we got home, I sat in a chair with him in
the same manner while my wife got our dogs fed. I was getting ready to have her take over
the heating pad duty when I felt him shift. When I moved him away from my chest, he
appeared unable to get his balance; he stumbled across my hands for a second or two, and
then his head dropped and he was gone.
We took him back to our vets for an autopsy. I want to know why this sweet little boy
died. Then we're going to bury him here at home where he belongs.
I want to know if anything we did - or didn't do - contributed to his death. We will have
a place in our home, and our hearts, for another Grey, but I'm going to learn what I need
to from this first. Then I'm going to be very much more informed, careful, and selective
about where we get our next baby from.
I'm sorry to share such a depressing message with you all, but it has helped me to write
this and to begin to come to terms with our loss. I don't anticipate answers or
explanations from those here, just an understanding and sympathetic ear.
Thanks for listening. Kiss your babies for us tonight.
Taylor is Gone
Taylor was a 14 week old Grey sold by a pet store to a man who
had never handfed a baby bird. At 15 weeks, he had a burn hole in his crop and chest. At
18 weeks he was dead. He died in the arms of the man who bought him, snuggled under his
chin and finally free of pain.
Whose baby bird was this?
Who took this precious Grey, fat and fuzzy, from the nest and sold him into death?
Did the breeder give a thought to the future of this baby when he handed him over to a
broker or to this pet store? Did he care?
How many babies were in the shipping crate? Where are they? Are they alive?.......or
dead like this little one sold into the hands of a buyer who had never handfed a baby
bird? Taylor will have lots of company from other baby birds sold into death. The Rainbow
Bridge is getting crowded..
I had a very hard time getting to sleep last night. I thought of my Grey baby sleeping
and safe in his brooder. My dream will live. No client of mine will ever hold one of my
dreams as he dies from a burned crop. Never.
This has got to stop. How many babies have to die before the sale of unweaned babies
All of these sellers of unweaned babies transfer the risks - the health problems and
the deaths - to the buyer.
The only way this can be stopped is for the buying public to refuse to buy an unweaned
baby bird and to refuse to patronize pet stores and breeders who sell them.
Please buy your new companion fully and bountifully weaned from a quality pet store or
from a breeder who sells only weaned babies.
© 1998 by Bobbi Brinker
Permission to use this text, or the banner, is given to any site that wishes to assist in
the endeavor to stop purchases of unweaned babies.
(reprinted with permission from Michael Dautel)
The tragic ordeal with Taylor and others who have suffered needlessly have
prompted me to tell you all the reason behind my passion on this subject.
Her name is Ashley and she was a 10 week old TAG bappy that died due to my ignorance and
the callous and uncaring ethics of the breeder that helped me to kill her. This was
several years ago and my heart is still heavy with the knowledge of the pain and suffering
I put this sweet, helpless little wonder through for almost 2 weeks.
We had just gotten into having parrots as companions by rescuing a Tiel and a Blue Crown
Conure and discovered the love and rewards of these sweet creatures. Then, we
discovered the local bird fair and may God help all those that discover them without
knowing the dangers that lurk there.
This is where we found Ashley who was 6 weeks old at the time who captured my heart at the
first glance and instantly decided that I wanted her.
With Josi working full time and me travelling, it was decided that we would wait another 4
weeks until she was down to 2 feedings before bringing her home. The breeder told us that
the bond between us would be stronger if we were to finish hand feeding her. Of course I
am wiser now and realize this
was profit motivated ONLY !
We visited once prior to picking her up for a hand feeding lesson which consisted of
showing us how to mix the formula, showing us how to feed and letting us do it ONCE!
No mention of thermometers, potential crop problems or scales for tracking weight.
The instructions consisted of how to mix the formula, test it on your forearm and feed
with a syringe which I have come to dislike for birds of that age and size.
So, we take this little bundle of joy home and start feeding her. I am quite excited and
wanted to be the one to hand feed her. I followed the instructions to the letter as the
consistency looked like the breeders and it was not too hot on my forearm. Ashley would
eat some, then stop, eat just a little more, then regurgitate a little. A call to the
breeder resulted in assurance that everything was all right and that this happens during
hand feeding. OK, so we press on and continue the hand feeding.
Ashley is eating less and less formula and since she was only on 2 feedings a day, we
thought maybe she was trying to wean herself.
Ashley was not very active and spent most of the time on the bottom of her cage. This did
not concern us as we had no experience with bappies and maybe this was just how they were
until they weaned. Ashley was so sweet as she snuggle under my chin with a small blanket
covering her as I would stroke her back. She was stealing my heart even more if that is
possible as she would become quiet during our snuggles. She was whining quite a bit when
she was in her cage but we thought she was just begging to get out and after all, she was
a bappy and maybe bappies just did that.
This went on for almost 2 weeks with Ashley taking less formula, regurgitating more and my
not realizing that she is not eating any of the tons of other food we kept in her cage.
After all, we had no idea that we should have been weighing her and did not realize she
was losing a tremendous amount of weight. We also did not realize that she was
regurgitating excessively and that the inactivity was abnormal. We also did not realize
that the poop was another indicator that a problem was going
on. The consistency and color were all wrong. This was our first experience with a bappy
and after all we were talking to the breeder.
All we knew was what we were hearing from the breeder whom we called several times during
this period. "Don't worry, she will be fine, she will come around, she is just
settling into her new home, etc., etc., etc."
The night before she died, she became so lethargic that she was laying prone on the bottom
of her cage and her poop became quite yellowish and with no form whatsoever.
The next morning I was at the vet's office before they opened up. By then, she was
completely limp but still breathing. The vet took one look at her and almost snatched her
out of my hands and rushed her into the back. I waited anxiously to hear about my little
sweetheart for almost an hour. The
vet came in and I know from the look on her face that something was wrong. She gave
me the news that I simply was not prepared to hear. She died during attempts to stabilize
her. I openly wept at the news. After I calmed down, she spent some time with me and asked
if I was sure about the
temperature of the formula I was giving her. I told her how I was testing it and she said
that it would have been better had I used a good thermometer. She would gladly do a
necropsy but the signs pointed to crop burn and other complications associated with crop
burn. I wish I had but I
did not have the necropsy performed. All I wanted to do was to take my baby home for
burial and just get out of there so I could grieve some more. I took her home and
buried her with a marker with her name on it.
Although a necropsy was not performed, I am quite sure I killed her by feeding her formula
that was way too hot.
You see, I have always had a high tolerance for pain and little did I realize it then,
this also affects my ability to properly register heat. What feels warm to me will
feel hot to the average person. Shortly after that, I bought a good digital thermometer,
made it up like I had for Ashley and testing it on my arm until it felt the same as when I
was feeding her. The thermometer registered 118 degrees !
So you see, over a 2 week period, I slowly tortured that helpless little creature with my
The whining in her cage was because she was starving while I was torturing her.
The silent snuggles under my chin was a plea of help and I was not listening.
Ashley is the reason for my passion.
~REASONS WHY UNWEANED BABIES
SHOULD NOT BE BOUGHT OR SOLD~
Some of the reasons why unweaned babies should not be bought or sold
1) Bacterial and fungal infections that can result from poorly understood or poorly
applied principles of hygiene. Most buyers don't know.
2) The failure to recognize subtle or obvious signs or symptoms of illness or distress.
Most buyers don't know.
3) Weaning is a stressful time and the experiences during that time will stay with a bird
his whole life. Most buyers don't know.
4) A baby bird will eat scalding hot formula. Most buyers don't know.
5) A weaning baby can starve to death with food sitting in front of him. Most buyers don't
6) Water drinking is a learned behavior. Most buyers don't know.
7) The expiration date on each container of handrearing formula should be checked before
purchase. Most buyers don't know.
8) Pressure on the beak of a handfeeding baby will deform the beak. Most buyers
9) The internal organs of a baby can be bruised by picking him up incorrectly. Most buyers
10) Feeding utensils must be cleaned and disinfected after each use. Most buyers
The cautions I list have been from years of hard-learned, painfully-learned lessons by
those who bought unweaned babies.
Baby birds can be force weaned - they are simply refused handrearing formula. They learn
to eat on their own or they die. Inexperienced buyers who fail to understand how to bring
a baby bird to food
independence can permanently affect a bird's life - forever.
Baby birds who are force weaned are birds who very soon begin the long sad journey from
home to home - each new home decreases the pet potential of this most special of all
A baby who is weaned inappropriately or improperly will learn the wrong lessons. A bird is
severely impacted regarding issues of trust, love, security and bonding when he is forced
to learn to eat before he is ready if he wants to live.
It isn't the controversy associated with weaned vs. unweaned that makes this such an
emotionally charged issue. What is at stake is someone's baby bird.
As a breeder, I know what CAN happen. I know about babies who are underfed and stunted;
babies who wean when they are 8 months old; babies who suffer from crop burn, bacterial
and fungal infections, chronic begging, food trauma, etc. The list goes on.
There is a window of age, opportunity and development when food-independence truly begins.
The experienced breeder or handfeeder knows this - most buyers do not. Additionally
the buyer is taking a serious risk because there is no guarantee on an unweaned baby.
There CAN'T be because who can tell when a baby suffered a particular trauma; who can know
the state of hygiene the buyer offers; a baby can't be vaccinated until a certain age; the
PBFD screen can't be done on babies younger than 5/6 weeks. How can a buyer tell if an
unweaned baby bird is healthy? The financial and emotional stakes are enormous for
Weaning and socializing are best left to those who have the experience in both of these
areas. Both affect a bird's relationship with humans for his whole life.
It is a myth - an urban legend - to claim that a bird bonds only or most to those who feed
him. What about the second and third and fourth and fifth and sixth hand birds out there?
Who do they love? Do they only love the ones who fed them? Not likely.
If an experienced caring breeder does it, it usually gets done right. If an experienced
caring breeder does it, the baby bird will stay in the home the breeder has carefully
selected. A well behaved responsive trusting tame bird will be a well loved, intimate and
permanent member of the family. That's what I want for your babies and for all the babies.
(reprinted with permission from Bobbi Brinker)
Copyright © It's A Grey's World. All rights