How to Hand-Raise Lorikeets

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Lorikeets are affectionate and attractive birds.
Lorikeets are affectionate and attractive birds. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Lorikeets have become more prominent in bird breeding circles in the last few decades. Previously, they were considered difficult to raise and properly feed, but with extensive research and product development, we can more readily meet their specialized nutritional requirements. Bold, curious and extremely outgoing, Lorikeets make gregarious and entertaining pets. With the proper diet and care, they live several decades as interactive companions. Breathtakingly gorgeous and virtually fearless, Lorikeets will keep you laughing for years.

Things You'll Need

  • Brooder
  • Bent spoon and feeding syringe
  • Hot water
  • Thermometer
  • Paper towels or soft washcloths
  • Lorikeet hand-feeding formula
  • Lorikeet wet/dry diet
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables

Find a breeder to teach you proper hand-feeding techniques. Make this your highest priority, as without the proper understanding, your chicks may choke, starve or develop potentially fatal infections.

Set up your brooder. Newly hatched chicks require a higher humidity and temperature setting than older chicks, around 97 to 98 degrees Fahrenheit and 50 to 70 percent humidity. Decrease the temperature and humidity slowly, no more than one or two degrees a week, as the chicks age.

Prepare fresh formula according to the age specifications of your chicks for each feeding. Newly hatched chicks (one to three days old) require extremely watered down formula. Increase the formula thickness as the chicks age. Warm all formula to between 100 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit before feeding.

Feed your chicks according to their age range. Newly hatched chicks require feeding more often, usually every two hours with a six-hour break at night to allow the crop to empty completely. As they age, increase the time between feedings by approximately an hour every two weeks, as well as their overnight time

Cuddle and soothe your babies after each feeding. Talk to them softly, sing to them and rock them against your body while providing support for their feet. As they age, they become more aware of their surroundings and will begin interacting with you as their caregiver. Give them soft, washable toys to play with. Once they begin to explore, offer soft pieces of fresh fruit and vegetables while they play.

Move them to a larger cage once they are fully feathered. Place the perches and toys low in the cage so that they do not injure themselves should they fall. Always offer heavy, stable food and water dishes. Offer fresh fruits and vegetables several times a day as well as both wet and dry Lorikeet food. Continue hand feeding the babies, as it can take weeks to wean them. Do not rush them, offer them regular feedings but allow them to eat as much or as little as they would like.

Continue offering hand-feeding formula as they learn to fly. Baby birds begin flapping to strengthen their wings at a young age, before their feathers have finished coming in. Once they are fully feathered, they lose interest in food, and focus on flapping and attempts at flight. They lose weight at this time, but they soon begin eating again.

Wait until they learn to fly before clipping their wings. This also teaches them coordination, balance and confidence.

Wean the babies when they begin eating well on their own. Allow them to wean at their own pace, always providing them with an abundance and variety of food. Continue to offer an evening feeding for as long as they will take it. Offer them a feeding whenever they cry for one. Withholding feeding causes anxiety and phobias, and stunts the weaning process entirely.

Tips & Warnings

  • Lorikeets have a special digestive tract that cannot properly digest hard, dry pellets and seeds. They thrive best on soft, wet foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables, and specially formulated wet and dry nectars.

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