United Parrot Breeders 


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UPB mission statement

We strive to provide you, the client, with the best quality hand-reared pet parrot available. We do this by providing the parent birds with the best environment possible to live in, the best fresh foods and pellets to eat and the most stress free life possible. All our baby birds are raised with their siblings, fully socialised with adults, children and animals. We stay in touch with clients for as long as they deem fit. We offer 24/7, lifetime support by email and telephone, as well as our exclusive web based forum. All our babies are bred by us, raised by us, and sold by us. We do not supply pet shops or other hand rearers

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How We Hand Rear

Before we hand rear

All chicks are left with the parents for the first 14-21 days. This ensures all the goodness from the parent's immune system pass onto the growing chick. It is also less stressful on the parent birds and prevents the parents laying again immediately (as they would in the wild). Before the chick comes into the home, we clean and disinfect (using Avisave by Bird Care Co) the Brinsea TLC intensive care units (used as brooders) and all the feeding equipment. We prepare all the necessary paperwork and we start to watch the chicks in the nest, waiting for a time where they have no food in their crops. We put a wood shavings filled bowl in the brooder to bring the temperature up and turn the brooders on.

First days

The first thing we do is wait until the parents are out of the nest. This reduces stress on the parent, and prevents us being bitten! The newly pulled chicks are then placed into the warm bowl and brought straight in the house. The chicks are immediately weighed and a closed ring is applied to one of their legs. The ring number and chick weight are entered on our computer database, and also on the feed weight sheets. The chicks are then fed hand rearing formula (we use Versele Laga species specific formula) using a stainless steel spoon which is bent to mimic the lower mandible of an adult bird. When the chick's crop is full, it is weighed again and the resulting weight is entered on the feed weight sheet. The chicks are naked, apart from a very few downy feathers.

Every 4 hours

Chicks are fed (initially) every 4hrs from 7am through to 11pm. At each feed the weight of the chick is taken before and after the feed. This gives us a record of how much the chick is eating and how much weight he/she is putting on each day. Any drop in weight (which would indicate illness) is spotted immediately and action can be taken. At this age the chicks are only out of the brooder for short periods of time. This is because they are still not feathered and can catch cold very quickly. Over the next few week first down, and then immature feathers will be produced.

Between being taken from nest and 8 weeks old

Chicks are growing very, very quickly. Some species can double in weight every 6-10 days! As the chicks grow, so does the amount of formula they can take at each feed. As a result, the food lasts the chick longer, and the feed times can be extended. By around 8 weeks old (dependant on species) most chicks are down to a couple of feeds a day at 8am and 11pm. Around this time, soft foods such as fruit, veg and pellets softened in fruit juice are being offered. Chicks are now out of the brooder for up to an hour at a time. They now have most of their feathers and the temperature of the brooder ia steadily reduced down to room temp (around 21 degrees c).

8 weeks to 14-16 weeks

Chicks start refusing the hand rearing formula and are preferring the soft foods. Pellets can now be left un softened and the immature parrots now eat more and more of them. The chicks are now at their heaviest and start to flap their wings and take their first tentative test flights. The first thing that happens, is their weight starts to drop. This is because their fat reserves are now being turned to muscle and they are getting down to their natural flying weight. The chicks also start to preen themselves (and others!) and start to learn to roost on perches. Chicks are now fully feathered and are in a cage rather than a brooder. They spen most of their time out of the cage and playing (usually chasing the dog or attacking the TV)

14-16 weeks

The chicks are fully weaned and eat mainly pellets, with fruit and veg offered on alternate days. They are fully flighted, roosting, and have the appearance of fully grown adults. they will continue to put on, and lose, weight for the next 6 months or so, until they find their own natural weight. They will have been totally independent from all hand feeding for a minimum of two weeks. We do this to ensure that if they did revert back to a baby, we are on hand to counter it.

The baby parrot is now read to leave us and go to his/her new home!


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