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Average Bird Weaning Age Ranges

A listing of average weaning age ranges of bird species kept as pets.

By Rebecca Sweat

from the pages of Bird Talk magazineMost aviculturists classify birds as “babies” from the time they are hatched up until when they are weaned and only eating adult food. Weaning is a critical stage in a bird’s development. This is when a bird learns to eat on its own, develops important social skills for coexisting in the flock, and transitions over from being a “baby” bird to an “adolescent” bird.

baby sun conure with toy
There are many factors that contribute to when a baby bird will begin to wean.

In general, smaller bird species wean at an earlier age than larger birds, and softbills wean sooner than most psittacines. Some average weaning age ranges for bird species kept as pets are:

African grey parrots – 12 to 14 weeks

Amazon parrots – 12 to 16 weeks

Budgies (Parakeets) – 5 to 6 weeks

Caiques –10 to 12 weeks

Canaries and finches – 2 to 4 weeks

Cockatiels – 6 to 8 weeks

Small cockatoos – 13 to 15 weeks

Large cockatoos – 16 to 18 weeks

Conures – 7 to 11 weeks

Eclectus – 12 to 17 weeks

Lories – 6 to 10 weeks

Lovebirds – 6 to 8 weeks

Large macaws (other than a Hyacinth macaw) – 15 to 24 weeks

Hyacinth macaw – 30 to 35 weeks

Small macaws – 11 to 15 weeks

Parrotlets – 6 to 8 weeks

Pionus parrots – 11 to 13 weeks

Senegal parrots –10 to 11 weeks

Toucans –7 to 9 weeks

Exactly what age a bird weans at varies, depending on a number of factors. Parent-reared chicks usually wean more slowly than hand-fed babies, and birds in the wild typically take longer to wean than birds bred in captivity. Sometimes aviculturists allow their baby birds to wean at their own pace (rather than “force” the birds to wean by certain dates), and this too can lengthen the weaning process.


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Reader Comments
I have a orange winged amazon parrot that is 5.5 weeks now. She is starting to refuse the formula. She gags and slings the formula, one time it shot up out of her mouth like reflux. It will also run out of her mouth sometimes. She is trying to eat regular bird food, but she still eats maybe one 10 cc syringe of formula, but it has to be mixed with apple juice or she doesn't want it. The breeder said she is trying to wean and I was hoping this was true and her not being sick.
amy, statesboro, GA
Posted: 5/29/2012 8:26:59 PM
I have hand raised successfully morning doves that had fallen out of their nest and that my Yorkshire Terrier found and brought to me. They have been since rereleased into the wild. This is my first attempt at a larger bird, a Congo African Grey. I acquired him/her when it was 19 days old, eyes closed.
'Honey" is currently 8 1/2 weeks old and trying to wean. Early according to your chart. I love playing with and working with this baby. He/she is trying to fly, eats on own and loves to play with his toys. I have 7 other birds, Buggies, cockatiels a lovebird and a conure. My birds all feed each other and are trying to feed this baby. what a sight. The conure is less than half it's size. What fun this has been. I love the challenge in keeping all of them mentally challenged/stimulated and socialized as well as healthy.
This artical has been most informative. Thank You.
Kathleen, Ridgecrest, CA
Posted: 4/26/2011 10:59:55 AM
I don't hand feed my budgerigars(parakeets) but I do handle them almost every day for a few minutes since they start getting pin feathers. I lengthen the time I hold them as they get older, and they act just like if I'd hand fed them myself without the begging for food behavior. By the time they're weaned, they can usually perch on my fingers and are learning to "step up" on command. It's a very rewarding experience.

I currently have 3 babies out of 2 clutches(my lowest number ever) and a parent who is laying her second clutch. The oldest baby is 4 weeks old today. I have a normal bright blue, a normal violet, and a grey winged light blue that are absolutely charming. They may be my smallest collection of babies at one time, but they're the friendliest ever. The father of the violet and normal blue babies is a normal blue I raised this way last year. The mother of those two is a cinnamon winged purple. The light blue with grey wings looks just like its father.

I love these little guys.

you can find a photo of a 2 day old hatchling here: LINK

and the same hatchling at 3 weeks here: LINK
Heather, Redding, CA
Posted: 1/16/2009 8:49:19 AM
Thanks for the chart! Very interesting!
Shandi, Kitchener, ON
Posted: 11/21/2008 9:41:50 PM
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