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Parrot hand-rearing ban for the Netherlands

Hand-rearing of captive-bred parrots such as these Quaker chicks will be illegal in the Netherlands from July © Shutterstock.com/Nicole SharpFROM JULY, A new law will prohibit the hand-rearing of parrots in captivity in the Netherlands. According to conservation organisation City Parrots, these birds will now be added to existing legislation that bans the separation of infant mammals from their parents up to a certain age. The new rules state that chicks must remain with their parents until they are able to feed independently and can only be separated if the health of the parent or chick is at risk – in which case breeders will need to provide evidence.

Anyone who breaks the law will face a maximum of six months in prison or a fine of up to €20,250 (£16, 691 approx). The new law will not affect ringing or handling of parrots for veterinary care, or if the chick needs to be taken from the nest for short periods of time for supplemental feeding.

Roelant Jonker, director of City Parrots, agrees with the new law. He said the removal of chicks or even eggs from parents can cause stress and lead to behaviour problems such as featherplucking or self-mutilation in the chicks whenthey mature.

He explained: “Reproductive behaviour is a big part of parrots’ normal behavioural repertoire and of their lives. Wild macaws I studied, which lost their brood to poachers, would return to the nest regularly for several weeks. The signs of distress were obvious. “There have been many studies that link parental deprivation in parrots to behavioural problems in later life, which is enough reason to extend this law to parrots.”

Mr Jonker believes when the law changes the number of chick mortalities will decrease, as fewer chicks will be sold before they feed independently. He also thinks the risks of improper hand-rearing, such as malnutrition and pneumonia, will diminish.

He said: “The birds need to become parrots first and companions later. This law is a firm consolidation of that right and I would not be surprised if it will have follow-up in other countries.”  What’s your view of the Dutch law? Let us know at: birds. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . City Parrots website: www.cityparrots.org

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