The hand feeding and weaning process is critical in producing healthy, emotionally secure, well socialized Quakers. For anyone inexperienced in hand feeding who wants to hand feed their babies, I strongly suggest you ask a bird breeder who hand feeds the babies to give you a few lessons and supervise you as you attempt it. This will give you a feel for how its done, and provide an opportunity to ask questions that may arise.
An experienced breeder will already have encountered most of the pitfalls and problems that occur with hand feeding, and there is no reason for you to make mistakes that others can prevent by sharing their information. Most breeders are only too happy to share their wealth of information, and will allow you to pick their brain to your hearts content. Once you start feeding chicks on your own, follow the same steps that a quality breeder follows, and in close communication with the breeder and or a qualified vet who can monitor the chicks progress. In my opinion hand feeding Quakers is a bit easier to learn than some of the other species.
The Quaker babies are quite willing to assist you by opening their mouths very wide when it is time for a feeding, standing on their legs and straining to reach the syringe. By the time they are about 3 1/2 to 4 weeks of age, they will recognize you as their provider, and will scramble back and fourth from one side of the aquarium to the other when they see you in the room, flapping their wings, bobbing their heads and begging to be fed. If you have never bred Quakers, this is one of the most comical sights you will ever see, and one of the most endearing! For hand feeding these babies I preferred to use Exact Hand Feeding Formula for Parrots, which is mixed with warm water until it is the consistency of pancake or cake batter.
There are several other hand feeding formulas available and we are not hyping any one particular brand over another, this is simply the brand I prefer to use. Follow the instructions on the package exactly as they are written. The formulas may look watery, but don’t deviate from the instructions. Thicker formula doesn’t necessarily mean healthier babies and mixing too much formula for the amount of water prescribed could dehydrate them. It also causes slower digestion, meaning the baby is actually getting less formula then you should be feeding.
Don’t switch brands partway through hand feeding a baby. I strongly discourage the use of a microwave to heat formulas as it can create hot spots which will burn the chicks crop and can cause severe or even fatal damage. Temperature should be 100–105 degrees. Never feed formula that is under or over this. Formula that is too cold can cause crop stasis, too hot and you get crop burn.