Ways & How

How to Feed Baby Birds in 6 Easy Steps

How to Feed Baby Birds in 6 Easy Steps

Deciding to hand-feed baby birds is not a decision to be taken lightly. Baby bird feeding is a lengthy undertaking, with no reprieve for many weeks. If you love birds, this endeavor will be well worth the effort. Steps for Hand-feeding Baby Birds

  1. Make a commitment to properly care for your bird. Properly hand-feeding a bird is tedious, but important to ensure that the bird is safe from injury or death.

  2. Determine what formula the bird has been eating before you purchased it. Prepare this formula in a clean, disinfected area to avoid growth of contaminating bacteria or fungus.

  3. Assemble needed supplies.

  4. Maintain a heated aquarium between 85° to 92° F. This will facilitate proper functioning of the bird’s digestive tract. Colder temperatures slow the process of digestion, and higher heats will suffocate the bird.

  5. Make the nutritional supplement, using the correct formula and water amounts.



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  6. Practice feeding using the following steps:

    a. Heat water to 110° F.  Always check the formula temperature with your fingers to ensure it is not too hot.

    b. Pour the water into the formula and stir with a spoon.

    c. Place the bird on a towel in front of you.

    d. Fill pipette, syringe, or eye dropper with formula.

    e. Tenderly hold the bird’s head between your fingers.

    f. Pry open the bird’s beak with your thumb.

    g. Insert the formula-filled pipette, syringe, or eye dropper above the bird’s tongue.  Make sure you do not place the feeding implement too far into the bird’s mouth. You do not want to stimulate a gag reflex.

    h. Slowly inject the formula into the mouth of the bird, towards the back of its throat. Make sure you let the bird breathe between swallows.

    i. Refill & repeat steps d through h, until the bird’s crop is full. The crop is a muscular pouch, located near the throat or gullet of the bird.

    j. Record the feeding time and the amount of food intake.  For example: number of cc, drops, ml, etc.

    k. To avoid health hazards, do not repeat feeding until the crop is completely empty.

    l. Birds do regurgitate, so it is natural for one to spit up small amounts of formula. This generally happens more frequently when the bird is nearing a weaning stage.

Alternative Way to Hand-feed Baby Bird Take a small spoon and bend the outside rims upward, forming small gutters, which allow formula to naturally flow into the baby bird’s mouth.  Cocktail spoons work very well. This simulates a real adult bird beak as it transfers nutrients into the mouth of the chick. Weaning Chicks The baby chicks begin to partially feed themselves around the age of 20 days.  Begin this stage by placing a millet spray in the nesting box. You may also add a small amount of canary seed, as well as niger, to the box. The chicks can easily husk these types of seeds. The hen will begin to cut back feeding the chicks. This process of weaning encourages the chicks to explore their surroundings outside of the nesting box. At this time, place a small amount of sweet corn nuggets and soaked groats (hulled grain) on the floor of the birdcage. Also place a tiny dish of water on the floor of the cage. To encourage the birds to drink, dip their beaks slightly into the water. Natural instincts will facilitate the chicks toward eating and drinking on their own. Each chick will take steps toward weaning at its own individual pace. Some will start the process sooner than others. Just remain patient. Hand-feeding your baby birds will be a rewarding experience. Your chicks will become calm and bond more closely with you. You will also raise healthy, beautiful birds!

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