Best way to feed a baby bird

feeding-baby-birds | VCA Animal Hospital


General Information 

Hand-feeding baby birds is only a substitute for parents raising birds, but it does have certain advantages. Hand-raised baby birds usually make better pets, as they have been completely socialized with humans. Hand-raised babies grow up with less fear of humans or other potential dangers such as cats, dogs and young children. Hand-feeding is a huge responsibility and requires time, patience, and commitment. Hand-fed baby birds are entirely reliant on you for everything. Hand-feeding is a job best left for the experienced bird breeder or aviculturist. If you’re considering hand-feeding a baby bird, you should contact your local bird breeder or veterinarian for help. This handout is designed to provide some basic guidelines on how to hand-feed.

When do I start hand-feeding a baby bird?

A chick may be removed from its parents any time before weaning, but many suggest leaving the babies with the parents for up to 3 weeks. Older birds may prove to be more challenging in their acceptance of hand-feeding. 

Where do I keep a baby bird?

Precise temperature and humidity is essential for optimum growth of newly hatched birds. Initially, relative humidity greater than 50% is required. Hatchlings (without feathers) should be maintained at 95°-97°F (35°-36°C). As the chick gets older and develops feathers, it has a greater tolerance for temperature fluctuations. 

Generally, the temperature can be lowered by one degree every 2-3 days as feathering progresses. Chicks with new feathers (pinfeathers) should be fine at 75°-85°F (24°-30°C) depending on the development of the feathers. Fully feathered and weaned chicks can be maintained at room temperature. If you are raising a chick, always monitor your bird for signs of overheating or chilling. Wings extended or drooping, and panting indicate overheating. Shivering and cuddling of chicks together indicate that they’re cold.

Poor growth or poor digestion (delayed crop emptying) may indicate poor health (including presence of gastrointestinal tract infections), improper consistency/mixing of hand feeding formula, improper temperature of formula, or improper environmental temperature and humidity. Good quality brooders are available that carefully regulate air circulation, temperature, and humidity. Paper towel, diapers, hand towels, or other soft, disposable products can be used to line the bottom of the brooder and provide secure, clean, dry footing for birds. The bottom liner must be changed frequently to keep birds clean. If the bottom texture is too smooth, chicks’ legs may splay out sideways, leading to permanent deformities. The brooder should be carefully checked to ensure that it does not contain anything for birds to get their wings or legs stuck on or that might cause injury or deformities.

What should I feed my bird?

There are numerous commercially available hand-feeding formulas for baby birds. You should choose one formula and use it until the baby is weaned. Changes in diet may be stressful on the baby's digestion. Be sure to discuss dietary choices with your veterinarian, an experienced bird breeder, or an aviculturist. 

How do I feed my baby bird?

All food must be prepared fresh for every feeding. Food retained from one feeding to another is an ideal medium for the growth of harmful bacteria and yeast. Any food prepared or heated in a microwave oven must be mixed thoroughly to ensure that the food’s temperature is uniform and that there are no hot or cold spots. Food temperature should be at 102°-106°F (39°-41°C) throughout the mixture and should be measured with a thermometer. Food that is too hot may cause severe burns to the crop.

Food that is too cold may be rejected by baby birds and may slow down digestion. Hand-feeding formulas have specific directions on the packaging and explain how they should be mixed.

In general, the younger the bird, the thinner the mixture should be. A day-old chick requires a more dilute mixture (90% water), as it is still utilizing the yolk sac as a source of nutrition. Chicks older than one or two days, should have food containing approximately 70-75% liquid.

"All food must be prepared fresh for every feeding."

Syringes are probably the preferred feeding tool, but some bird owners still prefer a spoon with the sides bent up and inward. Accurate feeding volumes can be recorded with the syringe. Charting daily feedings is important. The natural feeding response of a baby bird is to rapidly bob the head in an up and down motion. This action can be stimulated with gentle finger pressure at the corners of the mouth. During this head bobbing, the trachea is closed and large amounts of food can be given relatively quickly.

If the bird is not displaying a strong feeding response, do not attempt to feed as there is an increased chance of aspiration of food into the trachea and lungs which can lead to death. The best time to feed is when the crop is empty. When full, the crop, which is the sac that hangs over the front of the chest at the base of the neck, will be visibly distended. 


How often and how much do I feed? 

The amount and frequency of feeding depends on the age of the bird and the formula fed. The frequency of feeding for young birds is greater than that of older birds. The following are general guidelines. With newly hatched chicks, the yolk sac is the source of nutrients for the first 12-24 hours post-hatching. Chicks less than one week old should be fed 6-10 times per day (every 2-3 hours).

During the first week of life, some birds benefit from feeding during the night. Chicks that have not yet opened their eyes may take 5-6 feedings per day (every 3-4 hours). Once birds’ eyes open, they can have 3-5 feedings (one every 5 hours). As their feathers start to grow in, they may be fed 2-3 times per day (every 6 hours). Their crops should appear full when they’re done.

Feeding between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. is not necessary at that point when birds are sleeping. The best indication of a healthy, growing chick is a good, strong feeding response at every feeding, with the crop emptying between feedings, and the regular production of droppings (feces). Weight gain should be monitored and recorded at the same time each day using a scale that weighs in grams with 1-gram increments to detect subtle increases or decreases.  Birds’ weights may fluctuate up and down daily but should trend upward over a period of days to weeks. Birds that are not gaining weight should be checked by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

When should birds be weaned off hand-feeding formula? 

Deciding when to wean a bird off of formula is often a difficult decision for both the bird owner and the bird. As a bird gets older and develops a full complement of feathers, it should be encouraged to wean off formula and to eat more on its own. Some babies start weaning themselves by refusing certain feedings.

 Birds should be offered a variety of foods including formulated pelleted diets as well as fresh fruits and vegetables to encourage exploration and experimentation. As food introduction continues, hand-feeding may be withheld at certain times, often starting with the mid-day feedings. As time goes on, the morning feeding may be withheld and ultimately the evening feeding. Some birds learn quicker to eat on their own by watching other birds or older babies eat.

Should I be concerned about disinfection? 

Baby birds have poorly developed immune systems and are more susceptible to developing infections. The brooder should be disinfected regularly. All feeding utensils must be cleaned, disinfected, and dried thoroughly between feedings. Using separate feeding utensils for every individual bird is recommended.

How do I know if something is wrong? 

If you suspect something is wrong with your bird, you should immediately contact your veterinarian. Signs to watch for include: 

  • Chirping or crying all the time
  • Fussing a lot and not sleeping
  • Listless, droopy wings or head
  • Not accepting food
  • Lack of feeding response
  • Slow or lack of crop emptying
  • Poor weight gain
  • Slow growth
  • Abnormal posturing or abnormal wing and/or leg positions
  • Abnormal or lack of droppings
  • Wetness or food on skin over the crop (indicating a possible burn)

What to Feed a Baby Bird

How to provide the right nutrition when wildlife rescues aren't an option


Melissa Mayntz

Melissa Mayntz

Melissa Mayntz is a bird expert, certified Master Naturalist, writer, and author with over three decades of experience. She's published in several national magazines, including National Wildlife Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and WildBird Magazine. Melissa has studied hundreds of bird species around the world, traveling to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, the central Pacific, the Middle East, and more on birding expeditions.

Learn more about The Spruce's Editorial Process

Updated on 08/26/22

Reviewed by

Kathleen Miller

Reviewed by Kathleen Miller

Kathleen Miller is a highly-regarded Master Gardener and Horticulturist who shares her knowledge of sustainable living, organic gardening, farming, and landscape design. She founded Gaia's Farm and Gardens, a working sustainable permaculture farm, and writes for Gaia Grows, a local newspaper column. She has over 30 years of experience in gardening and sustainable farming.

Learn more about The Spruce's Review Board

Fact checked by

Sarah Scott

Fact checked by Sarah Scott

Sarah Scott is a fact-checker and researcher who has worked in the custom home building industry in sales, marketing, and design.

Learn more about The Spruce's Editorial Process

The Spruce / Catherine Song

Every backyard birder has seen the "starving baby" act by fledgling birds, when they flutter their wings and call piteously for attention from seemingly hard-hearted, indifferent parents. The desire to nurture those fluffy balls of feathers can be strong, but it is important to understand the special needs of a fledgling's diet and know what to feed a baby bird for the best nutrition.

Do I Need to Feed This Baby Bird?

Baby birds have very demanding dietary needs. Depending on their age and species, baby birds may eat off and on for 12 to 14 hours per day, consuming a diet rich in insects for sufficient protein to ensure healthy growth. No human other than a licensed bird rehabilitator has the proper equipment, food supplements, or endurance to keep up that frantic feeding schedule. If you find a baby bird that appears to need feeding, the best thing to do is not to feed it, but to get it to an appropriate bird rescue organization. In many cases, the begging birds are not abandoned and the parent birds are nearby and tending to their babies as needed, even if they aren't seen.

If you find a baby bird that seems to be unfed, watch the bird closely for a while to see if the parents return to feed it within the hour. Bear in mind that it may take just seconds for a parent bird to deliver a bite to its chick, and inattentive observers may miss several feeding cycles. As the chicks grow, feeding may also be less frequent, and one parent bird may be tending to several offspring in different locations, so parental visits may be uneven. If the baby is being fed, rest assured that the parent bird is able to keep up with its demands, and no intervention is necessary if the baby does not appear injured or ill in any other way.

If the baby bird is not being fed and appears to be growing weaker and more lethargic, the first step should be to find a licensed rehabilitator to provide it proper care. When contacting the rehabilitator, ask for their evaluation of the bird in question before attempting any emergency feeding. If it is recommended that you feed the baby bird, he or she might have specific suggestions in mind as an emergency measure, and those suggestions should be meticulously followed.

If Feeding Is Necessary

If you find a baby bird that needs to be fed but you are unable to contact a bird or wildlife rehabilitator, it is important to know what to feed a baby bird that will provide similar nutrition to its natural diet. While every wild bird has a different diet, several types of food can serve as emergency rations when necessary. At the same time, it is critical to understand that baby birds have very different nutritional needs than adult birds, and foods you would normally feed to your backyard birds are not appropriate for young fledglings.

Good Foods for Baby Birds

  • Moist dog food
  • Raw liver (no seasoning)
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Dog biscuits (moistened)
  • Dog or cat kibble (moistened)

The Spruce / K. Dave

What Not to Feed Baby Birds

  • Water
  • Bread or bread products
  • Whole birdseed
  • Milk
  • Pet bird food
  • Worms
  • Kitchen scraps

The more mature a baby bird is, the more "adult" food it can consume without harm, and the longer it can go between feedings.

The Spruce / K. Dave

Tips for Feeding Baby Wild Birds

If it is necessary for you to feed a baby bird, remember:

  • Offer food that is spongy in texture, not dripping with water that could cause choking or drowning. All dry food should be softened before being offered to a baby bird.
  • Food should be offered at room temperature only, never warmed or heated, and also never refrigerated or chilled.
  • Keep bits of food small and in proportion to the bird's size; very small birds need very tiny bites. Cut or crush food appropriately to suit the bird's size.
  • While feeding the bird, handle it as little as possible to minimize the risk of additional stress or injury. Never force the bird's bill open to eat.

Caring for Baby Birds

Remember that feeding a baby bird should be an emergency measure only. If a baby bird is abandoned and needs care, it should be taken to a bird rescue organization or experienced rehabilitator as soon as possible. Rehabilitators can not only feed it an appropriate diet for its species but can help it learn how to find its own food, evade predators, and learn other skills necessary for a successful life in the wild.

If there is no rescue organization or experienced rehab specialist available in your area, keep these tips in mind:

  • Identify if the bird is a nestling (few or no feathers) or a fledgling (a feathered bird approaching adulthood). Nestlings will require much attention for a longer period than fledglings, which may be nearly ready for independence quite soon. An older fledgling can sometimes be fine if you simply place it high on a branch where its parents can find it. Nestlings, on the other hand, may require several weeks of attention (assuming a bird rehab organization is not available) to give them a chance for survival.
  • Protect it from predators—including family pets. Normally, a simple cardboard box lined with a towel, placed high enough to be out of reach of pets, will suffice. If using a lidded container, make sure it is well-ventilated. Ordinary room temperature is normally fine, though a gentle heat lamp can be used if the room is very cold at night. But take care not to overheat the young bird—in most cases, no heat source is necessary.
  • Give it a "nest" by using a small towel or cloth diaper formed into a concave shape and placed in the bottom of the box. This will help support the bird's body until it grows stronger.
  • Small nestlings are best fed with moist, well-softened food from a syringe, offered very gently, in small drops. Even a kitchen baster may be too large to be useful. As a nestling grows older, you can offer it food by dangling it from tweezers in front of its beak.
  • Never try to feed water directly to a baby bird. Nestlings will get their water needs met through moisture in food. A fledgling can be offered water in a shallow dish—if it's ready to consume water this way, it will drink on its own.
  • When a fledgling bird has fully feathered out and is beginning to exercise its wings by flapping, it can be given time outdoors and encouraged to begin flying. Often, it is enough to simply set the bird's containment box outside in a safe location, open the lid and wait for nature to take its course.

But remember that raising a featherless nestling bird through the fledgling stage and into a mature adult bird is no easy matter. It's always better to leave this to professionals who are experienced in the practice.

Article Sources

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Picking up baby birds can do more harm than good. Oregon State University.

Feeding, maintenance and treatment of a bird of prey chick

Birds of prey chicks

Quite often in late spring and early summer, people resting in the forest stumble upon a nestling of a bird of prey sitting on a branch or on the ground, and even more often an owlet. Sometimes this “living toy” found is carried home. After playing with it for a day or two, they start calling zoos, nurseries and other organizations to give it away. Some want to get more money for it. It also happens that the “rescued” chick has been so tortured and fed with something that it is no longer possible to help him.

What should I do if I find a chick of a bird of prey?

If you find a bird of prey chick, take a closer look at where it is. Usually the chicks of birds of prey and owls leave the nest before they can fly, and disperse along the branches or on the ground near the nest. Parents fly up to each separately, as a rule, first to the most noisy, i.e. the hungriest, and feed him.

Hawk cubs and buzzards leave their nests with half-grown tails. The owls are still down jackets. The nests of harriers (except marsh) and marsh owls are located on the ground. Their chicks also scatter.

- If a chick of a bird of prey sits on a branch or stump, this is normal and should not be touched.
- If a predatory chick sits on the ground in weeds or thickets of nettles, in a field in the grass, inside a bush, this is also normal.

A chick of a bird of prey nesting in a tree falls to the ground very rarely. This happens most often when the chick is already half-fledged and begins to jump over the branches near the nest and fly up. But such a chick will already be able to climb onto an inclined bough or stump, where its parents will feed it. Owlets that have fallen to the ground climb a tree with their beak and claws, clinging to the bumps in the bark, like parrots. Adult owls are usually nearby and attack a person, intimidating him with a click of his beak. Birds of prey in the open fly restlessly with a cry, and in the forest their alarm cry is often just heard.

When it is possible to save a chick of a bird of prey

Ravens serve as a reason to take and really save a chick of a bird of prey. When you see that they curl with heart-rending cries and attack someone, come and have a look. If the object of their attacks is a chick of a bird of prey, an owlet or some other bird, then, of course, it is better to take it away. Otherwise, he is still not a tenant, the crows will hammer him. Morality and law diverge here. Legally, you are a poacher, but morally, you are a savior. The choice is yours.

The chick thus came to you. You do not trust any rehabilitation centers and falconers, you decided to grow it yourself and return it to nature. What to do?

Feeding, care and treatment of bird of prey chick

Inspection of bird of prey chick

First of all, inspect the chick. You can carry it home either in a bag or in a plastic bag, making something like a nest out of branches or grass there. The bag or package must be opened to maintain air ventilation. If in the spring on a cool day the chick is wet, carry it in your bosom and warm it. You need to carry it carefully so as not to hit anything and not to crush. Be sure to carefully inspect the chick. You can understand that he is exhausted by the keel strongly protruding on his chest and general lethargy. Wounds, fractures, dislocations are usually clearly visible. Opening the beak, see if there is a white coating inside. Feel your belly. It is possible to determine whether the chick of a bird of prey was fed by its parents by probing its goiter, and the owlet's stomach.

How to water a bird of prey chick

After carefully examining a bird of prey chick, first water it. This can be done by inserting a rubber or soft plastic tube neatly, deeper into the beak, and then pouring water into it by mouth, little by little. You need to pour in very carefully, making sure that the water passes into the goiter (birds of prey) or into the stomach (owls) and the chick does not choke. It is better to drink by force together. One holds, the other pours. How much to pour? Do not overdo it. Depending on the size of the bird, it is better to do it a little in two or three doses.

Where to keep a chick of prey

Prepare a place for temporary keeping of a chick. An ordinary spacious cardboard box is well suited for this, the bottom of which is lined with pieces of torn paper or newspaper. This is done so that these pieces are mixed with litter and the chick does not get dirty. Yes, and he will sit in such a box both dry and soft. This bedding is changed regularly. Cut holes in the box with a knife for ventilation.

How to feed a chick of a bird of prey

Feed me. What and how to feed? The most frequently asked question. Of course, it is not necessary to give either sausages, or bacon, or bread, which is often done. Birds of prey and owls eat fresh meat. Usually the food supply is kept frozen. But you can’t give ice cream cold meat. The meat must be thawed and warmed, and fed a little heated, at least to room temperature. Before feeding in the summer, in very hot weather, water must be added to the feed. The simplest and most affordable food is veal. 1/10 of a veal or beef liver is added to it. This needs to be cut into pieces depending on the size of the bird so that it is easy for her to swallow. Also add 1/10 - 1/16 part of undevit powdered into dust (per kilogram of weight) and ¼ part of glycerophosphate or calcium gluconate. Mix everything with the addition of a raw egg (weight is gained faster) and a piece of cotton wool the size of a finger knuckle. It is good to add a pinch of grated carrots. I worked out this composition for a very long time, and the chicks grew well on it. Meat base, i.e. veal, for various reasons, can be replaced with veal heart, chicken heads, day old chickens, pigeons, crows, in extreme cases, chicken legs.

For an emaciated chick, at the first feeding, give meat little by little, with water, finely chopped, and watch how the food is digested. The goiter should disappear, and the chick should begin to perform its natural needs, shooting back with droppings. If the goiter does not disappear, i.e. does not become smaller, you need to pour sweetened tea with lemon juice using a syringe with a tube. From this, food is better absorbed and the intestines work.

If the chick does not begin to feed on its own before dusk, force-feed very carefully.

Worms in a chick of a bird of prey

Deworm. In chicks, the presence of worms can be determined by bloating and general exhaustion, but more often this is not noticeable. It is dangerous to give an anthelmintic immediately to a severely malnourished chick. You need to pre-fat, with a week. Usually I gave panakur, calculating it by weight, and no side effects were found from its use. A good drug, but at present Panakur is practically not sold in veterinary pharmacies. In addition to panakur, he used albendazole. I have been giving Vermizola-10 for the last two years. The drug, calculated by weight, I give with food and repeat in two weeks. If you cannot find these drugs, consult a veterinary clinic or pharmacy. They will advise you how to proceed.

Lice on a chick of a bird of prey

From lice and various down and feather eaters, you can bathe in a thick decoction of white wormwood. If you can find imported sprays from ectoparasites for birds, then spray them on the chick in the abdomen, neck from the back of the head and under the wings.

Prevention of disease in raptor chicks

Treat raptor chicks for prevention. The simplest, proven over the years and quite effective method is the following. Four days in a row, per kilogram of bird weight, ¼ ampicillin tablet, ¼ Trichopolum tablet and 1/16 undevit are given with food. After 10-14 days, the course is repeated. Already after the first course of such treatment, the condition of a lethargic chick of a bird of prey improves, it becomes greedier.

Diseases of birds of prey

What diseases are most common in chicks of birds of prey and can you identify and treat them yourself? Forcibly open the beak and see if there is a white coating inside. If there is, then it is either aspergillosis or trichomoniasis . Trichomoniasis (trichomoniasis) is easily treated with Trichopolum. Approximately ¼ tablet is given for four days per kilogram of bird weight and repeated after 10-14 days. Aspergillosis is practically incurable. A bird with aspergillosis is usually doomed. If a white plaque in the throat after the first course of treatment with Trichopolum began to disappear and the bird began to eat with appetite, you are lucky, you will live. It was not aspergillosis, but trichomoniasis, and you cured it.

Wounds on birds of prey usually heal well. Sprinkle with streptocide and hold it alone.

In case of fracture of the tarsus , if it is not possible to take it to the veterinarian, you can try to apply a splint yourself. With a hip fracture, this is much more difficult to do. With a broken wing, bird of prey is practically doomed. Only highly qualified doctors in specialized veterinary clinics can help in this case. Therefore, try to deliver a chick with a broken wing to such a hospital as soon as possible. Sick chicks during any treatment are best kept in a box and less disturbed.

How to teach a bird of prey chick to catch prey

Teach an adult bird of prey chick to catch prey. You need to learn to grab something moving. This is not difficult. For this, the chick must be healthy and strong. Healthy birds of prey have a good appetite and are greedy. From the moment when the feathers on the tail grow in half, you need to start giving the hawk the carcasses of pigeons, rooks, and crows cut in half into feathers. If not, buy at least quails, grown chickens or rats. Ten is enough on average. First, the hawk will learn to pluck and tear "prey". Having got used to doing this, and not waiting for you to put a piece in his open beak, he will gradually begin to grab this chopped carcass when it is dragged past him by the cord. Graduality is important here.

Where to release a chick of prey

Before releasing, make sure that the chick you raised can fly well and knows to catch moving, i. e. grabs the carcass when you drag it. If the hawk does not yet know how to fly or flies badly, it should not be released, but planted in some hawk nest with chicks. In extreme cases, you can plant it in the nest of a buzzard or kite. Both of these birds feed adopted children well.

Should be released where there is a lot of food and hawks nest. Otherwise, the chick will be doomed to starvation. Large landfills are best suited for this. Knowing how to fly well, your fosterling will easily hide in the nearest forest from the crows chasing him. And the crows, accustomed to constantly seeing hawks flying along the edges of the forest adjacent to the dump, do not really react to them. You will need to spend a day walking around the landfill. The loud cries of the young, if the hawks were nesting near the landfill, you will hear from afar. They usually call at the nest. You need to go to these screams and remember the place where you shouted. It is better to release a pet in the evening, fed to satiety, in the place that you remember where the brood screamed. In the morning, a hawk, hungry, will easily find a nesting pair by the cries of the young and join it.

N. Sanin

Previously on the topic Birds of prey:

  • Diseases of birds of prey and treatment of birds of prey: How and with what to treat a bird of prey, examination of a bird of prey
  • 10/16/2020 Thermowave brand spirit
  • 08/18/2020 Fishing and outdoor recreation near Moscow
  • 30.07.2020 Stanislav Kondrashov, founder of the Telf AG tour agency: the best places on the islands where you can swim and sunbathe
  • 06/30/2020 Journey to Kabardino-Balkaria: Climbing Elbrus
  • 05/17/2020 Poachers thank the hunting department of the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia for changing the Hunting Rules
  • 11.02.2020 The fight against the climate crisis is the way to the Nobel
  • 11/14/2019 20 reasons why fish don't bite when fishing

Veterinary • Birds of prey • Hunting • Nature • Birds

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What to feed a baby budgerigar

Budgerigars are the most popular bird for home keeping. A variety of colors, a cheerful, playful disposition will give a good mood to any owner. Caring for them is not difficult, nutrition does not cause difficulties, but not everything is simple with chicks. The usual offspring of budgerigars is 3–12 babies hatched 18 days after laying eggs, subject to temperature conditions and maintaining the necessary air humidity. Occasionally, two chicks can hatch from one egg. First, the testicles hatch first. At hatching, the weight of the baby is about 1 gram. Every owner who decides to start breeding birds for the first time is worried about the question of how to feed not only an adult bird, but also small chicks. Proper care, maintenance, a competent diet are important for the health, long happy life of pets.

For a year, a pair of budgerigars can hatch offspring 4 times. This should not be allowed: the body of the female is depleted.

Small birds feed on a special substance in the form of a mucous mass mixed with almost liquid pieces of food and protein-rich milk produced in the mother's goiter or muscular stomach. After two or three days, grain, partially digested in the goiter, is added to the milk.

With the birth of babies, they are defenseless, completely dependent on their parents. The female cares for, feeds the cubs from her beak, turning each one on its back, regardless of their number and timing of hatching. If the diet of the female contains a sufficient amount of germinated cereals, then the mixture for feeding babies is completely enough. Over time, the grown older birds receive grain food from the goiter, the remaining milk goes to the babies who hatched last. There are cases when, together with the mother, the father also feeds the offspring, in whose goiter grain processing also takes place. Intensive feeding of parrots provides them with all the necessary nutrients and enzymes that ensure the smooth functioning of the digestive tract.

The owner of parrots must provide a full menu to parents, changing the diet in a timely manner. It is recommended to constantly add egg mixture, sprouted grains, greens to food.

After leaving the nest, the babies go completely under the care of the male, while the mother is preparing for the next clutch at this time. The feeding period lasts 1.5 months, after which the young become independent from their parents, begin to feed on their own.

Artificial feeding

Sometimes there are situations when the female abandons her children, and the role of the parents of the parrots has to be performed by the owners themselves, feeding without the help of the real father and mother.

It is important to know: if a newly hatched chick does not eat for more than 12 hours, it may die.

Reasons for switching to artificial nutrition at home:

  • large offspring, parents are unable to provide food for all children;
  • female aggression, refusal to feed cubs. Why this happens is difficult to answer. Perhaps she does not have or has not yet awakened maternal instinct. Maybe the reason was that you took a barely born chick in your arms or some other shock for the parrot;
  • the baby loses his appetite, and he is not able to eat on his own;
  • quarantine or sickness of the baby, requiring the separation of the diseased parrot from other birds for the duration of treatment;
  • death of parents;
  • the female is ready to produce the next clutch, the offspring becomes a hindrance to her.

Important to know : food deprivation of a barely born chick for more than 12 hours is critical, can cause death. It is necessary to remember this period and have time to prepare food. Sometimes the remaining one chick can be planted with an outside pair of parrots or another bird species. They will become foster parents to the baby, although the chance of survival of the chick is reduced; otherwise, you should take care of feeding the owner of the birds himself. The best candidates for this role will be Japanese finches, other types of parrots often refuse to accept a stranger, they can injure or peck him.

It is important for fledgling crumbs to maintain optimal temperature and humidity. To do this, periodically spray the nest with clean water. The temperature in it must be maintained at 33 ° C, lower or higher will cause the death of birds. The process can be organized using a cardboard box, constantly warming up its bottom. You can put a warm towel, use an incubator with a set mode that is optimal for chicks. From the twenty-first day, thermoregulation of young animals is improving, additional heating is not required.

Most experienced breeders advise feeding babies lightly watered down baby food heated to 37°C.

A chick who is two days old is given food using an ordinary insulin syringe or a catheter (cannula) attached to it, made of a plastic tube, wound with a thread. It is necessary to advance the tip further, preventing food from entering the trachea and choking the crumbs. If the bird is not weakened, it immediately begins to swallow food from the first drop. You need to feed until full saturation every two hours, even at night. Such food is given no more than 2 days - it is not intended for long-term feeding of chicks. Remains of food that have stuck to the baby's beak should be washed off with a decoction of chamomile, preventing the growth of bacteria and parasites. In small birds, food sometimes gets stuck in the beak, leading to cracks, you need to remove the remnants of food with a toothpick. Sometimes female parrots do not clean the paws of their babies, they accumulate leftover food, droppings, which harden during accumulation. In this case, you will have to wash the crumbs yourself.

When artificially fed with a cannula, food is poured not into the beak, but into the goiter, this will prevent the chick from choking on the contents. You can prepare such a mixture: part of baby food, two parts of millet decoction, one part of oat decoction, part of a solution with glucose, vitamins, amino acids.


There are several types of feeding for newly hatched wavy.

Use of a donor bird

This method is used by experienced breeders who are professionally breeding birds. The grain mixture is fed into the goiter of the parrot through a catheter, from where it is sucked off with a probe in the digested form. A dangerous, but the most effective type of food for artificial people, while all the substances necessary for life will enter the feathered body.

Malt milk feeding

Malt is prepared from sprouted grains, crushed, filtered, mixed with water, egg until a paste-like consistency is obtained. Feed heated to 39 ° C. At a lower temperature, the mixture is not absorbed, it begins to ferment in the goiter, the bird dies of hunger. Higher food temperatures cause burns.

Enzyme porridges

You can feed the wavy with porridge, mixing mezim or festal. The exact dosage of the preparations must be observed, preferably with malted milk.

Formula feeding

The most convenient way to feed the chicks. Special branded balanced ready-made feeds of good quality, for example, NutriBird A19 and A21, are diluted with warm water to the required density, taking into account the age of the young, fed to babies. With this daily diet, the birds receive the necessary components: lactobacilli, enzymes, nutrients for health and growth, similar to those produced by the mother's goiter.

Dairy-free cereals

Buckwheat, oatmeal or corn porridge are cooked without milk, salt and sugar. You can feed the birds with dairy-free rice porridge. From the third day of life, the menu includes vegetable juices from carrots, pumpkins or beets. You can add a piece of egg yolk rubbed through a sieve. From the tenth day, fruits are mixed in: banana, apple, low-fat cottage cheese.

On the twentieth day, they begin to feed a small bird from a spoon, try self-feeding, offering a crushed sprouted grain to a budgerigar.

From the age of thirty, they begin to introduce whole grains. Even if there is no one to show how to eat it, after a while the chicks will learn to peck themselves.


When feeding birds with liquid cereals and mixtures, there is no need for water, with the exception of hot days. Over time, when the bird grows up and begins to feed on its own, clean filtered water should be constantly in the drinker.

How often to feed

Barely hatched wavy are fed every two hours, the night interval between meals is 4 hours. Gradually bring the food up to six times. From the twentieth day they give food 4 times. A chick who is 1 month old is transferred to three meals a day. You should listen to the sounds coming from the cage - hungry birds remind you of themselves with a squeak. Starting from the 21st day of life, parrots, overgrown with plumage, are fed strictly observing the regimen, sometimes doing it by force - they stop voicing when they get hungry.

A sick adult parrot is fed more often.

It is necessary to give food to the feathered carefully, try not to oversaturate, take your time, watch that the food does not flow out of the beak. It is better to teach to eat from a spoon. Be patient - it won't work right away. At the same time, it is worth learning to eat only one chick on your own - the rest will follow its example. It is recommended to keep the syringe on hand for now - the parrot may be malnourished.

Tips for beginner ornithologists

In order for artificial nutrition to cause fewer problems, you should follow some tips:

  1. One-time portion of food for wavy from 3 to 5 ml, no more cooking: food turns sour, causes digestive disorders.
  2. It is not necessary to supplement the birds with water: diluted mixtures contain a sufficient amount of liquid.
  3. From the age of seven, fruit juices are introduced into the diet: thanks to them, immunity is strengthened, growth is accelerated.

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