Can baby birds eat dog food

This Is What To Feed Baby Birds — And How To Feed Them

If you’re wondering how to feed a baby bird, there are a few important things you need to know. Baby birds usually eat what their parents eat for dinner, since the parent has to burp its food into the mouth of its offspring. Birds cannot break down food at birth, so their parents must first partially digest the food to make it safe for chicks. Since baby birds are dependent on their parents not only for food but also for instructions on how to be a bird, it is essential that it stays with them. So, if you find a baby bird on the ground, try to bring it back to the nest rather than looking after it yourself. If you cannot return the bird to its nest, contact a rehabilitation center that can take care of it.


  • Consult the experts if you think a baby bird isn’t being fed
  • What to feed a baby bird
  • What not to offer when feeding baby birds:
  • DIY baby bird food
  • How to feed a baby bird




15 minutes

What You Need

  • Dog or cat food, boiled eggs, or raw unseasoned liver

  • Small pieces of fruit or veggies

If you’re raising domestic birds or are licensed to take care of wild animals, however, then it’s important to know how and what to feed baby birds — and sometimes, even learn how to DIY baby bird food.

Maslov Dmitry/

Consult the experts if you think a baby bird isn’t being fed

If you find a baby bird that does not seem to be fed, look for an hour or two to see if its parents provide food for it again. Note that the mother bird only needs a few seconds to feed its baby, so inattentive observers could miss several feeding cycles. However, if one parent bird has to look after several baby birds in different places, parental visits could be irregular. When the baby bird is fed, you can be sure that its parents have provided its needs, and there is no unnecessary intervention if the baby bird does not appear injured or sick.

Step 1: If the baby bird does not appear to be fed and becomes increasingly weak and lazy, the first step should be to find a licensed rehabilitator to provide, or guide you through, the appropriate care.

Step 2: If you have found a baby bird that needs to be fed but does not have contact with its parents or an animal rehabilitator, it is essential to know what a baby bird needs a portion of food similar to its natural diet. While each wild bird has its own diet, different types of food can serve as an emergency ration if necessary.

What to feed a baby bird

In nature, baby birds eat the same things that their parents eat: Worms, insects, and seeds. However, chicks can eat different types of food if they are taken care of by whoever found them. You could use puppy food soaked in water until it’s like a sponge. Moist dog or cat food can also be used in a jam when at room temperature. You can also use finely chopped fruits and vegetables (such as corn or peas) and even small insects.

It is equally essential to recognize that baby birds have very different nutritional needs than adult birds. What an adult bird eats can harm its young. As a baby bird grows, its diet can be adapted to more raw meat, giving them the protein that’s needed. As for water, a baby bird gets what it needs from the food it eats.

Food suitable for baby birds:

  • Boiled eggs
  • Moist dog food
  • Wet cat food
  • Raw liver (without seasoning)

What not to offer when feeding baby birds:

  • Water
  • Milk
  • Bread and bakery products
  • Kitchen waste

Unlike mammals, birds do not drink milk and their digestive systems won’t tolerate milk. Unfortunately, it’s a common misconception that mixing together bread and milk makes for an ideal feed for baby birds. Milk can be toxic to birds, so avoid feeding it entirely.

When a baby bird is older, it can consume ”adult” bird foods without harming itself and the longer it can stay between strokes.

Cathy Hargreaves/

DIY baby bird food

One easy recipe for feeding baby birds involves just two ingredients: pet food and water.

  • Soaking dog biscuits or kibble in water will create a mushy consistency that’s easy to take and digest for young birds. This mimics the texture of the food given by mama birds in the wild and is also a high-protein option, which is extra important for nestlings.
  • A classic biscuit treat like Milk-Bone is ideal for recipes like these. To forgo the mixing and mashing, a canned pet food like the Cesar brand is another great option. You still might want to stir in a tiny bit of water if your bird is particularly young, though.

How to feed a baby bird

Step 1: If you need to feed a wild baby bird, remember to offer foods that have a spongy consistency instead of dripping with water, which can suffocate or drown it. All dry food should be softened before offering it.

Step 2: Food should only be offered at room temperature, never heated or refrigerated.

Step 3: Keep food pieces small and proportional to the size of the bird — tiny birds need tiny bites. Cut or crush food properly to fit the size of the bird.

Step 4: When feeding the bird, be as careful as possible to minimize the risk of additional stress or injury. Never force a bird to eat its food.

Lastly, remember that feeding a baby bird should be only an emergency measure. If one is abandoned and needs care, it should be taken by a bird-rescue organization or an experienced rehabilitator as soon as possible. They can not only feed baby birds with a diet suitable for its type, but they also teach it to live independently, avoid predators, and master other skills to live in nature successfully.

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Can Birds Eat Dog Food? We Have the Answer!

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Dog foods are formulated to provide our canine companions with the calories and nutrients they need. But you might not realize that most commercial dog food preparations can potentially benefit our feathered friends, too.

But the question you might wish to ask yourself should not be whether you should feed birds dog food but whether you should buy commercial dog food.

Do Birds Eat Dog Food?

You might be surprised to learn that many birds will eat dog food of various kinds. They have been known to ‘steal it’ from dogs’ bowls on porches when they are not looking!

And if you put dry food in a feeder, you are sure to get many ‘return customers’ seeking to take advantage of this energy source and the nutrients it provides.

Which Birds Eat Dog Food?

Crows, ravens, grackles, bluebirds, jays, starlings, pigeons, doves, sparrows, finches, cardinals, titmice, siskins, thrashers, chickadees, and more have all been known to eat dog food when it is offered. And there are likely to be plenty of other garden birds that will take a bite of available dog food.

Of course, which birds take a fancy to the dog food you offer will depend on which type of dog food you put out and its specific list of ingredients.

Amazingly, some birds, like American crows, have even learned to take dry dog food and carry it to a nearby pond, birdbath, or water feature to soften it before they eat it.

Is Dog Food Good for Birds?

You might not realize it, but dog biscuits are often added to commercial bird feed mixes to bulk them out. You may see green or red pieces between the seeds in commercial mixes.

But you should not place such mixes straight into a bird feeder because birds may choke on the large dry pieces. Dog biscuits can be fed to birds, but they should be broken up and soaked in water to soften them first.

The things that make dog foods and dog-biscuit treats beneficial for dogs can also benefit birds. Dog foods can be a good source of protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients.

Should You Feed Dog Food to Wild Birds?

However, while dog foods can have some beneficial nutrients, it is important to determine exactly what they contain.

Some dog foods are not as nutritionally beneficial as others, and some foods are far less healthy for dogs and birds.

Unfortunately, many commercial dog foods are not always as ideally tailored to meet a dog’s health needs as we may wish to believe. And there are also problems associated with many ingredients utilized in complete dog diets. So it is important to choose the right dog food for your dog’s and our planet’s health.

To feed dogs and garden birds, I would recommend seeking organic dog food that meets a dog’s nutritional needs without harming our planet. A healthy, eco-friendly, and sustainable dog food option will also be best for feeding the birds.

Look at the ingredients list when choosing a dog food and think about how and where each one of its ingredients was grown.

Remember, even the best specialized dog food available should not be offered as the primary source of nutrition for garden birds. It should only ever be considered a supplemental source of food.

Before you think about what else you might feed birds in your garden, you should always begin by looking at the food that your garden itself might provide.

Try to grow as many different native plants as possible to draw in birds and other native wildlife to the space.

That way, you can begin to create a healthy habitat with plenty of seeds, nuts, berries, fruits, etc., for different types of birds to eat. Add plenty of flowers that attract beneficial insects to the space for birds to eat as part of their natural diets.

Only once you have ensured that there are plenty of natural food sources in your garden should you consider additional foods that you might leave out for garden birds.

Which Type of Dog Food Can You Feed to Birds?

If you have pet dogs and leftover food that you would like to feed to your feathered friends, it is important to carefully consider the type of food before you decide to provide it to wild birds in your garden.

Can Birds Eat Dry Dog Food/ Kibble/ Dog Biscuits?

Birds can benefit from the fiber in dried dog food, and the carbohydrates they contain can be part of a healthy and balanced diet.

In moderation, you can offer these dry dog foods to birds. Some will, as mentioned above, take these foods even when they are dry.

However, with dry types of dog food, it is best to soak it before feeding it to the birds since the dry chunks can sometimes be a choking hazard. Soaking will also mean that a broader range of birds can partake.

Can Birds Eat Wet Dog Food?

Wet dog foods can also often be fed to garden birds.

The best dog foods will also benefit birds with the right mix of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Though, as mentioned above, they should not be a primary food source, providing some at a bird feeding station once in a while is a good idea.

Because of its high protein content, wet dog food is sometimes fed to baby birds by those seeking to rehabilitate them.

However, trying to feed a baby bird yourself is not a good idea. Call in the experts, rather than taking a DIY approach, since if you get the diet wrong, you could do more harm than good.

How To Feed Dog Food to Birds

The best way to feed dog food to garden birds is to place a small quantity in a shallow dish or tray where birds can access it.

However, it is essential not to place it somewhere it might begin to attract neighborhood pets or other pests in the area. If it is not eaten by birds quickly, you should ensure that you do not leave it lying around for too long.

Fresh dog food left around might attract small mammals or rodents and could draw in predators that might threaten garden birds. It might also begin to grow mold, which could pose a risk to your feathered friends.

If birds are attracted to an area where dogs are fed, make sure that dogs don’t scare or hurt them as they swoop in to try to take their share.

Remember, dog food is not a substitute for natural food sources for birds in your garden. But as an additional food source, good quality, organic, sustainable dog food could be a great bonus to backyard birds.

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How to feed the found chick, how many times a day

If you find a chick, the first thing you need to do is determine its species. Feeding granivorous, insectivorous and predatory chicks have their own differences. But in the early stages of feeding, you can use the same feeding methods, and then, after finding out what kind of bird you found, transfer the chick to the appropriate feeding.

Here is one of the most common feeding options for granivorous and insectivorous chicks. This nutrient mixture is well used for feeding for chicks and fledglings from the passerine family. To prepare our mixture, we need the following products: Boiled egg, low-fat cottage cheese, raw carrots, meat (beef, chicken, turkey), greens (lettuce, dandelion leaves, wood lice), hamarus and daphnia, Calcium gluconate (shell from boiled eggs) glycerophosphate , children's dry dairy-free porridge or boiled millet (without salt and fat on the water). nine0003

Action one. Boil the egg, free from the shell. We free the shell from the shell film. Grind the egg as much as possible, you can use a grater with small holes.

Second step. Boiled meat, it is better to take the pulp from the breast of a turkey or chicken and also chop or divide into fibers. The mixture will require meat 40 (for granivorous) and 60 grams (for insectivorous).

Third step. Take washed carrots of a small size, grate them on a fine grater, then squeeze the juice and we will use the remaining pulp. nine0003

Fourth step. We take not sour and not fatty cottage cheese. Cottage cheese should have 0% fat content, anything above is considered fat for poultry. We need 90-110 grams of cottage cheese. Sour cottage cheese must be boiled twice changing the water and then it will be suitable.

Step five. You can use greens to add the mixture, but you can do without it for the chicks. And so you can take the greens listed above, chop and add 1.5 teaspoons to the mixture.

Action six. To the above ingredients, add 1.5 -2 tsp. dairy-free porridge or boiled millet (well boiled, without salt and fat in the water). nine0003

Step seven. To the mixture we add the shell from the boiled egg, which must first be ground in a coffee grinder, plus one fourth of the crushed tablet of glycerophosphate. If it is not possible to find glycerophosphate, then you can purchase bone meal and add one fourth tsp. in powder form. At the very least, the shells are enough for now.

Step eight. We take chopped hamarus and daphnia and add about 1 tsp to the resulting mixture. Then we mix everything, it turns out a very thick, crumbly porridge, it should not stick to the fingers. If the mixture is sticky, you can add dairy-free porridge or powdered cereals. nine0003

From the resulting mixture we roll small balls no larger than a small pea, focus on the size of the chick's beak. You can feed 2-5 balls at a time and after each feeding drink plain water from an insulin syringe with a removable needle (without a needle) 4-6 drops. A week-old chick should be fed every 1-1.5 hours, older than two weeks of age every 2-4 hours, at three and four weeks of age you can feed 3-4 times a day. Do not forget that the chick is growing and, accordingly, one-time portions of food are growing. A very important point, do not forget to warm the chicks, because at their age they themselves cannot maintain normal body temperature. Warming up promotes better assimilation of feed. Don't forget to control your chick's weight. If possible, show the chick to a specialist. To control the work of the intestines, you can take the litter from the chick for a coprogram, this is an analysis of the digestibility of the feed. nine0003

Take care and love your feathered friends and they will love you back.

Veterinarian ornithologist
Chuguevsky VV

Veterinary clinic Bambi.

You can ask an ornithologist on the forum.

Compound feed "Start" for chickens: composition, preparation, feeding tips

A well-known folk saying “chickens are counted in the fall” appeared for a reason. This is due to the high mortality of young animals in the first days of life. Moreover, the reason for this is not diseases and conditions of detention, but an improperly selected diet. This is the main factor influencing the production of a fresh and strong stock, which in the future can demonstrate high egg production or good weight gain. nine0003


  • Compound feed for chickens - main advantages
  • Description of compound feed "Start"
  • Appropriate age for use of "Start"
  • Compound feed analogues "Start"
  • Formulation and composition
  • Rules for preparation and feeding
  • Dosage advice
  • Helpful tips for breeders
  • nine0059

    Compound feed for chickens - main advantages

    Properly selected nutrition will not only provide the chicks with excellent health in the future, but also increase their productive abilities. It is the diet and its wealth that form the basis of immunity and resistance to various infections, diseases and parasites from the first days.

    Choosing a combined feed, the breeder receives a completely balanced and prepared type of feeding, which includes not only the main grain components, but also a sufficient amount of micro and macro elements, vitamins and other components that contribute to the proper development of the bird and accelerate its growth. nine0003

    Description of compound feed "Start"

    This is one of the best feeds today, it is a benchmark for manufacturers and combines only the best ingredients. It is suitable for young animals from the first day of life and has a beneficial effect on their development. The composition is well digested and perfectly absorbed, suitable for ordinary chickens and broiler chicks.

    Among its advantages are:

    • Composition - well-chosen components with all the necessary additives and biologically active substances. nine0044
    • Feeding scheme - the food is very easy to use, does not require time-consuming kneading and preparation.
    • Savings - portioning and rational use will reduce waste and minimize food costs. Dry mixes do not deteriorate in the feeders, do not turn sour.
    • Growth quality - due to the composition of the feeding significantly improves the quality of weight gain, improves immunity and reduces mortality.
    • Convenience - feed can be easily divided into portions or norms without spending much time. It is not necessary to measure the amount of proteins, minerals and vitamins by grams, it is enough to open a pack of the finished mixture and distribute it among the feeders, observing the required dosage. nine0044
    • Storage - the food lies perfectly at home at room temperature and is unpretentious.
    • Cost - quite adequate prices help poultry owners to significantly reduce the cost of feeding young animals.

    Suitable age for start food

    It is this type of compound feed that was popularly called "null" because it is perfect for feeding only hatched babies from the first hours of birth. But there are slight differences in the composition for ordinary chickens and broilers: nine0003

    • Suitable for chicks from 0 to 7 weeks of age (laying hens), but no more.
    • For broilers, two weeks of feeding with this feed is enough. It can be used without additional additives or in combination with grass, wet mash, but be sure to provide young animals with unlimited access to water.

    Compound feed analogs "Start"

    Among the competing feeds, you can most often find PC-0, intended for nutrition from 1 to 14 days after birth. PC-5, or "krupka", is also one of the most popular. Also there are "Starter", "Nulevka", the feed of the "Solnyshko" brand has become widely known. nine0003

    Separately, it is worth paying attention to the markings PK-5-3 and PK-5-4, which are suitable for special feeding of weakened or sick chicks. Sometimes they are called prelaunch.

    Formulation and composition

    The main components of the Start feed are wheat and corn, which are supplemented with:

    • limestone and fishmeal;
    • salts;
    • soybean meal;
    • vegetable oils; nine0044
    • enzymes;
    • antioxidants
    • and other additives.

    Exchange energy indicator - 305 Kcal.

    The mixture for newborn broilers is slightly different in composition. It has an increased percentage of crude protein, added fiber, and an exchange energy index of 300 Kcal. The composition also includes acids in the form of methionine, lysine, cystine, tryptophan compounds, sodium, calcium and phosphorus. nine0003

    The combination of all components is balanced and selected taking into account the characteristics of age. The content of nutrients, trace elements, minerals allows you to deliver everything you need to the body of the chick, having a good effect on digestion, the formation of the bone skeleton, and a rapid increase in muscles. After using this feed, the chicks improve their egg production and weight, and the body's resistance to various infectious diseases increases.

    Start feed contains no antibiotics and their derivatives, GMOs, no special growth and weight gain stimulants. Production is carried out in accordance with established standards (according to GOST 18221 - 99), only environmentally friendly products and natural ingredients are used.

    The release form is small crumbs or grains, which are packed in bags of the required weight of 25 kg. When purchasing compound feed, it is necessary to familiarize yourself with the composition so as not to purchase a low-quality product filled with artificial additives and synthetic hormones, which have a bad effect on the overall development of chicks and can contribute to the appearance of hormonal and behavioral abnormalities. nine0003

    Rules for preparation and feeding

    In fact, Start feed is a complete nutritional composition for both newly born chicks and grown chickens a few days old. It is completely ready and does not require adjustments and additions.

    Every breeder must remember that there must be water in the drinkers at all times. It is important to provide chickens with unlimited access to it.

    There is always an instruction on the package, which lists the basic rules of feeding, and lists the daily allowances, so it will be most correct to familiarize yourself with the recommendations and strictly follow them in the future. The daily rate is usually divided into several doses. For example, in the first 5 days, the chicks should eat at least 6, but not more than 8 times a day, after which this amount is reduced to 3–4. Ten-day-old chicks need 3 feedings per day. nine0003

    Compound feed is given both in dry form and soaked with the use of broth, whey, yogurt, which should be slightly warmed up, since chickens eat warm food more willingly.

    In the future, the owners should remember that it is impossible to drastically change the type of food, it must be introduced gradually, changing the dosage, since the chicks are very sensitive and may react negatively to the changes taking place.

    Dosing advice

    The correct calculation must be made from the first day. After birth and until the seventh day, 10-20 grams per chick is enough. The second week involves increasing the dose to 20-40 grams. From 14 to 21 days, the volume is increased to 60 grams, from 21 to 28 - up to 80 grams. From the 28th to the 35th day, the total daily weight per head can be from 115 g, and for broilers it can reach up to 170 g. nine0003

    It is important to constantly monitor the nutritional behavioral factors of the chicks and clearly understand what they require. If the food is eaten quickly, and nothing remains in the feeder for 20-30 minutes (maximum), it is necessary to increase the daily dose, even despite the recommendations of the manufacturers. In no case should starvation be allowed, otherwise it will have a bad effect not only on growth, but also on the general health of the livestock.

    Helpful tips for breeders

    The main indicator when choosing a food base is the future purpose of the chick - it will be grown for eggs or for meat. Therefore, the breed plays an important role and orients the owner to the presence of certain components in the composition. Egg-laying chickens need a large amount of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and for meat chickens, protein is a priority, which covers all the needs of rapidly developing babies. nine0003

    Another nuance for future laying hens is the absence of hormonal supplements in the mixture aimed at accelerating growth.

    In the first days, it is necessary to add a weak solution of potassium permanganate to the drinkers, which will help improve digestive functions, neutralize possible poisoning, improve digestibility and help prevent diseases such as salmonellosis or pullorosis.

    An additional feeder can be installed where calcined sand and crushed shells will be poured so that the chicks can consume natural minerals for the development of a healthy bone apparatus. nine0003

    At the age of 3 weeks, the chicks can be let out for walks - for a start for a short period, gradually increasing it. This will not only help strengthen the immune system, but also teach the chickens to be more independent. It is very important to prevent hypothermia in the early days so that the chicks do not catch a cold.

    For a change, from the 5th day of life, you can sometimes add protein products such as cottage cheese, buttermilk and whey to the diet, into which you can cut greens, carrots, nettles, cabbage leaves.

    Learn more