Can you feed baby birds 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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How to Feed a Baby Bird

I recieved a call today from a woman in Schenectady who was brought a little baby bird (Sparrow, we think) that was just hatching from its egg. Schenectady is quite a drive from where I live so she is going to try and feed the little guy until we can find time to get the bird to me.

This is a fantastic website that I used when I got my first little starling 4 years ago:


There they instruct you to prepare their food using dry dog/cat food that has been soaked in water until it is the consistancey of yogurt. The problem with that is the dry food needs to be ground first and I never had luck with grinding it in a blender (I got a food processer for christmas for the birds, though, and it works great). Before I had the food processer I always used canned dog food (with only a small amount of water added to keep it moist) and been successful with it. You don't need to add the other ingrediants- like apple sauce and baby rice cereal- for short-term feeding. The reason why ground and soaked dry food is recommended over wet canned food is that canned food only contains around 8-10% protein. Dry food contains about 20-25% protein. However, once again- the canned food is fine for short term feeding.

Though they say this dog/cat food is good for starlings and sparrows- it is actually good for ALL songbirds- except Doves.

There is a picture on that site of someone feeding an older starling with a drinking straw that has been cut at an angle. This is my favorite tool as they are incredibly cheap, easy to clean, and you can cut them for whatever size mouth you have. Here is a photo of the straws I am using now:

On the left is one I was using for a very tiny, just hatched, baby bird- in the middle is what I am using for the older Sparrows who are feathered and hopping around- and on the right is what I a using for the Grackle (type of blackbird, bigger than the other birds).

Its ok for the tip to be pointy, as long as it is rounded and has no sharp edges.
Here is a photo of about how much food is a good amount for a tiny baby. For a newly hatched baby I think 3 or 4 mouth fulls of this size should be enough for any one feeding.

When the bird gapes (opens its mouth to be fed) the food should be place into the birds throat to the right side of the birds mouth- the BIRDS right, thats YOUR LEFT. The reason for this is that is where the birds crop is located. The crop is like a food storage organ before the birds stomache. The bird will use its tongue to push the food all the way into the crop. The birds trachea is on the birds left and this is why it is important not to give water to a baby bird. It is very easy for a baby bird to accidently get the water in its lungs where bacteria will then grow and the bird will die of pneumonia. The bird will get enough water from the food you feed it.

When you can see a good amount of food in the crop, you can stop feeding. Many websites will tell you that the bird will stop gaping when its eaten enough, but this is not true for all birds. House sparrows will keep gaping for food and if you feed them too much their crops could get damaged.

Here is a photo of the tiny baby bird with a full crop:

Notice this is the right side of the birds neck. The crop is almost as big as the birds head in this photo because this baby had swallowed some air and there was an air bubble in the crop along with the food. Dont feel the need to feed a baby so that its crop looks like this. If your baby does develop an air bubble, its ok. The air bubble will come up eventually, just make sure you dont overfeed him in the meantime.

And here is the same bird with an empty crop (ignore the ear bubble, this baby had lots of problems and eventually passed away):

You dont have to wait until the crop is completely empty before feeding again, but it should be considerably smaller than the last time you fed the bird.

If you look at photos from past entries here, you will see the nests I make for the birds. I keep them in little plastic containers and line the bottom with tissues. I fold tissues into about 1"x2" rectangles and place them around the sides of the container so that when the bird poops, I can just remove that one peice of tissue and replace it. The bird will probably poop once everytime you feed it, but it may take a couple feedings before this routine gets established.
The birds are kept in their little containers on top of a heating pad thats on a low setting. The baby will have its mouth open and will be breathing hard if it is too hot, but the bird should remain warm to the touch. I have a heating pad that has 4 settings and the second notch is the one that works best for me.

Some photos of the growth of baby robins. Its amazing how fast baby birds can grow in one day!!

Good luck, Ana!
If you have any questions or need clarification, feel free to post here, email me, or call me :)

Date:May 6th, 2009 09:19 pm (UTC)

sparrows and starlings


I saw that you have both house sparrows and starlings. I'm hoping that you keep them all as pets instead of releasing them back into the wild. I really hope that is not the case!
Anyways, everything else you do seems to be great! Great job and keep it up. I too am a lover of the outdoors and wildlife (except non-native birds)!
Thanks, Bret

Date:June 1st, 2009 03:04 am (UTC)

baby sparrow


for some reason he is have a hard time pooping he was do fine earlier to day and for last few day ive been doing what u say to feed it i left a message with a wild life place out here but never got a call back can u answer me about the poop and should i worry. .

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).

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

Complete feed in the feeding of farm animals: composition, types

For healthy growth, chickens require a balanced diet in sufficient quantities. The composition of the products depends on the direction and age of the bird. Many breeders who raise chickens in the household are interested in how and what to feed the chicks so that they develop properly.


  • What does a healthy chicken diet consist of?
  • Composition of complete compound feed
  • Pluses of complete feed
  • Feeding advice
  • Advantages of MEGAMIX
  • complete mixed feed

What does the diet of chickens consist of?

Sources of proteins, vitamins, micro and macro elements are products of plant and animal origin, as well as substances synthesized in the laboratory. For the production of finished formulations in the factory, only high-quality proven raw materials are used. In feed for laying hens and broilers are introduced:

  • amino acids,
  • vitamins,
  • minerals,
  • probiotics,
  • antioxidants,
  • prebiotics,
  • coccidiostats,
  • mold inhibitors.

It is quite difficult to independently calculate the proportions and mix the components thoroughly without the appropriate equipment.

The terms of growing meat breeds are 1.5–2 months, laying hens - up to six months. During this time, the bird should gain weight of 2.5-3 kg. To accelerate the growth of muscle mass in broilers, it is recommended to use specialized feed. It fully meets the needs of the bird in proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. The composition and consumption of feed should correspond to the age of the hens.

At 1–2 weeks of life, the foundation of the skeleton is laid in chickens, muscle mass increases at an average pace. At this time, it is necessary to introduce a sufficient amount of proteins, fiber, and mineral components into their diet.

In the growth phase, the bird is gaining mass intensively. They need as many amino acids and proteins as possible, which act as a building material for cells, as well as complex carbohydrates. The dose of vitamins and minerals received with food is increased.

At the finishing stage, the amount of carbohydrates is reduced so that the broilers gain more muscle mass, and not fat. At this stage, it is important to prevent weight loss.

Composition of complete compound feed

Cereals form the basis of the diet.

Corn One of the most useful and nutritious ingredients. Corn is the leader among grains in terms of protein content, while it contains less fiber than other cereals. The product is easily digested and well absorbed.
oats Source of many amino acids. It is considered a dietary product, but contains a lot of fiber. In large quantities, it causes blockage of the intestines, so its share in the composition of the feed does not exceed 20%. Oats are given in a purified form, completely removing the film from the grains. The size of the fraction depends on the age of the bird. Sifted oatmeal is usually added to prestarter formulations.
Wheat Contains a large amount of vitamin E, B. Feed wheat is usually used in bird feed. The percentage can be up to 30%.
Rye It is a source of a number of useful proteins, but contains too much mucus, which negatively affects the digestive system of chickens. It is added to some feeds in small quantities.
Barley Practically not inferior to oats in useful properties, but also contains a lot of fiber. It is introduced into the composition only in a purified and sifted form.
Buckwheat Despite the fact that the product contains components useful for poultry, it is rarely used. Basically, it is added to granulated feed, because. in loose form, chickens do not peck it.
Bran Products of processing grain crops are introduced to increase the caloric content of the diet. By themselves, they have no nutritional value, so they are rarely used.

Peeled vegetables are used as succulent feed.

Potato Improves poultry digestion, promotes the absorption of nutrients. It is introduced in boiled dehydrated form. In the process of preparing food, it is unacceptable to use green potatoes, since poisonous solanine has formed in them.
Beet It normalizes the work of the intestines, prevents its blockage, provides the needs of chickens for vitamin B2, carotene, sugar. It can be given both fresh and boiled. The content of beets in the diet is about 15%.
Pumpkin It contains a lot of vitamins and microelements. The product is added in an amount not exceeding 15% of the total volume.

Protein components provide the daily requirement for amino acids. Protein sources are also rich in vitamins and minerals. They can be

plant and animal origin. Amino acids are well absorbed by the body. Animal proteins are obtained from various types of flour:

  • fish,
  • bone,
  • blood,
  • pen.

Dairy products are also a source of well-digestible animal protein: cottage cheese or whey. Their inclusion in feed mixtures for laying hens

increases egg production and fertility of chickens.

Advantages of complete compound feed

Modern feed mixtures have a whole range of advantages:

  • save the breeder time;
  • strengthen the immunity of birds;
  • improve the quality of eggs and meat;
  • increase egg production;
  • have a positive effect on egg quality.

Complete feed for laying hens provides the daily requirement for proteins, carbohydrates, biologically active substances. In the process

production uses high-quality, proven raw materials. Some components cannot be obtained independently without expensive equipment. For example, the purest amino acids are synthesized only in the laboratory.

Feeding advice

The daily intake of birds depends on age:

  • 1-3 months - 10-25 g;
  • 4-8 months - 30-50 g;
  • 9-16 months - 50-70 g;
  • 16-20 months - 70-95 g;
  • 20-30 months - 100-110 g;
  • 30-45 months - 110-125 g;
  • 45-65 months - 120-130 years