Homemade baby robin 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/Shutterstock.com

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/Shutterstock.com

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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  • Found an injured bird? Here’s how to help a bird with a broken wing

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.

Top 5 Home Food Canning Autoclaves - The Most Reliable, Durable and Affordable

This article is not a recommendation to buy home autoclaves and is not an advertisement for manufacturers. Remember that the safest way to sterilize and preserve meat and vegetables is to produce canned food in industrial autoclaves under the supervision of a professional technologist. Take care of yourself and happy reading!

There are several ways to make stew at home - cook in a pot, oven, slow cooker, pressure cooker or even microwave.

The easiest and fastest way is to put out the meat in an autoclave.

How the autoclave works

The principle of the autoclave is to hermetically sterilize food at temperatures above 100 degrees and pressures above atmospheric pressure.

Under these conditions, most bacteria are destroyed, which guarantees the preservation of ready meals at room temperature for several years.

About the history of autoclaving, types of autoclaves and the processes that take place in them, we wrote here.

Autoclave types

Autoclave preservation. Source: spb812.com

Each home canning autoclave has its own set of specifications.

For example, there are different types of construction, types of heating (electric and gas) and modes of operation (water and steam).

In addition, autoclaves differ from each other in the following parameters:

  • material (carbon steel or stainless steel, ideally the latter)

  • volume (average 15 to 30 liters)

  • cover fixing (wing bolts, nuts, eye bolts, etc.)

  • wall thickness (the thicker the better)

  • presence of a drain cock

  • bottom (the thicker the better, ideally a double bottom)

  • power

  • availability of instruments for monitoring the parameters of the autoclave (pressure gauge, thermometer, pressure relief valve). Ideally, these should be different devices, and not one, because. they are more accurate and easier to change

  • presence or absence of cassettes (holding devices holding cans of canned food)

Pressure cassettes in the autoclave. Source: spb812.com

Which company to choose

The most famous and popular manufacturers are:

Rating of the best autoclaves 2019 - 2020

The most reliable, durable and affordable according to customer reviews:

Consider their advantages and disadvantages.

“Damask Bogatyr” for 26 l

Autoclave “Damask Bogatyr”. Source: spb812.com

The autoclave is used for cooking stews, canned soups, vegetables and fruits, and as a still.

  • stainless steel

  • robust assembly

  • durable (up to 10 years of use)

  • simple instructions

  • attractive appearance

  • good sealing

  • adjustable cassettes

“Fansel” 23 l

Autoclave “Fansel”. Source: gradusdom.ru

  • pressure cassettes are adjustable - i.e. jars of different sizes and heights can be used - from 0.2 l to 1 l

  • long life (12 years)

  • quality material and welding

  • simple operation

  • sensors

  • reinforced bottom

2 in 1 robin

2 in 1 robin autoclave. Source: hootch.ru

In this autoclave, you can cook second courses with meat, compotes, fish, mushrooms, jam, and it can also be converted into a moonshine apparatus.

Available in four versions: 20, 26, 35 and 42 liters.

  • unique Power Inside lid technology for a secure fit

  • is suitable for all heating surfaces - electric, gas, induction, can be used even on a fire

  • reinforced bottom

  • has overpressure valve

  • Robust pressure cassettes 2 mm thick

  • stainless steel

  • security


“Hanhi” 20L

Autoclave “Hanhi”. Source: dacha.gramix.ru

  • has a drain cock

  • inexpensive

  • fits all

  • quality steel

  • accurate thermometer

  • optimal volume - 20 l

  • simple and safe

  • thicker sides and bottom

“Baby GasNerzh” for 22 liters

Autoclave “Baby GasNerzh”. Source: spb.samodel.ru

  • reliable and easy to use

  • suitable for gas and electric stoves

  • roomy

  • is used both for cooking stew, vegetables and cereals, and for distilling water

  • unlimited service life (according to the manufacturer)

  • high operating temperature

  • heavy - 13 kg

  • expensive

  • no pressure gauge

To find out which autoclave is best for you, look at its specifications and select the correct volume.

Stews, jams, preserves, canned vegetables and soups prepared in an autoclave are not only tasty and convenient, but also healthy, because they retain most of the nutrients and vitamins necessary for health.

monochrome salad, dumplings with history and kefir mousse

My love for Yekaterinburg is made up of love for specific places, people, events, and sometimes even restaurants. At times it seems to me that I know everything about this city, and it is not easy to surprise me. For this reason, I rejoice like a pioneer when I fall in love with something new. So it happened with the Malinovka restaurant.

This year the institution will be 10 years old. During its operation, the restaurant has acquired regular guests, among whom there are famous musicians, actors, politicians from Russia and other countries. You can see their portraits as soon as you step over the threshold. Regulars note the stable high quality of dishes, interesting serving, friendly staff and home comfort. This is also evidenced by the high ratings of travelers and residents of Yekaterinburg on the TripAdvisor website and similar services.

In the pictures you can see famous people who visited the restaurant at different times. For example, we were sitting in the hall where Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov once had dinner

I first visited Malinovka last week when the new summer menu was being presented. That evening I managed to try many dishes, and I would without a doubt order each of them again. However, let's talk about everything in order.

The restaurant is located at the very beginning of Metallurgov Street, in the basement of an inconspicuous modern building, and it is unlikely that random passers-by often come here. Fans of trendy cafes will probably not be surprised by the interior of the establishment either. The Malinovka Hall resembles a Ukrainian hut-hut with a large yard. There is a neatly whitewashed stove in which a fire is constantly burning and birch firewood is crackling. The walls are hung with garlands of garlic and onions, bouquets of wildflowers are in vases, and on tables and shelves are jars of pickles and jams, homemade clay pots and many other household utensils.

The stove is in the center of the main hall. On weekends, a musician sits next to her, who performs various compositions.

Wicker fences made of thin twigs, which serve as partitions, wrap around hops and loaches, in some places blooming sunflowers can be seen. In the center of the courtyard there is a leisurely river with a wooden footbridge across it.

There are openwork curtains on the windows, which are usually a simple decoration of old village houses, on the floor there are patchwork rugs that grandmothers knit, and in wooden frames there are old photographs, including from the movie "Wedding in Malinovka". It's warm and cozy here. Due to the abundance of details, at the beginning it seems that the place is crowded, but over time you get used to it and feel like in a country cottage.

Chef of Malinovka Sergey Boishtyan and chef, Russian TV presenter, author of cookery books Ilya Lazerson. That evening, Ilya Isaakovich gave a lecture in Yekaterinburg, and after that he came to Malinovka for dinner. But it is worth noting that they are prepared in a special way. Chef Sergey Boishtyan constantly trains in iconic restaurants, tries to select only the best seasonal products, uses modern techniques and diligently works on serving - all this adds sophistication to even the simplest dishes.

For example, the turkey from the summer menu is served in the vitello tonnato style. The breast is cooked using sous-vide technology, that is, under vacuum and at low temperature. Due to this, the meat remains juicy and ideal in texture. Thin slices, covered with a light cream sauce of tuna and capers, melt in your mouth and leave a pleasant aftertaste. This appetizer is especially well combined with cold sparkling Ferrari Demi Sec.

The generous chef adds three alcoholic beverages at once to the chicken pate: cognac, port wine and Madeira, as well as a precisely adjusted amount of spices. As a result, the pate comes out "silky" and spicy. It is served on crispy homemade toast and garnished with cherry tomato halves, spicy arugula leaves and thin strips of red onion. Pine nut tincture went well under such a dish at the table.

If you're on a strict diet (which I boasted about before dinner) or if you think vegetables are the most boring food in the world, try the salads from the summer menu. Start with monochrome green. It's made with one color vegetables: juicy baby pea pods, curly broccoli florets, refreshing cucumber and apple slices, creamy avocado, spicy peppers, spinach leaves and a light mint yogurt dressing. The dish is delicate, fragrant and wonderfully combined with light, slightly tart wine The Ned Sauvignon Blanc.

The next salad will again surprise you with taste and simplicity. Tart green radish, crunchy radish and juicy daikon, a scattering of pomegranate seeds, spiced oil with the aroma of fried onions. Such a salad, as the chef admitted, was prepared by his grandmother. And you can easily reproduce this dish at home. It will certainly become a table decoration, and your guests will be surprised how good the not-so-popular root vegetables taste.

The last salad is again light and fresh. A pleasant dill-anise aroma of fennel, sorrel sourness, radish and cucumber slices, a pillow of fresh herbs that seems to have just been plucked from the garden, tiny quail eggs and the sharpness of fresh onions. The perfect salad for an unexpectedly hot Ural summer.

To be honest, after such an introduction to the main dishes, I no longer wanted to, but they were so tasty that no one could refuse. Heavy artillery immediately entered the battle. Vareniki. Three types of three different shapes, so as not to be confused when cooking. In general, this dish is from the main menu, and not from the summer one, but we are glad that we were treated to it. Thin envelopes made of dough were filled with juicy fillings: baked potatoes with cracklings, cabbage, chicken meat with mushrooms. Vareniki are served with thin onion chips and sour cream, however, they are incredibly good without sauce. I would call them fabulous if they knew how to fly into their mouths.

The next two dishes were served almost simultaneously. The first was a thick piece of halibut baked in the oven, on a bed of fresh tomatoes and zucchini lightly stewed on the coals. Piece by piece, the delicate fish, to everyone's dismay, disappeared instantly.

She was replaced by a fish pie. And no, it's not at all what you imagined. In a red-hot ceramic dish, under a layer of well-seasoned mashed potatoes, small pieces of white fish were hidden, with vegetables and a creamy sauce. If you visit Malinovka, be sure to try this hearty roast and order a glass of Livio Felluga Sharis to go with it.

The homemade egg noodles were firm, firm and soft on the inside. The cook cut it with a knife, and this made it even more like my grandmother's - she once cooked this for chicken soup. The noodles were served with stewed chicken pieces, which made the dish especially tasty and nutritious.

The last one was the rabbit. It was cooked in a pot, under a thin crust of lenten dough with coriander. Small pieces of meat were stewed with mushrooms, vegetables and green apples.

The culmination of the dinner was desserts. There were three. It all started with dumplings and my worries about a fat priest. But it wasn't easy to keep up. For the filling, Sergey Boishtyan chose blackcurrant. The legend says that one of the guests of the restaurant told him about this recipe 10 years ago. Bright sourness of berries and sweet sour cream sauce with cinnamon. I gave up on the diet and ate three.

The traditional Italian dessert semfredo was airy and melting, but too sweet for me, especially with cherry sauce.

The finishing touch is kefir mousse with raspberry coulis, fresh berries, dark chocolate and mint. The sourness of this dessert is balanced by the sugariness of the Fruko Schulz Creme de Cassis liqueur. Personally, I would like to always end dinner with such a delicate sweetness.

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