How to feed a baby bird hard boiled eggs

Everything You Need to Know – Petsmont

If you’re interested in learning about baby birds and what to feed them, you’ve come to the right place. One day you might have been out in your yard, tending to your garden when you hear a small “tweet tweet” coming from somewhere in the grass. You’ll walk towards the sound and it takes you to s shady spot just under your large oak tree. This is where you’ll find a small baby bird nestled in the grass, crying out for their mother who is nowhere in sight. 

If you have already found yourself in such a situation, it’s beneficial to know how to feed such a small baby bird, because it is likely that their mother is not coming back for them. If you feel that you can take on the responsibility of feeding and nourishing this baby bird until they are old enough to live on their own, here’s what you’ve got to do. Start by identifying whether you should take in this baby bird and feed it. 

Should I Feed this Baby Bird?

First things, first, you need to determine whether this baby bird does in fact need you to take them in and feed them. If you do come across what seems to be an abandoned baby bird that is in need of some nourishment, you should first call your local wildlife rehab center and see if they can offer some help. 

If you’ve tried to reach your local wildlife rehabilitation center but have had no luck on reaching someone to give you information, there are some foods that you can try to feed them. If it’s clear that this baby bird is in need of some nutrition, there are some foods that you may have on hand at home. These foods include hard-boiled eggs or moistened dog biscuits/food.  Raw liver is also a good emergency food option for baby birds. 

Keep in mind, the food that you might typically feed the birds who live in your back yard is not suitable for a young baby bird. The seeds and water that you leave out for the adult birds are not what you should try and feed to a baby bird. 

What NOT to Feed a Baby Bird

So, you’ve determined that you do need to try and get some food into this little baby bird. Feeding them soft foods that are high in protein, such as hard-boiled eggs or raw liver are great ideas. There are a few food choices that should be avoided at all costs when considering what to feed your baby bird. 

A few things that you should never feed a young baby bird include water, bread, milk, birdseed, worms, or kitchen scraps. These foods should especially never be fed to nestlings. They are far too young and could not handle eating these foods. 

Feeding a Nesting Bird: How To

All baby bird food must be freshly prepared for each feeding. This may sound tedious, but you can’t be too careful when feeding such a young bird. Food that is kept from one feeding to the next is an automatic breeding ground for harmful bacteria. 

Baby birds require food that is all one temperature. The ideal temperature is between 102-106 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, food that is too hot could burn the crop while food that is too cold will not digest properly. (the “crop” is a small pouch on the front of their chest where food goes when swallowed. You will be able to visibly see this become full as they eat.)

The younger the baby bird that you are feeding is, the more watered down their food should be. As they grow older the food can become thicker and thicker. Using a syringe to feed your baby bird is probably the best and easiest approach. That way you can measure and record their intake at each meal. 

Naturally, a baby bird will bob its head up and down as they eat. So, if your baby bird begins to do what looks like a happy dance, this is a good sign. If the baby bird does not have this response, it may not be safe to feed them at this time. 

The frequency and volume of feedings will change as the bird grows older. Initially, if the bird is under a week when you find them, feedings should be as frequent as 6-10 times a day. Once they’ve hit the milestone of opening their eyes, feedings can decrease to 3-5 times per day. 

As your baby bird grows and their diet changes, you will want to have kept a written record of all their changes. This record can include how much and how often you fed them and what was included in each meal. Additionally, recording their weight as they grow is also a good idea. 


Taking on the responsibility of feeding and caring for a baby bird is a lot for one person to handle. Especially if that one person is not a trained bird rehabilitation technician. That doesn’t mean it’s not doable. Anyone could feed a baby bird safely at home if they take the time to learn how to feed them and what they should be eating. Raising and feeding a baby bird is a unique and heartwarming experience for anyone who has the opportunity to do so.

What do you feed a baby bird?

Small baby bird food needs to be soft and high in protein, just like what their mother would give them. This includes hard-boiled eggs, moistened dog or cat food, or even raw liver.

How often do you feed a baby bird?

How often you feed them depends on their age and weight. For instance, if they are less than one week old, they will likely need to eat 6-10 times a day. Once they open their eyes, feedings can go down to 3-5 times per day.

How much do you feed a baby bird?

There is a sac called a “crop” in the front of the baby bird’s neck, right over the chest. You can see this sac visibility fill and distend when they eat. You will want to stop feeding once the crop has become filled.

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What to Feed a Baby Bird

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

Nestling "fell out of the nest": to save or not to save?

Spring is the time for nature walks. Walking in the park, in the country, in the forest, compassionate, but not particularly savvy in biology people meet "unfortunate chicks that have fallen out of the nest." In an effort to "save" the bird, they take it home, hoping to feed it and safely release it into the wild. As a rule, such a “happy rescue” turns into the death of a bird to the horror of the saviors. This situation is repeated from year to year in May-June, when the grown chicks or fledglings fly out of the nests. We have compiled a memo for people who met a flown chick. It contains answers to the most frequently asked questions. nine0003 Who are fledglings?
In most birds that live side by side with us, the chicks deliberately leave the nests at an age when they cannot fly. The reason is simple: if a predator finds a nest with chicks, it will certainly destroy them all. And the chicks “scattered” over the area are not such an easy prey. Parents know exactly where the chick is. They regularly fly in, feed him, protect him and teach him to fly. Such a "school of life" can continue for quite a long time, for example, corvids continue to feed their cubs even when they reach the size of an adult bird. nine0007

How do I know that I have found a fledgling?
Fledglings, as a rule, are covered with "baby" down. They have a curly tail, and a yellow border around the beak. Not fully grown feathers can cover only part of the body. However, the eyes of the fledgling are open. He can stand or jump on the ground.
How do fledglings behave?
After leaving the nest, fledglings choose the safest place. They can sit still for hours, waiting for their parents, because their life depends on how quiet they behave. Frightened, the fledglings freeze. nine0003 I found a fledgling, what should I do?
1. Assess the situation. If the bird sits away from crowded places, roads and playgrounds - do not touch it! Just move away and try not to attract animals and people.
2. If the chick is sitting in a dangerous place: on a playground, sidewalk, roadway, carefully take it and move it to the nearest safe shelter, for example, in a bush, and plant it on a lower branch. Planting high, and even more so, trying to return the chick to the nest, should not be: it will still fall out of there, having been injured. nine0003 When does a chick need my help?
1. If the parents do not fly to the chick for a day or more.
2. If he has obvious injuries: blood, he is very emaciated and does not react to what is happening.
3. If the chick is “not ripe” even to the fledgling: it has no plumage and fluff, no tail at all, it is very small. In this case, you have a victim of a tragedy - a chick that fell out of the nest as a result of a strong wind or an attack by predators.
4. If a swift chick lies on the ground. Swifts do not sit on the ground, and a chick that falls out without help is doomed to death. An adult swift (if he is not injured!) In such a situation, it is enough just to throw it into the air. The chick will first have to be grown, but then it can be safely released - young swifts get used to life without parental care. nine0007

I did not know anything about fledglings and brought such a chick home. What should I do?
1. If the bird is a really healthy fledgling, return it immediately! The faster you do this, the more chances the chick has for a long and happy life.
2. If it is impossible to return the bird to nature, get ready for a long and difficult feeding process. There is a lot of information on the Internet about how to properly feed chicks. In short, the chick should be fed every hour with a break of 4-6 hours at night. The songbird is fed with a mixture of hard-boiled chicken eggs, finely grated carrots and white breadcrumbs. The composition of the feed must include multivitamins, mineral supplements, cottage cheese and chopped lean boiled meat. It is necessary to water the chick from a pipette. If he refuses to eat for 2-3 hours, he will have to force-feed: opening his beak and pushing food into the throat. After a couple of such feedings, the chick, as a rule, understands what's what. nine0003 3. Small chicks, whose feathers have not yet blossomed, must be heated, maintaining a temperature of 26-28 degrees with a heating pad or a special lamp.
4. Little owls should be fed finely chopped quail, mice or chickens. Occasionally adding chicken liver.

Who is able to help me out fledgling?
ANO "Biosphere of the Baltic" is engaged in the rescue and rehabilitation of wild birds. Julia Sadovskaya +79622633775
Kaliningrad Zoo, in accordance with the requirements of the law and veterinary standards, cannot accept birds from nature, however, it is ready to provide advice. Tamara Chapkina - ornithologist +79506769681.

IMPORTANT! It is impossible to return a chick fed by man to nature. He does not know how to get food on his own and trusts people. In the wild, such birds die very quickly. Fledgling is a natural stage of maturation through which all birds go. Keep this in mind when solving the dilemma, "to save or not to save." nine0007

Boiled chicken eggs. Canaries

Boiled chicken eggs

This type of food is the main food of animal origin because it is available to everyone. In addition, chicken eggs are rich not only in proteins and mineral salts, but also in many vitamins.

Egg yolk contains about 70% organic matter and about 28% proteins. Organic compounds include fats, minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, chlorine, sodium, sulfur, iron, as well as small amounts of aluminum, barium, bromine, boron, iodine, etc.) and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. These are the most important of all substances contained in the egg yolk. nine0007

Egg white is 86-88% water. It contains vitamins of group B and some others.

Chicken eggs are of the greatest value for chicks in the first days of life. During this period, boiled chicken eggs should be made their main food.

This food is not particularly nutritious for adult birds. It should not be given constantly, but periodically and not often, especially to birds kept in cages. During periods of molting and preparation for nesting, as well as during the feeding of chicks, the number of boiled chicken eggs in the diet of canaries should be increased. nine0007

Boiled eggs are fed to birds in 2 ways.

Method 1. A fresh chicken egg is boiled for at least 7-8 minutes, but not overcooked, because such an egg is poorly digested by birds. The yolk should be crumbly, without the grey-green shell that is a sign of an overcooked egg. The boiled egg should be cooled, peeled and grated, mashed with a fork or finely chopped with a knife.

The crushed egg is mixed with grated carrots, beets or apples, then 1-2 tablespoons of crushed white crackers, semolina or bran are added. All components must be thoroughly mixed until a crumbly mass is obtained. In this form, food is given to canaries at the rate of 1 teaspoon per bird. nine0007

The advantage of this method of preparing food is that the composition of the resulting mixture can include vitamin supplements (for example, fish oil), drugs (in liquid or powder form), green grass or coniferous, meat and bone and bone meal, etc. If canaries are accustomed to this mixture, they willingly eat it with all the additives. Egg mixture can also be used to introduce birds to new types of food.

Fish oil is added to the egg mixture, usually in winter and early spring, and also during the period of nesting preparation and during the rearing of chicks. The dose of fish oil is 1-2 drops per 1 teaspoon of the mixture. You can also add trivitamin in oil at the rate of 1-2 drops per 1 tablespoon of the mixture. nine0007

The disadvantage of a mixture prepared in this way is that it spoils very quickly in hot weather. It has to be cooked 2-3 times a day for birds that feed chicks.

During the nesting period, the egg food must be kept in the canaries' cage at all times. In the inter-breeding period, it is fed 0.25 teaspoon per bird 1-2 times a week.

Method 2. The egg is hard-boiled and cut with the shell into 2 or 4 pieces. In this form, it is placed in the feeder. The shell will become an additional mineral supplement for canaries. nine0007

Egg food prepared in this way lasts longer than in the mixture. However, when eating a cut egg, canaries begin to choose the white or yolk, leaving the rest of the egg intact. In addition, the cut egg quickly dries up and becomes covered with a crust, after which the part of the egg under it becomes inaccessible to birds.

Therefore, it is preferable to feed eggs in the form of an egg mixture to canaries than to give them separately.

nine0002 This text is an introductory fragment.

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