The care and feeding of baby birds play
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Hand-Feeding Baby Birds | VCA Animal Hospital
Hand-feeding baby birds is only a substitute for parents raising birds, but it does have certain advantages. Hand-raised baby birds usually make better pets, as they have been completely socialized with humans. Hand-raised babies grow up with less fear of humans or other potential dangers such as cats, dogs and young children. Hand-feeding is a huge responsibility and requires time, patience, and commitment. Hand-fed baby birds are entirely reliant on you for everything. Hand-feeding is a job best left for the experienced bird breeder or aviculturist. If you’re considering hand-feeding a baby bird, you should contact your local bird breeder or veterinarian for help. This handout is designed to provide some basic guidelines on how to hand-feed.
When do I start hand-feeding a baby bird?
A chick may be removed from its parents any time before weaning, but many suggest leaving the babies with the parents for up to 3 weeks. Older birds may prove to be more challenging in their acceptance of hand-feeding.
Where do I keep a baby bird?
Precise temperature and humidity is essential for optimum growth of newly hatched birds. Initially, relative humidity greater than 50% is required. Hatchlings (without feathers) should be maintained at 95°-97°F (35°-36°C). As the chick gets older and develops feathers, it has a greater tolerance for temperature fluctuations.
Generally, the temperature can be lowered by one degree every 2-3 days as feathering progresses. Chicks with new feathers (pinfeathers) should be fine at 75°-85°F (24°-30°C) depending on the development of the feathers. Fully feathered and weaned chicks can be maintained at room temperature. If you are raising a chick, always monitor your bird for signs of overheating or chilling. Wings extended or drooping, and panting indicate overheating. Shivering and cuddling of chicks together indicate that they’re cold.
Poor growth or poor digestion (delayed crop emptying) may indicate poor health (including presence of gastrointestinal tract infections), improper consistency/mixing of hand feeding formula, improper temperature of formula, or improper environmental temperature and humidity. Good quality brooders are available that carefully regulate air circulation, temperature, and humidity. Paper towel, diapers, hand towels, or other soft, disposable products can be used to line the bottom of the brooder and provide secure, clean, dry footing for birds. The bottom liner must be changed frequently to keep birds clean. If the bottom texture is too smooth, chicks’ legs may splay out sideways, leading to permanent deformities. The brooder should be carefully checked to ensure that it does not contain anything for birds to get their wings or legs stuck on or that might cause injury or deformities.
What should I feed my bird?
There are numerous commercially available hand-feeding formulas for baby birds. You should choose one formula and use it until the baby is weaned. Changes in diet may be stressful on the baby's digestion. Be sure to discuss dietary choices with your veterinarian, an experienced bird breeder, or an aviculturist.
How do I feed my baby bird?
All food must be prepared fresh for every feeding. Food retained from one feeding to another is an ideal medium for the growth of harmful bacteria and yeast. Any food prepared or heated in a microwave oven must be mixed thoroughly to ensure that the food’s temperature is uniform and that there are no hot or cold spots. Food temperature should be at 102°-106°F (39°-41°C) throughout the mixture and should be measured with a thermometer. Food that is too hot may cause severe burns to the crop.
Food that is too cold may be rejected by baby birds and may slow down digestion. Hand-feeding formulas have specific directions on the packaging and explain how they should be mixed.
In general, the younger the bird, the thinner the mixture should be. A day-old chick requires a more dilute mixture (90% water), as it is still utilizing the yolk sac as a source of nutrition. Chicks older than one or two days, should have food containing approximately 70-75% liquid.
"All food must be prepared fresh for every feeding."
Syringes are probably the preferred feeding tool, but some bird owners still prefer a spoon with the sides bent up and inward. Accurate feeding volumes can be recorded with the syringe. Charting daily feedings is important. The natural feeding response of a baby bird is to rapidly bob the head in an up and down motion. This action can be stimulated with gentle finger pressure at the corners of the mouth. During this head bobbing, the trachea is closed and large amounts of food can be given relatively quickly.
If the bird is not displaying a strong feeding response, do not attempt to feed as there is an increased chance of aspiration of food into the trachea and lungs which can lead to death. The best time to feed is when the crop is empty. When full, the crop, which is the sac that hangs over the front of the chest at the base of the neck, will be visibly distended.
How often and how much do I feed?
The amount and frequency of feeding depends on the age of the bird and the formula fed. The frequency of feeding for young birds is greater than that of older birds. The following are general guidelines. With newly hatched chicks, the yolk sac is the source of nutrients for the first 12-24 hours post-hatching. Chicks less than one week old should be fed 6-10 times per day (every 2-3 hours).
During the first week of life, some birds benefit from feeding during the night. Chicks that have not yet opened their eyes may take 5-6 feedings per day (every 3-4 hours). Once birds’ eyes open, they can have 3-5 feedings (one every 5 hours). As their feathers start to grow in, they may be fed 2-3 times per day (every 6 hours). Their crops should appear full when they’re done.
Feeding between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. is not necessary at that point when birds are sleeping. The best indication of a healthy, growing chick is a good, strong feeding response at every feeding, with the crop emptying between feedings, and the regular production of droppings (feces). Weight gain should be monitored and recorded at the same time each day using a scale that weighs in grams with 1-gram increments to detect subtle increases or decreases. Birds’ weights may fluctuate up and down daily but should trend upward over a period of days to weeks. Birds that are not gaining weight should be checked by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
When should birds be weaned off hand-feeding formula?
Deciding when to wean a bird off of formula is often a difficult decision for both the bird owner and the bird. As a bird gets older and develops a full complement of feathers, it should be encouraged to wean off formula and to eat more on its own. Some babies start weaning themselves by refusing certain feedings.
Birds should be offered a variety of foods including formulated pelleted diets as well as fresh fruits and vegetables to encourage exploration and experimentation. As food introduction continues, hand-feeding may be withheld at certain times, often starting with the mid-day feedings. As time goes on, the morning feeding may be withheld and ultimately the evening feeding. Some birds learn quicker to eat on their own by watching other birds or older babies eat.
Should I be concerned about disinfection?
Baby birds have poorly developed immune systems and are more susceptible to developing infections. The brooder should be disinfected regularly. All feeding utensils must be cleaned, disinfected, and dried thoroughly between feedings. Using separate feeding utensils for every individual bird is recommended.
How do I know if something is wrong?
If you suspect something is wrong with your bird, you should immediately contact your veterinarian. Signs to watch for include:
- Chirping or crying all the time
- Fussing a lot and not sleeping
- Listless, droopy wings or head
- Not accepting food
- Lack of feeding response
- Slow or lack of crop emptying
- Poor weight gain
- Slow growth
- Abnormal posturing or abnormal wing and/or leg positions
- Abnormal or lack of droppings
- Wetness or food on skin over the crop (indicating a possible burn)
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.
Veterinary clinic Bambi.
You can ask an ornithologist on the forum.
What to do if you find a chick?
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› I found a chick! What to do? nine0003
"He's so tiny, defenseless and clumsy" - probably everyone who sees a little chick that has fallen out of the nest thinks so. You just want to take him home, giving him warmth and care. But does the little creature need it?
Summer is the time when gardens, forests and parks decorated with luxurious lush green dress, pleasant aromas and twitter birds . Seems like the melody comes from everyone sides. Here is a starling lurking on a branch, a sparrow walks along the path, and in the distance the lark gives out its sonorous “chill-chelp”. And who knows: maybe one of them the chicks are already growing. They sit in the nest and wait for their parents while they are in search of food. They are still so small that they can easily fall out of the nest. And what if it's you you will notice in the grass one of these chicks? nine0003
What to do when you find a chick?
Imagine Friend, what happened during the walk adventure. Did you find a little chick and don't know how to do it right leave it or take it home. Read further - and I will tell you what and how make.
More often of all people find chicks that learn to fly. They are called fledglings. Trying to flap their wings, they sometimes fall out of the nest. nine0003
At the fledgling already has feathers, although they very short. Of course he still can't. return home on your own. Notes do not worry and do not rush to take the chick.
Fledgling does not fly yet, but already knows how to jump and flutter wings.
What what to do if you find a fledgling? Let's Consider situations that could happen and figure out how to act. nine0003
you found a chick near a tree. Look around around. Check if you can see the nest anywhere: the chick could not fly far. listen - and, perhaps, you will hear how a chick called brothers and sisters. If nests You never found it or is it located too high, just leave the chick near a tree; his parents find him.
Fledgling was far from the forest or garden (near roads, on school steps or on porch of the house). nine0077 B in such places the chick is in danger: it can become the prey of a cat or dog. To prevent this from happening, take the chick away from trees and bushes.
Friend, even if the parents never arrived to the chick, you have nothing to worry about. fledgling learns very fast fly. Therefore, perhaps in a few hours, he will independently go to mom and dad - and will definitely meet them.
nine0076 On the chick's body is wounded. B In this case, you cannot leave it. Need contact the Special rehabilitation center or veterinary clinic: they will tell you there what to do.
you stumbled not on one fledgling, but immediately on several, and next to it is a broken nest. This is often comes from strong winds. If the nest at least a little survived, "repair" it with the help of twigs and dry grass. nine0003
If but it is completely broken, you need to make new home for the chicks. Well if You noticed birds near the house: you can quickly find an old little basket or cardboard box, line new "nest" paper towels and hang on a branch with a metal wire.
When can I take my chick home?
Take away found chick can only go home when there is a sharp necessity. After all, no matter how hard you try man take care of him, nothing will replace the natural conditions of life for the chick. nine0003
Take a chick is possible if it is:
- just born: he has no feathers at all, he is blind and almost does not move;
- injured and veterinarian there is no clinic in your area or she is very far away.
Take a chick under your care is, Friend, a big a responsibility. Therefore, you must should consult with parents before you make a decision. nine0003
So, if You found a chick and brought it home, the first thing you must do is feed him.
When and what does a chick eat?
At chicks have a very fast metabolism: this means that the food digested instantly. give food chick you'll have from dawn to sunset: approximately 6 a. m. to ten o'clock. Need to feed often every 15-20 minutes. That is up to 65 times in a day! Now just imagine how parent birds have to work looking for food for the kids. nine0003
Hungry the chick immediately weakens. So don't waste time and quickly feed your ward.
To him can be given:
- boiled eggs;
- flour Khrushchakov;
- Zhukov. nine0113
Pay Attention! Chicks should not be fed bread, milk or seeds. Dangerous for them Colorado beetles, ladybugs and hairy caterpillars.
For little chick food needs to be crushed and bring to the beak with tweezers. And if he refuses to eat, then you have to feed it from a syringe without a needle. For this food you need to crush it well and add a few drops of water if the mixture got dry. nine0003
AT in other cases, give water to the chick no need. The main thing is variety. diet: it should not only be dry food (crickets, cockroaches), but also wet (worms, caterpillars).
Making a nest for a chick
You, probably want to make for tiny chick the best house - small and cozy. But really he needs not beautiful, but only warm place. So it's enough to do modest housing for a chick. nine0003
What Do you need it for this?
- Cardboard box with sides at least 10 cm high.
- plastic or wooden bowl.
- Paper towels.
- Pieces of fabric.
If You don't have an ordinary cardboard box, then there is definitely an unnecessary box in which Once upon a time there were shoes. She fits perfectly to build a nest the chick can settle. into the box put in a small bowl. fill her up sawdust, hay and scraps of cloth. Or you can just line it with white paper towels or towels. In such a nest, the chick will be pleased, warm and soft. nine0003
Pay Attention! Not allowed line the nest with cotton. Not suitable for this and knitting threads - they have a chick can easily get tangled and damaged paw or wing. No way make a nest from fresh grass and leaves - the chick will they are cold.
Sure, You made it easy with the nest! But it's still Not all. To make the chick feel as comfortable as possible, you must provide special conditions for him. nine0003
chick should be warm. Need keep the same temperature in the nest. The optimal indicator is 35 degrees: You will definitely need thermometer to monitor it.
warm up chick You can in several ways:
- Fill with warm water sealed bag with plastic clasp and put on it nest box. nine0112 Pour warm water in a plastic bottle, wrap with a cloth or paper towels and put near the nest.
- Put the box on an electric heating pad, setting on it minimum temperature.
Every week, the temperature can be lowered by three degrees until the chick get used to room temperature regime.
box with a nest can not be left in a draft. nine0077 The chick is still too small, and its body is not can store heat. So the baby is very sensitive to both low and high temperature.
Not make noise where the chick is. he afraid of loud noises. It may provoke stress, dangerous for chick health.
Tips for proper chick care
Friend, I told you in detail what to do with a tamed chick. And finally I want to leave another mini-memo: promise that you abide by these rules. nine0003
- Don't worry baby once again: do not pick up and do not stroke. He doesn't like it.
- Put on your gloves if you're going to touch a bird: it can carry infections. And be sure after that wash your hands with soap.
- Don't shift chick from one place to another, even if you think he is uncomfortable lies.