Guide to raising a baby bird by hand
Guide to raising a baby bird by hand

Guide to raising a baby bird by hand

Hand-rearing a baby bird can be quite difficult and needs to be repeated every few hours by an experienced foster mother. On the other hand, it can be a very rewarding experience to buy newly-weaned or soon-to-be-weaned birds that have no problems and can eat easily.

How much to feed a baby bird at a time

A baby bird should be fed per Have to eat 10 per cent of his body weight. (A 500-gram bird needs 50 millilitres of food per session). A baby of this age needs to be fed about three times a day

It is important to keep your bird not to feed it if it still has food in its crop (the enlarged part of the oesophagus at the base of the neck) from the last meal. Food in the crop for more than three to four hours is a sign of crop stasis (retardation) and may be the start of a bacterial infection or fungal growth in the crop that could make your baby bird sick.

If you overfeed your bird at every meal, its crop may become overloaded and it loses its ability to move food through the digestive system.

You must use your weigh the bird daily on a gram scale. This will help you determine how much you should feed your bird and it will help you monitor whether it is gaining or losing weight, which can be a sign of your bird's overall health.

What to feed

Most baby birds thrive reasonably well on a commercially available hand rearing food specially made for your bird species. These complete diets are convenient because they are easy to prepare. It is important to mix these preparations as directed; do not add any ingredients unless prescribed by your veterinarian. A formula that is too thin will not contain the right nutrients, and a formula that is too thick may become a hard ball in the crop and will not be digested properly.

Featured products

The products below are for sale on and serve as examples. choose the right formula for the type of bird you have.

Food temperature

The formula should be fed at a temperature between 40 and 43 degrees. Baby birds will not eat food that is too cold. Conversely, many chicks have died from novice bird owners who fed a diet that was too warm, causing the crop to burn severely.

As a precaution, use hot tap water and always keep a cooking thermometer in the food formula. If you choose to heat the formula with a microwave, remember to stir it very carefully as there may be hot lumps in the mix. Take the temperature before and after stirring.

How to feed

Your bird is used to being fed by its human foster mother in the pet shop or the aviary. Ideally, you should receive instructions from this person and copy his or her technique as accurately as possible.

Spoon feeding is exactly what it sounds like. Gently stretch your bird's neck straight up and support the head with one hand, placing your thumb and index finger gently on either side of the upper beak, close to where it emerges from the skin. With the other hand, tilt the spoon with formula. Make your bird swallow and continue in this way until it has received the correct 10 per cent.

Support your baby bird's head when feeding with a syringe in the same way as when feeding with a spoon and place the syringe in the side of its mouth, facing the back of its throat. Give him the formula while opening his throat. Practice with the syringe first, as it is normal for too much to come out suddenly.

Also remember that your bird needs to breathe at some point, so if you put food in its mouth for more than a few seconds, it may suck food into its lungs..

Be careful with babies who are vigorously bobbing for their food. It is easy to injure the back of the throat with the tip of the syringe when these little ones are aggressively searching for food.

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