What to Feed Baby Birds

Image result for parrots baby food

There are many different hand rearing formulas commercially available some.  For example: When hand rearing Galah’s, White Cockies, Major Mitchells, Budgies, Doves, Finches, Cockatiels and other granivores I have found using Passwell Hand Rearing Formulaand Wombaroo Granivore works really well.

There is many different brands of lorikeet formula, Birdsville stocks a variety of quality food formulas at wholesale prices, be wary of many supermarket or “home made” mixes of food as feeding a low quality mix, can cause rickets in young birds which is a common issue in baby birds that can be simply avoided by feeding a quality formula.  If unsure of what your buying ask your local bird small animal specialist store.

For fruit eating parrots such as Eclectus, Amazon’s, Green Cheek Conure’s, Caique’s, Macaw’s I have had great success using Passwell Hand Rearing Formula, Wombaroo Granivore, Tropican hand rearing formula, Zupreem Hand Rearng formula,  Vetafarm Hand Rearing Formula and Vetafarm Neocare,

Hand raising Lorikeets we recommend using any of the above formulas mixed 50/50 with any good quality lorikeet food such as Shep’s Wet or Wombaroo Lorikeet , passwell Lorikeet formula, vetafarm forest fusion, avione lorikeet food, for more info on Young Lorikeets see Lorikeet Care Sheet

Rule Number One

When giving hand raising formula make sure it contains probotics. This is due to the hand rearing formulas passing through the crop faster than food fed to baby birds by parental birds, which they can lose some of the good bacteria and this just keeps your birds strong from the inside out.  Many formula’s that contain probotic supplements are available or can be purchase separately.

Some people have used home made diets to feed baby birds these should be critically assessed for the nutritional value  and suitability for young birds as this can effect the development of the bird and long term health and immune system.

Feeding Chicks

  • Always feed them warm formula but be careful not to burn the baby birds crop as it will die.  Do not microwave food this can create hot pockets in the formula.
  • Only mix enough food for one feed at a time.
  • Never feed a bird with feed still in the crop as this will cause the old food to curdle and will probably kill the baby bird if there is food in the crop (which is the sac under the birds head) wait until it is completely empty.
  • Do not fill the crop until it is bulging and very full as this can stretch the crop.
  • Always mix food according to manufacturers directions.
  • Hygiene is essential always disinfect all feeding instruments and dishes.
  • Feed baby birds using a syringe, crop needle or a specialised spoon.
  • Always be gentle if using a crop needle

When feeding with a syringe or spoon, only feed when the bird is begging, which is when the bird’s head is bobbing up and down.

Guide for Feeding intervals

The older the bird is the longer they can go without needing to be fed.  This is a rough guide for most parrots but this may vary depending on species.

  • 1-7 days old will need hourly feeds 24 hours a day
  • 7-14 days old will need a feed every 2 hours with around a 5 hour break at night
  • 14-21 days old feed every 3 to 4 hours with a 6 hour break at night
  • 21-28 days old feed every 4 to 5 hours a day with a 7 hour break at night
  • 28 to 42 days feed every 5 to 6 hours
  • by week 8  every 8 hours
  • when your bird is starting to eat fruit seed and pellets just feed morning and night and only stop when your bird no longer wants to eat hand rearing formula as some birds take longer to wean than others.

 Signs of Illness when Hand Raising Baby Birds

If your inexperienced with birds always weight and examine your bird. Baby and young birds are very susceptible to bacterial infections.

Sign of illness include, but not limited too:

  • Lethargic not willing to feed
  • Not gaining weight or putting weight on
  • Skin changes to red or white
  • Skin more wrongly than normal – this is dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Change in droppings
  • Crop emptying slowly

Hand rearing Parrots requires dedication as these animals are very delicate.