Introduction to Bird Feeding Techniques
- It is vital to correctly identify your bird before initiating any diet
- The bird should be warm, as it will not be able to digest its food properly until it gains its normal body temperature
- Foods for the birds must not be freezing cold, it should be warm and ready to digest
- Never feed a bird milk as birds are lactose intolerant.
- Also see feeding granivores, insectivores, nectivores, lorikeets, water birds and raptors.
Diagram of bird mouth and throat
This method can be used for very small or very weak birds that cannot be spoon fed. A syringe is used with a small plastic tube fitted to the end of a syringe. Ensure that the tube is soft and pliable and that it has no sharp edges. This method of feeding can be tricky and is best demonstrated to you by a coordinator or person experienced with this technique.
Stick or finger feeding
A matchstick or wooden skewer can be used. Make the point of the stick blunt so the bird doesn’t spike itself. Place the food on the end of the stick or hold the food and place it into the bird's mouth. Not too much at a time or you may choke it.
You may require the use of your other hand to ease the beak open to make this happen; sometimes an assistant is required.
A plastic teaspoon or a metal teaspoon bent into a narrow shape to resemble the beak of the parent. The bird will suck the feed off the spoon and swallow it by itself. Teach the bird to feed itself by leaving the spoon loaded with food in the bowl of mixture between feeds.
It is vital to take utmost care when feeding baby birds to ensure no food or fluids end up in the bird’s windpipe. The opening of the windpipe is situated directly behind the tongue. Have a look at a picture of a bird’s mouth in other reference books. You must also take care that the bird doesn’t get covered with sticky food and become a real mess.
All diets need to be mixed daily, as they do not keep very well.
Baby birds should empty their crops before feeding again. You can tell when they need feeding again by feeling the crop. If you can still feel food in the crop do not feed until empty or almost empty.
Baby birds which have crops should empty their crops before feeding again. You can tell when they need feeding again by feeling the crop. If you can still feel food in the crop do not feed until it is almost empty.
It is a very good idea to team up with other members who are looking after the same species so that you can swap progress reports.
It is vital to work with other members who are looking after the same species. Birds that are creched together will progress much better when raised in a group of their own kind.