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Forum » Our Community » General Health Care » Understanding Handfeeding Baby Birds
Understanding Handfeeding Baby Birds
AdminDate: Thursday, 2011-06-09, 10:57 AM | Message # 1
Egg
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Now that you have decided to experience the joys of handfeeding your new tiny friend,here are a few important tips to make your experience as pleasant as possible. While handfeeding is a responsibility ,it can also be a wonderful bonding time for you and your new little friend. TAKE YOUR TIME and enjoy it.This is an excellent time to hold,cuddle and talk to your baby. Get him used to being touched. Soon he will recognize you as the one he can trust and has a wonderful experience with. If he is to be a family pet, it is a good idea for the whole family to join in at this time.

Now that you are ready to begin, there are a few important steps to follow:

What should I feed my baby?

There are a lot of good handfeeding formulas available today, Zupreem Embrace, Kaytee Kxact, Roudybush,tropican, just to name a few of many (and pwede din Cerelac, except yung Cerelac na Choco Joy). I currently use Cerelac, but all do an excellent job. Which ever one you chose ,you will want to follow the same basic steps.

How do I mix the formula?

Start with warm water,if you use a microwave (not recommended) be very careful to stir it well. Microwaves can create "hot spots" so stir well to even out the heat.The mixture should be warm not HOT, test it on the inside of your wrist like you would a baby bottle, it should feel warm but not burn. Birds have a body temp. warmer than ours (102) so warm to us would be just right to them.Too hot a formula can burn the delicate crop tissue causing scar tissue to form inside the crop where infection can begin and the worse case can burn a hole in the crop causing food to leak out. This condition can only be repaired by crop surgery done by a veterinarian. This is a very serious condition but can be simply avoided by careful testing of the temp. BEFORE you feed. I alway add the formula powder to warm water and never heat the water and mixture together.

How thick should I make the formula?

Your mixture will depend on the age of your baby. Very young birds require a thinner formula and more frequent feedings. Babies 2-4 weeks of age a can eat a mixture the consistency of pea soup or applesauce this thickeness would be good for the remaining time handfeeding. Babies that are only a few days or day 1 babies need very thin formula to help keep them hydrated. As the baby grows the formula can be thickened up. ALWAYS DISCARD ANY UNUSED FORMULA LEFTOVER AFTER FEEDING !! start with fresh mixture at each feeding .This is very important. All handfeeding formulas are rich and can develop harmful bacteria in a very short time even if refridgerated once they are mixed.It is a good idea to keep unused powder in a cool dry place when not in use.

How much do I feed?

Each baby will be different but as a rule babies that are on a three feeding schedule will be close to these amounts:

Lovebirds 8-10 cc
Cockatiels 10-12 cc
Small Conures 10- 15 cc
Medium Conures or Parrots 20-30 cc
Larger Parrots ( greys,amazons etc.) 40 -50 cc
large cockatoos and macaws 60 -110cc (depending on the type of bird) and their age

Always ask the person who has been feeding the baby how much they have been eating at each feeding and the time feedings are given.Not every bird will take the same amount at every feeding sometimes they will take a little more or less,this is normal.


When do I feed?

Most baby birds on a 3 feeding schedule will eat about every 6-8 hours.This can be worked into your schedule. Basically you will feed in the morning,afternoon and evening I like to give the 10 to 12 hr period during the night a time for their system to empty out completely.Regardless of the schedule the crop should be empty before you feed. If there is still food in the crop and it is your babies normal feeding time this could be caused by a number of things:

1. Change in temp. of room warmer or cooler?
*Both changes can slow down the emptying of the crop.Readjust the temp.
2. Was the formula thicker or more at the last feeding?
*Thin formula a bit at the next feeding or adjust feeding times
3. Could the formula have been contaminated, dirty utincels or hands,formula left out to long before feeding?
*If after making any needed adjustments the crop is still not empting correctly See a verterianian promptly.

Never feed new food on top of old! a little warm water given with a syringe will help to move food that has thicken in the crop also warm papaya nectar works well. Keep the baby warm and wait for an hour or so if every thing goes back to normal adjust the thickness of the formula on future feedings. be sure that the droppings are normal and the crop has gone back to normal schedule.Older babies that have begun to eat on their own will have seed in their cop between feedings and this is normal and of no concern.Formula can be fed as normal.

Recommended temp. to keep babies at would be as follows:

* babies with pinfeathers only 85 degrees to 88 degrees
* feathered in babies can be kept at room temp.
* day 1 babies and babies under 5 days old need to be kept at much higher temps and have different feeding procedures.

Now that you have learned how much what and when to feed your baby now you need to know how to get the food in to him!

Feeding your baby is not difficult but it does require your full attention.Most handfeeders use a syringe to feed their babies some chose to use a spoon, both methods work fine.Have the person that has been handfeeding your baby to give you a detailed demonstration before you leave and try to do it on your own. Have them show you first then sit with you and guide you thru it your first few times.
Place the syringe in the corner of the baby's beak on the left side, most babies will begin to bob their little heads and flap their wings. This is a natural feeding response.With the syringe in place gently hold their head to keep the syringe in place and make a slight pressure on the plunger of the syringe this will release food into the baby's mouth while he is bobing his head this bobing motion helps the baby swallow his food into the crop and not into the lung area. I like to do this little bits at a time so I can control when the baby takes a breath to prevent him getting food into his lungs Some feeders keep the head bobing and feed the whole syringe at one time but I think this is for the experienced feeder. Once you have fed your baby a few times you will become familiar with his body language and be more comfortable feeding him. After feeding you can take a warm wet cloth and wipe off any spilled food on the baby's face or feathers. This is important because dried food is difficult to remove and can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

What do I keep my baby in while he is small?

There are several ways to house a baby while he is still handfeeding.Some of the most common ways are by using an old aguarium or a clear plastic pet keeper with a ventilated top either will work fine. There are also commercial brooders designed to control temp. and humidity and allow easy viewing of the baby at the same time,the latter is the most expensive and effective but the others will work fine if done correctly. If you chose the aquarium or contain place it on top on a heating pad set on low place a towel between the pad and the bottom of the container on the outside. this will keep the bottom from becoming to hot and burning the baby. Fill the bottom of the container with clean pine shavings,papertowels or lod clean cloth diapers. This will provide a clean soft bed for the bay to sleep on change it often to keep the area clean. Fungus and bacteria can grow quickly in moist damp warm areas. Place a smalk thermometer in the corner where it can be easily read so you can keep an eye on the temp.If you need to raise the temp. place a towel over part of the top to keep more heat in. I usually place the heating pad on only half of the bottom of the container so if the baby gets to warm he can move to a cooler area and I also place a clean stuffed animal in the container to give him something to snuggle with, I do this with all my babies.

Words of caution about bedding!!!


I don't think there is a perfect bedding for baby birds pine shavings can be ingested and cause problems, woven towels can have loose threads that can wrap around legs and toes and cause serious problems and some beddings grow fungus and bacteria more quickly than others so all bedding should be watch closely.

How do I clean the nursery items?

All syringes and feeding bowls,and baby containers can be cleaned with warm water and antibacteral soap then rinsed and dried thoughly a tiny bit of bleach can be used as a disinfectant but caution must be used to be sure that all items are rinsed thoughly and dried before use, check for any smell of bleach before using

How do I wean my baby to eat on his own?

As babies get older they start to refuse the mid day feeding and are ready to start to pick at new food on their own.This is a good time to introduce other foods such as cooked mix veggies,pellets, apples, corn on the cob,seeds and millet If he is fully feathered he is probably starting to look and act more like a bird. This is a good time to move him to a small cage so he can learn to perch and eat from his food bowls.It is a good idea to place food bowls on the floor of the cage at first the as he is perching better move them up to the normal position.As he is eating more and more on his own he will start to want less handfeeding formula I usually cut out the morning feeding next and move the evening feeding up to early evening. Once I am sure that he is eating and drinking on his own I start to cut back on the last formula feeding by this time he should be showing little interest in it, if he still takes it readily I keep offering it one a day till he loses interest.

A good guide line for weaning age is as follows... (but not written in stone)

Lovebirds 8wks
Cockatiels 9-10wks
small conures and parrots 10-11wks
larger birds Greys,Amazons Eclectus 14wks
cockatoos and Macaws 16wks or more

If your baby is refusing to wean and has gone way passed the average time it should be examined by an avian Vet to be sure there are no health problems preventing weaning.

By now you should be on your way to successfully handraising your wonderful little companion. Once he is weaned then you can relax alittle and enjoy his company even more.Make sure that he has a clean cage and fresh food and water every day. Chose a good healthy diet of pellets ,good fortified seed mix and fresh fruits and veggies,and add a good multi -vitamin with calcium.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!!!!Your new little friend should live and long and healthy life and give you many years of love and companionship, but remember his care is in your hands.
 
CodeMasterChrelanDate: Tuesday, 2011-07-19, 12:20 PM | Message # 2
Egg
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Sir added info lang you can purchase the handfeeding formula para sa mga nasa NCR at cartimar however if d kayo makapunta dun every sunday sa my tienge sa centris meron silang binebenta dun same store na nasa cartimar... hehehe basta bottom line sa handfeeding check nyu ung butsi kung malaki na masyado bloated na wag na pakainin susuka yan at eventually worse case scenario madedo
 
CloudHanzDate: Wednesday, 2011-07-20, 6:53 AM | Message # 3
Egg
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baby food or hand feeding formula, either way ok lng yan basta take note, AVOID CHOCOLATE AND AVOCADO...and i agree with CodeMasterChrelan, kailangan mamonitor mabuti yung crop nila dahil marami pwedeng maging negative effect nun kapag napabayaan, like sour crop..

cool
 
CodeMasterChrelanDate: Wednesday, 2011-07-20, 6:06 PM | Message # 4
Egg
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yep and also salted foods cause birds doesnt ahve the ability to secret salt and mga rich in caffeine ganun.. thanks sir cloudhanz
 
DirkDate: Thursday, 2012-02-09, 11:18 PM | Message # 5
Egg
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mga sir/ma'am, ung 6-8 hours feeding time ba eh advisable kasi sbi nung nakausap ko, dpat every 2-3 hours ung pakain?
 
AdminDate: Friday, 2012-02-17, 8:12 AM | Message # 6
Egg
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Quote (Dirk)
mga sir/ma'am, ung 6-8 hours feeding time ba eh advisable kasi sbi nung nakausap ko, dpat every 2-3 hours ung pakain?


depende po kasi yan sa age ng ibon, kung mas bata, mas frequent ung feeding pero konti-konti lang dapat..makikita naman kung puno na yung crop ng ibon..
 
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