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How to Hand Feed a Bird - New York Bird Supply

How to Hand Feed a Bird

Fledgling birds, unlike nestlings, have already left the nest for the first time, but are still returning to the nest and being fed by their parents. These birds have developed feathers and look like small adult birds, but they are still learning to fly. In most cases if you find a fledgling, you should simply leave it alone. If you find an injured fledgling bird, or are raising a domestic bird, you will need to follow proper care instructions. In order to care for a fledgling bird and help it transition to adulthood, you will need to feed the bird, provide housing for the bird, and tend to any injuries or ailments

Feeding a Fledgling Birds

Feed the fledgling baby bird food. The best food for a fledgling pigeon is a commercial baby bird formula. These can easily be obtained from a NYBS.

  • You can also feed a fledgling pigeon chick crumbles that can be crushed into smaller pieces and mixed with water. These can be purchased at a pet store.

  • In emergency situations, you can feed a fledgling pigeon dog biscuits that have been crushed and softened by mixing with warm water.

  • Do not feed a fledgling milk or bread crumbs.

Mix the baby bird formula with water.

Follow the instructions provided on the package in order to prepare the formula for feeding. In most cases you will need to mix the formula with warm water. For young birds you will mix 1 part formula with 6 parts water. As the pigeon ages you will decrease the water content.

  • Do not heat the water or formula in the microwave because this can create hot pockets that will burn the fledgling.

Fill the syringe with the formula. 

Most fledgling pigeons receive their food from their parents. In order to mimic this type of feeding, use a syringe to feed to pigeon. Fill a syringe with the formula.

  • A fledgling pigeon should eat approximately 24 ccs of formula, twice a day.

Push the sides of the beak to open the birds mouth. 

Birds don’t open their mouths when they want to be fed. As a result, you will need to push the sides of the beak in order to open the mouth. Have someone hold the body of the bird while you use your hands to open the mouth and insert the syringe. Gently squeeze out the formula.

  • Stop feeding the pigeon once the crop is full.
  • The crop is a pocket that hangs on the inside of the chest. When full the chest should feel squishy, like a balloon filled with water.

Feed the fledgling by hand. 

You can feed a fledgling by hand by placing seeds and chick crumble into the bird's mouth. For very young or distressed birds a syringe is easiest, but as the bird ages it will be able to take food from your hand.

Provide seeds for the fledgling. 

You should also help encourage a fledgling to begin eating food on its own. Place a few bird seeds in the bottom of the cage for the bird to eat. This will help the bird learn to pick up seeds on its own using its beak.

  • Once the fledgling is eating seeds on its own, you can stop feeding it formula with a syringe.


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