FIRST MAKE SURE THE BABY BIRD(S) IN QUESTION
ARE TRULY ORPHANS: It is a myth that if you touch
a baby bird its parents will reject it. Birds have a very
limited sense of smell and will continue to feed a baby
bird that is placed back it its nest by a human. If you
cannot reach the nest, you can place the baby bird in
a woven basket and hang it securely on a nearby branch.
Be sure to prop the bird up a bit with leaves or grass
so that the parents can reach it. Parents will continue
to feed their baby if given the chance. Many baby birds
learn to fly from the ground up. A fully feathered baby
bird is considered a fledgling and many parent birds continue
to care for their babies after they jump out of the nest.
It is important to keep pets indoors during this period.
- WHEN YOU FIRST RECEIVE AN ORPHANED BABY
BIRD, MAKE SURE IT IS WARM: Tiny newborns without feathers
do best with a heat lamp with a 40 watt bulb at least 12 inches
away from birds and should be placed above an aquarium. The newborns
should be placed in a small basket, margarine container, or bowl
with toilet paper to prop them up a bit so that they can defecate
over the edge of their makeshift nest. Place the "nest" inside
an aquarium to simulate an incubator.
ALTRICIAL BABY BIRDS (THOSE WHO DEPEND
ON THEIR PARENTS TO BRING THEM FOOD) NEED TO BE FED EVERY
HALF-HOUR: Birds feed their babies constantly throughout
the day. Anyone who has raised a baby bird can appreciate
the diligence of parent birds. Never feed milk to a baby
bird! For most baby birds a mixture of mynah bird pellets
or dry dog food soaked in hot water, with a bit of baby
food, turkey, and cooked egg yolk and a bit of water (until
it is the consistency of oatmeal) will provide them with
adequate nourishment. When fed this mixture baby birds
will not need additional water, except maybe a few drops
to rehydrate them when they first arrive. A popsicle stick
or straw will work well as a feeding implement. Be sure
not to over-feed baby birds, feed only until their crop
on the side of heir neck appears full. Most birds, including
fruit-eating birds, feed their babies insects to fuel
their rapid growth. Baby birds will sleep through the
night and do not need to be fed, but they should be fed
before you go to bed and as soon as you wake each morning.
CARING FOR FLEDGLING BIRDS: As their
eyes open and their feathers begin to emerge food should also
be placed in cage to try to get them to eat on their own as
soon as possible. Natural foods should be introduced as soon
as birds are fledglings. Once eyes are open and the baby is
fully feathered it is considered a fledgling. It will now need
to be placed in a larger area with a perch. Two laundry baskets
placed over one another work well.
Branches can be placed through holes for perches. Newspaper
can line bottom. Don't use towels with birds since their claws
can get caught in the loops. Once birds are eating on their
own they should be placed outside in a cage that allows them
to fly and is protected from predators.
CARING FOR PRECOCIAL (BIRDS WHO FOLLOW THEIR
PARENTS AND FEED ON THEIR OWN) BIRDS: Baby ducks geese,
swans, turkeys, grouse and pheasants fall into this category.
A heat lamp should also be used for these birds when they are
very young. A large cardboard box with high sides works well.
Chick starter or turkey starter works well for these birds.
It can be found at Agway and other feed stores. An upside down
Mason jar on a plate with a slightly curved edge will provide
adequate water for newborns. Water birds should not be allowed
to swim until their downy feathers are replaced with adult feathers.
These birds imprint very quickly. It is important that they
not identify you as their mother and that they be raised with
others of their own species!
THE ABOVE APPLIES
TO INITIAL CARE ONLY, PLEASE CALL WIC AT
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