During spring time, it is common to come across lost baby birds. Their compassionate chirps may arouse the parental instinct in anybody. However, before deciding to adopt a baby bird, it is important to consider the overall situation to ensure that you are doing the best you can for the bird.
First, make sure that the baby bird is abandoned because they may just fall from a nearby nest, and their parents may be looking for them. Wait to see if the parents come back, and if not, it’s time to decide whether you should feed and what to feed a baby bird without feathers.
Feeding baby birds is not simple as they require special nutrition. Newborn birds eat tender, moistened, and organic food because their metabolism is weak, and products in the market usually fail to meet their dietary requirements. Also, you have to be aware of how to feed a newborn bird. You have to feed it gently with a small amount of food each time.
In this writing, I will show you some comprehensive guides and notices to help you feed baby birds without difficulties.
Table of Contents
- Do Newborn Birds Eat the Same Food
- What to Feed a Baby Bird without Feathers
- Try Feeding Organic Food
- Can You Feed Baby Birds Bread or Milk
- Should You Give Water to the Baby Birds
- Be Careful with Feeding a Baby Bird without Feathers
Do Newborn Birds Eat the Same Food
If you have ever wondered this, the answer is no. Different bird species consume different types of food. Therefore, you must recognize the species of the baby bird before deciding on what to feed it.
In addition, birds are known for their high rates of basal metabolism and energy usage, so they consume different amounts of food depending on their age and health condition.
Birds are classified into three kinds based on their eating habits: herbivorous (fruit and seeds eaters), carnivorous (bugs and meat-eaters), and omnivorous (eat both).
What to Feed a Baby Bird without Feathers
The market is brimful of baby bird meals, however, regarding fulfilling the baby bird’s nutritional needs, you should consider it carefully. Commercial baby bird food items are frequently of variable (often undesirable) quality, thus failing to satisfy the special diet of a young chick. Yet, when it comes to high-quality products, there will be a big difference.
If you need to feed the baby bird urgently, you can try the following options for different bird species.
Omnivorous birds (sparrows, nightingales, black stars, hawthorn, etc.) often reside in the wild. During their breeding seasons, they are sometimes inclined to consume insects, but it is not frequent for them to have meat every day in the wild. Therefore, most omnivorous birds have worms, fruits, seeds, and cereals.
You may feed baby omnivorous mixed cereal powder, instant bird meals, or sugarless rice powder. You can add an egg yolk into the bran to get congee. For birds that prefer insects, like a nightingale or black starling, adding small beef bits, fish, or prawn powder will help. Also, you can give them a small amount of shelled mealworms every day.
Before feeding, you should soak the baby bird’s food until it gets softer. After that, you use a small grip or syringe to feed it. You can use a pair of narrow chopsticks if you don’t have a grip or syringe. If the bird does not open its mouth, softly touch its beak or rub the food along the beak edge to signal the baby. Continue feeding until the bird closes its beak or rejects the treat.
It is more likely that the baby has not eaten in a long time, so you should avoid opening its mouth. Instead, you may feed it with some drops of glucose water every two or three hours, then gently open its mouth with your hands.
Herbivorous birds such as parrots, hoatzins, or munia tend to grow slowly if you feed them a diet of varied grains. I highly suggest you treat them with porridge by combining power with warm water. Add an egg yolk, or if you can, put a little of probiotics in. However, do not overfeed herbivorous meat. The feeding technique is similar to that of omnivores.
Falcons, eagles, owls are common carnivorous birds. Their staple diet consists of mealworms and fresh meat. It is better to purée the food before feeding the baby birds. For this bird species, the freshness of the meat and calcium supplement are very important. You should also pay attention to their regular sun exposure, which especially benefits their health.
Try Feeding Organic Food
Organic food is another great option to replace natural food, in case you can’t find it. You can grow some organic food, such as earthworms in your garden. However, the protein and energy supply may be lower than meal-worms.
If you are still unclear about what and how to feed young birds, you can check out more details in this video below!
Can You Feed Baby Birds Bread or Milk
Many people assume that all babies can have milk or bread. However, baby birds are at risk of consuming milk and bread. Unlike humans, milk is not a critical component of a young bird’s diet, and their body won’t digest it. On the other hand, bread will not give the baby birds the calories they require to live.
Should You Give Water to the Baby Birds
Allow the baby birds to drink water via their beaks only. If you try to give them water, they may suffocate.
You should only offer water to the baby when they grow older. At that time, you may put a small water container and let the bird drink from it.
If you spot a dehydrated bird, take it to the wildlife rehabilitator for fluid injection.
Be Careful with Feeding a Baby Bird without Feathers
- If a baby bird does not eat for two days, it may die.
- You need to provide food that is rich in protein.
- You should avoid foods containing flavorings, preservatives, or too much sugar.
- Feeding the baby birds old, cold, or spoiled food is dangerous.
Can you hand-feed the baby birds?
Yes, you can. Hand-feeding a baby bird means that you love and care about it. When you nurture a newborn chick by hand-feeding, it will grow into your pet friend. The ideal time for hand-feeding is the first 25 days. Then, it will be harder for you to hand-feed a newborn bird.
How long can baby birds survive without eating?
Typically, a bird can survive for 48 hours without eating. However, this is not perfectly true as it varies from case to case. Therefore, a baby bird’s life may be at risk even when it is not 48 hours.
Furthermore, the survival of the baby bird without food depends on several factors, including:
- The baby’s health condition
- The surrounding area
- The baby bird species (because some species can survive longer than others, such as hummingbirds)
A baby chick always needs full-time care and food supplies. If you ever consider raising one, don’t even try to see how long it can tolerate.
Can you raise the baby bird yourself?
When you decide to raise a baby chick on your own, besides knowing about baby bird food, you also need to know about baby bird care. The newborn chick should be kept warm all day at 32 – 35°C and must be nurtured in an environment with air circulation.
When the baby grows older, you will have to teach the baby how to fly, as well as how to survive in the wild. The process is challenging because you are now acting as their parents.
After all, feeding a baby bird should only be the last choice if the bird is abandoned and in need of care. However, if you happen to come across a starving baby bird, now you know how and what to feed a baby bird without feathers.
I hope this writing helps. If you have any experience of baby bird feeding or raising, feel free to share with us in the comments!
George and I became friends after a birdwatching trip with our new group. And we have been enjoying every adventure together. When he told me the idea of establishing a site that shares our experiences and fun, I immediately agreed. After trials and errors, here we have Thayerbirding.