Friday, August 03, 2012

Emergency Handfeeding Formula for Pet Birds

I am working my way through emails during a quiet evening.

Ideally, you would let the parent's raise them until the last two weeks. This is because the parents pass along valuable crop properties (enzymes) to prevent sour crop. The commercial hand feeding formulas are the better choice for meeting necessary requirements, but sometimes a parent bird escapes at the wrong hour to go to the pet store. This is a well known emergency formula recipe:

3 tsp smooth peanut butter
3 tsp Gerber oatmeal cereal
1 Banana
3 tsp applesauce
3 tsp Gerber Baby creamed corn
3 tsp Gerber Mixed Vegetables
3 tsp plain yogurt

I have kept baby birds alive by feeding this for 24 hours until I could get to the store. It was all I had on hand of the recipe above and it worked very well for the lovebirds I used it on.

3 tsp yogurt
3 tsp smooth peanut butter
3 tsp applesauce

When you feed the baby bird, you need to slowly give the formula to the baby bird's LEFT side. Its LEFT, not yours. Formula needs to be warm, but not hot. Too hot will cause crop burn. Advice on temperature varies widely. I am a mother of seven, so I use a skin test and look for the formula to be just slightly warmer than my my inside wrist skin. At this temperature, the birds eat well for me and the danger of a burn is very low. If they stop eating, empty the syringe into one side of your container and take formula from the bowl. It stays warmer in the bowl than in the syringe. If the baby still doesn't eat, reheat the formula to the right level.

I like using a syringe with a flexible pointed tip attached. An eye dropper, plastic pipette, or bent spoon can also work. Everything, including your hands, must be kept very clean to prevent infecting the bird with bad bacteria.

This site has formulas for specific breeds including wild birds.