Baby birds sometimes fall from their nests by heavy storms or other natural causes. As they remain on the ground without the parents, they won’t get food for survival.
When you find some such baby birds, their pitiful chirps will awaken a mothering instinct in your heart.
A baby bird without feathers is usually weak and needs frequent feedings. If you think you can do the job, you need to know what to feed a baby bird without feathers.
But feeding birds can be a daunting task, especially if you try for the first time. You usually don’t know the particular baby bird’s diet.
In this writing, we’ll show you some essential comprehensive ways so that you can feed a baby bird without any hassle.
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Recognize the Species of the Baby Bird
Different birds eat different things. When you find a baby bird, you, at first, have to recognize the species from which it comes. As birds are of different types according to their food habits, they are usually fruit eaters, seed eaters, insect eaters, and meat-eaters.
Depending on the size, age, and health condition, baby birds have a speedy metabolism and often need to eat a lot. Many baby birds found in gardens are usually fruit or seed eaters.
Know What to Feed the Baby Bird
There are several different opinions on the exact type of food you should feed a baby bird. If the baby birds need the required nutrients, then the correct diet is necessary.
Although adult birds follow a different diet, such as seeds, insects, seeds, and berries, almost all the baby birds need very similar food full of protein.
For that, you can make an excellent starter diet for a baby bird, which is approximately 60% dog or cat kibble with 20% hard-boiled eggs and 20% mealworms.
However, if there could be an emergency to feed one, you can offer the following foods to the baby bird:
- Nightcrawlers or Earthworms
- Waxworms or Mealworms
- Soaked or Canned dry cat food
- Formulas of Finch & Parrot – Kaytee, ZuPreem
You can try these foods too:
- Moistened dog or cat kibble
- Moister dog foods
- Moistened dog biscuits
- Raw liver (except seasoning)
- Hard-boiled eggs
You can feed “Pigeon Milk” to birds like parrots, pigeons, and doves. Unique nectar formula for Hummingbirds, such as insects, smaller chicks, and rodents for birds of prey, game bird, or turkey is better for baby precocial, and shred up minnows will do for fish-eating birds.
You should moisten the kibble with water until it reaches a sponge-like consistency. Don’t use excessive water so that the baby bird cannot drown in it.
If you chop the hard-boiled eggs and mealworms into pieces, then the baby bird feels easy to swallow the food.
Feed the Baby Bird Frequently
Each baby bird usually has a persistent feeding schedule. To feed them, their parents try very hard to collect food every day. If you want to maintain the schedule yourself due to the parent birds’ absence, you must feed the baby bird every 15 to 20 minutes in a day from dawn to dusk.
When the baby bird only opens its eyes by growing a few feathers, you have to wait 30 to 45 minutes to feed it. After that, you must increase the amount of food but lessen the number of feeding times.
Try Homemade Emergency Food
You can easily make homemade emergency food for the baby birds. At first, soak the dog kibble in hot water for an hour. Then mix it with a hard-boiled egg and baby cereal after picking the kibble from the water.
Add a little amount of mashed banana or a human child’s food. Make some tiny-sized ball with the mixture of the food and then put it in the baby’s mouth using a toothpick. Feed the mixture to the baby bird for the first couple of days.
Choose Different Food for Different Baby Birds
Insect-eating birds eat chopped up earthworms, crickets, and grasshoppers. For them, you have to make a diet made of fatless minced meat mixed with a soya-based porridge. For every 3 pieces of minced meat, you have to add a piece of soya-based porridge.
You can also mix a multivitamin-mineral element with the food. Even some insect-eaters eat good quality cat food mixed with water instead of meat.
Besides, some birds eat mealworms, which are essential food for them. Again, birds of prey will need appropriate food very early, such as rodents. Fruit-eating birds eat berries, raisins, and grapes soaked in water as well.
Grow Organic Food
When you do not find natural food, you can grow some organic food to feed the baby birds. In this case, earthworms can be grown in your organic garden, but their protein and gross energy content are considerably less than meal-worms.
Ignore Feeding the Baby Bird Bread or Milk
Milk and bread are dangerous for baby birds. Many people make the mistake of feeding those to them.
Besides, milk is not an essential element of baby birds’ diet like mammals, and they won’t tolerate it. And bread won’t provide the baby birds necessary calories so that they can survive.
Avoid Giving Water to the Baby Bird
Don’t allow the baby birds to drink water orally. If you try to feed them some water, they will suffocate it.
You should give the water only when the baby birds are old enough. In this case, you can place a narrow container full of water into the box, which the bird will drink from itself.
You can put a couple of marbles and a piece of stone into the water container so that the birds can easily drink water.
If you see a dehydrated baby bird, you will need to bring it to a wildlife rehabilitator who can inject fluids into its body.
Use the Correct Feeding Tools and Techniques
You need to feed the baby birds very carefully. You can use a pair of tweezers and plastic forceps. If you don’t have either of them, a narrow enough chopstick helps you feed them effectively.
To feed the baby birds, take a small amount of food with the tweezers or forceps or even with a pair of chopsticks and put it into the baby birds’ mouth.
You need to worry about the food that goes into birds’ glottis. Even if the food goes down the wrong way, it will shut automatically.
If the baby’s mouth doesn’t open, tap its beak lightly with the feeding tools. To signal the birds for eating, you can also rub the food around the edge of the beak. If the birds’ mouth is still closed, gently force it to open it.
Keep feeding as long as the bird is willing to close its beak or starts rejecting the food. You should not overfeed the baby bird.
Be Careful about Feeding Baby Birds
Baby birds may die if it doesn’t eat for 48 hours. The food you provide to the birds must be rich enough in proteins. So you should feed them insects most of the time.
Don’t use food with flavorings, preservatives, or added sugar. Feeding cold, old, or spoilt food can also be hazardous to the baby birds.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How do you hand feed a baby bird?
Answer: Hand-feeding a baby bird is a substitute for how parents nurture their babies. When you’re bringing up a baby bird with hand feeding, it will be a better pet friend to you.
2. When do you start feeding them?
Answer: The first 20-25 days are the perfect time for hand feeding. Then, it will be hard for you to hand-feeding a baby bird.
3. How long can a baby bird go without food or water?
Answer: Well, this is a tricky question. Why do you wonder?
An average bird can survive around 48 hours without food or water, but this isn’t written on stone. So, it differs from one to another. Therefore, the survival of the baby bird might be less than 48 hours.
Besides, the survival of the baby bird without food and water depends on several things, such as –
- The health condition of that baby bird
- The Environment
- The species of the bird (Some birds can survive more than others, for example, hummingbirds can survive better than others without food and water)
Usually, a baby bird needs constant care and food supply. If you ever think of handling one, then don’t even try to check how long it can last. Please talk with a professional vet and follow their guidelines.
It is essential to comprehend the particular baby bird’s diet and know exactly what to feed a baby bird without feathers.
Make sure to send it to the experienced wildlife rehabbers as soon as possible if a baby bird really needs care and is abandoned from its nest.
The rehabbers help the baby birds learn how to find their own food and other necessary skills. They also choose an appropriate diet for baby birds.
There, baby birds can know how to avoid bird hunters for living a secure life in nature.