What Baby Birds Eat?
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Have you ever got a baby bird in a wounded state or just fallen from its nest? Well, this happens to all of us once in a lifetime. That time our priority is to save a life by proper care. Eventually, we were confused about what to feed a baby bird? Whether we love birds, we should take care of them to the fullest to grow them normally and to fly high in the sky.
But what happens when we do not know anything about keeping or caring for a bird? We must gain complete knowledge. You might hear the proverb “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” It is absolute that if we know nothing but pretend to know everything, the little one’s life may fall in danger.
There are many such instances where the improper handling and unwanted feeding of baby birds eventually cause death. So, before you take care of that little chick, know various other factors.
Therefore, in this article, we will discuss some basics of feeding a bird before you start, and finally, we will know what baby birds eat and how to feed them.
Should I feed a baby bird?
When we get a baby bird away from its parents, the first question that comes to mind is, should I feed this? Well, the straight answer is no before you know a few things.
There are specific terms associated with various ages of baby birds. And if you are newer to birds, you might not have heard about this. Hatchling, nestling, fledgling, juvenile or subadult are the names given to baby birds of different ages. Mostly, we found a baby bird having most of the feathers developed and ready to leave their nest. These are fledglings.
So, if you get a fledgling or even younger bird, observe them carefully. Baby birds can remain starving for several hours, and their parents may search for them to feed. If the bird remains the same for 2-3 hours and none of its parents come, now consider bringing it with you.
The next step is to call a bird rescue center because you do not know about a baby bird’s proper nutrition. A birder or rehabber is the only person who knows how much and what is correct for a particular age of the bird. Like we humans have different food recommendations in different ages and conditions having the same species, birds have various groups, and how can the nutrition be the same?
Diverse bird groups have different feeding requirements. Yet, young birds like fledglings have concrete nutrition goals. Usually, they need to eat within 12 to 14 hours per day. So, it is better to bring that baby to the rescue center as soon as possible. Otherwise, if the little one seems dull, or needs to be fed, then ask the rehabber for any emergency feeding alternatives before they come.
What baby birds eat?
If you are thinking about what a baby bird eats, then the answer is straightforward. Baby birds are raised by their parents and eat what their parents supplied them.
Birds usually eat insects, larvae, worms, grains or seeds, and some other things. Therefore, the parents search for foods to feed their babies, and thus the nutrition for both adult and baby ones remains the same.
However, if you got a baby bird, find their nest and rescue them instead of thinking about what baby birds eat. And in case you cannot find their parents or nest, contact a rehabilitation center for their proper treatment.
What can I feed a baby bird?
This question arises when you cannot rescue that fledgling to its nest or cannot get help from the bird rescue center. That time you should know a few options of feeding a baby bird by yourself.
So, firstly wait for a few hours. Then if you see some signs of hunger from the little one, find what to feed a baby bird at an emergency.
Best foods for baby birds:
Urgently, you can feed some high-protein soft or moisten foods such as moisten dog or cat kibbles, moisten biscuits, well-chopped fruits and vegetables like pea or corn, raw kidney or liver without seasoning, hard-boiled eggs, and their shells (finely crushed). These are some excellent options in case you need to feed a baby bird.
The kibbles or biscuits should moisten with water until they become softer, and your little dear can easily resist that. If it is a hatchling, it is wiser not to provide any insects or worms. With maturity, you can feed them any kind of adult bird food.
If you want to take care of that bird by yourself, know that species’ dietary requirement. You can feed the above-said things at the start, and after they become mature, consider a special diet for your chick.
You can chop insects like grasshopper or crickets or any other collected insect fine to feed your insect-eating chick. Fruit-eating birds should feed through soaked raisins, berries, or finely chopped grapes.
Pet birds like parrots, pigeons, and doves, the substance secreted from their mother’s body (usually acts like milk in mammals), is essential for their growth. You can find their substitute in the pet supply store.
The food supplement varies with chick species. You can supply chopped up minnows to fish-eating birds, specialized nectar to hummingbirds and insects to the respective eating birds.
Foods to avoid:
Try to use the perfect way of feeding to avoid the risk of feeding to death. Besides, grasp some other food materials recommended avoiding. These include milk or water, bread, worms, whole bird seeds, pet bird foods, and even kitchen scraps. Follow the proper guidance to skip later regret.
Milk is intolerant to the birds and, therefore, should not be given for any reason. Similarly, bread or any other similar products are not that nutritious for the healthy growth of a baby bird, and thus we should avoid feeding these.
Tips for feeding a baby bird
Well, after knowing what to feed a baby bird, now you should be concerned about the right way to feed a baby bird. Here are some tips for those who get a fledgling or a hatchling and take the pledge to take care of them until they are capable.
Keep in mind, keeping a baby bird starving for a few hours is better than feeding them to death. Yes, improper feeding technique and knowledge, we should never try to nourish either a fledgling or hatchling.
We should serve the food always at room temperature. The specialized technique to feed a chick is to feed through small plastic forceps or dull tweezers. If you have neither of these, you can supply food through a thin chopstick according to the chick’s mouth.
There are some symptoms that your little one is hungry. The baby birds might look at you pitifully or continuously tap their beak for food. Also, they may make you aware of their feeding time by signaling through the feeding instruments.
That time you should start feeding them and feed until they stop taking food. Overeating is not suitable for your chick’s health.
You should make them frequently eat between 20- 30 minutes and must increase the time gap as they grow mature.
Baby birds are unlike pet cats or dogs and thus needed to tread carefully. Besides, thinking about what to feed a baby bird also makes a safe place or a temporary nest for sustained growth.
Chicks need to be kept warm. Either you thought of taking care of them yourself or to bring it to the rehabilitation center, always keep them warm. Water filled in Ziplock bags or hanging a 40-watt bulb near the nest can work correctly.
Never keep them directly in front of sunlight, as overheat may cause death for them. Make a clean, peaceful environment for your baby bird to keep them away from danger.
Note that keeping wild variant birds with you is illegal. Therefore, if you find such a baby bird, consider taking that to a bird rescue center. Pet birds like pigeons, parrots, and doves can be kept, and with proper care, they will grow into a mature bird and fly higher in the sky.