Usually, baby parrots that are going to be placed in homes are taken from their nests quite early, in fact as early as a few days old and then hand fed. Most of the time, they are not place with new owners until they are eating on their own but there are some exceptions. In some cases a person just wants to hand feed his/her own bird. In other cases there may be one or two baby parrots in the nest that do not seem to be eating well. The reasons for hand feeding vary but the basics of doing it don’t. The following information may help someone who is getting ready to hand feed a baby bird.
Preparing the Food
Obviously the first thing you will have to do is buy the formula. In order to be sure you are using the right kind make sure and ask someone who is knowledgeable in what to feed baby parrots. You will use hot water right from the tap to mix the food in a small bowl. The package you purchase will have preparation instructions, make sure you follow them. The formula, when mixed correctly, should be about the same consistency as pudding or even applesauce. If it seems like it is a lot more watery or thicker than you think pudding should be then add more water or formula until the right consistency is reached. Make sure that the formula is not too hot or too cold before you feed it to the baby bird. The temperature should be about 105-110 degrees. If it is hotter or cooler than then you will want to adjust the temperature accordingly. Formula can be heated in the microwave if necessary but try to avoid this if at all possible. Make sure that you mix the formula well before testing the temperature.
Using a Syringe
You will need a small syringe in order to hand feed the baby parrot. Fill the syringe with the formula and make sure you check to see that there is no air in it. Note how many CCs you have filled into the syringe by watching the marks on the side. Hold the baby parrot gently in a warm towel and make sure you support its tiny body with one hand while using the other to hold the syringe. Holding the baby bird will help to ensure that he doesn’t wiggle around too much while you are trying to feed him. Left the syringe to the parrots beak and gently place the tip inside. Slowly depress the plunger on the syringe and steadily feed a small amount to the baby parrot. Make sure you allow the baby time to swallow the food you have put in his beak before feeding anymore as aspiration could easily occur while hand feeding.
How Much to Feed
You should continue to feed your baby bird until you can tell that his crop is completely full. Obviously, you will also stop once the baby parrot begins to refuse to eat anymore. The crop is the small sack that is right under the beak and above the chest. When it becomes full it feels significantly round but not so tight that it seems to be stretching or pulling the surrounding skin. If you are dealing with a fledgling then there will probably be feathers covering the crop. In this case feel with your fingers gently to see whether or not the crop is full. As soon as you reach the point that tells you the baby bird’s crop is full or that he has finished eating then you should write down how many CCs he ate. The reason you want this info is just incase anything should happen and you should want to take him to the vet, you will be armed with information.
Keep Baby Parrot Clean
This part is very important as dried out and crusting formula could cause the baby bird discomfort as it dries very similar to cement. To do this you will want to have a warm and moist washcloth around at all times during feeding. Simple take the wet washcloth and wipe away any food that has spilled on the baby parrots feathers. Not only will dried bird formula make the parrot uncomfortable but it will also almost never come out without pulling the feathers out along with it. For this reason do make sure that there is no formula spilled on your baby bird before putting him back in his small container or basket.
As soon as you have finished feeding your baby bird and cleaning his feathers then you will want to clean and sanitize all of the equipment you used. This will include the syringe. Make sure that you use extremely hot water and maybe even some bleach to clean all of the utensils. You do not want to be responsible for giving your baby parrot a bacterial infection. Sadly, baby birds are already prone to things like this and will not need you to add to the problem.
Hand feeding is not at all hard if you just have enough patience to make sure that everything is organized that you will need before you begin feeding. After your baby bird has been hand fed for awhile he will begin to stand on a table in front of you and chug the food down without you even having to hold him. Once he has started doing that then he is well on his way to weaning.
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