Whether or not you have just started raising pet birds, it’s a great idea to understand and familiarize the basics of hand-feeding. It isn’t just useful for sick birds; it will also save you from unexpected losses in case the need arises.
Here’s an example scenario. One of the parent birds suddenly stops taking care of her babies for some reasons like she’s ill. Of course, it is expected that it would have an effect in the growth of the chicks. Hence, by that time, you will know how important hand-feeding is.
Well, you shouldn’t really wait for that to happen. It pays to prepare ahead so you will definitely want to know these tips.
1. Acquire hands-on training from pros.
Before you try hand-feeding yourself, it is advised that you seek assistance and training from professionals or from legit bird breeders. You can’t just do things on your own as you might do it wrong. At first, allow them to demonstrate how to do it the right way. You need to be very comfortable with all the steps before you do it yourself.
2. Take note of the importance of cleanliness.
Remember that you are about to feed baby birds, which means their bodies might not yet be so strong unlike the mature ones. Thus, before you hand-feed the baby birds, wash your hands thoroughly. Also, maintain cleanliness in the bird cage.
3. Use commercial hand-feeding formula.
If you are after excellent results, it is best that you use a commercial hand-feeding formula. Since it comes with package instructions, your convenience is surely guaranteed. Normally, every package includes details, such as the water-to-solid ration suited for the age of your pets.
4. Fresh is best.
Saving leftover formula can be very tempting. However, even if you can save a lot from that, do not ever do that. Bacteria can quickly thrive and multiply, so make sure to prepare a fresh batch of hand-feeding formula during feeding times.
5. Take note of storage instructions.
More often that not, hand-feeding formulas are advised to be kept in a place with a temperature range of 100 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit. But this depends on the manufacturer. If possible, read the labels and package directions. However, if you want to be sure, ask your avian veterinarian.
6. Be careful when heating the hand-feeding formula.
Every package instruction indicates the recommended heat that must be applied to the formula. But it is worth noting that microwaving can sometimes cause the mixture to form “hot spots”. So instead of putting it in the microwave, mix and heat the formula inside a bowl that is placed inside a hot water pot. And then, put the feeding dish in a bowl of warm water in order to retain the temperature while feeding.
7. Educate yourself.
To know more about hand-feeding your pet-birds, you have to educate yourself. Interact with other pet bird owners who have been hand-feeding their birds. Read articles about the do’s and don’ts in hand-feeding. Research online to know the latest techniques you can use when hand-feeding your pet birds.
8. Hold your pet birds correctly.
First, get your pet from the bird cage and place him on an easy-to-grip surface like dishcloth or towel. Next, slowly hold his head from behind, stretching the neck slightly. And then, steadily hold the beak with your finger.
After that, you can go on with the actual hand-feeding. Now, touch the lower side of the bird’s beak with a feeding utensil. Spoon, syringe, or feeding tube will suffice as a utensil. The tip of the utensil must then be angled toward the right side of your pet’s throat. Once the utensil touches the beak, a feeding response will be prompted. As a result, the bird will eagerly take the food and chew it.
9. Take things slowly.
When releasing the food, do it in a slow pace. Do not flood your bird’s beak with large quantities of the feed. Make sure you only feed him with the amount that is appropriate for his age and size. For specific advice, ask a legit bird breeder.
10. Track your pet birds’ progress.
To be able to check improvements, you have to track your pet’s progress by jotting down the weight of your bird before and after feeding. If your pet is losing weight, you need to consult the avian vet right away. While weight loss may be normal during the weaning process, it is best to know ahead.
Hand-feeding won’t be as difficult as you think if you only know the basic procedures. Don’t be afraid to commit mistakes. After all, you learn from them.
Bonus. Hand-feeding can be very exciting for any bird owner, but for more tips on feeding birds, grab a copy of the eBook below.