Hand-Feeding Baby Birds: Taming a Newborn Bird By Using an Eye Dropper and Feeding Powder

If you are thinking of breeding birds for adoption to a loving home, the first step in hand taming is hand-feeding. Savvy potential owners will not buy a companion bird unless it has been hand-fed and hand-tamed. Hand-feeding is not for beginners but by understanding the steps in the process and being taught by an experienced person, you will be able hand-feed your own birds.

Preparing a Warming Box for a Baby Bird

 Leave the babies with their parents for 10 to 21 days. For beginners, it is advised to wait until 18 to 21 days because the birds are hardier and starting to feather. Prepare a 5 or 10 gallon glass aquarium or a box of similar size by lining the bottom with a towel and a top layer of paper toweling. Place a heating pad under the towels and keep it at a very low setting. This will be the babies’ new home for the next two to three weeks.

Feeding a Baby Bird

For feeding the babies you will need a towel, an eye dropper, a small bowl and feeding powder. The powder can be bought at a pet store or you can use such as baby rice or oatmeal cereal such as Pablum©

The babies need to be fed every three to four hours. In preparation for feeding, mix up a small batch of feeding powder or baby cereal. The formula should be lukewarm and not hot. Test it on your arm like you would with a baby’s bottle. Place a towel in your lap and bring out one baby at a time. Once the baby is placed on the towel, fill up the eye dropper with formula. Place the eye dropper on the beak area and the bird will instinctively swallow the formula. It is important to keep your eye on the bird’s gullet. It will swell with the food and you need to stop feeding when the gullet is full. The bird will continue eating so you have to be the decision maker. It’s better to underfeed.

Cleaning the Baby Bird’s Warming Box

Before putting the bird back into the warming box, wipe its’ breast with the towel to remove spilled food. You don’t want the food to dry and stick to the baby. Once all the birds are fed, throw out any remaining formula. Do not keep for the next feeding.

Be sure to clean out the warming box often. The paper towels are great for collecting the droppings. Just toss out and replace. It’s important to keep the box clean in order to prevent disease. Baby birds are highly susceptible.