How To Hand Feed Wild Baby Bird
Figuring out what and how to hand feed a wild baby bird can be tedious. Different species of birds eat different foods, naturally, and to feed a baby bird you must know their natural diet. Remember, if you can, just place the featherless baby bird back in the nest if it is easily found. Place a fledgling, a baby bird with feathers, on a bush or low branch. This will help to ensure a natural life when the parents return. You will only need to feed the baby bird if you cannot find the nest or until it can be retrieved by a wildlife rehabilitation expert or local animal control authorities.
To feed a wild baby bird, you will need:
- Puppy chow, crickets, mealworms, fruits, peas
- Baby bird formula (can be purchased at pet chains)
- Contact your local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, wildlife rehabilitation professional (local Department of Natural Resources (DNR) can direct you), or animal control authority. It is illegal to keep wild animals, therefore this is an important step.
- Place a towel over a heat pad set on the lowest setting. The baby bird needs to stay warm, but not hot.
- Soak puppy chow in water, approximately one part puppy chow to two parts water. This may take an hour or more. The food should not be dripping with water, the water should be completely absorbed as it can enter the lungs otherwise. This can be used on birds other than species such as doves and pigeons.
- Finely chop the fruits, peas, crickets or mealworms. You can use these in addition to the puppy chow or separately. Roll the food into balls pea-size or smaller.
- Place the ball of food in the baby bird's mouth.
- Purchase baby bird feed at your local pet store if the bird is a dove or pigeon, or other species that eats seed only. Pet stores typically hand-raise parrots and hand feed them, and should have this readily available.
- Ask a bird expert at the pet store for a demonstration or instructions on feeding the baby bird.
- Transport the baby to the wildlife rehabilitation, SPCA, animal control authority or wait for them to pick up the bird. This is based completely on the professional's instructions.