If you purchase a baby parrot that has not been weaned, you have a big job ahead of you. These baby birds are very delicate, requiring an abundance of care and attention. They primarily need to be nurtured and fed.
Hand-feeding a baby bird is not difficult, but it does take practice and a careful attention to detail. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
1. Gather the proper equipment. Unlike other baby animals such as puppies, kittens and lambs, birds do not drink from bottles. Instead you will need to feed them with a syringe or eyedropper. When selecting syringes, choose ones that are relatively small, as your parrot’s beak will be tiny. It is also best to find a syringe that has a fairly long tip. This will make the feeding process much easier.
2. Select a formula. Research various formulas and select one you think is appropriate. When mixing the formula, be sure to follow the instructions on the package. Before you start preparing your feathered friends meal, make sure your counter, sink and faucet are clean and disinfected. Baby birds can be susceptible to bacteria. The formula should be extremely warm—somewhere around 110-107 degrees. Parrots do not like cold formula. Once mixed, the formula should have the consistency of warm pudding or gravy. If the mixture is too thin, it could cause your baby bird to develop diarrhea; if it is too thick it can get stuck in their throat. If you are not sure of the temperature you can always check the formula with a thermometer.
3. Position the baby bird correctly. When it comes to feeding time, handle your parrot gently. If your baby bird is too young to be placed on a bird stand during the feeding process, you will need to set him on your lap. Hold his head securely between two fingers and gently open the beak before inserting food. Having a secure hold on your bird is important. If he becomes startled or jumps at a sudden sound, it could cause food to get into the lungs. This is very dangerous and can be fatal for a young bird. If a large amount of food is inhaled into the lungs, your parrot could die within a few seconds. Smaller particles are also dangerous as they can affect your parrot’s breathing, eventually causing pneumonia and death.
Hand-feeding a baby parrot can be a rewarding process. However, it is important to educate yourself on how to do so correctly. Talk to your avian veterinarian or an experienced breeder before attempting it on your own.