More on Hand feeding

Goodness, those baby cockatiels are growing. Some nights they don’t want any food from me, as they have been happily nibbling on millet and pellets most of the day. They have water and some toys and one perch which no one is using yet. I may give them a ladder soon to see if that helps with perching.

crowd in a box

Lucky, the oldest bird, likes to go in the big cage with the adult cockatiels, but so far I don’t trust myself to leave her there overnight. I want her to be safe in the tank with the heating pad for now.

I’m going to share some things I do that make hand feeding easier for me. I use cardboard flats to put the chicks in while I am feeding them. They seem to eat better when they see their siblings being fed. I use towels on the bottom that I can throw in the wash. Dish towels work well because the little toenails don’t get caught like they do on terry cloth.

hand feeding tools

I mix up my best guess as to what amount the chicks will eat each time. They are down to three feedings per day. The temp of the formula must be at least 97 degrees and no more than 109 degrees. I put a glass measuring cup with one cup of water in the microwave for one minute. I then use one tablespoon of formula mix to four syringes full of the hot water. I then check the temp and if it’s way over in the 120 degrees or more range, I will add some human baby food that has been refrigerated. I only use a teaspoon or less. I love the Gerber combination that has pears, corn, and zucchini. A mix of fruit and vegetables is best, but use what you can. Don’t keep it in the refrigerator after opening for more than one week.

If I don’t have the baby food, I will pull water bottle ice tubes out of the freezer and stir the formula with them. These are relatively cheap and work like magic.

082116 look at butt

Cockatiel chicks have an odd body shape with a huge butt. That back end is full of fat and will be completely absorbed as the chick matures.  Once the shape is more slender, the chick is about ready to fly. Most birds will not wean themselves off of being fed until they can fly, and fly well. They need to be able to go to their own sources of food. So don’t clip baby wings until they fly for a few days, or you will have slow weaning chicks.

baby butt

I know there are videos online that will show you hand feeding much better than I can explain. I will link a few of them here. I am not one of those people who disinfect and boil all the equipment used. I rinse the syringes, dishes, and thermometer immediately after feeding. A little dirt is not bad for baby birds. If they catch something now, chances are they will get over it quickly and have some immunity from it for the rest of their lives.

I only recently learned that baby birds do get immunizations and such passed on in their parents’ gastric juices similar to what mammals get in breastfeeding. The things you learn when you have birds. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.

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