How To Take Care Of Your Baby Bird | Steps To Keep Your Baby Bird-Safe At Each Stage

Baby birds are super cute. The soft tiny creature can melt our heart in a jiffy. 

They are extremely sensitive too. So, if you rescue a baby bird, you have to take complete care of it. 

How To Take Care Of Your Baby Bird at home?

After you bring a baby bird home, keep it in a warm, dark, and quiet environment. It will ensure the bird’s health and it will not catch a cold or get hypothermic. 

The tiny bird will remain calm in the dark. Plus, the quiet place will help the bird remain stress-free. 

Hold your temptation to check the bird frequently because every time you come near it put on the light, its stress level will increase. 

Experts suggest placing a clean towel in a clear container to make the environment dark.

If you can, make a nest in a box. 

Take a deep dish approximately two inches in diameter. You can use a soup bowl.

Create a boundary by draping a clean hand towel. It will help the soft baby bird to tuck into the bowl comfortably. 

[Note: All species of birds do not like nests. Many baby birds, if fledged from their respective nests, will not stay in an artificial nest, and will try to jump out of the bowl.]

Your next step is to consult an ornithologist, especially before trying to feed the tiny little being. You may think that giving food to it will aid its health, but experts opine that it is a bad idea to randomly feed a baby bird without knowing its food habit. 

If you inappropriately feed the bird, it can aspirate on the food leading to respiratory infection and even death. Again, different species of birds consume different food some eat insects, some devour fruits and grains, and others can eat both.

There is an exception in the case of hummingbirds. These birds require frequent feeding for survival. 

Related Read: Can You Overfeed A Baby Bird? How To Feed A Baby Bird

Here is a food recipe for baby hummingbirds:

Mix water and sugar. The ratio is 4:1. 

Now, dip a Q-tip or straw into the sugar water mix. 

Feed the bird through little droplets. A healthy baby bird will drink automatically.

Repeat the process every 30 minutes.

[Note: Sugar cannot provide enough nutrition to a hummingbird. But, it will help keep the birdlings alive for some period. Get hold of a professional rehabber soon and take a nutrition chart for the bird.]

Related Read: How Do Birds Find Bird Feeders? | Will Birds Come To A Bird Feeder?

What does a baby bird need to eat?

In the nest amidst nature, the birdlings eat the same thing their parents eat. For instance, seeds, fruits, insects, worms, etc. Little chicks can eat various foods if the caretaker knows exactly what they are. 

If you found a baby bird that recently fell out from the nest, you can try giving a moist dog or cat food also. But, the food must be soaked in water to make it softer like a sponge. 

Also, finely chopped vegetables and fruits are fine for birds. Additionally, small insects go well with nestling or fledgling birds.

You must know that baby birds have different nutritional requirements than full-grown adult birds. An adult bird’s food may not suit the babies. But, with the growth of the babies, the diet will be a bit different, and gradually it will match exactly with the adult birds. 

In the case of water, a baby bird can have enough water from the food itself.

Suggesting suitable food for baby birds that fell out of their nest:

  • Wet cat and dog food
  • Boiled egg crumbled or smashed
  • Unseasoned raw liver (in case of some species)
  • Minced fruits and vegetables

Do not offer these foods:

  • Milk
  • Water
  • Bakery products
  • Bread
  • Kitchen waste
  • Cooked food containing oil, butter, etc.
  • Spicy food that you may like

[Note: Birds do not consume milk. The digestive system of birds can’t tolerate milk and milk products. Unfortunately, many people make mistakes by thinking milk and bread together can make an ideal baby bird food. But, as milk is toxic to them, they can have severe digestive system issues and can die eventually.]

Suggesting you a fine baby bird food that you can make at home:

Mix pet food with water. Feed the mixture with a straw.

You can soak kibble or dog biscuits in water. Make a mushy consistency that the little birds can easily swallow and digest. 

It can meet the protein needs of baby birds, and the nestlings will think their mothers are feeding them.

How can you feed a baby bird?

  • Always give food having spongy consistency to baby birds. 
  • Soften the dry food before feeding them. 
  • The food must be at room temperature and never hot or cold.
  • Always give food that is small and proportional to the bird’s size. Do not give them big lumps. 
  • Always be careful because the baby can be injured or stressed out while feeding. Do not force it to swallow food.

How do you feed a baby bird that won’t open its mouth?

If the rescued baby bird is not opening its beak, tap the beak lightly. You can rub some food around its beak’s edge. 

It will help the baby bird to understand that feeding time has come. However, if it still doesn’t open its mouth, you open it gently. 

How do you save a dying baby bird?

Have you found a baby bird lying helplessly on the edge of the road or in your garden? Is it wounded or dying? Don’t worry, you can save it.

Keep these points in mind:

  • Understand the existing law.
  • Make sure whether the baby bird is wounded or dying.
  • Be sure about the type of bird.
  • Ensure the age of the bird with the help of a bird specialist.

[Note: In certain countries, for example, the US, it is illegal to take a baby bird home. So, if you find a dying bird, call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. You can call the personnel before picking up the bird, or, placing the bird in a clean box and keeping it in a safe place.]

Also, you must know these two factors for determining if the rescued bird is healthy or needs help.

Related Read: Bird Grit | What Is Grit For Birds? | Do Birds Need Grit?

Ensure the baby bird is injured, sick, or healthy. If it is sick or injured, help is mandatory.

The bird can be nestling or fledgling. 

Usually, nestlings get out of their nests on their own. But, they need help in returning to their respective nests. They are still very small and their parents feed them. They cannot survive outside the nests on their own.

If you find a nest, return it to its nest. If you cannot do it yourself, take the help of a rehabber.

Pick up the bird:

Clean your hands before picking up the bird. If you have gloves, wear them. Dirty hands can spread bacteria and various kinds of diseases and harm the tiny cute being.

Take care of the birdling:

Use one hand to hold the bird. If the size of the bird is too small, cover it with another hand so that it cannot escape. But, keep a little gap for the bird to breathe.

Search for the nest:

If you can find the nest and other babies, place the rescued baby bird with them. Be gentle. 

Keep an eye on the baby bird:

Keep monitoring the baby bird from a distance of approximately 80 feet. Give time for a few hours as you have to make sure that the little bird is absolutely fine. When the parents return to the nest and start feeding all the babies including the one you saved, leave the place.

How do you keep baby birds warm without a heat lamp?

Get hold of a clean sock, and fill it with uncooked rice. Then, microwave it for a minute to make it ready to use.

Get a plastic bottle and fill it with hot tap water.

Use an electric heating pad. Set the temperature to low heat. Place the pad under ‘half’ of the container where the baby bird is resting. 

How do I know if my baby bird is hungry?

Baby birds give certain signs when they are hungry. Observe them carefully.

  • They open their mouths.
  • They make loud noises.
  • They shake and move actively.

These signs are the obvious indications that the baby bird is hungry. If they are not hungry, they continue sleeping.

However, there are some exceptions too. Like, a nestling may wake up but not feel hungry. It’s harmful to them if you try to feed them forcefully at that time. 

A hungry baby bird will always open its mouth and make noise. 

If you notice an outdoor nest and want to keep the baby birds healthy and safe, pay attention while feeding. The mother bird may not always feed the babies. 

Hence, the baby birds can make more noise till they faint. You have to take action during this period.

How long can a baby bird go without food?

It is a common question that comes from many bird rescuers. 

The frequency, as well as the amount of food, depends primarily on the bird’s age. Young birds should be fed more frequently than older birds. 

Baby birds less than a week cannot survive a day without food. In fact, they must be fed every two to three hours or 6 to 10 times daily.

You should not keep a chick without food for more than 6 hours. 

How do you keep baby birds warm?

You must keep baby birds warm. Take a sock and pour birdseed or uncooked rice in it. 

Warm it in the microwave for approximately 20 to 30 seconds. Wrap the warm sock in a soft cloth or towel. 

Now, place the entire preparation next to the tiny bird. It will keep the bird warm and comfortable. 

Related Read: How to keep birds off my porch? | Best ways to keep birds away.

How to take care of a baby bird that just hatched?

A newborn bird that has just hatched is very vulnerable. The best option is to take the help of a wildlife rehabilitator for proper care of such a baby bird. 

If you find the baby’s nest, try to return it.

How to take care of a baby bird without feathers?

Whenever you rescue a baby bird (with or without feathers), check whether it is warm. If the bird is without feathers, place a lamp with a 40-watt bulb minimum 12 inches away from it. 

Place the baby in a small basket or bowl or any container with a soft towel. Put tissue paper to hold the bird’s poop. It is best to place the artificial nest in an aquarium to imitate an incubator.

Baby birds without features are altricial. They are dependent on their parents to eat food. So, if you find one, feed it every 30 minutes. Mother birds feed their babies throughout the day. 

Give them bird pellets or dog/cat food mixed with water. The food must be soft so that the tiny birds can swallow it. 

You can give them egg yolk mixed with water. The consistency should be like that of oatmeal or sponge. 

Baby birds without feathers do not need extra water separately to drink. They get their water from the food. 

However, you can give them a few drops for rehydrating them when they first arrive in your home. Use a straw or a popsicle stick for feeding. 

Never ever over-feed the bird. In the wild, often mother birds feed insects to their babies for rapid growth. 

Baby birds with or without feathers sleep throughout the night. You do not have to feed them at that time. But, start feeding them in the early morning.

How to take care of a baby bird that fell from its nest?

You have to find out whether the baby bird is a nestling or a fledgling. Usually, chicks that fell from the nest are fledglings. They just left the nests and were unable to fly. Parents take their care, and you do not have to help them. 

But, if the bird is a nestling, you have to help it. If you find the nest, put it back. But, if the nest is destroyed or the bird has no parents, the best option is to take it to a vet and call a rehabilitator.

How to take care of a baby bird egg without an incubator?

If a baby bird egg is without an incubator, provide heat consistently. Taking care of an orphaned egg is tough and time-consuming. Be patient and careful. 

Follow these steps:

Search for a substitute mother:

Find a hen and place the egg near or underneath the hen inside the nest. The mother bird will automatically roll that egg under her body. It is her instinct. Then, the egg will heat naturally. The hen will instinctively take the hatching.

Related Read: Do Birds Take Dirt Baths? | Why Do Birds Roll In Dirt? | How Often Should Birds Bath?

Take a soft towel:

Place a towel in a shoebox or container suitable to keep an orphaned egg. Now, set the bird’s egg right in the middle of the towel. 

Fold it properly around the egg. Then fix a desk lamp positioned near the box. It should have a 40-watt bulb. Turn on the lamp and leave it on for approximately 12 to 16 hours per day. 

Get a tube sock:

Fill it with rice. Tie the end of the sock. Now, put the rice-filled sock in a microwave to heat it for one minute. It should be medium heat. 

Put the bird egg in a bowl or saucer. Wrap the warm sock around the egg. Repeat the process again and again when the sock comes to room temperature. 

Make use of a heating pad:

Position the heating pad on a surface that is heat-resistant. The heating pad must be in the lowest setting. Now, place the egg in the center of the pad. 

Make use of disposable hand warmers:

After opening the package of the disposable hand warmers, activate them. Now, place the warmer on a bowl or saucer. Put the egg at the center of the warmer. Then, place the second-hand warmer on the top of the bird egg. 

Repeat this process by changing hand warmers every 10 to 12 hours.