Tips on looking after rescued birds (from Joey Quah)

Useful tips from Joey Quah (joeyquah@gmail.com) below. She has also offered her help should anyone encounter rescued birds.

If anyone do find a baby bird, dont be afraid to keep it warm. Use as small a container as possible. For quick emergency container, use a 1.5l mineral bottle. Cut the bottle about 3″ from the bottom. Line the bottom with lots of tissue paper or cotton hanky/towel. Cut off the top part of the mineral bottle (3″) and use it as a cover. Poke a few small holes to act as ventilation holes.  In a nest, babies huddle together to keep warm. When there is only 1, the little baby is unable to maintain its body heat. Dont be afraid to cover the little bird with something light, like soft tissue paper. If you have a light cloth, it can be used too. Try to maintain a temperature of say… 28 degrees.  Do not expose the baby to cold wind, not even fan – yup, it wont be easy. One would probably be sweating like hell with shaking hands when trying to feed the little one.

Food –  feed a little at a time. You will know when the baby is hungry. It’ll chirp for food, opening its mouth to beg. Depending on how old the baby is, feeding can be like every 20 to 30 minutes. Nestum/oat can be good emergency food. Grind to make it powdery. Soak it with a little hot water to make it soft. The consistency should be something like baby food, not too watery or the baby will choke. Again, food needs to be warm, NOT hot, NOT cold. As the baby opens it mouth to beg, pop in a little piece. It might be easier to use a chopstick than a spoon. Always throw away unfinished food, do not re-use or re-heat.

Hope this helps.

Please feel free to forward my contact if anyone needs a little help with birds. I’m not an expert but if it’s emergency bird food they need, I have parrot pellets that can always be used as a temporary standby. It’s usually very hard to keep a little baby alive as they usually die because they didnt get enough warmth and also, the feeding is not as easy as it seems – too much food, the food dont get digested, the baby dies. Too little food, the baby dies. In the past, I had lost 2 baby parrots due to my ignorance and inexperience.
Unless one gets to be with the baby 24 hours a day, chances of survival is low.  It’s not easy.  I was really relieved when I managed to save a little bulbul. He was practically with me every minute of the day – to work too, so that he would get fed every 20 minutes or when he chirped for it. He’s now a happy, mischievous 8 year old bundle of joy. Was not able to set him free as he never got to learn humans, cats and dogs are not friends and their heads are not a resting place, lol.
Here’s little Lucky after a few days of finding him.
And now, all grown up…

3 comments to Tips on looking after rescued birds (from Joey Quah)

  • lynn yap

    That is amazing, Joey! Will remember all the good pointers, especially the keeping warm part. Thank you and great job.

  • Joey

    Thanks Lynn. Lucky was extremely lucky (i guess it pays to pick a good name). He was already feathered when i found him, so he had a better chance of survival. Featherless babies are hardest to save :( but not impossible.

  • Simon

    Joey,

    Thanks for the tips. Your story reminds me where, a few years ago, I found 2 orphaned baby pigeons just outside the backyard of my house, when I was just about to leave the house for work. However, because I was so scared of bird flu then (a few weeks before this, I had found 2 dead adult pigeons in my backyard, which I later carefully/hygienically disposed off) & was also rushing to reach office in time, I just put them outside the house (on the ground), with no protection at all. Unfortunately, when I came home, the 2 chicks were missing. I suspected our neighbourhood cats ate them, since these chicks were constantly making noises due to hunger, thus attracting the cats’ attention.

    On the hindsight, I really regretted my action and if I should face such scenario again, without a 2nd thought, I would rather be late for work than to risk the lives of these 2 living beings. On the other hand, if I had saved these chicks that day, I would be at lost on how to foster them, as feeding them within 20-30 minutes interval is virtually impossible, due to my work commitment. This is really a dilemma. If we don’t do, they will die; if we do, they will also die.

    Nevertheless, your helpful tips will prepare me for the future.