Handfeeding Tips - Day One through End of First Week
Gloria at Whitewings Farm
1. Needed supplies: syringes....lots of O ring syinges, from 1 cc through 10 or 20's. The first week you will be using oners and threers with practically all babies. It's slower...but you're not likely to overfeed either.
2. A bottle of Pedialyte or a bag of Ringers lactate. The Ringers is better actually....because you can keep it in the freezer and it doesn't go flat so quickly. The pedialyte is no better than sterile water after two days.
3. A gram scale...a good supply of the proper hand feeding formula,...
4. A jar of Probiotics.....
5. A new bottle of Adolfs Meat Tenderizer....unflavored.
6. A brooder you can keep at about 92 degrees with about 30 to 40 % humidity.... (aqua brood is wonderful, towels to keep it soft, dark and quiet , and a digital thermometer.
The first 24 hours (day 0) is nothing but Pedialyte with a pinch of the Probiotics and a pinch of baby formula. Every hour......I start it at 101 degrees on the themometer....if they're not happy...it goes up ...one degree at a time. Most babies feed at temps ranging from 101 to 106 degrees. It depends on the species. Our Princess of Wales like it HOT. And if it's not....they won't eat..and if we forced it..they developed slow crops. Not worth the upsets. You weigh the baby before feeding ....and you weigh the baby after feeding. And you keep meticulous records with it all written down.....the date, the time, the weights..before and after...and how much you're feeding. This first day ( day 0...hatch day) the formula is very very thin.....it's really gruel. I feed all day until midnight. Get up and feed at 2am...and get up and feed at 4 am. Then start the normal day at 6...first feeding the babies. This first week is just miserable for persons who like to sleep.....but empty crops and crying babies are worse to me than a few lost half hours of sleep.
Day One: I go to a six parts
pedialyte or ringers, to one part baby formula and a pinch of Probiotic. Same
schedule. And ususally up a bit on the amount. Don't forget the
weigh-ins. If something starts to go wrong...this information is needed by the
The formula mixture continues the same as on Day Three for quite a while; 3 to 1....and adding one cc per day for quite a while as well. Just remember.... take your time...don't rush yourself. This is your time to start the ever so important socialization process.....the gentle handling,....the talking....the cuddling close. All these things are part of the hand feeding process.
Be careful not to fill the crop to the top,....and keep a close eye on how quickly the crop is emptying.
One thing that helps if the crop seems slow...a tiny
pinch of Adolfs meat tenderizer in the formula. But first...just some hot pedialyte
or ringers, with a pinch of Probiotic....and a GENTLE massage of the crop.
Good luck. Keep them
warm...keep them humidified....watch the crops.....watch the heat of the
formula...sterilize those syringes or pippettes....keep the towling always changed and
fresh and clean..and wash down gently those baby faces after you have fed them with warm
water. Keep them dark ...and soft and safe. And in the words of one of the all
time great avian vets...Dr. Barton Huber... DON'T GET COMPLACENT.