How to Feed a Hatchling Bird

Hatchlings clamoring for food.
Hatchlings clamoring for food. (Image: Chicks In Nest image by maureen dainty from

A hatchling is the newborn of a bird. Hatchlings haven't acquired feathers and are born with closed eyes. If a hatchling falls from its tree, the bird can be in a helpless state, requiring immediate attention. When possible, try to place the hatchling back in its nest, as indicated by the Pet Place website. If you cannot reunite the hatchling with its parents, then it's important to feed the bird until you can take it to a rehabilitation center to prevent the hatchling's death.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand soap
  • Water
  • Mealworms
  • Crickets
  • Dog food
  • Warm water
  • Tweezers

Wash your hands before and after feedings to prevent the spread of disease. Feed the hatchling mealworms or crickets. If you feed mealworms, pinch the mealworm's head off, as indicated by the Marathon Wild Bird Center website.

Check the hatchling for a crop. The crop is a pouch that is found near the throat. The crop must be empty before feeding.

Take a pair of tweezers and gently tap the side of the hatchling's beak to initiate feeding. Place the mealworms or cricket in the hatchling's beak .

Feed the hatchling with a dropper.
Feed the hatchling with a dropper. (Image: medicine dropper image by jimcox40 from

Feed the hatchling two pieces of insects, every 30 minutes during the day. Allow the hatchling to rest at night. Feeding can be done every one to two hours, once the hatchling's eyes have opened.

Give your hatchling dog food soaked in warm water, once it begins to develop feathers. Break pieces of the soaked dog food with your tweezers and place the food within the hatchling's beak. Feedings can be done every two hours.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never feed a hatchling plain water. Pulmonary aspiration and possible death may result.
  • Never feed bread to a hatchling. This will result in intestinal blockages.
  • Never give a hatchling milk. Milk isn't part of a hatchling's natural diet.

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