How to Care for a Crow That Can't Fly

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If you come across an orphaned or abandoned crow, you should first be sure it is indeed in need of assistance. Fledgling birds that have left the nest are often unable to fly and remain on the ground. The baby crow's parents may be nearby and still caring for it. Observe for a while to see if the parents return. If not, or if the bird is in danger of predators, rescue it. First check to see if you can take it to a local wildlife rehabilitator. If no one is available to care for the bird, you can hand raise it for release when it's old enough to fly or survive on its own.

Things You'll Need

  • Large box
  • Oatmeal
  • Ground beef heart
  • Hard-boiled egg yolk
  • Avian vitamin supplement
  • Turkey starter
  • High-protein dog food or puppy chow
  • Unsalted peanuts
  • Corn
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Fresh fruit
  • Mealworms
  • Crickets
  • Line a large box with newspaper to house the bird. Place a small bowl of water in the box for the bird to drink from.

  • Prepare a mixture of oatmeal, ground beef heart and hard-boiled egg yolk. You can add an avian vitamin supplement with calcium to promote bone growth.

  • Put a glob of the mixture on your finger and insert it into the baby crow's gaping beak.

  • Stick your finger well into the bird's throat as the mother bird would with her beak. This stimulates the swallowing reflex in the baby. Fed the bird every three to four hours in this fashion until it is 6 weeks old.

  • Begin offering other foods at 6 weeks. Crows are omnivores, and will eat almost anything, so are somewhat easier to raise than most baby birds. Youngsters need a diet that is at least 25 to 50 percent protein. Turkey starter is a good beginning to the diet. High-protein dog food or puppy chow is also good and usually easier to obtain. Continue feeding hard-boiled egg yolks. Other good foods are unsalted peanuts, corn, sunflower seeds, fresh fruit, and mealworms or crickets.

  • Keep human contact with your young crow as limited as possible and maximize its exposure to the local crows. Take it outside and let other crows investigate. It will stand a better chance of survival when released if it is accepted into a crow family.

  • Release the crow at about 8 weeks of age. Once it can fly, it should be released. The bird will likely stick around and beg to be fed. But by fall it will hopefully integrate with a flock.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keeping a crow as a pet is illegal without a permit.
  • Do not feed the crow too many mealworms; they are high in chitin and can cause blockages.
  • All birds are lactose intolerant, do not feed baby crows milk or cream of any kind.

References

  • Photo Credit John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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