Trying to successfully hand feed baby lovebirds is an extremely complex task and it is recommended that you do not undertake this project without undergoing training with a seasoned hand feeding expert unless you have previous experience hand feeding baby birds. You need to have the ability to fully commit your time to feeding the birds around the clock consistently, which is difficult for most people who have other commitments. It is also essential that you heat the formula precisely to an accurate temperature to keep the baby lovebirds protected from life threatening burns and bacteria.
- Oral electrolyte solution
- Permanent marker
- 3 clear plastic bowls
- Small O-ring syringe
- Paper towels
- Hand feeding formula
- Spray millet
- Lovebird seed mix
Feed your baby lovebirds the oral electrolyte solution six hours after they hatch. Continue feeding them the solution for the next four days.
Write the word "food" one plastic bowl. Label another bowl "bleach solution" and give the remaining bowl the designation for "hot water."
Mix 1 part bleach with 9 parts water in the "bleach solution" bowl. Pull the plunger out of the syringe tube and submerge the plunger and tube in the bleach solution for 10 minutes.
Lift the syringe tube and plunger out of the bleach solution. Hold the tube and plunger under running water for five minutes. Empty the bleach solution into the "food" bowl and let it soak for 10 minutes.
Pour the bleach solution into the sink and rinse the "food" bowl under running water for five minutes. Push the plunder back into the syringe tube. Place the tip of the syringe in the oral electrolyte solution and pull the plunger up to fill the tube.
Provide oral electrolyte solution for the first six feedings to see if the birds are digesting their food properly.
Fill the hot water bowl with hot water. The water must remain between 110 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Monitor the temperature of the water with your thermometer.
Hold the syringe in the hot water for 25 seconds and test the temperature of the oral electrolyte solution by squeezing a few drops out of the syringe onto your wrist. Double check the temperature of the drops with a thermometer. The solution must stay between 106 and 108 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lift the baby lovebird up gently and lay it on its back in the middle of your palm, positioning its head between your thumb and index finger.
Position the syringe 1/16 of an inch directly over of the bird's beak. Slowly depress the plunger to release a single drop of oral electrolyte solution. Wait four seconds before administering another drop in this fashion to give the baby bird a chance to breathe. Look at the beak to make sure the drop went down.
Continue feeding single drops in this manner until you see the "crop" pouches on the sides of the throat fill up.
Set your timer for 30 minutes. Prepare the bleach solution and take apart the syringe. Clean the syringe and food bowl as you did previously.
Repeat Steps 1 through 12 every half hour. Place the baby lovebirds on clean paper towels and watch them carefully to see when they begin to eliminate waste. After a chick has eliminated three times you can offer formula in place of the oral electrolyte solution.
Buy a hand feeding formula with a ratio of 22 percent protein to 9 percent fat. If you are hand feeding the baby birds to help socialize them to humans for resale purposes, wait at least two weeks after the chicks hatch to start a hand feeding regimen. This doesn't apply in cases where the parents are rejecting the chicks.
Mix the hand feeding formula in a clean plastic bowl according to the instructions on the back panel of the formula can for the appropriate age group of your chicks. If your chicks are less than five days old, use the oral electrolyte solution in place of water when mixing the formula.
Put the tip of the syringe into the formula mixture and pull the plunger on the syringe up slowly to fill the tube without any air pockets.
Fill the hot water bowl as you did earlier and check the temperature of the water with the thermometer. Let the syringe sit in the hot water for 25 seconds. Test the temperature of the formula using the same method you used to check the temperature of the oral electrolyte solution on your wrist earlier.
Pick the baby up carefully and lay it on its back as you did previously. Feed the baby lovebird using the same procedure detailed in Step 10 until the crop is full.
Set the timer for 30 minutes and prepare the bleach solution. Clean the food container and syringe with the bleach solution and rinse the syringe and food bowl under running water for five minutes. Repeat every 30 minutes.
Follow the instructions on the formula can to thicken the formula mixture on the second day of feeding. Start feeding the chicks every two hours and alter your timer setting accordingly until the chicks are 10 days old.
Feed your chicks every three hours when the chicks are 10 days old. Move feedings to every four hours after the 14th day. Continue sterilizing and rinsing all of your feeding tools regularly and thicken the formula mixture according to the age of your baby lovebirds.
Offer spray millet and lovebird seed mix when the chicks are 21 days old.