Detailed Handfeeding for Newbies

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annague
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Detailed Handfeeding for Newbies

Post by annague » Sat Feb 19, 2011 7:33 pm

On very tiny (waxbills and such) babies (just hatched to maybe 8 days) I use a fancy toothpick -- the kind with a little knob on one end. -- You can get these at most any grocery store.

You Will Need:
1. Bright lamp that projects light downward
2. Artists Magnifier
or some type of hands free magnifier (optional but VERY helpful and boosts confidence)
3. Heating Pad (optional but nice to have)
4. Paper Towels5. Baby Bird Feeding Formula
6. Toothpicks (Fancy is nice) and/or needleless 1 ml. syringe for later as the chick grows.
7. Small glass to put inside a larger glass (I use a shot glass inside a small measuring cup).
8. Baby Bird Feeding Formula



INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Put your heating pad on warm (or lowest setting) under the bright lamp to prepare for hand-feeding the baby finch. Cover the pad with a paper towel just for protection. Nearby you should have your hands free magnifier and toothpicks/syringe.

2. Make your formula. I use LeFeber's because it is rice based and mixes very easily. Let the tap water run into the large glass until the water is hot and heats up the glass. Meanwhile, place a tiny amount of the handfeeding formula in the bottom of the small (shot) glass. When the water is hot drip a small amount of water into the small glass and mix with the formula. When they are very tiny you will make the formula VERY soupy - almost like water but just enough thickness to stick to the toothpick.

3. Fill the larger glass with enough water to cover the sides of the small glass and keep the formula warm and place the small formula-filled glass inside the larger glass. You should test the temperature here and make sure it is not too hot -- it should feel pleasantly warm to your finger tip but NOT hot.

4. Remove the chick from brooder and place on pre-warmed heating pad on top of paper towel. (This helps the tiny chick retain his body heat while you feed).

5. Fix your magnifier to see the chick very clearly under the light and dip the pointed end of your toothpick (just the tip) into the formula. Touch the "loaded" toothpick to the baby's beak very lightly if it is not begging. DO NOT EVER FEED A CHICK THAT IS NOT VOLUNTARILY OPENING ITS MOUTH UNLESS IT IS AN EMERGENCY (like the chick is dying from starvation and is too weak to respond).
Once the chick opens its beak place the toothpick inside the opening just enough so that the chick swallows. (You will see him close his beak and gulp it down into his crop).

TIPS HERE:

a) Be very patient -- go slow and don't feed the chick in a stressful environment (kids yelling, dogs barking, etc. etc.) if you can help it. :)

b) Never force the chick to eat if you tap its beak after its eaten some and it won't open up. Try again a little later. (An hour).

c) As the chick grows you will switch to the knobby end of the toothpick and then to a syringe. You will know when he grows enough to fit the knobby end and then the tip of the syringe in his open beak that it is time to "switch up".

6. Continue feeding the chick until he has some food in his crop. You will see the food enter the crop and the crop will become distended as it fills. DO NOT OVERFILL THE CROP -- this causes aspiration --

7. When the chick is done feeding clean up any formula that may have gotten on him and when clean, place him back in the brooder.

8. Discard any remaining formula. It must be made new for each feeding to prevent contamination -- this is very important!

9. 2 hours later repeat steps 1-8.


NOTES: I feed very new babies throughout the night for the first 3 days but I stretch the feeding time some (every 3-4 hours depending on the strength of the baby). The smallest ones do best with a feeding or 2 during the night. Once they are a little older they can go for 6-8 hours without a night feeding but feed them first thing in the morning.

As the chick gets older and more vigorous you will GRADUALLY make the formula thicker -- for instance, you will notice the chick starts begging more and seeming more hungry -- this is a clue that he needs more thick formula [just like real kids for you mothers out there]. :) But GO gradual -- you don't want to give the baby formula so thick he can't swallow properly.

To anyone who is afraid to do this with tiny waxbills. If I can do it -- YOU can do it. I aspirated ONE baby when I first started but I saved many lives and have not aspirated one since -- it IS a learning curve but so rewarding. There is nothing more grateful than a hungry baby bird!!

I hope this helps if you are considering it.

Happy Handfeeding!
Anna

Lots of Red Throat Parrot Finches, Forbes, Gouldians, BCCB's, RCCB's, Owls, Societies, and BB Fires. Plus, one wonderful 15 year old son, one wonderful husband and two rotten-to-the-core Border Terriers.

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Re: Detailed Handfeeding for Newbies

Post by lovemyfinch » Sat Feb 19, 2011 8:23 pm

Wonderful Anna =D>
Would you by any chance be able to add a picture of your fancy toothpick?
Janine

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Re: Detailed Handfeeding for Newbies

Post by MLaRue » Sat Feb 19, 2011 10:39 pm

What kind of handfeeding do you prefer and what kind of waxbills have you raised from handfeeding? Do you add anything extra for them?

Excellent instructions Anna :)

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Re: Detailed Handfeeding for Newbies

Post by Sally » Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:26 am

Great instructions for handfeeding, Anna! If I may, I have included photos of several additional tools that can be used for handfeeding waxbills. Some of the very tiny ones, like Goldbreasts, can be fed at first using a fine artist's brush. Dip it in very thin formula, and the little ones can suck it off the brush. A banding tool makes a very good feeding utensil, too. Just scoop up a very small amount of formula in the groove of the tool, offer it groove-side down to a begging baby, and they can lick the formula off the tool.

Once the smaller waxbills are about a week old, they will be big enough to be fed with a syringe and small feeding tip. The feeding tip is inserted into the mouth of the begging baby, down into the crop, then a small amount of formula is injected into the crop. The feeding tip is very visible thru the thin skin, so you can see that it is in place.
Attachments
Fine artist brush and banding tool.
Fine artist brush and banding tool.
5 ml syringe and small feeding tip.
5 ml syringe and small feeding tip.
3 Purple Grenadiers, 1 Goldbreast + 1 cat.

National Finch & Softbill Society - http://www.nfss.org

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Re: Detailed Handfeeding for Newbies

Post by lovemyfinch » Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:37 am

Sally, can these feeding tips only be bought on line? I think I have tried almost all of the drugstores in the area and have not yet found one. :?
Janine

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Re: Detailed Handfeeding for Newbies

Post by Sally » Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:29 am

Janine, I ordered these from Avitech, but they no longer carry them. I did find them at some site, can't remember where, so I will search again. They were very inexpensive at Avitech, and are more at the other site. However, they are sold as disposable tips, and I simply clean mine and reuse over and over--they last an incredibly long time. I have a friend who is a nurse, I will ask her if she knows of a supplier.
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Re: Detailed Handfeeding for Newbies

Post by mathewsmom21 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 11:23 am

The metal one believe it or not came with my bands I ordered from LadyGouldianFinch.com! Maybe they are some sort of a multi purpose tool lol? But when I saw the picture to my surprise I was like "Hey I have that!." lol. Wonderful wonderful info Sally and Anna, thank you so much!! =D> =D> =D> . So you do indeed feed them with a toothpick until they are a little older then? I am quite glad you wrote this topic because I had intended to feed then with a 100cc syringe without luer lock and a butterfly blood collecting tube cut down to 2 centimeters :shock: . This was part of the reason I was so nervous! I had NO idea HOW I was going to get that tube into that tiny tiny baby's crop! Very happy this is up here! :D =D> =D>
Mother of two kids, 8 Green back Gouldians, 4 Yellow Back Gouldians, and 1 Blue Back Gouldian, 4 precious baby Gouldians, 2 Red Factor Canaries, 1 Cordon Blue finch (my singer), 3 societies, and one very hungry Lilac Point Siamese Cat.

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Re: Detailed Handfeeding for Newbies

Post by annague » Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:49 pm

Everybody -- sorry no pictures -- I will add some and, thank you Sally for adding some information and pictures, too! It really helps for us newer finch owners to hear as much as possible from experienced people.

In reality there are many ways (and tools) to handfeed chicks and I guess you figure out what you prefer or what works best for you as you try different things. :)

Liz, I've handfed (from hatching day - a RC CB chick and a BCCB chick) and handfed multiple CB's of both species after about day 3 along with black-rumped waxbills (which are tiny, tiny, birds -- I was relieved to feed CB's after them!!)

I use only LeFeber's and do not add anything. I try to stay away from applesauce, etc. because anything with sugar (even natural sugar) accelerates yeast growth and I guess I'm afraid of that. None of my birds get anything with sugar in it -- I'm a mean birdie mama that way! :mrgreen:

I've had great results and raised beautiful healthy birds to weaning on the Lefeber's (they do seem a bit larger when I hand-feed). It is a lot of effort but it is also pretty fun to have those baby birds love you so much when you are feeding them.

NOTE: I don't let them bond too much to me, though, because I want them to enjoy a natural bird life so when they are weaning I place them in cages with my grown birds and let them watch and become a part of the gang. It breaks the bond with me quicker but they always stay more calm than the ones I've not hand-raised which is nice. Most of my hand-raised will also "talk" to me still. I usually "chirp" :oops: at them and "preen" them with the edge of a paper towel when they are little after I feed them so they feel loved by their "Mama".
Anna

Lots of Red Throat Parrot Finches, Forbes, Gouldians, BCCB's, RCCB's, Owls, Societies, and BB Fires. Plus, one wonderful 15 year old son, one wonderful husband and two rotten-to-the-core Border Terriers.

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Re: Detailed Handfeeding for Newbies

Post by mathewsmom21 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:54 pm

Awwwwww how sweet Anna! You must become very attached doing something like that. I would be! I know my clutch right now I haven't had to feed or anything and STILL feel like a proud parent hehehe. Feel just like I hatched them myself! I think we all put more work into it than we give ourselves credit for!
Mother of two kids, 8 Green back Gouldians, 4 Yellow Back Gouldians, and 1 Blue Back Gouldian, 4 precious baby Gouldians, 2 Red Factor Canaries, 1 Cordon Blue finch (my singer), 3 societies, and one very hungry Lilac Point Siamese Cat.

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Re: Detailed Handfeeding for Newbies

Post by MLaRue » Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:30 pm

Here is a link for those tips and several other handfeeding things I use that the other websites don't carry -

http://www.birdb.com/osc/index.php?cPath=58_17

I use these from start to end when feeding them

http://www.birdb.com/osc/product_info.p ... cts_id=128

cute finch boy
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Re: Detailed Handfeeding for Newbies

Post by cute finch boy » Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:54 pm

Sally wrote:Janine, I ordered these from Avitech, but they no longer carry them. I did find them at some site, can't remember where, so I will search again. They were very inexpensive at Avitech, and are more at the other site. However, they are sold as disposable tips, and I simply clean mine and reuse over and over--they last an incredibly long time. I have a friend who is a nurse, I will ask her if she knows of a supplier.



i have LOTS of boxes of these! as well as the little syringes

PM if you need some
Chase Austin-Paradise Birds
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Finches, Canaries, Softbills, Conures, Cockatiels, English Budgies, Fancy Pigeons, Quail, Emu, Rare bantam Chickens, Peacocks, Show Rabbits and Guniea pigs, Venomous Snakes, rodents, and something else im sure :)

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Re: Detailed Handfeeding for Newbies

Post by annague » Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:08 pm

Misty,

Thanks for those links!! I think I will try one of those tips.

Also, I just realized I called you "Liz" in my second post. :oops: :oops:

Please pardon me, I was distracted (too much going on!) and I should have done a better job of proof reading before I posted.
Anna

Lots of Red Throat Parrot Finches, Forbes, Gouldians, BCCB's, RCCB's, Owls, Societies, and BB Fires. Plus, one wonderful 15 year old son, one wonderful husband and two rotten-to-the-core Border Terriers.

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Re: Detailed Handfeeding for Newbies

Post by mathewsmom21 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:47 pm

Lol Anna it's funny you mention that. I kept looking for liz and could not find her post. I was quite confused, But, alas, I am VERY easily confused!! :lol:
Mother of two kids, 8 Green back Gouldians, 4 Yellow Back Gouldians, and 1 Blue Back Gouldian, 4 precious baby Gouldians, 2 Red Factor Canaries, 1 Cordon Blue finch (my singer), 3 societies, and one very hungry Lilac Point Siamese Cat.

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Re: Detailed Handfeeding for Newbies

Post by MLaRue » Sun Feb 20, 2011 11:36 pm

annague wrote:Misty,

Thanks for those links!! I think I will try one of those tips.

Also, I just realized I called you "Liz" in my second post. :oops: :oops:

Please pardon me, I was distracted (too much going on!) and I should have done a better job of proof reading before I posted.


No problem Anna - no worries :wink:

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Re: Detailed Handfeeding for Newbies

Post by CosmoJoe » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:22 am

Thanks for the great information in this post. My first handfeeding experience ended in disaster :( It was a cute little society that had a bum left foot (twisted to the side). Everything was going fine and I was at the weaning stage; one evening I fed with syringe and I'm not sure if it gulped too vigorously, but the poor thing aspirated and died right in my hands :cry: Very heartbreaking.

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