How to feed a baby cockatiel with a syringe

Who doesn’t like to see baby birds grow in front of their eyes? It would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it? Many people prefer the cockatiel as a pet bird because of its friendly nature and gentleness. You may start out with just a pair but it is not unnatural to breed them and grow more of them. After all, these birds are pretty fun to have around! You may like breeding your cockatiels and making more cockatiels, but taking care of baby birds can be a real issue sometimes. Most of us don’t know how to feed a baby cockatiel with a syringe. So, I am here to help you with that. 

To take care of the baby bird, you must consider and maintain some facts, such as:

  • Feeding the baby
  • Making a house suitable for the baby
  • Preventing diseases
  • Proper training

These are some of the major things you need to keep in mind while taking care of the baby bird. Here I am going to explain how to hand-feed the baby cockatiel when its parents are young and inexperienced to feed it themselves. To be more specific, I am going to explain how to feed a baby cockatiel with a syringe. So, let’s get into it.

Feeding a baby cockatiel can be a real challenge. As it is not being fed by its parents, which is natural, you must have to hand feed it in order to ensure growth and proper development unless it dies. Baby birds are very delicate and require extreme care and attention. 

To hand-feed the baby with a syringe, you have to stimulate the feeding response by mimicking its parents first by tapping gently on the beak. Get a syringe or a dropper and fill it with food that is good for the baby. Tap gently on the beak with the syringe. After the feeding response is stimulated, it will slightly open its beak. When it does that, put the syringe in the baby’s beak from an angle, making the angle right to left just like the parents would. 

Slowly inject food a very small amount and give the baby time to eat that. It will bob its head up and down to eat the food. After a small break, inject the food again. Keep doing this until the baby is full. You have to stop the process once the baby is full by feeling its crop.

How To Feed A Baby Cockatiel With A Syringe

How to feed a baby cockatiel with a syringe

Let’s get into the details now. Feeding the baby requires extreme care. To feed the baby, you must prepare for it. To feed the baby, these are the things you must first arrange :

  • Baby bird formula
  • A syringe 
  • Soft small towels
  • Paper towels
  • Bleach
  • A box or basket

Although it is best to leave the baby to the parent’s care, sometimes that is not the case. A baby needs to be fed several times a day, which is kind of tough for you to do so. It needs feeding every two hours. But due to young and inexperienced parents, they may refuse to feed the baby and abandon it. To keep the baby alive and ensure its growth, you will have to take responsibility and hand feed the baby. While it is a fun thing to do, it is also an extremely delicate task and requires attention. Once you have managed all the things mentioned above, you can hand feed the baby bird. 

Remember, the baby must be three weeks old to be pulled out and hand-fed. Any younger than that would not be a good time to be hand-fed because baby birds remain extremely delicate then. To feed your three weeks old baby cockatiel, take the box or basket and arrange the soft towel on it. Then add a layer of paper towels over it. Put the baby delicately on the box. Take the syringe now and fill it with baby bird formula. If you can’t get baby bird formula, you can also feed your bird bread crumbs mixed with milk. Make a paste with it. Make sure to make it not so thick nor very plain. 

After filling the syringe with food, gently tap on the baby’s beak. This is to stimulate the feeding response. If you observe, you will see the parents tap on the baby bird’s beak with theirs and then the baby opens its beak to be fed. Similar to that, you need to tap on the baby’s beak gently to stimulate the feeding process. Once the baby knows it will be fed, it will open its beak. 

Now put your left on the back of the head of the baby, hold its beak gently with your thumb and index finger to keep it open and insert the syringe a little with your right hand. Slowly squirt a little amount of food inside the baby’s mouth. Give it some time to swallow. It will bob its head up and down. While done swallowing, repeat this process several times until the baby is done feeding and full. To know if the baby bird is full or not, you need to feel its crop. 

Now some facts you have to remember throughout this process. I am going to give you a list of what to do and what not to do. 

How to feed a baby cockatiel with a syringe

Here’s the list of what you should always remember to do:

  • Remember to sterilize the syringe and the food bowl before feeding
  • Wash the syringe thoroughly
  • Use clean and new paper towels each time to keep the baby clean
  • Keep the box clean
  • Feed the baby bird every two hours
  • Maintain hygiene for yourself

Here’s a list of what you should not do:

  • Do not feed hot food to the baby
  • Do not overfeed your baby bird
  • Do not force-feed
  • Do not feed the baby anything other than baby bird formula or something similar to that

This is all about how to feed a baby cockatiel with a syringe. Hand-feeding your baby bird is an amazing experience. You will most certainly enjoy it. Do remember to read and follow through with every step mentioned above and it will be of great help! Also, read our guide about taking care of baby cockatiel, as well as cockatiel diets plan.

Frequently asked questions

Should I force-feed my baby cockatiel?

A baby cockatiel should never be force-fed. The baby bird will eat when it is hungry. If you force-feed, it might result in aspiration or a sour crop. That is, either the food will enter the respiratory tract or extra food may remain in its crop undigested and result in death. So never force-feed your baby cockatiel.

How do I know if my cockatiel is hungry?

It will let you know by bobbing its head. This is a common behavior and is increased when being hand-fed. Also, it will make noise and the tone will be changed, so you will know it is hungry and wants to be fed.

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