- Wash hands thoroughly before handling baby birds. Due to developing immune systems, babies are susceptible to gram-negative bacteria, and certain avian viruses and fungi. Make sure all feeding surfaces and utensils for each bird are thoroughly cleaned to help prevent potential disease spread.
- Use bottled water if the tap water contains high levels of bacteria or minerals or if the hand feeder does not know the quality of the water.
- Add water (120°F) to the Embrace formula in appropriate proportions for the bird’s age. Formulas that are too thin can result in slow chick growth. Formulas that are too thick can lead to crop stasis, dehydration or other health problems. (See Proper Feeding Consistency, below).
- Stir thoroughly for uniform consistency. Allow 1-1/2 to 2 minutes for the formula to absorb the water. Stir again to check the consistency. This step is VERY IMPORTANT and assures the mixture will not continue to thicken in the chick’s crop.
- Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the formula before feeding. Embrace formulas should be fed only when the temperature is between 100°F and 105°F.
Proper Feeding Consistency
Embrace and Embrace Plus formulas should be mixed to the correct consistency to ensure your bird receives the desired amounts of vital nutrients (including water) for its stage of development. Formulas that are too thin can result in slow growth, stunting, or other developmental problems, Formulas that are too thick can lead to crop stasis, dehydration, or other serious health problems.
Age 1-3 Days
Mix to the consistency of a “beaten egg” (approximately one part formula to four parts water). Separation of mixed product is not uncommon when preparing a thinner formula. A very thin formula aids in hydration and can benefit a younger chick that needs more water the first few days. Stir the mixture constantly during the feeding process to ensure adequate delivery of nutrients.
Age 4-14 Days Slowly, during the next 10 days, thicken the formula every other day until it is the consistency of baby applesauce (approximately one part formula to three parts water). Modify consistency and feeding frequency based on the bird’s weight gain.
Age 15 Days to Weaning Mix to the consistency of thick applesauce (approximately one part formula to two parts water). If at any time during the hand-feeding process the baby bird’s digestion slows to a point of concern, return to feeding a thinner formula to increase crop emptying.
If at any time during the hand-feeding stage, the baby bird is experiencing crop stasis, dehydration, weight loss or other serious problems, consult your avian professional immediately.
Assess Proper Amounts to Feed
- Learn how to properly assess the correct amount to feed.
- Each feeding should consist of a volume equal to 8%-12% of the bird’s current body weight depending on the species of the bird, or approximately a millimeter or cc of prepared formula for every 10 grams of body weight. Newly hatched chicks may require smaller amounts.
- Feed until the bird’s crop is nicely rounded by not bulging. To prevent regurgitation, do not over-feed.
- If the crop is not emptying properly, make sure brooding temperatures are between 98°F for unfeathered chicks and 85° F for partially feathered chicks. Then increase the amount of water in the mixed formula to increase crop motility. If you do not see improvement, consult your avian veterinarian.
Weigh Daily to Monitor Proper Growth Rate
Birds, like other animals, grow at different rates. Therefore, the hand-feeder should constantly monitor the growth and development of each individual bird, and adjust based on that individual bird’s species, age, nutritional needs and husbandry requirements.
Weight your bird with an empty crop at the same time every day. Healthy baby birds should gain weight daily, and at no time during its neonatal stage (naked or down covered) should a baby bird lose weight. Weight loss may be an indication that the formula is not thick enough, or you need to increase the feeding frequency. It may also indicate an underlying healthy problem not related to nutrition.
Monitor proper amounts and digestion rates by following a strict feeding schedule. Newly hatched baby birds that are fed a proper formula consistency will empty their crops in 1-2 hours. Baby birds of this age should be fed every two hours to maintain hydration and normal growth. Some breeders do not feed at night between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. If weight gains are not adequate, additional night feedings may be required.
As a young bird matures, its crop grows and feeding frequency will decrease from every two hours to every 6-8 hours per day by the time the bird is 4-6 weeks of age. Some larger parrots may require only two feedings a day as they grow closer to their weaning stage. Feed and weigh your bird on a regular schedule each day.
Weaning Your Baby Bird
Different species will wean at different ages. Generally, the larger the species, the longer the weaning period. If weight loss is more than 16%, increase the frequency of hand-feeding to stabilize the weight before attempting to wean the bird again.
Make sure the bird is eating sufficient quantities of the weaning diet on its own and maintaining its weight before eliminating the Embrace Hand-Feeding Formula. Continue to weigh the bird daily.
|Crude Protein||22.0% min|
|Crude Fat||9.0% min|
|Crude Fiber||4.0% max|
Ingredients: Corn Meal, Wheat Flour, Ground Oat Groats, Corn Gluten Meal, Wheat Middlings, Soy Oil, Dried Beet Pulp, Soy Protein Concentrate, Wheat Germ Meal, Dicalcium Phosphate, Soy Flour (heat processed), Calcium Carbonate, Brewer’s Dried Yeast, Vitamin A Supplement, Salt, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, L-Lysine, L-Arginine, Potassium Chloride, Ascorbic Acid, Propionic Acid (a preservative), Natural Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract, Citric Acid, Manganous Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin K Supplement, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Beta-Carotene, Dried Aspergillus oryzae Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus subtillis Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus licheniformis Fermentation Product, and Dried Baccilus subtillis Fermentation Product.
|Crude Protein||19.0% min|
|Crude Fat||13.0% min|
|Crude Fiber||4.0% max|
Ingredients: Corn Meal, Wheat Flour, Soy Oil, Ground Oat Groats, Corn Gluten Meal, Wheat Middlings, Dried Beet Pulp, Wheat Germ Meal, Soy Protein Concentrate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Soy Flour (heat processed), Calcium Carbonate, Brewer’s Dried Yeast, Vitamin A Supplement, Salt, Chloline Chloride, DL-methionine, L-Lysine, L-Arginine, Potassium Chloride, Ascorbic Acid, Propionic Acid (a preservative), Natural Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract, Citric Acid, Manganous Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin K Supplement, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Beta-Carotene, Dried Aspergillus oryzae Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus subtillis Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus licheninformis Fermentation Product, and Dried Bacillus subtillis Fermentation Product.
- Remove air from pouch, reseal and store in an airtight container to help prevent moisture accumulation and possible contamination from outside bacteria and fungi.
- Store formulas at less than 80°F and less than 60% relative humidity and use opened containers of formulas within 90 days.
- After refrigerating or freezing, return the desired amount to room temperature before mixing.