Feeding a bird

When a young, sick or injured bird is found we do not usually know how long it has been without food or water.  In cases where you are unable to take the bird to a Bird Rescue Centre immediately we recommend you contact a rescue centre for advice before attempting to feed or hydrate a bird.


  • It is important to correctly identify your bird before feeding any food


  • Birds need to be hydrated before any attempt is made to feed them. Before feeding make sure they are warm to your touch, they will not be able to digest the food properly until they gain normal body temperature.


  • Foods for birds must not be freezing cold, they should be warm and ready to digest (keep out small quantities so the food is finished before it has time to go off)


  • You should not feed a bird milk as they are lactose intolerant


  • Allow the birds to clear their crop before re-feeding (remembering the younger the bird the more often they need to be fed i.e. a nestling out the egg needs to be fed every 10-15mins)


Syringe / Dropper feeding


  • This method can be used for very small or very weak birds


Stick or finger feeding


  • Make sure the stick has a blunt end, the handle end of a teaspoon works well, place the food on the end of the stick or hold the food and place it in to the birds mouth. Not too much at a time. You may need to use your other hand to ease the beak open.




  • Make sure sure you use blunt ended tweezers.  These work well for birds that are alert but are not yet self feeding.

Attached is a list of foods that various birds eat and what can be used in an emergency – a/d or Poly-aid can also be used.

The information below is a guideline for short term care and is not recommend for long term.