The following hand feeding formula was written and published in the IDS bulletin in March 1987. It can be used on a variety of birds needing to be handfed.
HANDFEEDING FORMULA FOR BIRDS
By C. Bradley
8 cups Zu Preem Monkey Biscuit (makes about 2 cups processed)
2cups Gerber high protein baby cereal 35% (gold box)
2 cups regular Wheat Germ
2 cups Instant Potato Flakes
6 heaping scoops NEKTON BIO (scoop come sin bottle) ¼ tsp. Flat
2 scoops NEKTON MSA Calcium Supplement
3 tablespoons NEKTON LORI or 3 tbsp NEKTON TONIC "F" or "K"
BLENDER MIX (feeding needles & tube feeding)
Put all basic ingredients through the blender separately; mix together; then put through blender again. Store in "AIR TIGHT" container in refrigerator. Dry mix will keep for up to 8 months or longer.
(NOTE: can use the food sealer to vacuum seal and store the basic mix. Write the date you made the mix on the container – D. Pire)
COCKATIEL, PARAKEETS, ETC.
Put a heaping teaspoon in a cup; add 1 teaspoon LEMON YOGURT , 2 drops of vegetable oil and enough water to make thick, but thin enough to go through feeding needle; this is about 1/3 mix to 2/3 water. Feed bird whenever crop becomes empty; 3 to 4 times a day.
DOVES & PIGEONS
Feed as above, but make mixture a little thinner. Inca Doves may require double amount of Zu Preem in the formula to bring down protein level.
LARGER HOOKBILLS (or hookbills & other birds which require fruit)
To the basic mix add – when making the mixture
1 can HEINZ Instant Baby Food Mixed Vegetables (dehydrated flakes)
1 can HEINZ Instant Baby Food Mixed Fruit (dehydrated flakes)
(NOTE: any similar brand baby food can be substituted for the Heinz brand – J. Pire)
If "needle feeding" process as above; add vegetable oil and lemon yogurt to mix when ready to feed. (see ROUGH MIX)
Put Zu Preem through blender only, mix all other ingredients thoroughly together and store as the BASIC MIX above.
Feeding: put 2 heaping teaspoons of mix in cup, add 4 to 5 drops of vegetable oil and a heaping teaspoon of lemon yogurt; add enough warm water to make a very thick mush and feed from teaspoon 3 to 4 times a day or when crop becomes empty. 1 teaspoon of strained baby fruit or vegetables may be added to 1 feeding a day if desired. Applesauce, Spinach, etc.
DO NOT REUSE ANY LEFTOVER FORMULA AFTER FEEDING
SUBSTITUTIONS & ALTERNATES
Vitamins: if not using NEKTON, any powdered vitamin may be used. Add enough vitamin to equal amount use din 2 gallons of water.
Liquid Vitamins: must be added to the mix only at feeding time. Add only the amount needed for that feeding.
Calcium: Oyster Shell Calcium for humans may be used, add 750 mg crushed to a fine powder (about 3 tablets) Clovite: use 5 tablespoons)
SEEDS: other seeds that have been put through the blender may be added: such as sunflower, millet, etc.
Formula can be made without the monkey biscuit: Increase the HIGH PROTEIN BABY CEREAL to 4 cups.
Other alterations may be made to your preference, but I, and many others have gotten the best results with the main formula.
LEMON YOGURT: Why lemon yogurt? Yogurt keeps the intestinal bacteria in balance and the lemon keeps the crop from souring. Plain yogurt may be used but the lemon works better.
All the above formulas are based on experience with birds being at least two weeks of age or older. First week old young may have different requirements. Refer to first day feeding information in bird publications or call an experienced breeder.
NOTE: I personally hand fed Inca, Diamond and Morning Doves from hatching on this formula. The formula is made very watery the first couple of days. (J. Pire)
C. Bradley is an experienced TWRC wild bird rehabber with well over ten years experience in this field and pet birds from doves to parrots.