Handfeeding and Weaning Foods & Feeding Syringes*
Weaning Foods: Sprouted seed is the simplest way to provide your birds with fresh greens and they make a great weaning food. Sprouted or germinated seeds are usually more easily accepted by "seed addicts" than fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Sprouted seeds are healthier as the sprouting changes and enhances the nutritional quality and value of seeds and grains. Sprouted seeds are lower in fat, as the process of sprouting utilizes the fat in the seed to start the growing process - thus reducing the fat stored in the seeds.
- Sprouted seeds will help balance your bird’s diet by adding a nutritious supply of high in vegetable proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and chlorophyll.
- Soaked and germinated "oil" seeds, like niger and rape seeds, are rich in protein and carbohydrates; while "starch" seeds, such as canary and millets, are rich in carbohydrates, but lower in protein.
- It is an invaluable food at all times; however, it is especially important for breeding or molting birds.
Brown rice is also usually readily accepted (especially when served warm - not hot!). Chicks like warm, gooey things. It reminds them of the handfeeding formula. Other options are Human Baby Food, baby cereals, Gerber vegetable / fruit jars, etc. ... If you have small birds, like finches or canaries, the following website will be of assistance: Rearing Food Recipe for Finches
For those who like the convenience of prepared foods (for handfeeding or weaning), below are plenty of options for you to draw from. Soaked pellets are an easy way to familiarize your pet bird with "grown-up" food. Seeds and pellets should be added as well to allow the chicks to pick the seeds / pellets up and play with them, until they know what they are for. Spray millet area also wonderful weaning foods. They don't have to remove daily, as they don't go off as quickly as fresh foods. Although as chicks walk on and around them, they will get soiled -- at which you should toss them. The millets in the bird stores tend to be small and you never know how long they have been there. I always bought directly - thus saving money and getting a fresher product. They do last for several months. The best quality I found to be California Golden Spray Millet - they tend to be bigger and much nicer looking. The store-bought ones looked meekly in comparison and my birds didn't like them as much. Here is a link to a 5-pound box of Spray Millet, which should last you a while.
Weaned birds are GREAT rolemodels for younger ones. The unweaned will learn by watching the weaned thus growing independent faster than those who don't have the benefit of such "teachers."
Plastic syringes designed for feeding infant animals and birds. If you are in the rush, get a syringe from the human baby section in your local drug store. Don't get the syringe that you can get at the common pet stores -- they are pretty bad. ... The syringes that I disliked most are those with the black rubber stopper. After a couple of uses, the black rubber stopper will get stuck, and as you force it, all the formula comes out at the same time with quite some force potentially aspirating a chick (been there, done that). Others do like the black stopper syringes as it prevents air from getting into the formula. They are fine to use for a short while, but once the robber stopper expands and is difficult to push through, they need to be tossed.
I found the syringes that are available for human babies (for administering oral medications) last much longer and don't get stuck. They are so much better and cost less.