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Orphaned Chicks Fact Sheet

 
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blueeyedchick



Joined: 15 Mar 2013
Posts: 1299
Location: LEICESTERSHIRE

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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2018 2:33 pm    Post subject: Orphaned Chicks Fact Sheet Reply with quote

RESCUING ORPHANED BABY BIRDS.
In 2016 our nest box with 7 chicks inside was abandoned by parent birds one week from fledging. Because we couldn’t watch them starve to death we decided to rescue, we had nothing to lose as they would die anyway without help. It wasn’t an easy decision by any means, it was labour intensive, but we had to give it a go.
With this in mind I thought I would list a few items required to have at hand should this happen to you. There is much info on the web but this is what we did and it worked for that emergency situation when shops and wildlife centres were closed!
Success depends on the age of the chicks, the older they are the greater chance of survival. If they are very young (still pink) there is little you can achieve and it is better to let them go naturally. Baby birds deteriorate very quickly so I personally think that is the kindest & quickest option.

WHERE TO START
1)FIRST & FOREMOST OBTAIN THE TELEPHONE NUMBER OF YOUR NEAREST WILDLIFE RESCUE HOSPITAL TO SEE IF THEY TAKE BABY BIRDS. THEY ARE THE BEST PEOPLE TO DEAL WITH THIS SITUATION BUT NOT ALL WILL SAY YES.

THE PROCEDURE WHICH WE UNDERTOOK WAS MEANT TO BE ONLY A TEMPORARY MEASURE AND SHOULD BE VIEWED AS SUCH.

Items you will need
2) A clean Artists paintbrush (preferably new) or similar, or a small thin tipped make-up brush but it must be clean and unused with no loose fibres. A pipette if you have one.
3) A hot water bottle or heat pad wrapped in a towel. A seed propagator would work well; but regulate temperature carefully.
4) A bread basket or plastic bowl lined with kitchen paper, 1 x Spare container or small box, such as a shoe box.
5) Live Wax or Mealworm, or specially prepared chick food from your local pet store if you can get it.
6) If you have none of these but have some suet block, break this up into mush and add a drop of boiled water to it to make it as palatable as possible.
7) Boiled water left to go cold with a few grains of sugar & salt dissolved in it, (a very weak solution, this is to re-hydrate the chicks if they have been left for several hours or days) Ratio – one teacup of water to 6 grains of sugar and of salt.
WHAT TO DO NEXT

Prepare the box. Place the hot water bottle or pad covered with a towel in the bottom of the box & put the lined bread basket on top. Take chicks and their nest out of the nest box and place in the basket checking every now and then that the nest doesn't get too hot. If the nest is dirty with mites discard and make a simulated nest with shredded kitchen paper.
The chicks will hunker down in fear at first but hunger will force them to accept your offerings. Keep lighting low such as drawing curtains a little and give them time to settle and get used to you before starting to feed.

Feeding
Dip the brush tips into the cooled boiled water. Pick up a chick gently and tickle the side of the beak with the brush. This should encourage them to open their beaks and grab a small drop of fluid. Now place the chick into a separate container temporarily so that it doesn’t get fed twice. Repeat this until all chicks have been watered. Be careful not to give them too much at once as the fluid can get into the lungs and they will choke. Little and often is the key. Give feeds at twenty minutes intervals as the parents would.
Meanwhile decapitate some wax or mealworms and squeeze the innards into a small bowl. Feed this to the chicks as a baby mash in the same way taking care to clean the brush in running water frequently. Use the suet block in the same way.

If you have to keep them overnight do the last feed before dark. If you can put them back into the nest box that is fine but keep indoors. If not put the makeshift nest into a cardboard box but leave the top covered over with a light towel if the box has no lid. Obviously make sure that there is enough air circulating and leave in a warm place if the birds are not feathered.

Blue Tit chicks do not imprint on humans but it is important that you do not handle the birds any more than is necessary, so leave the room in between feeds. You may have to toilet the bird’s bottoms by using damp kitchen paper or a cotton bud. The bird’s faecal waste is enclosed in a sac but this can burst or be hard when the chicks have gone for long hours without food/fluid so it can get a little messy!!!
As a precaution you should either wear gloves or wash your hands frequently!

You can buy a ready mix bird food for orphaned chicks and instructions are given with that if you can get it locally.
As I said earlier the hospital is the best place for them as staff have much experience in the rearing of young birds & they have outdoor aviaries to enable them to be released into the wild; as we humans cannot teach them survival skills only other adult birds in rescue can do that.

If you are lucky enough to have a wildlife hospital nearby please do not forget to give them a donation however small, they need charitable friends like you.

Our 7 were taken next day to Leicestershire Wildlife Hospital and were immediately placed in an incubator and given a feed. After the loss of 1 chick with us (the littlest) and 1 died at rescue the others went on to the larger aviary where they learned to use feeders and successfully fledged along with older injured Blue Tits.
I hope once released they went on to create a flock of their own but that is something we shall never know!. I do hope that this sheet will be useful to any member in an emergency.


Last edited by blueeyedchick on Tue May 29, 2018 3:50 pm; edited 4 times in total
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WildlifePaul



Joined: 28 Apr 2015
Posts: 1756
Location: Liverpool

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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2018 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a brilliant well written and packed with information post Kathy! Applause Applause
Should ask the site owner to make this as a "sticky" post, I am sure it will help many out.

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blueeyedchick



Joined: 15 Mar 2013
Posts: 1299
Location: LEICESTERSHIRE

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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2018 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Paul Broken Heart I was wondering how it could be easily accessed for new and long term members. I've had it written for a while but wasn't sure whether I should post it or not as didn't want to come across as a school marm as I am want to do sometimes!! (grt grannie was a teacher so it has rubbed off).

Malcolm is rather busy right now so don't want to bother him. Shame there isn't a SEARCH facility like there is on Google!

Kathy
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SueP



Joined: 08 May 2008
Posts: 1939
Location: Ferndown, Dorset.

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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2018 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is fantastic Kathy, well done you. Applause Applause Applause
Sue
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ELLE



Joined: 15 May 2015
Posts: 739
Location: East Yorkshire

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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2018 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That’s such spot on information Kathy, well done Laughing

Elle
Xx
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Matt1973



Joined: 20 Mar 2018
Posts: 236
Location: West Sussex

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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Kathy, great info!
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