Hessilhead
Wildlife Rescue Trust
Caring for Scotland's injured and orphaned wildlife  

HAND REARING NESTLINGS & FLEDGLINGS

Please contact Hessilhead for advice before attempting to rear any young birds for the first time. Mistakes are easily made, and can be difficult to rectify.

  • Always remember to was your hands before hand feeding.
  • Dip food in water before feeding.
  • Allow chicks to swallow food properly before offering more.
  • Don't overfeed.
  • Change bedding after each meal.
  • In the case of nestlings, replace lid/cover after each meal. This will help conserve energy and heat.
  • Never offer food that is going stale.
  • Monitor small chicks - are they getting enough food? are they getting crushed?
  • Aim to maintain a constant temperature. On hot days chicks on a heat pad may need more bedding beneath them in order to reduce temperature. On colder nights they may need covering with lightweight bedding.
  • Chicks that can perch should be moved to a cage. The cage may need to be covered with a towel to prevent them from flapping against the bars. Offer food and water in shallow dishes but continue hand feeding. Gradually reduce the frequency of feeds.
  • Chicks that are reluctant or difficult to feed may need antibiotics or probiotics - seek veterinary advice.

    Who Eats What ?

    Finches/sparrows (Cherry red inside mouth)

    EMP, fed from fine artists paintbrushes, plus some mealworms and fresh vegetation.

    Blackbirds, thrushes, robins, starlings (Yellow inside mouth)

    Glop made from tinned cat food, insectivorous bird food, vitamin and mineral supplements.

    Dunnocks (Orangey red inside mouth)

    Glop, mealworms, mince.

    Tits (Yellow inside mouth)

    Mince with supplements, mealworms.

    Swallows/House Martins (Yellow inside mouth - wide gape)

    Mince, mealworms.

    Crow family

    Glop, raw meat

    Owls/Raptors

    Raw meat, day old chick with supplements.

    ALWAYS SEEK ADVICE

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