GuideRaise the body temperature of a young / sick bird
Target groupCrows
NOTE: In all my guides, I start from a situation where a rehabilitator takes his responsibility to take care of the animals in an ethically correct way. You should always try to minimize stress for the bird and since the birds, just like humans, are not the same, it can mean that you handle a problem in different ways by being creative! If I see different ways of doing the same thing, I try to write it down in my guides, but it is always up to the rehabilitator to take their own responsibility.
I do not have to write “I recommend putting the bird down” or “contact a veterinarian” or “according to law, you should …” because I start from the situation where you do the best for the bird and that you as a rehabilitator have learned to draw the line so that you do not end up in an unwanted or illegal situation. There may be an eternal battle between what you want and what is best for the bird.
There are also many factors where a similar situation can give different results. For example: access to a veterinarian, lack of time, lack of knowledge and previous experience can include cause large differences in the treatment and decision-making process and indirectly also the end result. Knowledge of basic things can make a huge difference in the stress level of the crow. For example. avoid anything that is black or checkered. They do not like it instinctively and it creates stress when they see that you are dealing with something that is black.
I put energy into my guides to make it easier for a rehabilitator to find information and to spread knowledge.
Do you see a way to improve my guides or do you see a mistake or do you want to add something, feel free to inform me!
If you are worried about doing something because it is new, ask other rehabilitators or a veterinarian for help.
The guides are continuously updated, so make sure to always download the latest version from

Young birds (“nestlings”) need external heat from a parent. When a bird is sick or injured, it is important to keep the body temperature at the right level.
Even when it is summer and it seems to be nice weather for us, it can go really bad for a young bird (They are too young for to regulate body heat itself).

One way to raise the temperature is with the help of a so-called intensive care unit for birds. If you are an animal rehabilitator who gets many birds a year, it is a very good investment!
Because it is very expensive, I have on this website created a guide on how to build an intensive care unit for birds yourself.

A bird has a higher body temperature than a human. The temperature is about 40-41 degrees C. A bird gets the heat with the help of the metabolism of food, just like us humans. A bird that has not received enough food then gets a lower body temperature.
Birds that are sick therefore push up all the feathers. A sign that something may be wrong!

Important: Do not give your bird liquid or food until the bird has heated up!
A weakened bird that receives fluid or food through its mouth can be easily suffocate. Food that has ended up in the stomach / intestines can not be digested due to a too low body temperature and the bacteria make it easier to multiply so that the bird dies.
Also, the baby birds that not have feathers yet (The “nestlings”) do not drink yet. Do not give them fluids in the beak. You might end up killing the bird.

A bird needs to heat up fast! Laying a blanket over a cage or cardboard box does not help much. It is important to add external heat as soon as possible. A heat lamp is the best. If you do not have one, you can also try using an ordinary old-fashioned light bulb. You should be able to feel the heat from it with your hand and hang it so it does not get too hot or that the bird can burn itself on it. Hang it on one side of the cage so that the bird has the opportunity to find the heat or if it gets too hot, move away from the heat, so do not touch the bird if he/she moves after sitting for a while under the lamp. He/she probably chooses the place that is best for the moment ..

If it’s a very young bird or if the bird is too tired / weak to sit on a branch, you can have kitchen paper as a base (take quite a lot, but not so much that the bird can not walk on it ).
It is a bird that can already sit on a stick, then place a branch directly under the lamp, so that it protrudes so that the bird can move on the branch. This allows the bird to sit under the lamp if it wants to, and move away if it feels too hot. The lamp must be left on 24 hours a day until the bird no longer seeks heat. By warming the bird, you overcome hypothermic shock and let the bird direct its metabolism towards getting better, rather than just staying warm. Try not to disturb or handle the bird too much until it becomes more active. You have to be patient and wait with handling / treatment until the bird seems more alert and stronger.

NOTE: Make sure the bird cannot get burned.

Getting the warmth of a bird is the most important thing you can do. Do not try to do anything else for an hour or so until the bird becomes more alert and active. Once you have got the bird under the heat lamp, call your veterinarian to make an appointment.

Another way to raise your body temperature is by using heating mats for reptiles. They are for sale. at You can also buy reptile heating mats in many pet stores.

heating mat (USB)

Remember that it must not be too hot or too cold. With the heating mat, you can not regulate the temperature so make sure you have the right one, in the right box / cage so that it will be a good temperature. They come in different wattages and sizes.

This guide is not complete. More info will come later