This guide was written with the help of a crow bird specialist and rehabilitator who has 20 years of experience in crow birds.
NOTE: Forced feeding must not be started immediately. You first need to analyze the bird’s condition to be sure it is ready to be force-fed.
It is a common mistake for inexperienced rehabilitators to start with food at once.
A bird may have too low of a body temperature (very dangerous!). It may also have starved and you must not immediately start with “ordinary food”.
If you do it anyway, the bird can not digest the food and it has major problems with the digestive process.
Forced feeding can also kill a young crow!
So even if a bird has apparently starved and been dying due to food shortage, you absolutely must not start by feeding it.
The reason is that you have to raise the temperature of the bird first!
Look at the other guides that describe what to do first before force-feeding!
Important! A bird that does not have the right body temperature can die if you force-feed it.
Does the bird have the right temperature? Good, keep reading this guide.
To get an idea of the nutritional status, you first need to look at the number of stool stains, the volume and the appearance of the stool to get an idea.
If the stool is dark (almost black), it probably looks good.
If the stool is green (like bile) or there is no stool at all, the crow bird suffers from lack of food.
If the stool is white and it looks dry / powdery or if the stool is really runny, you know that the kidneys are still working properly.
To see if a bird needs fluid, you need to look carefully at the area around the bird’s eyes.
When you see that the gaze is a little absent, the eyes have sunk a little into the eye sockets or that the skin around the bird’s eyes is a little wrinkled , then the bird is dehydrated.
If the bird’s beak is dry on the inside or there is a thick, sticky mucus, it is also a sign that the bird is dehydrated. Then you can look at the skin. Look for a place without springs or you need to lift springs if there are no parts without springs. There you should pinch a small piece of skin and just pull it a little. Then you should look carefully at what happens to the skin. If it takes more than 1 second before the skin is back in place, then the bird is dehydrated.
Another sign that a bird may be dehydrated is that it is lethargic and weak.
I start from a situation where you do not have a rehydration fluid for birds, so here is a recipe how to make one yourself:
Once again! Continue only if the bird has the right body temperature (not just ambient temperature).
Take 15ml of lukewarm water (ordinary water that has BEEN boiled) + a pinch of sugar or 1 drop of honey + 5 grains of salt.
Make sure that the liquid keeps a reasonable temperature. If it is difficult, mix to a larger amount because it is easier to control the temperature of the liquid (eg everything in the recipe times 10). It still costs nothing to make the liquid.
If the bird is very young (a nestling, a bird that is not about to leave the nest), you should take an artist brush (the smallest variant) and dip it in the liquid and then “paint” the tongue (as close to the edge as possible!) . It should not be a whole drop, just a little moisture on the brush. Should the bird start to act and try to suck on the brush, that is a good sign.
If the bird is a little older (a fledgeling, almost ready to leave the nest or older), you can take a pipette (1ml) or a syringe with a nice spout (t .ex. insulin syringe). Give a maximum of 1 drop at a time, completely on the edge of the beak. The reason is that there is an oval hole that opens and closes behind the tongue, that goes straight to the airways.