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Hand Rearing Qs

Discussion in 'Softbill Circle' started by TehLizardKing, 4/16/17.

  1. TehLizardKing

    TehLizardKing Sitting on the front steps

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    Hey y'all!

    Yesterday, while on a family outing, my dad pulled into the side of the curb and yelled 'bird out', which is our signal for a bird on the road that needs grabbing. Thankfully the road was clear, so I went and grabbed what I thought to be a small adult bird that had been stunned, but it was in fact a fledgeling robin being blown around by the wind. There was no nest in sight, not even any foliage, so I set him down atop a wall and was feeling very bad, but restrained myself because obviously mum and dad robin are gonna be better at looking after their own child than I am. However, once set on the wall, it couldn't support itself on one leg... it just fell to the ground, but otherwise looked bright eyed and healthy nonetheless. In the end we decided to take him back with us, because we use to live in the area so I know how many cats are about, it was raining and there was no cover at all to leave him in, plus my dad had to be back home quickly...

    So now I've got a baby robin to care for! He's too old to want to gape for me, but after two feeds he stopped resisting when I gently open his beak, and is eating with relish. I've hand reared many, many birds before, so I know the ropes, but only parrots and doves, so an insectivore is new to me. I'm managing fine, but I just wondered to know if anyone has had a similar experience, or just hand-raised other softbills that have similar needs.

    I originally tried a mix of two parts mashed dog kibble, one part kaytee hand rearing mix, and 1/8 part nutrobal vitamin and mineral powder... however he wouldn't even let me get that in his beak, and the amount of manipulating it took, I was worried he'd aspirate because he's used to being fed on whole insects and berries. So now he's being fed on mealworms and crickets, and I'm gonna switch the mealies to waxworms because of the higher fat content and smaller amounts of chitin. On the next feed I'm gonna dust them with nutrobal, and I'm feeding him every two/three hours with as many insects as he'll eat before he starts getting distracted. Does that sound about right? Any info or anecdotal help would be so helpful here, this guy is so cute, oh, and he's an English Robin, not an American one, so a lot smaller. Thanks guys!

    Here's the little fella:

    IMG_5634.JPG
     
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  2. Laurie

    Laurie Rollerblading along the road Mayor of the Avenue Vendor

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    He is so cute. I don't know anything about feeding it though. It does look a bit small to be out of the nest though.

    Best wishes.
     
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  3. Birdie Onions

    Birdie Onions Strolling the yard

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    Wish I could help, but never had a insectivore bird in my care.
    Although I've just acquired a baby mouse bird, (softball) that lost his mom.
    He too didn't want to take food from me at first.
    I used long nosed tweezers, this he took to, so think he might have been scared of my fingers.
     
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  4. TehLizardKing

    TehLizardKing Sitting on the front steps

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    Thanks birdie onions, I've just been reading your thread as inspiration! I'll get some tweezers tomorrow, he's not enjoying having his mouth pried open at every feed.

    Edit: it isn't your thread, sorry lol, but it is ace How did you get your little guy to beg in the end?
     
    Last edited: 4/16/17
  5. Birdie Onions

    Birdie Onions Strolling the yard

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    I just put the food in front of him, and he eventually went for it.
    Took him a day or two, to realize I wasn't a threat.
    I'm in love is his thread.
     
  6. iamwhoiam

    iamwhoiam Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Veteran I Can't Stop Posting!

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  7. TehLizardKing

    TehLizardKing Sitting on the front steps

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    Thank you! I will. He doesn't mind the fingers but I hate being so close to his eyes, it must be uncomfortable
     
  8. SpecialistElbru

    SpecialistElbru Sprinting down the street

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    The problem with hand raising wild birds is that it is hard to keep them from becoming human imprinted. If is also hard to teach them what predators to fear in the wild.

    I would suggest that once it becomes strong enough to fly. Take it at least 20 miles from your house to release it. The cold hard truth is that it will have a low chance of survival. And caring for it longer will not increase the chances of survival.

    Take it far away so that it will not come back to you for food. If the bird dies, you will not suffer the gut-wrenching feeling that a creature you cared for so hard is no longer alive. If you take it far the only thing you will remember is that you gave the creature a chance. It may be a slim chance, but better than no chance at all.

    Even in the best of situations only a fraction of baby robins make it to one year.
     
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  9. SpecialistElbru

    SpecialistElbru Sprinting down the street

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    Are you in the UK? I'm not sure what the laws are in the UK. You might be able to keep it, but I'm not sure I would recommend that. I defiantly would defiantly not recommend keeping a bird illegally.

    Also is there any chance it could be a rare/endangered thrush? Baby thrushes look lot alike. From the picture, I thought it was a baby American robin. Adult European/Americans robins look so different, but as babies they look alike.
     
  10. TehLizardKing

    TehLizardKing Sitting on the front steps

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    Thanks for your help SpecialistElbru, why yes I am in the UK. It's definitely not a thrush, the little guy is adult sized now apart from his primary flights and his tail haven't yet grown in. My thoughts so far are that whatever happens I've given him a better chance then he would have had (pre-fledged bird on the road in the rain in a neighbourhood full of cats with no parents in sight and a damaged leg) and I wouldn't dare keep him if I couldn't provide for him... I think he's actually too old to become imporinted thankfully; he doesn't even like me at all, he won't gape and, true to bold robin form, he's not scared of me... but he's not comfortable with me either. Obviously he will likely lose his fear of humans since I'll be feeding him for another few weeks, but hopefully his identity as a bird will hold out. if it does, we are set because apart from the bird loving neighbours the nearest people are miles away.

    That's a wonderful idea, and I may consider it, but I think because of the home situation I have my thoughts so far are that he shall live in the shed until, if he survives to be able to eat on his own, he will be built an inside space with free access to the outside world. If he gets eaten by a sparrowhawk, hell I'll miss him but I won't have wasted my time because I'll have fed a sparrowhawk. I basically want to give him the opportunity to have a life, and if that life can't be as a free flying bird (injured leg?) I'd rather not keep him, wild birds in cages and all that, but I have several large aviary spaces he could occupy happily and legally:

    (Gov.uk Website:)
    Keeping wild birds

    You must not keep any wild bird (or its egg or nest) unless you can prove it was taken or killed legally.

    Taken legally means any of the following:

    • taken under licence
    • taken from the wild and kept as it’s unfit to be released
    • found dead or killed accidentally such as road kill

    Apparently also if you release an animal and it cant survive on its own, it's a crime in itself. I like that.

    Anyway he's faring very well, he's lost a bit of weight but he's looking healthy and I've only just managed to start feeding him properly so it looks like all is well... thanks for the help so far everyone!
     
  11. SpecialistElbru

    SpecialistElbru Sprinting down the street

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    I'm glad you are considering the harsh reality, dealing with wild birds is quite a bit diferent than dealing with captive breed birds.


    I have seen birds survive in the wild with one injured leg, for birds like robins flight is the requirement for survival. In the UK you have more leagal options when it comes to dealing with birds than peopl in the US.
     
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  12. TehLizardKing

    TehLizardKing Sitting on the front steps

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    Hey everyone! The little one is doing so well! He's been named Archer, and is putting on the pounds! (and feathers). He's accepted being fed very very well, and is now eating waxworms and mealworms! And the best part is, he's eaten four or five himself from my hand, he even begged once... His left leg is very broken and definitely out of use permanently, and his right foot is knuckled because he simply can't shift his weight onto it due to the lack of another leg, so I'll be making him a little snowshoe to sort that out soon... Aside from that, it's going marvellously. Unfortunately, I go back to school tomorrow, and I am loathe to leave him for a number of hours on his own... If I feed him once at 6pm, then 7, then 8, and then again at 4:30, do you think will he be alright? May it even entice him to eat the mealworms and seed that I leave in his cage on his own? I'm not sure how to go about this, I could probably teach my mother how to feed him, but she would find it uncomfortable and probably end up aspirating him. Thanks so much for all your help, I appreciate it very much!
    IMG_5789.JPG
     
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  13. iamwhoiam

    iamwhoiam Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Veteran I Can't Stop Posting!

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    Sounds like he is doing well. Thanks for helping the little guy. @ how old would you say he is now. If he is taking food off of a wooden stirrer or from a tweezer I would think that your mom would be able to do that. Why don't you sit with her and watch while she feeds him and see how she does?
     
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  14. TehLizardKing

    TehLizardKing Sitting on the front steps

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    Hey! Cheers iamwhoiam, I wasn't sure what to do, so I left for school in the morning, leaving my mother with clear instructions to watch him closely. Unfortunately, he doesn't gape, I think he reached us a bit too late to see me as 'mummy', I open his beak and pop the food inside, and he gobbles it down. He's apparently been very active today, and the mealworms in his little food dish were gone, so I'm hoping he ate them himself! He's barely lost any weight at all, so I'm not worried about leaving him again, I think a little tough love might finally have encouraged him to eat on his own! Best part of it was when I returned, he made little cricket noises and opened his mouth wide for two waxworms before pride got the better of him and he decided I wasn't good enough to be his mum lol.

    Thanks for all the help guys, I really appreciate it! His flying is coming along really well! My next challenge is how I introduce him to the wide world? I've been taking him for at least one walk around our 3 acres (which is pretty wild, great habitat) every day, so I'm thinking carry on with that? And then when he can fly properly move him into the aviary with the other birds (i took him to the vet and he's been given the all clear and freed of parasites) so he can get the lay of the land? I appreciate any and all advice, and thank you again everyone
     
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