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Force feeding baby lovebird

Elkuz

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Hi! I just got a baby lovebird approx 3,5 week old from a pet store yesterday. The seller showed me how to tube feed the chick, said that I need to feed him 3 times a day with 5-6cc of formula each time. But when I asked if the bird should be asking or willingly accept the food, he said no, just hold him,open his beak and force feed him. As I understood, The staff in this store just force tube feed their birds like that.
I am a bit confused tho because everywhere online it says that I shouldn’t force feed the chick, and have to wait until they ask for food or willingly accept it. But mine just doesn’t want to eat. I fed him twice- yesterday evening and this morning when I woke up. Both times he wasn’t interested,when I offered him formula, although his crop was empty., so I had to force feed him.
Any advice please?
 

Shezbug

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I believe babies who are crop fed don’t actually know they need to beg for food. Let me tag some other members with more baby knowledge for you to see if they can offer you some advice.

@Zara @Matto @Mockinbirdiva

I’ll come back and tag more members as more names pop into my head- sorry I’m trying to multitask and I’m not the best at it :)
 

Elkuz

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Thanks! Will be waiting for some recommendations on how to make him more interested in eating.
Also, I’ve had many budgies before but I would always get already weaned birds, so I’m not sure about the behavior of young babies like this one. Most of the day he just sleeps, when I take him,he wants to snuggle on my chest or neck or hide in some corner. Is this normal? I know in older birds it’s a sign of a disease or some sort of stress. What about 3,5 week old lovebird babies? Is this normal?
Otherwise he seems normal, not lethargic.
 

Zara

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Most of the day he just sleeps, when I take him,he wants to snuggle on my chest or neck or hide in some corner. Is this normal? I know in older birds it’s a sign of a disease or some sort of stress. What about 3,5 week old lovebird babies? Is this normal?
After feeds at this age mine would waddle in the direction of their nest to go to sleep. If I held them, they would fall asleep on me. They do have little bursts of energy, but they do sleep a lot.

this store just force tube feed their birds
They gave you a syringe connected to a bendy tube to feed the chick? This is crop feeding/ gavage feeding, I don't recommend it for a novice. It is quicker for a breeder to do this over waiting for a bird to eat at their own rhythm from the syringe without the tube, but like Shez said above, then the problem is that the chick doesn't really know how to eat propperly.

I am not sure if it would be easier to try converting to a syringe or a small spoon for feeding. You could try offering the syringe, push out one tiny mini drop of food and put it in the chicks beak, see if they open up. Just be sure to go slow with them if they have never eaten this way before.
If you are struggling and your chick is not eating, grab a little teaspoon and have a go with that.

Spending a few minutes at many points of the day to allow the chick to snuggle with you and be near you with build some trust, hopefully it will be enough that they trust you to eat.
 

Elkuz

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hi! Thanks for your recommendations.
The thing is that the tube is not very bendy,it’s quite stiff actually, so I’m scared that I will accidentally hurt the crop or the esophagus. The pet store seller had a roll of clear plastic tube behind the counter, he just cut a piece of it with scissors and attached to a syringe, so it’s not a soft rubber tube. Is it suitable for feeding chicks?
 

Elkuz

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also, I checked the edge of the tube now,it’s a bit sharp to touch, coz it was cut with scissors I guess:(
 

Zara

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Take the tube part off and try using the syringe,
push out one tiny mini drop of food and put it in the chicks beak, see if they open up. Just be sure to go slow with them if they have never eaten this way before.
If you are struggling and your chick is not eating, grab a little teaspoon and have a go with that.
Remember, when feeding with a syringe, you put the syringe in the birds left side and the food goes down their right side. When you are in front of the bird, you see the food going down the left (their right).

edit;
some helpful images; (let the link load fully to take you directly to the pictures),
 
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