What does it mean to hand feed a bird?

Hand feeding means putting liquefied food directly into a baby bird’s crop (a kind of pouch in the bird’s throat that is part of its digestive system and is used to temporarily store food). Hand feeding is usually done with a spoon, syringe, or tube, depending on the kind and size of bird.

In the wild, bird parents chew and regurgitate food into a baby bird’s crop. When baby birds are raised by humans, hand feeding mimics this process.

Hand feeding takes skill. The formula must have the right mix of nutrients, be fed in the right quantity, and at the right consistency and temperature. Other issues with hand feeding can include:

  • Underfeeding.
  • Overfilling the crop, which could result in the bird aspirating food into its lungs.
  • Crop stasis (sour crop), which happens when a baby bird get something inedible in its crop.
  • Dehydration.
  • Issues weaning to solid food.

Many experts believe that hand feeding helps socialize birds into becoming better pets. If you have more questions about hand feeding, just ask one of our animal experts.

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