To syringe feed a bird, you first need to give the bird its favorite snack. This builds trust and encourages the bird to bite the tip of the syringe. When the bird bites the syringe, gently plunge the solution into the bird’s mouth to prevent unwanted stress and aspiration.
What You'll Learn
Nobody enjoys syringe feeding their bird. It usually means a bird is unwell and needs medicine or is having trouble eating.
Sometimes the bird may just be refusing to eat. Syringe feeding isn’t easy, but it is crucial for the bird’s health.
There are a couple things you can do that can help ease the process and make syringe feeding your bird a little less painful for you both. Having the proper tools and a treatment plan can help a bird’s quality of life.
Reasons For Syringe Feeding
There are a few different reasons you may have to do this for your bird. Sick or injured birds may require additional nutrients, medicine, or just a little help eating. If a bird is not eating or seems ill, syringe feeding is an option that should be explored, but it might not be the go-to solution.
Creating a Positive Experience
It would be hard to find a bird that doesn’t mind being syringe-fed. It is not enjoyable for the bird or for the person having to do it, but there are methods that can make it an easier process.
The biggest thing that can help the process and make it easier each time is creating a positive relationship between the bird and the syringe. Feeding a bird, or any animal for that matter, with a syringe can make feeding time something you wish you could avoid.
It is beneficial to introduce birds to syringes at a young age, if possible. Whether or not the bird needs to be syringe fed at a young age, this can benefit the bird down the road if it falls ill or needs medicine only deliverable by syringe.
Making the bird familiar with the tool without immediately associating it with discomfort will train the bird to remain calm at the sight of the syringe. This will make the bird more receptive should the bird need to use the syringe at some point in its lifetime.
If done correctly and effectively, the bird may look forward to syringe feeding because of the positive correlation.
Dangers of Syringe Feeding
If a bird needs to be fed with a syringe and it is done improperly, it can have devastating results. If a bird is overfed by way of a syringe, the bird can aspirate, leading to death.
Also, if the syringe is not inserted in the bird’s mouth correctly, it can cut the airway and cause irreparable tissue damage and can damage the oropharynx. The oropharynx is the back of the throat.
Different Ways to Syringe Feed a Bird
If the bird has had a negative experience with a syringe, it could be difficult to get them to cooperate. However, there are a few techniques that can assist with syringe feeding.
If you calmly approach the bird with the syringe and let the bird inspect it, it could be more receptive. Slowly inserting and plunging the syringe ensures there is no damage to the bird’s airways or oropharynx.
Traditional syringes have a less narrow tip than others. This makes it more difficult to ensure the food remains in the bird’s mouth once inserted, but it is also effective to supply a greater amount of food at once. This is effective if the bird is able or willing to swallow the food on its own.
A curved tip syringe comes to a very narrow tip. The tip is curved to reach to the back of the bird’s throat and beyond the front of the throat. This supplies less food at a time, but there is a better chance the bird will be able to keep the food down. This is a perfect method for birds that are not willing or able to swallow.
A pipette is a simple device comparable to an eyedropper. This tool does not have lines for measuring the medicine of food. It can be very effective since it delivers very small amounts at a time, but when it is necessary to measure the amount being administered, it is not a feasible option.
Attachments can be used with basic syringes. Some of the traditional syringes have curved tips that can be added. This allows you to interchange traditional and curved tips based on the needs.
Only Syringe Feed When Absolutely Necessary
There are several reasons birds may need help at feeding time, and it is crucial to provide proper care when doing so. Syringes can be very effective methods, but they require special knowledge and practice. It is not recommended to syringe feed birds without prior research and practice. If a bird is not eating or has fallen ill, it is not necessary to syringe feed it immediately.
Other steps can be taken based on the bird’s condition, the behavior, and the reason for not eating. Syringe feeding birds when there is no need to can cause more harm to the bird than you think.
It is important to identify the problem and consult with a veterinarian to discuss the best course of action. This is the best way to ensure your bird is receiving the proper care.
It is never fun to put a pet through discomfort, but if you take the time and put effort into streamlining the process of syringe feeding, you can create a nurturing experience for the bird. It makes it easier and safer for everybody involved.
Just know your bird, do your research, and consult with professionals, and you can effectively give your bird the care it needs.
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I am Bryan Powell and I own BirdHour.com. I love bird watching; in fact, I have a parakeet of my own. I enjoy spending time outdoors and observing the natural world around me. This website is a means of sharing my passion for birds with others who may be interested in this activity.