Hand Feeding Java Rice Birds

We hand-fed our 5 java rice birds from the time they were a few days old. As they were very tiny and they were completely bald, we watched over them very carefully. We fed them Kaytee Exact hand-feeding formula which we bought from the pet shop. We fed them about every 2 hours when they were very young, and increased that time as they got older.

We used the basic hand feeding pri nciples that we learned from bird books and from reading BIRD TALK magazine. Basically, we fed them enough so their crops were almost full, and then didn't feed them again till we saw their crops were just about empty. We did do a night feeding, about 2 AM , up until the time they started to develop feathers and looked stabilized.

I don't know if a night feeding was needed, but we did it just to be on the safe side. We received the birds unexpectedly after their nest was ruined and they would have been doomed if we didn't take them, so we just used our instincts and luckily every thing worked out and they all thrived without one problem.. They were a most unplanned addition to our family, but we developed a strong bond with them and they are wonderful pets.

When they were tiny, we placed them in a plastic animal carrier, and used a heating pad to keep them warm (on the side of the box, not on the bottom) until they had enough feathers to keep warm themselves. When they were small, we hand-fed them with a small dropper, and hand-fed them until they lost interest and started eating seeds on their own.

We use a parakeet mix. We also feed them vegetables, watermelon, romaine lettuce, broccoli, cucumber, sprouted wheat bread (They love this. Available at health food stores), granola, corn on the cob, etc. Experiment. I don't know how experienced you are with hand-feeding. If you aren't experienced, make sure you read books on it before you attempt it. We hand-feed wild birds only as we find babies that have fallen out of their nest.

We have had success with doves, a bulbul, a japanese white-eye. We also lost some babies and when that happens, we feel sad. Ask your pet store for tips. Check with other bird owners in your area. If you need more details on hand-feeding, tell us exactly what you would like to know.

Good luck!

Lorrin & Nina Lee
Honolulu, Hawaii

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