Hand rearing may become necessary when parents abandon their nests and refuse to feed their young and you have nowhere to foster them. Alternatively, some breeders will hand feed to make the bird super tame.
Feeding and hygiene
A disposable plastic syringe can be used for feeding. This is faster and cleaner than using an eye dropper or a plastic teaspoon. Spoon feeding may take longer but it is beneficial as you could use thicker consistency of food towards the end of the hand rearing process. The tip of the spoon can be softened in boiling water and moulded to make a funnel for ease of hand feeding.
The last option would be a crop needle, which is the most effective method of hand feeding but you do need to be experienced to use one.
All equipment should be sterilised before and after use.
There are a number of baby bird food formulas available and the Birdcare Company, who is a sponsor of The Budgerigar Society, produces a hand rearing food additive called Formula Plus. It contains specialist nutrients that are not routinely included in commercial hand-rearing formulae, but which play a tremendous role in supporting the well-being and development of young chicks. Some of these special ingredients help to support the chick’s natural immune system, which works to keep infection at bay, while others help with the rapid replication of cells. For a chick to grow, it must increase the number of cells in its body, and it has to do it at a pretty phenomenal rate at that.
Add Formula Plus to your usual hand-rearing formula to help prevent sickness by supporting the immune system, to maximise growth rates and to help with feather production. It makes weaning far less stressful for the chick, reducing the risk of chick losses at this very critical stage in their development and helps to prevent weight loss at weaning. All in all, it will make chick weaning a far easier process for you and bring stronger, fitter chicks.
For detailed instructions on hand feeding see: http://rehabbersden.org/index.php/36-pages/pricing-table/simple/240-hand-raising-and-care-of-budgerigars-melopsittacus-undulatus