How to Care for and Raise a Baby Sparrow
The sparrow is a small bird native to Eurasia and North Africa. Currently distributed throughout the world, this little brown bird with black and red markings is no larger than 16cm in length and can easily be raised following a few simple steps. If you're raising one or have questions about how to care for a baby sparrow, read this OneHowTo article for all the information about how to feed, raise and care for a baby sparrow that has fallen out of its nest.
Most important is to make sure the sparrow is healthy.
If you've found it on the ground, check that it is not near its nest. Sparrows protect their young and they live together as they grow. So if you see one out of the nest and the bird has not yet developed feathers, it may have fallen from a gust of wind. If this is the case, you should always return the baby sparrow to its nest. If you can't put it back, you can take it to care for it yourself.
To care for a baby sparrow, you will first need a nest or box to use to shelter it. Another option is to use a cage, but always keep it open. The baby sparrow will associate this with a safe place and will accept it as its home. If the cage always has food and water in it, the sparrow will flit around the house and return to its cage to be safe and warm.
To keep it comfortable, make a bed/nest for it. This can be made of cotton, a soft cloth, an old sock or feathers, but check that there are no insects in the material. Make sure the baby bird is warm because they need a lot of heat. This bed should always be kept clean.
Keep the cage in a ventilated place with indirect sunlight, the bird should not be exposed to direct sunlight for long. However, don't completely eliminate sunlight, because baby sparrows needs sunlight to colour their wings.
If you took the baby sparrow from the street, it could be dehydrated from spending hours outside the nest. Baby sparrows are usually fed an insect diet, therefore, you can opt to give them dry cat or dog food dipped in water. This is because when it comes to baby sparrows, moisture is generally received through their food. Therefore, moistening it’s food but not giving it water directly is key.
It's very important not to give milk to sparrows because it's bad for them and they may die from it. They receive calcium from their food (crushed insects, cuttlefish or sterilised egg shells).
In the first few weeks, feed the baby sparrow using a needle-less syringe. Hold this near the baby's beak and it will eat from it. They eat every 2 to 3 hours. If you notice it's hungry, you can also feed it.
You can make their food easily. Make some porridge and put it in the syringe. Feed it the porridge by letting the liquid drip out so the sparrow eats of its own accord without you putting it in its mouth.
For starters you can make these three porridges, they're very easy:
- Soak half a biscuit with water, until the biscuit turns into a mush.
- You can soften ground dog food soaked with water to create a paste. This porridge is very filling.
- You can buy baby bird food. This is sold in pet shops. This contains eggs and is made by soaking them with water to create the mush.
When you feed the bird, make sure not to get the porridge or paste on them, as this can dry and stick to its feathers. Also check that the beak nostrils are not obstructed, since this could trigger a major problem.
As it grows, the sparrow should start feeding alone and you can use a container for it to peck at its food directly.
If you want the sparrow to be as healthy as possible, it's best for you to provide it with several containers. One with water and one with fine sand. This way the sparrow will use the sand as a bathroom and the water to clean itself.
Remember that if you have questions you should talk to a specialist or a vet for help.
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- While they are young, their temperatures should be checked from time to time (between 40F and 43F is a good temperature).
- Keep them clean and warm.