Hello, fifteen days ago we rescued a 1-2 day old sparrow(by online photo comparison) from a sidewalk , unable to locate a nearby nest. We fed it Exact baby bird formula as directed. Three days ago she fledged from her teacup nest, and is now in a finch cage with a cardboard floor covered with paper towels. She is trying to perch on branches in the cage and grasping the vertical sides of the cage. She is still being hand fed the Exact formula every hour and has millet spray on the cage floor. While in the nest, I think some formula dried under her lower beak, which she loosened with her foot, and the tip of her lower beak came off with it. So, she has a small "V" indentation on her lower beak. Will this cause difficulty with drinking and cracking seeds when older? Also, how can we best prepare her for release? What signs will indicate she is ready for release? She is so lively and looks so healthy otherwise.
Type of Animal: 17 day old sparrow
Age: 17 days
Name of Bird: Chirpy
Greetings, I am Dr. Pat. I have worked with birds for many years. I will do my best to help you.This indentation is at the tip-end of the beak? Not directly under the beak? You can upload a photo using the paperclip icon in the tool bar.Probably this will not cause a problem, plenty of my patients are missing part or all of the upper/lower beak. She is young and should adapt. But a photo will help me be more precise and give you pointers, at this stage I can only offer generalities.One, it is very important to keep her clean. Wash the mess off after each feeding, and try not to spill on her face. As you have found, the dried formula can be a problem, and even "diaper rash" kind of skin irritation can develop. A damp, soft, old, thin wash cloth works best.Sparrows are actually quite omnivorous, and should be on a varied diet in order to thrive. The millet just won't cut it. I treat all our sparrows just the same as parrots (and I have a number of elderly sparrows now in my patients).At this point I doubt she will be releasable. She will be your pet. House Sparrows do not require any permits to keep. And they make a very interesting companion.She should have a vet exam: Check http://www.aav.org/association/index.php?content=activeMembersList , make sure the vet is familiar with passerines and/or wild birds.The following guidelines help with basic issues such as nutrition, obesity, good immune status. Surprising how the following can make a bird healthy, and how infrequently birds are ill if they are on the following regimen. No amount of medicine is going to work if the birds' basic needs are not met. Birds should be on a high-quality, preferably prescription, pelleted diet: I prefer High-potency Harrison'shttp://www.harrisonsbirdfoods.http://www.harrisonsbirdfoods.com/products/harrisons.html TOPhttp://totallyorganics.com/t-pellets.php In addition, they should be offered dark leafy greens, cooked sweet potatoes, yams, squash, pumpkin; entire (tops and bottoms) fresh carrots and so forth. No seeds (and that means a mix, or millet, or sprays, etc. etc.) and only healthy, low-fat high fiber people food. A dietary change should be closely monitored and supervised by your avian vet. Daily Maintenance Birds should get 12-14 hours dark, quiet, uninterrupted sleep at night. Any less and they can suffer from sleep deprivation and associated illnesses. They should be covered or their cage placed in a dark room that is not used after they go to bed. The cage material should be cleaned everyday, and twice a day if the bird is really messy. Paper towels, newspaper, bath towels are ok. Never use corn cob, sawdust, wood chips, or walnut shell. Food and water dishes should be cleaned and changed daily. Keep one set cleaned while the other is in use.Fresh, perishable food should be placed in separate food bowls. Remove fresh food from the cage after a couple of hours to avoid spoilage. Change cage papers daily, and clean the grate and tray weekly.Clean food debris or droppings from toys and perches as needed (which can be as often as once a day).Grit is not necessary for birds, and will cause digestive problems and death. The best sources of minerals (and vitamins) are leafy greens. Never give grit, gravel sandpaper or cement perches. A bird will eat those to excess when it is not feeling well or if there is a nutritional deficiency. They do not need it at all (an old myth from the poultry days, even poultry do not need it). It can cause an impaction and lead to serious or fatal consequences.
Thank you for your quick response. The indent is at the tip end of the lower beak. Should I supply the pelleted diet and other additions now and still offer Exact formula every hour? Should I place a shallow water dish inside the cage? Would a sparrow be happy in a home where she can"t be allowed out to fly because of two cats inside? Thank you so much for your help. I have enclosed 5 photos.
Photos did not upload. Use the paper clip icon, Firefox seems to work best for this function.yes, offer the pellets now. "finch" sized. Consider caging longer than tall (they are not helicopters) and lock up the cats once in a while so she can exercise and interact with you.These make excellent bird enclosures, they are inexpensive and come in large sizes This is a 20 gallon. She should have the 39 gallon, 175, or even the 275 gallon models. Check with reptile supplies online under "reptarium". The pictures show them in a vertical position but horizontal is appropriate for birds)
I looks as if the entire nail-like covering of the lower jaw was lost. Some of the upper beak seems damaged as well.Several things could have caused this: an original injury in the nest; over-heated formula, hypervitaminosis (did you add vitamins, feed pet food, or also see this link and check your Kaytee product:http://www.kaytee.com/learn-share/news/kaytee-recalls-exact.htm )and infections. Her feathers and toes show evidence of malnutrition as well--was she fed dog or catfood at any point?If the bird is able to eat solid foods now, then absolutely get her on pellets (no "cracking" required) and offer things like grapes and melon for hydration. She can probably drink, but it may be a bit of effort. Go ahead and give a shallow dish (again, check reptile supplies for low 2" diameter crocks) so she can learn. Her eating abilities are compromised but she should be able to manage with a bit of help. Definitely NOT releasable.If she was my patient, I would start calcium injections, immediately begin proper diet, and keep the upper and lower beak under observation. She might need antibiotic injections as well.
Wow. Yes, at first I found a recipe online with dried cat food, egg yolks and strained baby applesauce. She had that for 3 days before I found the exact bird formula. No vitamins were added. I will slice a grape in half right now for her, go buy the pellets, and find an Avian vet for an appt. I will still offer her the Exact formula, unless you advise otherwise. Thank you so much for all of your help. I'm sure Chirpy would thank you, too!
check the lot numbers on the Exact, and get a new safe package if th yours is one of the dangerous ones.PS Kaytee has a good section on wild birds. And they are generally a good product. This was a horrible incident.
Last questions: Can you give me a time frame of how soon she should be seen by the avain vet, so I can tell them when I call for an appt? Is her condition serious or life threatening? We will do anything we can to help her.
ASAP, not an emergency. It is serious, and long-term life threatening; it needs to be addressed immediately. The diet change is the main thing at this point.
25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds