'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Yet another Thrush-Baby update

Victoria and Alexander are growing fast!  And this Thrush-Mummy will be glad when they have flown the coop and I don't have to feed them all the time.    However, I've naturally become quite attached to them.  I expect I'll have Empty Nest Syndrome when they do go ha ha.


Things I've Learned.
Boring Details of Limited Interest to Anyone Except Someone Else Mad Enough to Hand-Rear Birds.  

Just in case someone else in the world is doing this too, I should mention that I only used the dog food for the first few feeds.  I bought cat food, as recommended by some site or other, and am using a liquidised mixture of cat biscuits (soaked in hot water for three hours to soften), canned cat food, a smidgeon of dog food, and milk (to make it about the texture of a cake mix).

I'm feeding them 1 - 2 hourly except at night when they go 5-6 hours without any ill effects.
I estimate they are having about 7-10 ml each, each feed.
It's important not to over-fill their crops.  You can see this swelling as they feed.  It shouldn't feel hard.
I read that for parrots, a little Manuka honey in water is good to relieve an over-full crop, but I haven't tried this myself.  Thrushes are not fruit-and-nut-eaters like parrots, so am just being careful not to over-feed.  It's tricky, as they will still 'beg' after they are full.

I'm using little 20 ml eye-dropper plastic bottles.  I've cut back the dropper ends a bit more so they don't get clogged.   I don't re-heat used food.  I make up a big batch and freeze it in yoghurt containers.  I have 6 bottles, and fill them (by the squeeze-suck method) all, screw on the tops, and refrigerate.  I get through about 10 bottles' full a day.

I heat the whole bottle up in a little bowl of warm water until it's a bit hotter than blood (lukewarm) temperature. The heating is very important, especially when they are very young, apparently.  
All your equipment should be very clean, and I always wash my hands before feeding them.
And, needless to say, I wash them afterwards too!
When they were little I changed the cotton rag that I used to line their basket 'nest'  every feed.
paper towels are not recommended as the bleach reacts with the droppings and can burn their bottoms.

Now they are out of the nest, I have them in a large cage, as they are poor fliers and kept banging into the windows.  And, needless to say, I don't appreciate the poop everywhere either!  They like to sit on the perch, so I feed them there.

Movie coming!


  1. That's amazing! I'm really impressed with what you are doing. And they are so cute... Thanks for sharing.

  2. those little birds are lucky to have you! i love the photo of the one on the keyboard!so sweet!
    xx lori

  3. They are growing up fast. Truly remarkable the changes from day to day.

    How amazing that thrushes can turn dog food into beautiful music!

    Your work on behalf of Alexander and Victoria fills me with happiness. You're gonna get mentioned on my gratitude blog tonight.

  4. I know from personal experience how hard it is to rear baby birds (I did a lot of such things as a child and still would if I came across any that needed it!) so I think you're doing a great job.