Birds Columbids - Dove species Too young to eat seeds on their own?

Baby bird formula for parrots, any brand will do.

  • Can be bought at most pet stores and some feed stores.

Insectivores Mockingbird Woodpecker Titmouse Wrens, etc.

Formula for Nestling Songbirds FoNS diet


  • 120 g (1 cup) Eukanuba® Chicken & Rice Kitten Formula, presoaked in about 1.25 cups water
  • 71 g (1 jar) Beech-Nut Chicken & Chicken Broth® Baby Food
  • 12 g (2 Tb) dried egg white
  • 5 g (1/2 tsp) active-culture plain yogurt or acidophilus liquid
  • 3 g calcium carbonate
  • 2 g (1/2 tsp) Avi-Era® avian multiple vitamins or custom mix as described below

Blend in food processor until smooth. Water amounts may be varied to achieve desired consistency for feeding. Soaking time is reduced if kitten kibble is pulverized in food processor prior to adding water.

Dry Weight Composition: 46% protein, 22% fat, 23% carbohydrate Ca:P = 2:1 Energy: 1.3 kcal/cc

Supplementing with live insects is recomended.

About the Ingredients

NOTE: Changing any of the ingredients will change the formula macronutrient levels and the ratio of Ca:P.

Eukanuba® Kitten Formula: All brands of kitten food are not alike; in attempting to assess the proportion of animal:plant protein sources, remember that ingredients are listed in the order of their prevalence. The first three ingredients in Eukanuba are animal products; many other brands have a grain as the second ingredient. Macronutrients from plant sources are not highly bioavailable to many songbirds.

Beech-Nut Chicken & Chicken Broth® Baby Food: All brands of chicken baby food are not alike, either. For example, Gerber Chicken & Chicken Gravy® contains cornstarch and has about twice as much fat as the Beechnut.

Dried Egg White: Dried egg white is available in super markets and health food stores. However, it is cheaper in larger quantities; we get ours from The Egg Store: 1-888-677-3447 or online at Three large hard-boiled egg whites contain the same amount of protein as in 2 Tb of dried and may be substituted if necessary. However, hard-boiled egg whites may not break up finely enough in your food processor or blender to go through a small feeding syringe.

Yogurt/Acidophilus: These products provide beneficial gut bacteria that may not survive freezing, so add them after any frozen formula has been thawed. According to microbiologists (various personal communications): (a) Different strains of bacteria colonize different avian species; no single product would contain appropriate bacteria for all birds. (b) Lactobacillus may or may not normally colonize an avian digestive tract, but will compete with harmful bacteria while bird's natural strains develop. (c) Dried lactobacillus (or other gut-bacteria) products may not contain a high proportion of live bacteria.

Calcium Carbonate: Calcium must be added in order to bring the calcium:phosphorous ratio of the formula to the 2:1 recommended for growing bones; the amount in FoNS was calculated on the basis of the amounts of calcium and phosphorous delivered by the other ingredients. Calcium carbonate is a highly bioavailable source of elemental calcium; pure calcium carbonate is 40% elemental calcium. It is typically sold in powder form; because of variations in the density in the powder, a given weight of calcium carbonate will not always be the same measured volume. Use a gram scale to weigh the amount that is added to this formula. Now© brand calcium carbonate powder may be ordered through health food stores or online through Green Canyon.Com ( Calcium tablets may be substituted, but do not use a product that contains other minerals or ingredients such as talc, cornstarch or sugar. 1000 mg of elemental calcium (a daily amount often recommended for adult human) will bring FoNS to a Ca:Phos ratio of 1.9:1.

Vitamins: Commercial avian multiple-vitamin products formulated for seed-eating companion birds vary in their components; as a package, they may or may not support optimal songbird growth. If the convenience of a pre-mixed product is important, the amount to add may be calculated to provide about 2000-2500 IU of vitamin A. LaFeber's Avi-Era© is widely available in pet stores (the amount suggested in the main recipe box contains about 2000 IU of vitamin A). We prefer the custom mix given below; the suggested amounts take into account Klasing's (1998) discussion of the amounts recommended for growing birds, the stability of various vitamins over time, and their dosage margin of safety.

  • 2000-2500 IU vitamin A plus 200-250 IU vitamin D (e.g., contents of a high-potency cold liver oil softgel)
  • 15-20 IU vitamin E (e.g., 1 drop from a 100-IU softgel)
  • 20-25 mg range vitamin B complex (e.g., half of a "B-50" capsule)
  • 50-75 mg vitamin C (e.g., fraction of a vitamin C capsule)

Based on information in Klasing (1998), the minerals present in the main ingredients of FoNS should be sufficient to meet the needs of growing birds; commercial mixes with minerals as well as vitamins contain ingredients that may be unnecessary in FoNS.

CoyoteEsbilac or Zoologic 33/40 and water 4:52-4 X dailyWean at 5-7 wk onto puppy or ferret diet and rodents (i.e., pureed mice). May begin nibbling on pureed rodents (or dog or ferret food) at 10 days of age. Gradually introduce live rodents for them to kill. A litter can be released at 5-6 mo. Very difficult to rear and release single animals.
Deer (white tailed)Lamb, kid (goat), or doe (deer) milk replacer2-4-x daily (generally 1 oz/lb 2 x daily) with a lamb's nipple.Can use goat or cow colustrum if the neonate hasn't nursed.Gradually decrease the number of feedings by 1/day over a period of = 1 wk as the fawn starts nibbling grass.

wean at 8-12 wk on a wild ruminant diet (16-25% protein), hay, and browse. Be careful handling fawns, they panic easily and may injure themselves in escape attempts. Best to raise with conspecifics (do not raise alone).||

Fox (red or gray)Esbilac or Zoologic 33/40 and water 4:72 -3 X dailyWean at 7-8 wk onto puppy canned or dry food rodents (i.e., pureed mice) and 5% fruit. May begin nibbling on pureed rodents (or dog food) at 10 days of age.Gradually introduce live rodents for them to kill. A litter can be released at 5-6 mo. Very difficult to rear and release single animals.
OpossumEsbilac and Multi-Milk 4:1 or Esbilac and Zoologic 30/553 and water 2:1:43-6 X daily (must tube feed max. 1.5ml/28 g BW)Wean at 13-15 wk onto canned or dry dog food and native foods. Supplemental calcium is required. House carefully (because they may get out, crawl behind things, and not come out even to eat). Feed in a sitting position with forefeet elevated.
RabbitEsbilac and Multi-Milk 3:2 or Zoologic 30/55 and Zoologic 42/25 and water 3:2:52 - 4 X dailyBegin weaning at 2-3 wk by gradually adding native forage, hay, grass clippings, rabbit pellets, apples, carrots, and grain. Avoid over-handling (shock). Acidophilus (yogurt)may be a useful supplement: small amount of honey may promote eating if they initially reject the milk. Place them in wire mesh bottom cages outside; release at 3 - 5 weeks(when eating a natural diet)
RaccoonKMR or Zoologic 42/25 and water 1:23 - 5 X daily (needs to be burped)Wean at 8 - 10 week onto dry dog food and native foods. They become aggressive with age. Feed in sitting position with forefeet elevated.
SkunkEsbilac or Zoologic 42/25 and water 1:22 - 4 X dailyWean at 6/8 wk onto dry dog food, rodent pellets, and depending on the age native foods.
Squirrel3 oz Esbilac or Unilac and 1 tsp baby cerealat least q2h (feed with animal on belly, not on back)Wean by 6 wk onto rodent pellets, vegetables, crackers, apples, and a variety of nuts and grain. Adapt easily to the wild once weaned. Release at 12-14 (occasionally 10) weeks.
Woodchuck (groundhog) and marmotEsbilac or Zoologic 33/40 and water 4:52 - 4 X dailyWean at 6-8 wk onto rodent pellets and native forage (vegetables, grains fruit, seeds, and nuts.) They enjoy playing in the sand
ArmadilloEsbilac or Zoologic 33/40 and water 2:32 - 4 X dailyWean at 6-8 wk onto cat/dog or kitten/puppy chow or canned food and native foods. Adding grubs, insects, and insect eggs to their diet will gradually adapt them to natural foods. Supplemental Vit K is required. They enjoy swimming in dishpans. To reintroduce into the wild, take them outside to forage for insects.
BadgerEsbilac or Zoologic 33/40 and water 4:72 - 3 X dailyWean at 8-10 wk onto canned or dry dog or cat food and native foods. Release at 5 mo.
BatBat milk:Zoologic 33/40 and water 1:2-3 and 1 drop Avitron (Lambert K) and2 drops Avimin (Lamber K) to every 35 ml of formula.Feed via 1-3 ml syringe 3-4 X dailyInsectivorous bats: add mealworms and crickets until ready to be housed with adults and/or trained for release. Feed in a head-down and sternal position.

Frugivorous bats: add pureed bananas, grapes, melon, papaya, and apples. Wean at 3-4 wk.||

BeaverEsbilac and Multi-Milk (Pet-Ag) 2:1 or Esbilac and Zoologic 30/55 and water 2:2:33 - 4 X dailyWean at 8 wk onto rodent pellets and native foods (shrubstwigs, branches, etc.)
BobcatKMR or Zoologic 42/25 and water 2:33 - 4 X dailyWean at 8-9 wk onto canned or dry kitten food and rodents. May begin nibbling on pureed rodents (or cat food) at 10 days of age. Gradually add live rodents for them to kill. Release at 4 - 5 mo in a similar manner to that for the fox and coyote.