Insert the syringe into the left side (which would be the birds right side) of the mouth on top of the tongue and gently depress the plunger with a slow and steady motion. Do not quickly squirt the formula in all at once!
You should be able to see the crop slowly filling up with the formula. Be sure you have a steady grip on the bird–they bob their heads up and down even while eating, and can be hard to hold on to! If the baby stops bobbing, stop the feeding. Wait until he is ready again, and finish the syringe.
The baby’s crop should be well rounded but not up near their throat. Be sure it is not overfilled, as babies can aspirate very easily. After feeding, check the baby’s lower beak to make sure there is no formula left in it. If there is dampen a cotton swab to remove it. Formula left in the lower beak can harden and cause beak deformities, and is difficult to remove later. Use caution while doing this as the area is very delicate. Also clean off any formula that is on the chicks body. Use a warm wet paper towel or a baby wipe to gently wipe off the down or feathers. Pay close attention to the area under the beak.
Always be sure to wash your hands before and after handling each clutch to discourage the spread of germs. Clean and sterilize the feeding instruments for each clutch of babies and do not use the feeding instruments to dip back into the food container after you have used it to mix with. Never leave a baby alone on a table top or counter–always confine them in a container, or basket.
You can turn your back for one second, and the baby will be on the floor. You will be surprised at how mobile they are even at a young age. Monitor the babies to see when they next need to be fed. Depending on age and size, this could be anywhere from 2 to 4 hours.
The crop should be empty (or close to empty) before another feeding is given. Set a routine and stick to it. Feedings that are given too infrequently can cause stunted growth, poor feathering and compromised immune systems. When pulled at the age of 2 weeks, we hand fed the baby Quakers a minimum of four times per day, with each feeding consisting of an average of 10-13 ml. of formula. At this age, most of them will sleep through the night without needing a feeding, although this is not always the case. (Please bear in mind that these amounts are not exact, and will very according to the size and growth rate of each baby,)
By the time the babies reach 4 weeks of age, the feedings are reduced to 3 times per day, consisting of approximately 20 ml of formula at each feeding. Keep babies away from other birds to protect them from viruses and bacteria that other birds may be carrying, and never keep babies from different sources together. Siblings (clutches”) of babies may be housed together. A healthy chick on a good diet will appear bright, alert and responsive. Daily weighing is strongly recommended.
The feet and toes are also good indicators of healthy babies. They should be plump and round, not long, slender and dried out. Feathers should be clean, shiny, and in neat order, although several babies housed together can cause some tail feathers to look “ratty” from being chewed occasionally by siblings!