How To Know If A Baby Bird Is Hungry (And What To Do!)

There is a checklist people are recommended to go through on how to know if a baby bird is hungry.

It’s best to know what to look for and then move forward with feeding the birds. There are subtle signs that are made obvious by a baby bird when it’s in this position.

You are going to start noticing these details when you are looking at the baby birds carefully.

The signs can include:

  • Opening Their Mouths
  • Making Loud Noises
  • Actively Shaking and Moving

These are clear-cut signs the baby birds want something. Otherwise, they are going to remain in their state of sleep while waiting for their next meal.

A lot of people don’t know what to look for and then get confused.

A baby bird may wake up and not feel hungry. This is possible and that means it’s not okay to try and feed them food when they don’t want it!

With a checklist on how to know if a baby bird is hungry, you will have a much easier time pinpointing when it’s feeding time for your baby birds.

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Tips on How To Feed a Baby Bird Safely

Tip #1: Wait for The Mouths to Open

This is the most common sign when learning how to know if a baby bird is hungry.

You should look at their mouths.

In general, a baby bird that is hungry will open its mouth and begin making noise. This is to alert the mother that it’s time to be fed and that it’s hungry.

Of course, it’s not always possible for a mother bird to feed its babies regularly, so the baby birds end up making more and more noise until they pass out. It’s best to pay attention to this, especially if you are trying to feed baby birds in an outdoor nest.

Experts Say...
Don’t force-feed a baby bird unless it is ill and there is a clear restriction that doesn’t allow them to ask for food (i.e. excess fatigue).

If you notice they are opening their mouths then it’s time to feed them.

Most baby birds are going to prefer resting, which is why they only wake up to eat. If you are not giving them food, they are going to get tired and that can lead to major side effects in terms of their health.

You have to keep them well-fed, especially if you are the one responsible for raising them.

how to know if a baby bird is hungry

Tip #2: Give Moist Dog Food

What type of bird food should you give to a baby bird?

To the surprise of many people, you don’t want to give traditional bird food to a baby bird. It is not strong enough to eat those birdseeds that you have at home.

Instead, you want to buy dog kibble and/or dog food that can be fed to the baby birds. Make sure to mash up the dog food and ensure it is moist too.

Moist dog food is easier to digest for baby birds in comparison to whole birdseed that is commonly consumed as adults.

When you are feeding a baby bird, you want to ensure it is as much of a “mush” as possible.

It is not easy for baby birds to digest any type of food, which is why mother birds are careful when feeding them.

This is key as you learn how to know if a baby bird is hungry. Eventually, you are going to pick up on signs and it will come down to feeding them high-quality food that is rich in nutrients.

Tip #3: Check for the Mother Bird

Is the nest outside?

This means the mother bird is responsible for feeding the babies. If you take the time to feed them, you should make sure the mother isn’t around and that she hasn’t come back in a while.

If it has been more than 5-6 hours, you should take action.

how to know if a baby bird is hungry

Tip #4: Feed Every 30-60 Minutes

How often should you feed a baby bird?

As you learn how to know if a baby bird is hungry, you will realize it is going to come down to multiple times in an hour. Many baby birds can eat every 15 minutes, if they are given the opportunity to do so.

They are developing rapidly at that age, so they need as much food in their belly as possible!

You can give it to them by feeding the birds regularly.

Experts Say...
Feeding a baby bird every 30-60 minutes will keep them healthy and ensure they grow over time.

Of course, it’s not easy to maintain a schedule of 15 minutes. This is almost impossible unless the only thing you are doing is feeding the baby birds!

So, what do you do then?

You want to set a schedule where you can feed them a healthy amount every 30-60 minutes. This will keep them full.

Final Thoughts

This is how to know if a baby bird is hungry.

You will have to look for all the listed signs before deciding whether or not to feed the baby bird. There is nothing worse than overfeeding the bird and that can happen if you don’t look out for the signs.

A baby bird is going to let you know if it is hungry. Just wait for those signs!

Once the signs are there, you can take a bit of moist dog food or dog kibble and give it to the baby bird.

Here is more on helping baby birds – how to relocate eggs in a baby nest, mother birds and moving babies around, benefits of feeding birds, and using a bird feeder for birds.