Adult European Starling nutritional requirements are 33.1% protein and 12.1% fat. A baby starling bird has even higher protein needs.
You can use Blue Buffalo Healthy Aging cat food. If you use something else, verify the protein/fat ratio and amounts. The first ingredient listed should be chicken. Here’s the recipie:
- 1 cup soaked cat food
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 hard boiled egg. Make sure the egg is boiled at least 15 minutes to remove any bacteria that may be in the yolk.
- Avian vitamins
- Around 750 mg calcium. You can use Tums Smooth Dissolve tablet (non-flavored if possible), ground to powder and dissolved in a little water.
- Occasionally add small amounts of different foods
Mix all of these ingredients together and add enough water to make it the consistency of cooked oatmeal. You can divide these portions and freeze them for use later. Only leave this food at room temperature for an hour or so, as it can spoil.
Instead of Tums, you can use 1/4 cup poultry layer mash (for egg laying hens, not the chick starter and not medicated). It has grain in it which babies don’t necessarily need, however.
To deliver the food, many advocate using a feeding stick (like a coffee stirrer). We’ve used 5 cc oral syringes without any issue, however you must be careful not to aspirate (having the food going down the wind pipe).
- A baby bird without feathers will need to be fed every 20 to 30 minutes over a period of at least 12 hours a day.
- Babies starting to feather need to be fed every 45 minutes or so.
- A fully feathered baby can go an hour or two without feeding.
When the baby starling is about four weeks old, you may begin leaving some food in a small bowl in the cage and start hand-feeding. This is also a good time to add a shallow bowl of water to the cage. Your baby bird will start playing with the food in the cage at about four weeks old.
Even when your bird begins eating on its own, you will still need to hand-feed until fully weaned. This can be around six to eight weeks old (and sometimes even longer). You will know when your bird is weaned, as he/she will prefer to feed themself and will no longer eat much from the feeding stick/syringe.
After the baby starling has been eating on its own for three weeks, it should be put on the adult starling diet.