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Feeding baby barn swallows....parentless

Posted by s.hartman (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 2, 09 at 22:59

Every year we have barn swallows and really enjoy watching them build nests and raise their young. This year we have been pretty busy and haven't been paying much attention to the nest in the barn, however I became concerned when I didn't see a parent for a few days. I thought maybe I was just missing them coming and going from the nest, but today I decided to plant myself in the barn and watch for a while. I continued watching all afternoon and through dinner and still no parent. After dinner tonight I just couldn't stand it (the babies have been chirping and it has been over 90 degrees every day for the last week and the barn is cooking). I crushed up some worms, added a little water and started feeding the 4 of them. I realize the commitment I am making and that it is likely they will die....but for now they are eating. Any suggestions on what else to feed them? (I haven't been successful at finding bugs....I have some natural canned dogfood I may try) I also know they need to eat constantly so I'm still hoping that a parent will return. Thank you! Shellie

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Feeding baby barn swallows....parentless

You might check to see if you have an Audubon Society branch in the area. I'm sure they would advise you on what to do at this point. If there isn't an office in the area you could call a more distant Audubon office.

In the meantime, might the babies eat mealworms?(the ones people buy for their feeders). Also, I took care of some baby birds for a friend once (don't know how that happened) and I was instructed to give them chopped up pieces of cooked scrambled egg. They liked it. Also, you could try giving them water with a medicine dropper if you are concerned about the heat in the barn.

I don't know much about birds but it sounds like something has happened to the parents. I would think that their being gone for four days is a bad sign. From what I've heard birds are generally very good parents.

You are so goodhearted to take this on. I hope you can get some sound advice that will relieve you about this and resolve the babies' situation.

Good luck -

RE: Feeding baby barn swallows....parentless

I'm very sorry about the birds. This is always a sad thing. Earthworms are not good for many of species of birds. Swallows eat insects. You can get mealworms, waxworms or crickets from a bait shop or pet store and don't crush them or put water in them. You can also feed them lightly moistened dry cat food. It is very easy to drown baby birds. They don't need water as they get it from the insects they eat. Even the canned food can get stuck in their windpipe and get in their lungs and cause infection. You really need to find a wildlife rehabilatator near you. I don't know where you live but you could google them in your state.
Good Luck

RE: Feeding baby barn swallows....parentless

Thank you for your help. The mealworms were a great suggestion and I found some at the pet store today.
Thanks again.

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