Swallow Diet

To: <>, <>, <>
Subject: Swallow Diet
From: <>
Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2003 17:08:56 -0700
G'day Anfff and all,

What has got me going with that bird food diet is the complicated diet for 

"WEETBIX??" why?

I have had great success just feeding them worms with their heads crushed, the 
worms NOT the swallows. You can dip the crushed worms in multi vitamin powder 
after the swallow eats the first worm, like yum yum this is good with first 
then this tastes odd? oh well the centre is the same thinks swallow. Beaut 
medical folk on this list gave me a set of medical tweezers especially for that 
job. Otherwise yep it is a pretty good food diet list. If you are careful then 
wooden tooth picks could do the same. (Attempt to copy the
feeding from parents routine)
Re: Swallow diet - *ha* you don't need to worry about what the worms "taste" 
like.. little swallows will eat anything that's stuck down there... which is 
why they get horrid foods like bread, etc. which kills them. The reason they 
can survive wheetbix, etc is because they can consume a certain amount of inert 
things, (wings & knees of insects, etc). They are NOT a bird which needs 
"carbohydrates"...! I have been given swallows which survived for a while on 
very unusual foods, my favourite was the "ham & egg" swallows. Watch out for 
those swallows when you're dining alfresco!
  A couple of things you have to watch for on swallows - is that their eyes 
don't look "sleepy" which is normally a sign of dehydration (unless the unlucky 
baby has a head injury), and that you need to dip the mealworms in a bit of 
water to get vitamin powder to stick (doesn't hurt the swallows to have a bit 
of extra water either). Their eyes should be round & bright as beads, though of 
course, when their eyes are just beginning to open they will have a droopy 
sleepy look for just a day or so. The inside of a healthy swallow mouth should 
be a shiny yellow, baby "lips" are usually pale.
  They really DON'T need to be fed every 15 minutes - they just LIKE it. They 
will pretty much eat for as long as you feed them! Remember swallow parents 
can't hunt all the time - in storms, etc. Swallows can survive periods without 
food (unlike hummingbirds).
  Care should be taken when transporting baby swallows by car, because they 
tend to get dehydrated just like human passengers on an airplane! If you drive 
them for a half-hour or more they should be rehydrated (even if you can't feed 
them) by sticking a (clean) finger in water, then letting the little birds have 
the drips - you won't aspirate them this way.
  An all-mealworm/vitamin diet works excellently, unless the baby has suffered 
some trauma I almost never loose them, and I've raised hundreds by now (Barn, 
Cliff & Viole(n)t Greens)... the violet greens are probably the most difficult, 
as they are a very shy cavity-nester. Adult swallows (as with anything that 
migrates here) are incredibly tough birds. When young swallows are beginning 
flight, I teach them to eat from a plate, which saves a great deal of time (you 
can imagine). They also love to take care of any spiders or flies you might 
have in your house! There are a few swallows who will take and enjoy fruit - 
like watermelon - as most birds are attracted to it. When you are trying to 
wean them, a small bit of watermelon makes the mealworms ever so attractive to 
young swallows. They (may?) be able to taste some sweet flavors.  You find 
delicate little beak marks on a small bit of watermelon, cut with an "edge" to 
stick up! Watermelon juice is also a very good for re-hydration of small birds, 
sweet enough yet nice and "watery". ~~ Hilary Richrod / Small Wild Bird Clinic 
of Aberdeen / Aberdeen, Washington USA

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