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Feeding Nectivores-Honey Eaters

Nectivore species include New Holland Honeyeaters, White Plumed Honeyeaters, Red Wattle Birds, Little Wattle Birds, Noisy Miners and Silvereyes.

Also see:


Nectivores's Natural Foods

Insects, nectar & pollen from native flowers, Sap from eucalypts & wattles, soft fruit & berries.

Feeding in captivity

Feeding baby nectivores

  • 200gms fine chicken mince or quality tinned chicken dog food
  • 3-4 tsp apple sauce
  • 3-4 tsp rice cereal
  • 1 tsp Wombaroo Insectivore Mix
  • ½ tsp raw sugar

Or

  • 100 gms Wombaroo Honeyeater & Lorikeet Mix
  • ½ tsp Wombaroo Insectivore Mix
  • ½ tsp raw sugar
  • 1-2 tsp apple sauce
  • Rice cereal to thicken

Mix with warm water to a runny custard consistency, only add the insectivore if put through a coffee grinder as the large particles clog the syringe. Add the insectivore when dipping puppy biscuits into the mixture or the bird is self feeding. The Puppy Biscuits are soaked in water until soft, then cut in half).

Feeding adult/self feeding nectivores

High Protein Mix

Dissolve in ½ litre hot water:

  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup raw sugar

Add:

  • 1 cup rice cereal
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/3 cup apple sauce
  • 2 tsp Wombaroo Insectivore Mix

Make up to 1 litre with cold water.

You can use Wombaroo Honeyeater & Lorikeet Mix but you will still need to add the sugar, rice cereal, insectivore & apple sauce.

Self feeders can also be fed the Plover Mix.

Feeding Methods

Baby New Holland & White Plumed Honeyeaters

You will need a thin tubing to put on the end of the 1ml syringe (a winged infusion set ). Cut the tubing 1 to 2 cms long. This can be inserted into the back of the bird’s throat when force- feeding or when the bird is gaping.

If the bird is sluggish and weak, firstly feed it with Raw Sugar dissolved in warm water, only until he begins to liven up. The birds can’t digest their food when cold and weak. A small chick will need 3-4 drops every 20 mins. As birds get more feathers, increase amounts of mix. New Holland’s have a small crop. Fill the crop with about 1/2 mm of mixture and then you can leave longer between feeds - 30 to 45 mins. If the birds are gaping, you can also give them soaked puppy kibble, cut into quarters.

Spike the pieces on the end of a blunted skewer or toothpick, then dip that into the mixture (made a little thicker) and feed it down the back of the throat. Once you have them on the biscuits and mixture they will go a little longer between feeds. It seems that White plumed honeyeaters need feeding more frequently. Birds get very sticky so you can wash them in warm water then gently dry them.

Baby Wattle & Noisy Miner Birds

These are larger birds and need the puppy biscuits cut in 1/2, make the mix a little thicker for dipping and add more Insectivore powder. Be careful not to spear them with the skewer when they snatch the biscuit. You can also make a paste adding very lean mince to the mix, (use less insectivore when feeding this mix). Roll small amounts into balls, spike onto a blunted skewer and don’t forget to dip it in water and then feed the bird.

Noisy Miner’s are social birds; the whole family feed the chicks so they need to be fed a more often about every 10 to 15 mins.

Older Birds

Honeyeaters love to lick everything. If you find an older bird, try to dip the end of its beak into a small bowl of mixture and they should start licking. Do this for a day or so and they should hopefully be able to feed on their own. It is also important for the birds to feed on the native blossoms, so keep a variety of fresh nectar flowers in their cage.

For the Wattlebirds and Noisy Miners you can then add pieces of puppy biscuit to the bowl. Other things they like to eat are small amounts of scrambled egg, peas, corn, chopped up fruit, and egg biscuit. All birds have different tastes so try all sorts of foods and see what they like best.

When New Holland & White Plumed honeyeaters start to hop around their cage, you can put in a small container of the mixture for them to lick. A bottle top, pegged on the side is of the cage is good, keep it small as they love to bathe (they will get very sticky). Have a larger shallow dish of water so they can have a bath. Once they get the idea normal size bowls are fine.

All birds need to go in an outside flight aviary first to strengthen their muscles before releasing. It is best for most birds to be with their own kind, so ring around and see if any other person has a similar bird so that you can put them together.

After releasing them, leave out food and water so they can come back to be support fed if necessary, keep it fairly high off the ground so they can feed safely.

 

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