Swift calf - Care and feeding

SwiftsApus apus) are one of the birds better adapted to flight, so much so that they sleep in the air and only perch during the nesting season. Their nest is a kind of basket that they build in the holes in the walls of old houses. Therefore, they depend on this type of construction, whose disappearance or reform is their main threat. In fact, swifts have lost 40% of their population in the last 20 years..

During heat waves, small swift chicks can be pulled out of the nest to avoid dying inside. Once they fall to the ground, their parents cannot feed them due to their extreme adaptation to flight. Therefore, unlike other birds, they are the only chicks that need our help.. ¿Do you want to know how to help them? Don't miss this AnimalWised article about baby swift: care and feeding.

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  1. What to do if I find a swift?
  2. Swift care
  3. What does a swift eat? - Adult and young
  4. How to feed a swift?
  5. How to release a swift?

What to do if I find a swift?

Unlike other birds, swifts cannot perch on the ground. It is because their legs are very short and their feet are very small. They only have strong four-fingered claws that allow them to cling to the roughness of the walls. In addition, they have very large wings and cannot take flight from the ground. For this reason, when a baby swift falls from the nest, its parents cannot go down to feed it, as is the case with other birds. It is because of that must help them.

The first thing we have to do when we find a swift is to pick it up and put it on the palm of our hand. If it is an adult, it will be pulled by the hand to later take flight. If this does not happen, it may be a chick or juvenile, or an injured adult. Then, ¿what to do with a baby swift? In these cases, we must put it in a box and take him to a recovery center as soon as possible of wild fauna. It is not advisable to give him to drink or to eat, since we can do it wrong.

Although these indications are the best, recovery centers are often overcrowded with chicks. Therefore, if you have found a baby swift, it is common that you are asked to take care of it yourself. If you agree to do so, you should know that these birds require a lot of care. For this reason, you must have a lot of time, be very constant and, above all, be patient. Here are some guidelines on how to raise a swift.

Swift care

A baby swift should not be put into a cage, as it can injure the feathers. During the entire rearing period, the chick must remain always inside a box medium in size, like a shoe box. We must make holes so that the bird can breathe and fill the bottom with absorbent paper. This paper must always be kept clean and changed every time the swift defecates..

The chosen box must be located in a warm, dark and quiet place. This way, it will be warm and calm until it is time to release it. We will only disturb you during feedings, which must be done every hour if the chick is not yet feathered. Juvenile swifts, which already have feathers and little down, eat every 3 hours, approximately.

Another very important care for any bird is its feathers. A swift with damaged feathers will not be able to fly. For this reason, it is very important that we touch it only to feed it. Before that, we have to wash our hands well to remove all kinds of particles and our natural fat. If possible, it is best to wrap it with a cloth, so that our hands do not touch it. It is also important to hold it firmly, but not tightly, so that its wings cannot move and its feathers do not break..

What does a swift eat? - Adult and young

There is a wealth of information on the web about swift breeding, which is often very dangerous. Feeding a swift improperly can cause health problems and even lead to death. Swifts they do not eat feed for pets nor meat, eggs or birdseed.

These birds they only eat insects that hunt during flight, since they are insectivorous animals. To do this, they keep their huge beak open, catching any flying insects that are in their way. In this way, the adults feed while they fly. Then they fill their mouths with insects and bring them to their young. Therefore, to raise a swift at home, we must exclusively give it insects. The most recommended is a mixed diet of larvae of tenebrios (Tenebrio mollitor) Y crickets (family Gryllidae). We can find them in any pet food store, as well as in online stores that send them directly to home.

¿How much does a baby swift eat??

As for the number of insects, it depends on the age and on each individual. In general, it is recommended to give between 10 and 15 insects for each dose, that is, every 2 or 3 hours.

How to feed a swift?

Now that you know what a baby swift and an adult swift eat, ¿how to feed him? Before the first meal, the swift must be well hydrated. For this reason, the first thing we have to do is give it water. To do this, we must never introduce its beak into the liquid, since it could enter its respiratory system. The safest technique is to offer the water with a syringe. For it, we will leave a drop in the corner from his beak and he'll just pick it up with your tongue. Then, we will repeat the process little by little until it does not collect the droplet. It is very important not to forcibly open the spout to insert the syringe because most likely we will end up breaking the spout inadvertently.

When the baby swift is hydrated, we can start feeding it. Then, ¿how to feed a baby swift? Some chicks open their beaks on their own, however, it is quite common for them to refuse. In these cases, we will have to do it ourselves. To do this, we will lightly press the corners of the beak until it opens a little. Then, we will pull the bottom part down and from the side. Finally, we will introduce the food in the commissure, or directly into the throat, but never anteriorly.

Since swift hatchlings are very delicate, if we are not careful we can end up damaging their beaks. For this reason, it is essential to go to a wildlife recovery center or a center specialized in swifts, such as SOS Swifts, where they will explain in detail how to feed a baby swift correctly.

How to release a swift?

¿When to release a swift? When the baby swift is ready to fly, we will observe that its wings are crossed over the back and exceed the tail by more than 2 centimeters. In addition, we will notice that it is difficult for him to eat more and more and has a very active behavior. It will try to escape as soon as it has a chance and will move on the table with its wings. If we observe this behavior, the youngster may already be ready.

To release a swift, we must choose a warm day and release it at first hour of the morning. The place must be open, that is, without trees or obstacles. Preferably, it should be a site with the ground covered with short grass or sand. So no harm will be done if it falls.

Once we have chosen the place, it will be enough with put it on the open hand, at the level of our eyes. If he is ready, he will launch himself from the hand and we will see him for the last time. If this does not happen, the bird is telling us that it is not the time yet, so we should never force it or launch it upwards. It is also not advisable to throw it from a height higher than that of a person, since it could be injured if it falls to the ground.

Finally, the swift may lunge and fall. In this case, we will make another 2 attempts and, if it falls again, we will take it home until several days have passed. If it falls back on the next try, the bird can have a wing injury. When this happens, it is very important that we take you to the nearest recovery center, where they can help you..

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