In this thread I will try to cover all aspects of tube feeding. Subjects covered will be:
- When to tube
- Tube feeding contraindications
- Crop volume and how much to tube
- How to insert the tube
- Risks associated with tubing
- Supplies needed and where you can get them
- The importance of correcting hydration
- How to tube neonates
When to Tube
- Tube if bird is not drinking/eating
- Tube if bird has lost 5% of it's body weight
Tube feeding contraindications
- Never tube a non responsive bird
- Never tube a hypothermic bird
- Never tube a bird with an digestive tract obstruction
How Much and How Often to Tube
Almost all sick birds will dehydrated, so one must correct this first. Crop volume is about 5% of a bird's body weight, but it is best to start with 2% to 3% and see how they tolerate it (2-3 ml per 100 grams). Warmed fluids should be given and then given again in 60-90 minutes if crop has mostly cleared. Repeat again in 2-4 hours.
Once hydration has been corrected, tube Kaytee Exact mixed at about 1 part food to 2.5 to 3 parts water. Start with 2-3 ml per 100 grams. Gently feel the crop. It should have a slight bulge. If still flat, give a little more.
- Kaytee Exact Baby Bird Food
The size of tube you need will depend on the size of the bird you are tubing. A size 18 french tube can usually be used on all birds that weigh 500 grams or more. Small chicks and ducks would need a size 8. Geese, adult ducks and adult peafowl can accommodate a size 30.
Where to Buy Tubes (Click to show)
The 30 - for extra large fowl.
The 18 - Most birds over 500 grams
The 8 - Newly hatched chicks and ducklings
A 1 ml and a 3 ml should be used when tubing chicks/ducklings with a size 8 tube. Tube shown below is a size 8 on a 1 m luer slip syringe.
When using size 18 or larger tube, it's best to have a 60 ml catheter tip syringe, but a 35 ml one will also work.
This is a 35 ml (cc) syringe This is a 60 ml (cc) syringe
Types of syringe tips
You can buy 60 ml catheter tip syringes at Tractor supply and here - 60 ml catheter tip syringes (click to open)
A kitchen scale that can weigh in grams is what I use. Knowing the weight of your bird will allow you to calculate the amount of water and food to tube.
Scale can be purchased at places like Walmart.
Kaytee can be purchased and Petsmart, Petco and online.
Crop feeding videos
These are using a crop needle, not a plastic tube.
This one uses a tube like I use
Check back for updates
Edited by casportpony - 9/15/16 at 7:12am