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Name: debra
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We are in the process of incubating Robin eggs (or trying to). when the chicks hatch what is the best thing to feed them and an effective method?

This is upsetting to me. The idea of raising robins is not practical and would constitute a degree of cruelity. Birds imprint when they are hatched and these birds would imprint to the humans feeding them. This life long impression dictates the behavior of the individual bird from that point forward. They would never be able to survive in the wild. In the US, robins are protected and you will need to inquire about Federal permits to stay within the law. Most states have restrictions as well. Robins are technically migratory. Contact your state's Department of Natural Resources and

US Fish and Wildlife Service


Bird Banding Laboratory
National Biological Survey
12100 Beech Forest Road
Laurel, MD 20708-4037

TEL 301-497-5790
FAX 301-497-5784

Steve Sample

I must repeat an answer I have given a number of times to this sort of question, first and most important, it is against federal law to keep any birds, eggs, nests or feathers without a permit, no matter how good the intention. Educators can sometimes get a possession permit to keep some feathers, etc for educational purposes. To hatch eggs or care for injured or orphaned animals one needs a rehabilatators permit, which can only be obtained after training and demonstration of skill and acceptable facility. The only exceptions are for non-native "pest" species, pigeons, starlings and house sparrows. These regulations are to protect birds from collectors and from unintentional harm that often results from the most sincere efforts. BUT no one is going to come and arrest you for trying to hatch robin eggs, though you might get a gentle warning from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or state wildlife agent. Now that you have them, if you are lucky enough to get them to hatch, you can try feeding very moist canned cat food with a tweezers or toothpick, in pea size or smaller balls. If you can find a local rehab center, ask them for advice on mixing a more appropriate food, some people use egg yolk, cereal and other things mixed into a sticky form that can be fed like the cat food. You can also use small bits of worms. Nestlings need to be kept warm and fed often, 4 or 5 times a day at least.

Good luck.

J. Elliott

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