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
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.
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Update: June 2012