I am often asked what people should have on hand in the way of a first aid kit for birds. Sitting here thinking about it I could give you a very long list, but I have decided to list just the basics in the event of an emergency. You should be able to source the items listed quite easily, but if you require some guidance or assistance please contact us, we may be able to help.
Those basic but most important items:
A suitable sized cage or container – not too big, not too small and well ventilated with appropriately sized gaps i.e. not so large that your patient could escape
Towels of various sizes – these would be used for handling and bedding
Something to create warmth – either an instant warmer or hot water bottle
Local vet clinic contact details and address
Local Bird Rescue Centres contact details and address
Syringes (various sizes)
Crop needles/tubes (for use if trained to use them)
Sterile fluids: 0.9% saline ampules
Water base gel: K-Y Jelly
Sterile low-adherent dressings
Sterile gauze pads
Bandages – Cohesive
Tape - Micropore™
Oral rehydrating fluids e.g. gastrolyte or lectade
Paper towels and tissues
Note book and pen – for making notes to pass on to the vet or rehabber
Wire cutters – to cut anything that scissors won’t
Fine scissors – to assist with removing fine twine or cotton
Magnifying glass – to see what you are doing or examining a wound
Tweezers – to remove debris or feather from a wound
Scissors – to cut bandages or padding
Scales – always good to weight a bird as it helps to indicate its overall health
Penlight – to help see things better
Electric heat pad – for longer term warmth
Container to hold everything
The list that I have made is really quite basic, but it will be of value in the first 24 hours of caring for a bird should you not have time or means, to transport it to an experience individual.
You will notice that I have not listed food in the supplies, and that is because in most case birds require fluids in the initial stages of care. If they are dehydrated the body will not function normally and will not be able to process any food that you give them, in fact it could even kill them. There are obviously exceptions to that rule, and they are usually your small nectar eaters and baby birds.
Our advice with any sick, injured or orphaned bird is to contact or take it to an experienced individual as soon as possible. Its survival will depend on the speed in which it receives the correct, initial care that is required.
Learn Bird Care was co-founded by Dr Janelle Ward and Mandy Robertson. Learn Bird Care offer specialist online courses on wild bird rescue,1st aid and care.
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