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The technique that I use for force-feeding is to use the back of my left hand to hold them down in their nest (you can also wrap them in a towel if need be) while cradling their head between the middle and ring fingers. You need to extend the neck and head from the body (straighten it up) if you're going to tube feed all the way to the crop. You take the fingernails of the right hand and pry the beak open and then use the unused fingers (index and thumb) of the left hand (that's still upside down holding the bird's body down while cradling the head at extention) to hold the beak open while you either roll seeds down or insert the syringe.

If you pick a line of insertion that points the tip slightly towards the back of the throat as it's going past the opening to the trachea (airway), you won't have a problem with that. It's also a little better to insert the tube on the left side of the beak (the bird's left) and cross it a bit to the right side (the bird's right) as the esophagus goes down the right side of the bird's neck (the bird's right).

Most birds will struggle, some ferociously. The authority with which you hold the bird is very important. If you let them struggle too much, you'll either chicken out and the bird won't get fed; it'll be a real sloppy job with food all through the mouth, crop and esophagus possibly resulting in the bird breathing in some food (aspiration) and getting very sick or dying (sometimes immediately); or you can hurt the bird's esophagus to the point of rupture in the extreme. You just don't let the bird struggle. If they're going to play rough, then you wrap 'em in a towel for restraint.

If you're in doubt as to getting it down the airway then first open the beak real wide so that you can see where the airway is and how it's situated. It's a longwise oval slit just behind the base of the tongue. It can close completely. If you're desperately afraid you're going to go into it, then make sure the tube is clean before you go in, insert it some ways and then hold the bird's beak open enough to look in and make sure you've got it going the right way before you start pumping stuff in. After you get used to the technique, it's pretty quick and easy.

The "equipment" that I use is easy to get from a store like Home Depot, Lowe's or other hardware stores. It's simply electrical heat-shrink tubing that is generally used to slip over a portion of bare wire that you want to cover and then heat with a blow-dryer-like device. That causes the tube to shink. For our purposes here, there's no need to shrink it--you just pick the size that can be slipped over the nose of a syringe you're using and start using it. I usually do almost heat the business end to shrink the very front (the end that's leading the way down the pigeon's gullet) just to make it bullet-nosed but that's not necessary. It's pretty easy to overdo it when you're heating the end but you just almost but not quite touch it to a lit match for the splittest of seconds. Anyhow:

http://community.webshots.com/photo/548021569/2230231940073664377yNkprq
 

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THis is a link to a video of tube feeding:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HulTENCRFvU

It was done oin a hurry for a friend,and without a script so please excuse any lack of professionalism.

If anyone else has videos, photos or instructions it would be good if they could be added so that we can all learn a bit more from each others techniques.

Cynthia
 

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Thanks for the video, Cynthia!

Wonderful video.

Question: is the lower end of the tube (the end which is inserted down the throat) --

(1) simply a rubber tube cut straight across the diameter of the tube, or

(2) at a bevel, or

(3) somehow rounded off, or

(4) is the end fused and a hole on the side of the tube showing?

And what do you lubricate the end of the tube with?

(a) The Kaytee Exact Formula? (I need to find an equivalent liquid formula or fine powder here in Germany)

(b) Petroleum jelly or Vaseline®? or an oil?

I didn't think such a narrow tube would work (at least not for the consistency of the food I have prepared).

I think any pigeon would relax, hearing such a nice voice such as you have (flattery -- no. Honesty).

Thanks,

Larry
 

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Hi Larry,

I once had lessons in public speaking but the feedback was that I would make a good hypnotist as I would send my audience off to sleep. So I keep my conversations brief.:D

The tube that I use is the bottom end of a parrot feeding tube that is sold by Vetark. The top end of the same tube can be used with the 30ml syringe for a thicker mix.

http://www.noahs-cupboard.co.uk/detail.asp?catno=8&pnum=A2A5F

It is rounded at the bottom with a hole in the side. However, Les (A Wing And A Prayer, for whom the video was made initially) has rounded off the end of a rubber tube cut in the middle, using fine sandpaper.

I lubricate the end with KY Jelly, but when I don't have any of that I use olive oil or vegetable oil.

I use Kaytee Exact because it doesn't get stuck in the tube. Somehow Les manages to get a thick paste of soaked chick crumbs through...I tried to do that but it just got stuck.

If anything sticks in a tube it must be withdrawn from the throat and cleaned. Any attempt to force it through can result in the tube shooting off the syringe. A small tube (like the needle tube) can go into the crop.

Cynthia
 

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Hi Trees,

Thanks. I have corrected mine to fit!

Cynthia
 

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re Tube Feeding tube questions

Cynhia, thanks.

cyro51 said:
I once had lessons in public speaking but the feedback was that I would make a good hypnotist as I would send my audience off to sleep. So I keep my conversations brief.:D
Aha! A critical element of your relaxing technique that you failed to mention in the video: Develop a technique of hypnotizing a pigeon. Lull them with your voice.

Something to consider. Seriously. Maybe some of us could manage to get by with humming. It would be interesting to see if what auditory or vocal techniques would work best. I do know that having a calm and assertive, relaxed manner helps. When we are doing some of these things the first time, the bird is aware of our nervousness. Have to think llke Winnie the Pooh (I'm must think like a cloud act like a cloud, to fool the bees into not thinking I am after their honey). You made the tube feeding look so easy, an everyday thing, easier than picking one's own nose (which can be problematic at times).

cyro51 said:
The tube that I use is the bottom end of a parrot feeding tube that is sold by Vetark. The top end of the same tube can be used with the 30ml syringe for a thicker mix.

Cynthia
While I am at it, what size feeding tube (at the website you linked to) do you recommend, the small tube listed at £6.50, or the large tube at £10 in case I do not find an equivalent locally?

Thanks,

Larry
 

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It is the large tube that I buy, but that is cut into three pieces. One has a catheter top and needs "rounding" at the tip, the next one is blunt at both ends so also needs rounding, the third has the rounded tip.

One of our members has a particular song that she sings to pigeons, it went something like "Little pigeon, little pigeon, you will soon be well". When I sing it to a sick pigeon I use the tune of "Little Donkey".

Cynthia
 

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Larry_Cologne said:
I think any pigeon would relax, hearing such a nice voice such as you have (flattery -- no. Honesty.
Larry
Yes, Cynthia, I agree with Larry! As I watched the video, I was thinking "What a lovely, soothing voice."

Thanks for sharing the video, it takes a lot of the "fear of the unknown" away, to be able to actually see how tube feeding is done.

Linda
 

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This is a very informative thread. After watching Cynthia's video I may get up the nerve to try tube feeding :)

Cynthia, you do have a very nice speaking voice.

I sing or hum a favorite song of mine from my childhood, "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah", from the wonderful movie "Song of the South" when I am working with a baby or sick pigeon.
 

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Thanks Lin. Larry I will have to have a listen to the different versions.

Snap,Maggie!!! I sing Zip-a-dee-doo-dah when I feed the birds in the woods, because I feel just like Uncle Remus with beautiful creatures fluttering around me as I walk along the path. The bluetit stands in for Mr Bluebird And it never fails to make me feel happy!

Cynthia
 

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Cynthia,

My pigeons want to come and visit and get some of your loving supportive care, because you do have a most beautiful soothing voice. You probably have your rehab babies feeling so relaxed they don't have a problem being tube fed.

Reti, also has such a wonderful loving voice, I think because it is quite genuine in care and concern for her patients. My birds also will line up to go visit Auntie Reti. LOL :p :p
 

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Kaytee Exact (first posted by Cyro51)

I found this page on the Kaytee Exact site. It gives information on hand feeding and at the bottom of the page there is a link to a hand feeding video, it is well worth watching!

http://www.kaytee.com/companion_anim...feeding/#video



Cynthia
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And here is my favorite method of hand-feeding, good for babies from a few days old and up. It mimics the way the baby would eat from the parent naturally, and the baby learns very quickly to stick its beak into the hole:

http://picasaweb.google.com/awrats3333/BabyFeeding
 
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