British Wildlife Helpline
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New Orphans


All new orphans need warmth, quiet and the right nutrition

Check the body temperature.

Does the bird or mammal feel cool or cold in relation to you?

If you normally have cold hands, ask someone else to gently feel the body under the feathers or fur.

The core body temperature needs to be near normal before the orphan is given food.

Birds

Warming
Warm cold birds by placing in a warm cage on a half filled hot water bottle wrapped in a towel.
The surface of the towel should feel warm, not hot, to warm the bird up gradually, so it regains normal body temperature.
The length of time depends on the size of the bird: bluetits will need about 20 minutes, blackbirds and larger species an hour or more.
Give a few drops of warm rehydration fluid ( see below) before leaving it to warm up in a dark and quiet place, then proceed with rehydration.

Rehydration
If the temperature is normal, give warm rehydration fluid such as Lectade or Critical Care at the standard dilution.
Add 2 - 3 drops of Rescue Remedy or 1 crushed tablet of Aconite 30 to the warm fluid and stir well
Small birds will take a few drops up to about 0.5ml on a very fine paintbrush or cotton wool bud.
Dab this on the side of the beak and let the bird take it up on its tongue.
Keep offering liquid until the bird has had enough.

Quantities

Tiny birds
These will be satisfied with 5 - 10 drops. As they eat chopped maggots, mealworms and catfood, regular
feeding will supply sufficient moisture for their needs.

Medium sized birds
They may need up to half a teaspoon of warm rehydration fluid given a drop at a time.
If they do not recover rapidly and show little interest in food, offer them more rehydration fluid with the addition
of  a drop or two of Rescue Remedy if possible.

Pigeons
Adult birds can suck in liquid if a small pot of warm rehydration fluid is held to the tip of  their beak.
If the bird is unable to drink, apply the warm liquid to the side of the beak with a small paintbrush or cotton wool bud.
The bird should be capable of taking 1 or 2 teaspoons of liquid. See Tube Feeding in next section.

Large birds
Offer the warm liquid to the side of the beak with a small paintbrush or cotton wool bud.
The bird should be capable of taking 1 or 2 teaspoons of liquid.

Tube feeding

When they are warm and becoming more active, pigeons and large birds can be given warm rehydration liquid directly into the crop.
This needs to be done by a trained person, using a syringe fitted with a soft, thin tube.
For more detailed information go to:  Feeding Birds

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Mammals

Warming
Warm cold mammals by placing in a warm cage on a half filled hot water bottle wrapped in a towel.
The surface of the towel should feel warm, not hot, to warm the body up gradually, so it regains normal body temperature.
The length of time depends on size: mice will need about 15 minutes, hedgehogs about 30 minutes, fox, badger 1-3 hours.
Give a small amount of warm rehydration fluid ( see below) before leaving it to warm up in a dark and quiet place.
Then proceed with rehydration.

Rehydration
If the temperature is normal, give warm rehydration fluid such as Lectade or Critical Care at the standard dilution.
Add 2 - 3 drops of Rescue Remedy or 1 crushed tablet of Aconite 30 to the warm fluid and stir well
Mice, bats and other small mammals will take a few drops up to about 0.5ml on a very fine paintbrush or cotton wool bud.
Dab this on the lips to moisten them and with luck it will be lapped up.
Give time for the animal to swallow and keep offering liquid until a reasonable amount has been taken.

Small mammals
Mice, bats etc. give on a very fine paintbrush, cotton wool bud or tiny dropper.
Dab this on the side of the lips and let them lick it up.
Keep offering liquid; they should take at least10-15 drops

Medium sized animals
Squirrels, hedgehogs etc. can be offered the warm rehydration liquid in a small syringe fitted with a tiny teat.
They will take between 0.5 to 5 mls depending on size. 
New-born, bald or almost bald squirrels and hedgehogs with mainly white spines: 0.5 - 1.5 mls
Furred squirrels and baby hogs with brown spines but closed eyes: 1.5 - 3 mls
Do not try and force the baby to take much more than the top amounts. It is better to try again after an hour,
giving the rehydration fluid before a milk feed.
Never feed an animal so much fluid that its tummy becomes hard and distended.

Large animals
Badger cubs, fox cubs,  fawns etc. should be given rehydration liquid in a baby's bottle with a new-born size teat.
They will need about 10 - 20mls every half hour for 3 or 4  hours or until their condition improves.
Food and water should also be available in the cage or pen for them to help themselves.

For more detailed information on feeding go to:  Feeding Mammals
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