Instructions For Chicks

In Spring and the beginning of Summer there is a possibility that we will stumble upon a chick that looks abandoned and want to help it..

But take caution!

Not all baby chicks need our help! It is often the case that the parents are somewhere in the area, and the best action for us to do is place the chick somewhere high up and leave it in peace.

In the cases were our help is necessary, here are some steps you can take until you contact a wildlife rehabilitation centre:

The proper instructions save lives!

And lets not forget! The aim is always to return the animal to its natural habitat in the wild! If we keep a wild animal for longer than necessary, its return to the wild may become impossible and in most cases does not have a happy ending.

Whatever the case, contacting ANIMA is important.

If we find a chick

Instructions for those that find predatory chicks

When it concerns nocturnal chicks (owls etc.), the possibility of finding their parents must be exhausted before any further action can be taken, this is because these chicks are usually not lost but mischievous enough to wonder away from their nest.

 In most cases the parents are close by, the best thing you can do is make an artificial nest (e.g. a hole in a tree or wall, a box with a hole or a basket), put the chick in the nest and place it in a high up spot either on a tree or a building. At dusk watch the nest to see if the parents come visit the chick. This method is usually successful but it assumes that you are willing to give up a bit of your time.

In general, most predatory chicks need to be fed only with raw chicken and not with minced or any other red meat. After one or two days the chicks also start needing supplements, such as calcium, to keep their skeleton from collapsing. By contacting a wildlife rehabilitation centre you give the chick the chance to successfully be released into the wild.

Swallows – Swifts

The go to food for these birds is dry development food for kittens, which needs to be soaked for a little bit until it becomes soft. Kitten Development Chicken by PRO PLAN is ideal for this, alternatively they can be fed a few times with the egg whites of boiled eggs. Swifts are fairly easy to raise so you can raise them yourself if, of course, you are willing to. It is essential that they don’t damage their wings and don’t get dirty, so they need to be kept in a cardboard box with constantly clean bedding (Kitchen roll, towel etc.). When the wings, in the closed position, surpass the tail by at least one centimetre, it is ready to be released. It is best to choose an open space without any electrical wiring and far away from highways, at the time of release the bird should be strongly thrown into the air. ATTENTION: If, during your care, the bird stops eating with appetite and creates more saliva in the mouth, you must contact ANIMA immediately.

Swallows are harder to raise because they are more dependent on their parents. When they reach the appropriate size and gain the ability to fly, they should be released in an area that contains other swallows of its kind and at a time when the babies of the nest have started their first flights, thus giving the swallow a chance to mimic the others.

Sparrows and other seed eaters

These birds are the hardest to raise, they usually die during the process without obvious reasons as to why. In big pet shops you can find preparations in the form of powder that becomes cream which you can feed the bird using a syringe. The best kind of powder is that which is used for the raising of seed eaters such as canaries, but usually the one available is an equivalent powder for baby parrots (e.g. Exact). Alternatively it can be fed egg whites. Remember to avoid dry food for cats because it contains high amounts of protein.

When their shape and size reaches that of an adult, they can be released in an area which attracts a lot of sparrows, preferably away from cats.

Baby Blackbirds  

These birds present high mortality rates, some grow up just fine and others suddenly die. They are fed alternatively with dry development kitten food, eggs and exact. When the shape and size starts to resemble the adults, we release the bird close to bushes.

Baby Doves – Pigeons

They grow up just fine with exact. Their crop should be filled with cream 3-4 times a day.

Insect eaters (tits, hoopoes etc.)

Generally all insect eaters are fed on dry development kitten food, this can also feed baby predators and baby herons.

Baby Magpies – Hooded Crows – Eurasian Jays

Dry development, but also canned kitten and puppy food, eggs etc.

Feeding Frequency

  • When the chicks have closed eyes: every 10 minutes
  • When their eyes are open and they can balance on their hocks: every 20 minutes
  • When they can stand upright: every 30 - 40 minutes
  • When they start to jump around the “nest”: every 1.30 – 2 hours

Temperature: Important!

It is very important to keep a stable temperature in the little ones “nest”. The ideal temperature is between 25 – 30 degrees Celsius. This can be achieved with a table lamp and an outdoor thermometer to avoid overheating.


Avoid cages because they can easily damage the wings, use preferably cardboard boxes or baskets with absorbent bedding. Cat litter, newspapers, kitchen roll and dry hay (the ones they sell for rabbits are handy) can all be used either separately or in combination.

Did you find an injured – wounded – exhausted wild animal in any region of Greece?

Contact us and we will get you in touch with our closest colleague, so that the animals transfer to ANIMA can be as fast and safe as possible.

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