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If you find a chick without feathers and with it's eyes still closed. try and locate the nest it's come from as soon as you can. The parent birds won't reject it because you've handled the baby so pop it back in the nest and leave quietly.
If you can't locate the nest keep the chick warm until you can get home. The chick will need something cosy to sit in, an old sock folded in on itself is perfect and line it with a little kitchen roll so that you can easily keep 'the nest' clean. A hot water bottle very well wrapped will serve to keep the chick warm but do keep checking it for the first ten minutes, only very gentle heat and as the bottle cools just unwrap a layer surrounding it.
The chick will need feeding, little and often (every twenty minutes or so when this tiny) from dawn to dusk it will not require water. You can buy a mixed food from good pet shops which you add a little water to or live mealworms but you may have to snip them up if the chick is very tiny.
Feed using blunt ended tweezers, the chick may need a little encouragement to start so you can touch the side of its beak gently with the food or failing that very carefully open the beak slightly with your fingers so that you can place the food inside to the rear of its tongue and wait for it to swallow. If you need to push the food a little further back do so with the other end of the tweezers slowly and gently. The chick will quickly get the hang of 'gaping' to be fed.
A chick this size will be able to eat whole meal worms and will soon be stretching its wings in preparation for fledging so it will need space to jump around and letting it out into a small room for a bit of flight practise is a great idea. Bathrooms are often a good choice because they're easier to clean but do remember to close the lid on the toilet!
Once the bird has fledged it will be eager to be in the wild, it's restlessness will be noticeable. Choose a nice day, not when it's raining or very cold. Give it a healthy breakfast and set off early in the day. Take it to an area in the countryside, where there's water (stream or river) is a benefit but not essential.
Take it out of the box or cage and let it calm down before releasing it, a good few minutes is fine and then open your hands and let it fly when it wants to.
It's always a bittersweet time but birds and animals are hardwired to survive when they're young and as long as it's healthy and fully feathered with the ability to fly then it's ready for release.
An owlet of this size really should be left in the wild, pick it up off the ground and place it out of harm's way in the shade, the parents will be close by. Owlets are notorious for falling out of their nests but they're also great at climbing back up again.
If it's starving it's breastbone will feel very prominent and its tummy (between its legs) will be empty. Damp or wet owlets will dry out.
If you cannot place it in a safe spot or you are concerned for its health then again keep it warm, take it home or to a specialist centre and it will need feeding on beef as an emergency until you can get a supply of frozen mice serve defrosted of course and cut up with scissors.
If the bird of prey chick isn't feathered and cannot be returned to the nest then you have little choice but to rescue it. Any bird of prey chick takes specialist care as their diet is varied and roughage is crucial for a healthy chick so they cannot be fed properly on supermarket chicken!
The most frequent cause of death in a bird (no matter the age) is stress. To avoid this keep it warm and in the dark while you sort out collection or where to drop it off to for the best care.
DO NOT REPEATEDLY PHOTOGRAPH IT FOR SOCIAL MEDIA.
DO NOT LET YOUR CHILDREN ANYWHERE NEAR IT AS THEY'LL BE OVER EXCITED AND LOUD.
DO NOT LET OTHER PETS NEAR IT.
DO NOT PLACE IT IN AN AREA WHERE YOU HAVE CAPTIVE BIRDS, AVIAN FLU IS PRESENT IN SO MANY AREAS AND EASILY TRANSMITTED.
Call anytime 0034 634379786 also on WhatsApp. Take a photo of the bird from the front and sides and of any noticeable injury so that we can accurately advise you.
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