Tube Feeding Birds

Key Points

  • Estimated crop volume is 50 ml/kg. Begin feeding one-third to one-half of estimated crop volume to the critically ill patient.
  • Always tube feed warm formula (100-105°F or 38 to 41°C).
  • Tube feeding should always be the last treatment performed.
  • Most birds are tube fed between two to four times daily.

Tube feeding, also known as gavage feeding, is an essential part of avian supportive care. Sick birds are often presented with a history of anorexia and glycogen stores may be depleted within hours in small species with relatively high metabolic rates. Another important indication for gavage feeding is a documented drop in body weight of 5% to 10 . . .

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Gelis S. Evaluating and treating the gastrointestinal system. In: Harrison GJ, Lightfoot TL, eds. Clinical avian medicine. Palm Beach: Spix Publishing, 2006;426.

Jenkins JR. Hospital techniques and supportive care. In: Altman RB, Clubb SL, Dorrestein GM, Quesenberry K, eds. Avian medicine and surgery. Philadelphia: WB Saunders Co, 1997;244-246.

Jones MP, Pollock CG. Supportive care and shock. In: Olsen GH, Orosz SE, eds. Manual of avian medicine. St. Louis: Mosby, 2000;24, 40-42.

Lafeber TJ. Pet bird care: proper technique for passing a feeding tube and administration of Emeraid I and Emeraid II. 1998.

To cite this page:

Pollock C. Tube feeding birds. December 9, 2010. LafeberVet Web site. Available at