Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Young crows eat a lot

Young crow chicks need to be fed a lot of food. Since, they are not able to feed themselves, food has to be almost pushed down their throats. They eat meat (ox heart is supposed to be their favorite), eggs, corn etc. Some crows prefer not eating anything other than meat and can spit out the egg and corn. As they grow older, they learn to eat meat and leave the corn in the bowls. Moving worms are a big hit with crows. Although keratin rich worms are not their primary diet, they do like eating a few worms.

So a lot of protein rich food laced with vitamins, calcium (chalk) and water. Its really amazing that such small birds can eat so much food within a day. The very young crows with very tiny throats can find it hard to swallow food. Meat can also be blended into a viscous paste and fed to the crows either with a spoon or a syringe of some sort. However, as the crows get older, this should be discontinued gradually to make sure that the crows learn to use their tongue and beak.

Apart from food, captive crows need medication. The stress of being kept captive seems to make them more prone to diseases. Veterinarians working with farm birds should be able to help. However, wild birds like the crows are definitely harder to breed in captivity. Given such hardship in breeding crows in captivity, the recovery in the population of the Hawaiian crow [Alalā (Corvus hawaiiensis)] is worthy of praise.

Pictures of crow claw (obtained from dead crows with appropriate permission for research)

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