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Basic first aid and rescue kit for birds

Basic first aid and rescue kit for birds

I am often asked what people should have on hand in the way of a first aid kit for birds. Sitting here thinking about it, I could give you a very long list, but I have decided to list the basics in the event of an emergency. You should be able to source the items listed quite easily.

Those basic but most essential items

  • A suitable-sized cage or container – not too big, not too small, and well-ventilated with appropriately sized gaps, i.e. not so large that your patient could escape

  • Towels of various sizes – these would be used for handling and bedding

  • Something to create warmth – either an instant warmer or a hot water bottle

  • Local vet clinic contact details and address

  • Local Bird Rescue Centre contact details and address

Additional Equipment

  1. Notebook and pen – for making notes to pass on to the vet or rehabber

  2. Wire cutters – to cut anything that scissors won’t

  3. Small scalpel – to assist with removing fine twine or cotton

  4. Magnifying glass – to see what you are doing or examining a wound

  5. Tweezers – to remove debris or feather from a wound

  6. Scissors – to cut bandages or padding

  7. Scales – always good to weigh a bird as it helps to indicate its overall health

  8. Penlight – to help see things better

  9. Electric heat pad – for longer-term warmth

  10. Container to hold everything


  • Syringes (various sizes)

  • Crop needles/tubes (for use if trained to use them)

  • Sterile fluids: 0.9% saline ampules

  • Water base gel: K-Y Jelly

  • Sterile low-adherent dressings

  • Sterile gauze pads

  • Bandages – Cohesive or Micropore™

  • Oral rehydrating fluids, e.g. gastrolyte or lectade

  • Paper towels and tissues

  • External parasite powder or liquid

  • Masks

  • Disposable gloves

The list I have made is quite basic, but it will be of value in the first 24 hours of caring for a bird should you not have time or means to transport it to an experienced individual immediately.

You will notice that I have not listed food in the supplies, and that is because, in most cases, birds require fluids in the initial stages of care. If they are dehydrated, the body will not function normally and cannot process any foods you give them. It could even kill them. There are exceptions to that rule; they are usually your small nectar eaters and baby birds.

Our advice for any sick, injured, or orphaned bird is to contact or take it to an experienced individual as soon as possible. Its survival will depend on the speed at which it receives the correct, initial care that is required.

The article was written by Mandy Robertson - Learn Bird Care


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