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How to Feed Mealworms to Baby Birds

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Mini mealworms or standard mealworms

  • Eyedropper

  • Stick or straw

  • Plastic tweezers

Mealworms are an important part of a bird's diet. Mealworms give a bird nutritional value of more than 50 percent protein. Adult birds have no problem eating mealworms, but baby birds will need it fed to them until they learn to eat on their own. Nestling birds are 10 to 14 days old and fledgling birds are two to five weeks old. To gage the age of a baby bird can be difficult, but look at the size of its bill. Baby birds have large bills that seem too big for the head of the bird. Nestlings have little hair, but fledglings will have most of their feathers with the tail and wing feathers noticeably shorter than the rest. Feeding a baby bird mealworms requires time and patience since they eat several times an hour.

Crush the mealworms. A nestling bird can be fed crushed mealworms through an eye dropper. To make it easier to feed the nestling bird, purchase mini mealworms, which are smaller than the average sized mealworm by one-third. Crush the mini mealworm and mix with some water to make it easier for the nestling bird to swallow.

Feed the fledgling bird. Chop the mealworms or give a whole mini mealworm. Feed the baby bird with plastic tweezers or place the insect on the tip of a straw or stick. Put the food toward the back of the mouth for the bird to start eating.

Make sure that you feed the baby bird every 15 to 30 minutes. Try to feed at the same time each day. For example, if you feed every 15 minutes one day, do not change to every 30 minutes the next day; otherwise the baby bird may refuse to eat.


  • Avoid using metal tweezers when feeding the baby bird. The metal will hurt the bird's mouth.


  • It is best to skip a meal rather than feed the baby bird too much. If you feed the baby bird more than five times an hour then you are overfeeding the baby bird. Determine the age of the baby bird before feeding it mealworms. It is recommended not to feed mealworms to a baby bird younger than a nestling.