As One Feeding Ends, Another Begins

The busiest time in the Center's ICU, which serves as the Center's nursery, is in the spring. The busiest time, more than 100 young animals may be housed in that room, and the first feedings of the day can last until noon!

Each day, all of the patients must be fed and given a new (clean) home; then we continue to be feed them throughout the day.

A run-down of a morning in ICU:

8:00 am: Turn on UVB lights, heat up the formula for mammals, grab clean aquariums (homes), and begin adding food for the animals that are old enough for solid food (larger squirrels, opossums, and our birds are always offered food in addition to us feeding them at scheduled times).

As soon as the formula is warm (should be the same temp as your wrist) begin feeding any animal who has an 8:00 am feeding, starting with the animals that get fed the most number of times throughout the day: QID (four times a day feedings), TID (three times a day feedings), BID (twice a day feedings), and then SID (one time a day feedings). This schedule means the youngest animals have enough time to digest all their food before their next feeding. Once an animal is fed, it goes into its new home and back under the UVB light.

9:00 am: Stop feeding to give medications and subcutaneous fluids. Medications and fluids need to be spaced out throughout the day (some are 12 hours apart), so we give them as early as we can. Then resume feeding.

Throughout the day: Baby birds need to be fed every 15 - 30 minutes based on their age.

All of these animals we take care of have different preferences on what and how they eat. Squirrels get syringe-fed, opossums get tube-fed, the Mallard babies eats best when swimming, and we sometimes need to try different techniques with our baby songbirds to get them to gape (open their mouths) for food.

In the spring and summer, ICU can be a room that you never leave. Frequently, once morning feedings are finally over … afternoon feedings begin!

WCV Class of 2016