Apus apus   German Association for the Protection of
  Common Swifts
NewsThe swiftFoundlingVeterinarySwift Rescue CenterAssociationHelp & DonateMiscellaneous
 deutsch español italiano français polski Foundling  →  Complications  →  Dehydration

Dehydration, emaciation

The swift should be first given a few drops of water, on the edge of the beak, in case it is suffering from thirst. Never give the water directly into the beak as he could swallow it, or in the worst case inhale it into the lungs, which would be deadly.

Then check the chest of the animal: if the middle bone (breastbone) sticks out like a ship's keel, then the bird is suffering from malnutrition, and there is the danger that he cannot be saved by feeding, but he must be fed intravenously to stabilise his condition. A very underweight swift cannot even drink, and refuses solid food. Usually the circulation of such an animal is in critical trouble and the digestion no longer functions.

Breastbone: left: too fat, middle: normal, right: too thin.

An adult swift which weighs around 30 g, or a juvenile swift at just over 20 or less, is such an emergency case. Off to the vet specialised in ornithology (avian vet)! Many of these malnourished birds can be saved (if at all) by injections, which should be repeated after 12 hours. The injection consists of food to strengthen the bird (Amynin, Ringer-Lactat) and is administered sub-cutaneously under the folds of the knee. With this, the circulatory system of the swift is revived.

About a half an hour after the injection, it is advisable to place on the weakened swift's beak 1 or 2 drops of lukewarm black coffee. This wakes his spirits!

It is very important that the patient is kept warm (about 32°-35° C). It is best when the heat comes from below but check the temperature carefully!

The injection, which provides a few hours of nutrition and life for the swift, has won time, so that appropriate food can be provided, and so a particularly careful feeding can begin.


For the specialised treatment of the following complications, a veterinary surgeon is essential!

Here folk remedies and home-made medicine are forbidden: good intentions are not enough, and some of them can result in a particularly cruel end for the unfortunate foundling.


Buchenstraße 9
D-65933 Frankfurt

Tel.:+49(69)35 35 15 04
We accept only swifts! Questions regarding other bird species will not be answered!
Information regarding other bird species: http://www.wildvogelhilfe.org/
Start  ·  Flag  ·  Directions  ·  Sitemap ·  deutsch español italiano français polski