Hatchling/nestling magpies

  • Keep a little cooler than other chicks at 29.4-32.2°C.

  • Feed every 30 minutes from 7.00am - 9.00pm.

  • House chicks in a margarine container lined with toilet or tissue paper.

  • When pin feathers appear feed chicks every 30-45 minutes from 8.00am - 8.00pm.

Pre-fledgling & fledgling magpies

  • Feed pre-fledgling magpies every 45 minutes and fledgling magpies every 2 hours.

  • House older chicks in a cardboard box with a plastic screen window. Line the box with a towel and a pillowcase over it. Use a towel rolled into a donut shape as a nest.

  • Place the box near a window, so that the chicks can see other birds.

  • Place natural perches like small branches in the box.

  • When the chicks can perch and sample food, progress to a pre-flight cage (larger parrot sized cage). Line the cage with cardboard and/or window screen lining.

  • Chicks should be self-feeding before going to an aviary.

Young magpie diet

  • 1 cup Hill's Science Diet Canine Growth kibble soaked in 1 cup of cold water

  • 1 4oz (112g) baby banana or 4oz ripe banana

  • 1 peeled hard boiled egg

  • 1 teaspoon of bird vitamins

  • 1 teaspoon (approximately 1,800mg) ground calcium carbonate


Mash the kibble with a fork after the water has been absorbed. Puree the egg and the banana in a blender. Mix all the ingredients in a food processor. Freeze in small containers. Thaw enough for 1 day. Warm the mixture by placing in a warm water bath.

Adult magpie diet

  • 4 cups of Hill's Science Diet Canine Growth kibble soaked in 2 cups of cold water

  • 1 teaspoon of bird vitamins

  • ½ hard boiled egg

  • ⅙ cup of fruit e.g. apple and/or pear

  • ⅙ cup of green vegetables e.g. zucchini and/or cucumber

  • ⅙ cup of yellow or orange vegetables e.g. carrots and/or squash


Mash the soaked kibble. In a food processor, pulse chop egg, fruit and vegetables until they are coarsely chopped. Mix all the ingredients together. Can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Magpies natural diet

Magpies mainly eat insects, worms, spiders, lizards, mice and seed. The ability to forage is important for magpies, so introduce fledglings to this by:

  • sprinkling wiggly worms on fruits, kibble and other food items

  • place bright coloured items like corn in their enclosure as this can inspire probing beaks

  • place nuts in their enclosure as they can learn to crack these open.

South Island Wildlife Hospital logo
South Island
Wildlife Hospital

022 106 0170

60 Hussey Road, Northwood

Christchurch 8051

New Zealand

  • Facebook - White Circle

© 2018 Wildlife Veterinary Trust