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Smidgeon Smidgeon is offline
Posted 17th July 2010, 10:08 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Country: United States
Location: Afton, NY
Posts: 11

Teaching baby to Eat and Drink


Hi everyone,

So glad I found this forum. A little background: When pulling hay off the hay wagon, I found a little baby pigeon squeaking like crazy down deep in the stack. She had fallen from the rafters of a very huge barn. She would have died had it not been for the hay. According to pics online, I estimated she was about 5 days old. Thanks to hand-rearing parrots for many years, I was confident I could hand feed her. So here we are 25 days later. She's beautiful and healthy with all her feathers, including those under her wings. I've been cutting back on the hand feeding for a week or so now. Only 2 feedings a day, and not as much as she used to get. She plays with her seeds and her water, but has not yet successfully swallowed a seed. I don't think she knows how to drink either. I have worked with her a lot, associating my hand (food!) with the seeds and with the water. She is so frustrated. She picks up the seeds but doesn't know how to swallow them. I have put many in her mouth and she gobbles them up, but she won't do it on her own.

So my questions are:

1. I am out of hand feeding formula and was wondering if I can start hand feeding her the seeds (with water of course) to get her body used to them? I really don't want to buy a big can of formula when I'll probably never need it again.

2. How do I teach her to eat and drink? I dunk her beak in the water all the time. I put my hand down in the water so she associates it with food. I put my hand in the food bowl, lay food down on the floor, feed her from my hand, but all she does is play. How do I teach her to swallow?

I love her (no idea if it's a girl - that's what I've been calling her. So far she's just been the "Smidgeon of a pigeon" AKA Smidgeon) and plan on keeping her as a pet. I just think she's a bit behind at 30+ days old and she's so frustrated. I don't want her to get malnourished, but I also don't want to satiate her so that she doesn't look for food on her own.

Any help is appreciated!!!


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Charis's Avatar
Charis Charis is offline
Posted 17th July 2010, 10:45 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Country: United States
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 12,873
This is what works for me. Here are the pre-written instructions. Adapt them as they will work for this bird. Often, babies are kept on formula too long which makes them more difficult to wean. The crop mild fed by the parents, changes in consistency has the bird grows.

You can hand feed defrosted corn and peas. Run some hot water over them until they are defrosted and slightly warmed. Put the bird on your lap and hold it next to your body. If it helps, you can wrap a towel around it or put it in the sleeve of a tee shirt, with the head out the wrist. That confines them without hurting them and makes it easier to handle. Gently open the beak and pop the piece of corn and peas at the back of the mouth and over the throat.
You will need to feed 40-50 per feeding and every time the crop empties until you know the baby is eating on his own.
This is a wonderful method for teaching babies to eat because they feel the whole food in their mouth and itís soft and easy to pick up and hang on to. The next stepÖ seeds.
The crop is located right below the throat and with food it fills up like a little balloon. The peas and corn make it lumpy and squishy
.


Pigeons are wonderful companions. You are lucky to have found each other.
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Charis




If all the beasts were
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DO NO HARM

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feralpigeon feralpigeon is offline
Posted 17th July 2010, 11:24 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Northern, CA
Posts: 6,651
You can also use puppy kibble and soak in water then separate the beak and push to the back allowing Smidgeon to swallow herself. Don't over-soak and break into a smaller size if necessary.

Is there somewhere that you can buy adult pigeon mix for Smidgeon? If so,
keep in Smidgeon's living area in non-tippable bowl and the same for water.
While trying to transition to self-feeding, it's important to make adult food and water available. You can also get a tube sock and affix to the inside of the cage ( clothes pin works well ). I fill the sock and pull the top part of it from
the inside of the cage to the outside and then put the clothespin on it to hold it. I already have a slit in it at head level for the pigeon and make sure I show
the youngster that I can stick my finger in there and seeds come out. The rest is fun to watch.

Check the youngster's crop several times throughout the day to make sure the bird is self feeding and requires no additional help from you before you
completely withdraw augmented feedings.

Good luck w/Smidgeon...

fp
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pdpbison pdpbison is offline
Posted 17th July 2010, 01:14 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Country: United States
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada - U.S.A.
Age: 61
Posts: 10,369
If she will 'nuzzle' your fingers...you can guide her Beak into tepid Water, keeping your finger tip pads on the sides of her Beak toward the mouth. She will drink...

Same with guiding her Beak into a small deepish bowl of small whole Seeds...keeping your fingers on her Beak toward the mouth area as her Beak is in the Seeds...and she should 'gobble' the Seeds then about as if feeding naturally from a parent's Throat.

These very soon then lead to drinking and pecking on their own.

Ideally, one would begin these around ten or twelve days old...but they work well even with older youngsters.

Last edited by pdpbison; 17th July 2010 at 01:29 PM.
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roxy1489 roxy1489 is offline
Posted 17th July 2010, 02:47 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 3

Can you help me?


I've recently just found a baby pigeon, i tried looking for a nest but couldn't find one and i couldn'e leave it outside as there are a large number of cats surrounding the area. It can't fly but can walk, i have no idea what to do i don't want to let it go as something bad might happen to it but i can't keep it in the house as my mother wants rid. She said i need to have it out the house by the time she is home, any suggestions? Please help
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feralpigeon feralpigeon is offline
Posted 17th July 2010, 03:34 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Northern, CA
Posts: 6,651
Quote:
Originally Posted by roxy1489 View Post
I've recently just found a baby pigeon, i tried looking for a nest but couldn't find one and i couldn'e leave it outside as there are a large number of cats surrounding the area. It can't fly but can walk, i have no idea what to do i don't want to let it go as something bad might happen to it but i can't keep it in the house as my mother wants rid. She said i need to have it out the house by the time she is home, any suggestions? Please help
Please give your general whereabouts....

fp
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Smidgeon Smidgeon is offline
Posted 18th July 2010, 09:00 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Country: United States
Location: Afton, NY
Posts: 11

Thank you Everyone!


Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions. I will try the corn and peas. I was going to grind up some pigeon seed and mix with water and a little chick starter as I have a little left of that. But of course the chick starter has antibiotics in it most likely so I don't really want to give those to my pigeon.

She does gobble the seeds when I put them in her mouth, but it makes for very tedious feeding, and I worry that she won't be able to digest them very well without grit.

I will also try the sock idea.. it will also give her something to do during the day.

She does have heavy, un-tippable seed and water bowls in her container. She plays in the water and sure makes a mess! I also spread seed on the floor of her container (just lined with paper towels for now until she starts eating, then I will transition her to a cage).

I am so thankful for everyone's suggestions! I will keep you "posted" on Smidgeon's progress.
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Smidgeon Smidgeon is offline
Posted 15th August 2010, 08:55 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Country: United States
Location: Afton, NY
Posts: 11

Smidgeon is finally eating!


Hi everyone,

As promised, an update for you. We had to feed her peas, corn, and carrots for a couple weeks (and I put seeds in her mouth too so that her diet was more well rounded) before she finally started eating on her own. She always played and played with her seeds, but never ate them. She finally started eating the peas and corn on her own, but not seeds. Then one day, about 2 weeks later, I noticed that she had a full crop of seeds! I was so happy. So now she is eating and (hopefully) drinking on her own. I'm assuming she's drinking because she has healthy poops, but I've never actually seen her drink.

So she seemed quite far behind in eating skills for her age, but she finally figured it out. I love her very much and she is such a joy to have around!

Her name will probably remain "Smidgeon"..poor thing.
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pdpbison pdpbison is offline
Posted 15th August 2010, 09:02 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Country: United States
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada - U.S.A.
Age: 61
Posts: 10,369
Very good...


They all get there eventually, one way or another!
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