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anesta anesta is offline
Posted 15th June 2010, 03:36 AM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sydney, Australia
Age: 62
Posts: 11

What's the best way to wean a pigeon?


Hi everybody, I'm new to Pigeon Talk and I need some help please. Yesterday I found a baby pigeon on a busy inner city street in Sydney. He came up to me flapped his wings and squeaked! From photos I studied on the net he/she appears to be about 20-22 days old. He is not quite fully fledged, still bare under wings, tail feathers still not long and a few yellow baby fluffs on his head and back. He has no apparent injuries, eyes are bright and clear, wings extend fine and feet are good. He was uninterested in food last night when we brought him home and his crop felt as if it contained some food. We kept him warm in a box with a towel wrapped hot water bottle (which I changed during the wee hours). This morning he still was bright and perky but not hungry. However, I tried without much success to get him to take some water. just managed to dribble a bit in the side of his mouth with my finger. when we returned late morning he was out of his box, perched on my nanna rug on the sofa and enjoying the sun through the window. He was also ravenous and set up such squeaking!! with nothing else at hand I fed him mashed up seed bread by the syringe method. messy but worth it. He is totally uninterested in pigeon mix; doesn't seem to know what to do with it. I contacted an avian vet who sold me a product for hand rearing babybirds. he will take about 15-20 ccs but starts squeaking after a couple of hours. he seems to like company and climbs up to settle on my husband's shoulder. He poos well, a little runny but plenty of it. He obviously hasn't been weaned yet and I would like some advice on the best way to do this. I tried to prise open his beak and managed to put in a little banana and i have cooked him some rice to try later but I am afraid of hurting him. We live in a small terrace house with no garage and I am also worried about containing him while he grows and becomes strong. I hope to release him to a flock in one of the parks when (and if) he is ready. I would really appreciate some advice.


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Dobato Dobato is offline
Posted 15th June 2010, 05:14 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 4,445
Hi Anesta,

Welcome to Pigeon-Talk, and thanks for helping this little guy out.

Here is a link to a thread with excellent instructions on how to start the weaning process. Also, with getting him to drink, get a small cup filled with tepid water, not cool/to cold, and gently guide his beak into it, it may take a few goes, but doing this should help with the self watering issue. Pigeons are not really fruit eaters, they are granivores, grain/seed eaters, so the banana will not instinctively seem to be food to him. The cooked rice should be fine, as this is the type of thing he will later find in his wild foraging. Give the link below a good read, the fellow who wrote most of it, Phil (pdpbison) will be around at some point today, so if you have any questions, ask them, and if you don't see an immediate reply, do check back. Other members may chime in as well.

http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/f20/fe...n-27936-2.html

Good luck with him,

Karyn

Last edited by Dobato; 15th June 2010 at 05:22 AM.
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Feefo Feefo is offline
Posted 15th June 2010, 05:19 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Country: United Kingdom
Location: UK
Posts: 11,327
He sounds old enough to be fed defrosted (or raw) peas and corn, serve them warm starting , feeding until the crop feels like a beanie baby.

This video shows how.

As he is still squeaking could wean him on to seed or pellets using the method illustrated by Marian but he will need to get plenty of water for that. To help him drink you can place warm water in a container and dip his beak in it. At the moment I am trying to wean a dove, I have a kitte feeding bottle with the teat cut off, I place the baby's beak in the hole and he drinks the water, pulling his beak back when he has had enough. That method also works well for feeding formula. One of Marian's photos shows how you can encourage a baby to open its beak by sliding it through two fingers (first photo on the page). If he gapes for that you could use that beak opening method for pea and corn "pops"
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Last edited by Feefo; 15th June 2010 at 05:22 AM.
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anesta anesta is offline
Posted 15th June 2010, 05:18 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sydney, Australia
Age: 62
Posts: 11
Thank you Karyn for the excellent advice on getting my pigeon baby to drink. It worked very well. Also thanks for the great link; lots of interesting tips.
Thanks also Feefo for the video instruction of how to open his mouth, and Marian's method for bottle feeding solids. I will try it later today. Babybird had a big feed and a passed a cosy night in my husband's warm dark study. This morning he put away nearly 30ccs of his formula in a flash and later on had a good drink of water flapped his wings a lot (so much for exercise) and is happily perched on the back of the sofa enjoying the morning sun. When the sun gets on the grass out the back I'll take him outside for a little scratch around.
I have one other concern. After reading the thread from the rescuer in Sarajevo and looking at her photos, and reading the expert's comments on canker or Trichomonas infection, I checked my little one's face and he seems to have an absence of feathers under his jaw. Is this always indicative of this condition? He seems so perky and squeaks whenever one of us approaches as he thinks we have food and pecks our fingers, (yesterday he got on my chest and pecked my lips). Poos are firm brown and white on top with an occaisonal sloppy one. Later, I shall endeavour to look down his throat for telltale signs. I'd prefer to treat him sooner rather than later so might get in some metronidazole anyway (hubby's a medico). If I understand correctly, the dosage is 250mg per kilo of bodyweight? Is this once a day or more?
Thanks again for all your help. It gladdens me to know that there are so many caring people in this often heartless world of ours.
Anesta
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Dobato Dobato is offline
Posted 15th June 2010, 08:24 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 4,445
Hi Anesta,

Glad things went well with the drinking, but thanks go to Phil (pdpbison), as what I wrote is right out the instructions he has given so many times, I know it by heart.

Why don't you start with having a good look in and around his mouth area and down his throat, use a flash light if need be, to see if you see anything other than a nice pink tissue everywhere, look for little cheesy looking buttons, yellowish in color and let us know what you find. There is such a wide range of dosing for Metronidazole out there any number of which will do the job. The 250mg/kg you cite is at the upper end of dosing and I think a more appropriate dosing for your young one may be 50mg/kg BID (twice a day) for 5 days. If you could get a photo up of the area of concern it would be helpful in seeing what's going on with that area of the jaw.

Karyn
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goga82 goga82 is offline
Posted 15th June 2010, 08:33 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Country: United States
Location: Chicago, IL
Age: 32
Posts: 858
i usually wean my babies, i place seed in front of them and i peck on the seeds with my fingers.. babies learn fast..
ummm what is she doing, maybe i should try so they do it
thats honestly the only way i wean..
i put some effort in it..
my first baby i had to stand there with my finger in the plate or else he wouldt eat..he was a social eater
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Jaye Jaye is offline
Posted 15th June 2010, 10:24 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Country: United States
Location: Portland
Posts: 4,045
Anesta - at about 5 weeks old read up on the 'soft release' method - do a search on the Forum (& if you cannot come up w\anything e-mail or PM me). This will be the method you HAVE to use to get your pal ready for release back into the feral world (but not before eight weeks please !) Sounds like you are doing well - i second Feefo on the peas and corn method - baby can start moving off of formula now.
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anesta anesta is offline
Posted 16th June 2010, 02:39 AM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sydney, Australia
Age: 62
Posts: 11
Hi Karyn, well we managed a quick look down the baby's throat. All clear so far... nice and pink. I tried him on some small pellets using Marian's method but no go even tho he was famished, so I mixed some into his formula and shall keep increasing the amount. He is putting away a lot of food and is noticeably sleeker than 2 days ago. I use a 20cc plastic syringe with the end cut off and covered with latex rather than fabric. This works much better as it gently grips the sides of his beak and feeds are much cleaner and more enjoyable (for both of us). He is also preening and really likes to sit on my husband's head! He likes to be up high (natch) and the little tyrant has taken over the back of the sofa so tomorrow we will convert a planter into a platform for him, complete with wall to wall carpet. Will also be able to keep the many poos a bit more confined around his perch. It's winter here so outside time is not really an option even on sunny days.Thank you also for the metranidazole dosage advice. Will try to post a photo when my hubby figures out how to do it.
Thanks also to you, Goga82 for the weaning advice. We will start pecking instruction tomorrow in earnest and keep an eye on the feathers.
Also Jaye many thanks for the "soft release" info. I shall start searching so I can be prepared. I want to do my best to rehabilitate him.
I again thank you all for your advice and support. Pigeons are considered vermin in this country and no one, neither RSPCA or Wires (wildlife rescue) want to know about them. You even have to vet the vets so to speak.
Anesta
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Dobato Dobato is offline
Posted 16th June 2010, 10:19 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 4,445
Anesta, I thought I would mention one thing, as I am not entirely clear whether you are doing this or not, and that is he should be getting 3-4 20cc meals a day while you are trying to wean him, just make sure his crop empties between feedings. When you said he is looking sleeker than two days ago, I just want to confirm he is getting enough food throughout the day. Glad to hear things look clear and pink. Look forward to the photos when you get things straightened out.

Karyn
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anesta anesta is offline
Posted 16th June 2010, 10:59 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sydney, Australia
Age: 62
Posts: 11
Thanks Karyn,
yesterday he had 4 very large meals, each 25-30ccs. this morning he wasn't madly hungry and only took a bit more than 10 so I fed him a 4 or 5 warmed frozen peas straight down the gullet. We had to go out, and when we got back 6 hours later he was famished and gobbled 25ccs+ in no time. He is drinking well but so far only with my assistance and when he isn't thirsty he certainly lets me know. I will weigh him before his next feed, and do so every couple of days. By sleeker I meant that he is looking a bit less motheaten and he has been preening a bit more. At the moment he is getting used to his new "day" platform; a shallow sided but wide and strong cardboard box with the front cut down a bit which we have attached firmly to a tall indoor pot plant container. it's a bit more than 4ft off the ground. Whenever we are in sight he starts squeaking but stops as soon as we are out of sight. He is very attracted to blue, especially dark blue. Is this common?
We both have to work tomorrow so the only thing I can do is make sure he has a big feed before I leave and a drink. Any suggestions as to how others handle this? I won't leave him on his day perch but in his night box in the study with water and the heater on low.
thanks again
Anesta
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anesta anesta is offline
Posted 17th June 2010, 12:12 AM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sydney, Australia
Age: 62
Posts: 11
I just went to clean out babybird's night box and there was a lot of what I imagine is crumbled up feather sheaths with 1 or 2 bigger bits about 4-5mm long. Is this normal at his age (about 23 days)? I can't see any crawlies and he doesn't scratch but he does preen a bit; under wings, under tail, back etc. We sometimes get into quite a mess with his formula feeds which I try to wipe off with a warm wet face towel. It's not very successful so I am trying a clean, soft toothbrush with better results. He can't groom around his face very well or the back of his head.
I would appreciate some advice re the feather sheaths. Could it be mites? Is he too young to spray?
Anesta
p.s. this is a bit like having one's first human baby all over again; having to learn it all from scratch and it takes up quite a lot of time but we are getting a bit better organized!
we are also getting through lots of hand and face towels. like baby nappies all over again!
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anesta anesta is offline
Posted 17th June 2010, 05:03 AM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sydney, Australia
Age: 62
Posts: 11
Babybird is extremely proud of himself! not only has he learned to drink but he has learned to peck up his dry mix (small pellets with added vitamins etc. plus pigeon mix from which I laboriously remove the larger bits). I fear he is becoming spoiled as this evening the only thing to shut him up was being allowed to perch on Ron's head, where he happily settled down and nodded off. A towelling hat protect's Ron's head from pigeon feet. Baby has now been put to bed in the study with heater, water bottle, seed mix and water after 15ccs of his formula, but even tho he is very tired I feel he has gone reluctantly. This reminds me of a Gary Larsen cartoon about the couple with the spoiled duck who, trying to be firm, resolve NOT to drive him south for the winter.
Anesta
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Dobato Dobato is offline
Posted 17th June 2010, 05:43 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 4,445
Anesta, everything sounds normal and fine, lots of feather sheaths are to be expected "shelled" from all the new feathers coming in he will need for flight and new feathers in general so there will tons of feather "debris". To ease your mind about unwanted visitors and have a look under each wing and see if you see anything that looks like a small, thin, pencil line that moves when you touch them, these will be feather lice and easily treated with a small caged bird lice/mite spray. I always found that lots of warm water on a paper towel, immediately after eating cleans them up well. Yes, it's much like looking after a new born in many ways, the real difference is that in less than 8 weeks they are at a point it sometimes takes us 20 years to get ours too, LOL.

Karyn

Last edited by Dobato; 17th June 2010 at 06:06 AM.
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anesta anesta is offline
Posted 18th June 2010, 06:04 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sydney, Australia
Age: 62
Posts: 11

photos of babybird


here are a couple of photos of babybird. he now pecks his food up, drinks and he is growing and changing everyday. he put on 30grams in 24 hours!
Anesta
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anesta anesta is offline
Posted 18th June 2010, 06:08 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sydney, Australia
Age: 62
Posts: 11
well that didn't work. I'll try again!
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