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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all,
Firs, thank you for any advice or help you can give me because I unfortunately don't have access to a vet.
I was given two baby pigeons by someone who claimed their mom had abandoned them (I stupidly believed this at the time but now I don't think this was true... but that's irrelevant at this point).

They are about 2.5 weeks old. One is doing great, the other one --not great at all due to my ignorance. The one that is not feeling well, was not eating well which was making me anxious that he might die of dehydration or lack of food so I tried syringe feeding him last night. I think I bungled it up because this morning I see he has a bulge on the side of this neck/top of the crop which felt swollen. I don't know if it's an injury and swelling or I caused him to aspirate by injecting the food into his lungs (ugh, I feel SO awful).

I tried to feed him again this am by giving him food (vegan/soy egg mix + vitamins in powder form mixed with water) and he seemed for a second to want to eat, but I see him gulping the slurry and not sure if any of the food is going down his throat. He stopped eating after a few small gulps. He seems to have trouble breathing too and is gasping. Could it be that he has a blockage of some sort? Any way for me to get the food from last night out of his lungs (if that's what happened).

Poop is suddenly green and watery this am. And the white parts are looking sort of muddy.

I have some liquid amoxycillin left over from an ear infection (extra) and I might try to give him that to prevent any infection.
If there is anyway you guys can help me I'd so appreciate. I feel truly awful. If I had known what I know now I would have never taken them because I think they guy was just trying to get rid of them not because they were abandoned and I can't believe I fell for it.
As a child I had nursed a small pigeon with a broken foot in Tehran (where I am from) back to health and I so hope I can help this little guys.
Sibling is doing awesome.

Thank you guys so much.
 

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Only saw your post now, hope the little guy is still ok. It's possible he might have canker. Can you take a flashlight and check deep inside the throat for any yellowish growths? Canker can be treated with metronidazole. At that age it's much easier to handfeed them defrosted green peas. 90 peas per day divided into 3 meals of 30 each. But first make sure there are no canker in the throat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Only saw your post now, hope the little guy is still ok. It's possible he might have canker. Can you take a flashlight and check deep inside th134 there are no canker in the throat.

Hi Marina, Thank you for your kind reply. Unfortunately the little guy passed away. It was just heartbreaking. I am honestly not sure if he had a canker. I looked in his throat but not with a flashlight. I was so sad and distraught for him that in the end it was a relief that he was not suffering anymore. My kids buried him next to a tree in the yard.

Now I am anxious about his sibling who is doing well but I am worried something will go wrong with. For him I am making a puree of peas, some vegan (soy) "egg" powder and vitamins. I will try to get some oats tomorrow to add this to his diet. He eats like a champ (out of a cup with plastic wrapped on the top with a small hole) but squeaks so much.

I am worried to over feed him and cause sour crop. I think he is about 17 days old now. Another worry I have is dehydration. It's really hot out with 90 degree weather but inside our house the AC is blasting and too cold for a bird. He seems to have no clue what to do with water. When fo baby pigeons start to drink water?
 

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They need water when they start eating seeds. Can't you rather get a handrearing formula for him? We use a formula for handraising parrots and it works perfect. His food should be the consistency of tomato ketchup. That way he will get enough liquid. Only feed when the crop is empty. If the crop empties well, then no need to worry. If you keep on adding food to a crop that has not emptied, then the old food will rot and cause sour crop. You can also get some human baby applesauce (no added sugar) and add 1/2 teaspoon to his food. This will help to keep things moving. There should also be plenty of droppings inbetween feedings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
They need water when they start eating seeds. Can't you rather get a handrearing formula for him? We use a formula for handraising parrots and it works perfect. His food should be the consistency of tomato ketchup. That way he will get enough liquid. Only feed when the crop is empty. If the crop empties well, then no need to worry. If you keep on adding food to a crop that has not emptied, then the old food will rot and cause sour crop. You can also get some human baby applesauce (no added sugar) and add 1/2 teaspoon to his food. This will help to keep things moving. There should also be plenty of droppings inbetween feedings.
Thank you, this is super helpful. Unfortunately I can't get my hands on the baby bird formula right now--I'd have to travel to one of the bigger cities and find a good pet supply shop. I do have peas which I thawed and pureed for him, added some the vegan egg and I just bought some oat baby formula to add to the slurry. I think I can make some home made apple sauce and add that too. This AM his crop was totally empty :) I think I might have been feeding too soon because he seems to be desperate for food 24/7.

Is there anything else I should be doing for his care? I am really worried about him long term. I had no idea the chicks were baby pigeons and I see now that it's really hard for them to go back to the "wild" --which was my intention to begin with. The guy I got them from claimed the mom abandoned them but I think he was was lying. I really want to set this little guy up for success and I don't know of any Pigeon rescues in this country (Israel) and I'm a new comer myself.
 

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The parents won't abandon their babies. At 2 weeks old, the babies are left alone for longer periods and the parents only come back for feeding.

He will probably be unreleasable when older. Too tame and he won't know where to find food out there. The parents teach them those skills. You can try a soft release when he is about 2 months old. Do you have room outside to build a small aviary? He needs to spend time outside to get used to the area. But even when getting released, he will still rely on you for food. He will probably get human imprinted as well. Meaning he won't associate with other pigeons and prefer the company of humans.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The parents won't abandon their babies. At 2 weeks old, the babies are left alone for longer periods and the parents only come back for feeding.

He will probably be unreleasable when older. Too tame and he won't know where to find food out there. The parents teach them those skills. You can try a soft release when he is about 2 months old. Do you have room outside to build a small aviary? He needs to spend time outside to get used to the area. But even when getting released, he will still rely on you for food. He will probably get human imprinted as well. Meaning he won't associate with other pigeons and prefer the company of humans.
Oy. I am soo soo scared of him (or her? not sure which) will be too tame to release. I saw a post by a member here called Joan Woodring who talks about the process of successfully releasing a bird she raised. I will try to follow her method which was a very very gradual release with lots of support for food/water etc. until independence. here is the link:

I do have a balcony but we are high up on the 6th floor and I'm a little worried about the height --but it's a bit premature --I think he is about 20 days old now so still a long way to go till he can fly well. I do think we need to build an aviary for the little guy so he can have a better living situation and get used to the environment and see other pigeons flying by too. Right now he is inside a large cardboard box with "windows" cut out. and mesh top. Not the best set up.

Thank you so much for all your support! I'm still so upset at myself for taking these birds and believing this neighbor that they were abandoned. I am now positive that he was just trying to get rid of them. I feel awful about it and feel like I was part of a cruel process. I hope this little guy can have normal life one day and find a mate, have babies etc...

I will try to take some pictures of the little guy and see if he looks OK to you and if he/she is developing well. His wings are looking nice and he seems to jump up and flap about when he sees me coming with food.

How do you know they are ready for seeds or peas?
 

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You can always close up your balcony with 20% shadecloth or chickenwire (as long as no predators can get inside). Let him spend time in there during the day. Put a high perch for him in one corner and also provide him with food and water. For safety, let him sleep inside your home at night. So when he is about 2 months or older, you can open up and let him go. By that time he will have gotton familiar with the area.

That link that you posted is exactly how a soft release needs to be done. No need to feel awful, you are saving his life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You can always close up your balcony with 20% shadecloth or chickenwire (as long as no predators can get inside). Let him spend time in there during the day. Put a high perch for him in one corner and also provide him with food and water. For safety, let him sleep inside your home at night. So when he is about 2 months or older, you can open up and let him go. By that time he will have gotton familiar with the area.

That link that you posted is exactly how a soft release needs to be done. No need to feel awful, you are saving his life.
Unfortunately my balcony is massive. Like, bizarrely so and nowhere to hook anything to enclose him. We are renters and my landlord is a bit nuts too--so I'm really nervous to start drilling holes and whatnot. I'm wondering what to do in this case.
The only predators I worry most about are Mina birds, an invasive species that is really exploded in our area. Very interesting birds but also a tad aggressive and don't trust the little alone there with them alone. Today I just let him loose on the balcony a bit to walk around but he just mostly anxiously follows me around to peck and squeak--even with a full belly. I noticed some pigeons on the roof totally checking him out :) which I thought was cool.

In this case what would you do--have him have some outside time anyway? I can do an hour a day but not much more than that. Do they know not to fly off the balcony before they are ready?? He is really testing his wings and if I pick him up he flies down. The sides of my balcony are fairly high--like I am 5 foot 3 and it goes up to my face. Do you think that is high enough to keep him enclosed?
 

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I won't let him out on the balcony. If he goes over the side, then you will probably never find him again. Either get a parrot cage or a large dogcrate that you can put on a table off the floor (feel safer) to let him spend time in. Cover half with a blanket to make him feel safe. Otherwise build him a small aviary in the one corner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I won't let him out on the balcony. If he goes over the side, then you will probably never find him again. Either get a parrot cage or a large dogcrate that you can put on a table off the floor (feel safer) to let him spend time in. Cover half with a blanket to make him feel safe. Otherwise build him a small aviary in the one corner.

Hi Marina!
I have been following the advice in not letting her (I am almost sure this baby is a girl in the end) out alone on the balcony. She is testing her flying skills in the house but is still not super strong flyer.

One major issue is her eating. In the last couple of days she is rejecting the "baby pigeon formula" --which makes sense because she should probably be eating seeds at this point--but she is not great at eating seeds. Like seriously not good at it. I am making her a mix of barley, quinoa, and buckwheat and tiny black lentils and she is not really eating much of it..she only picks out the buckwheat and quinoa and eats those. the barley seems to "fall" out of her mouth. She poops just fine but tiny poops (round and solid) and she never seems to eat enough to fill her crop. bm I don't understand what is happening with her. She weirdly seems hungry anx runs/flys to me and pecks at my ears but when presenting her with food she loses interest after 5 seconds and starts grooming...

Sigh! pigeons are really hard!
Thank you again for all the advice. Let me know if you have an idea of why this might be happening.
 

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You can supply her with a doveseed or finchmixture. Also add red sorgum seeds. Most of my rescues started eating the red sorghum seeds first. Small, round and easy to pick up.

You can play with the seed by using your fingers. She will copy what your fingers are doing. Do the same with a small bowl of water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You can supply her with a doveseed or finchmixture. Also add red sorgum seeds. Most of my rescues started eating the red sorghum seeds first. Small, round and easy to pick up.

You can play with the seed by using your fingers. She will copy what your fingers are doing. Do the same with a small bowl of water.
Thank you!
I will look out for bird seed mixture and add sorghum. I spent a lot of time hand feeding her in my palm and maybe got her crop 1/2 full. She has a really easy time with Quinoa which is also small and round. She drank a few sips of water too. I am really worried not enough drinking-eating enough..I will try the pecking motions tomorrow for food and water.

I also wonder about her grooming habits too--she does it a lot and I wonder if this is an area of concern?
Her feathers look nice and clean so maybe it's fine but I'm just not sure. And I noticed she was shaking/trembling a bit today. I took her outside to the sun and she sat on the hot floor and opened her wings I think to heat up. (possible that our house is too air conditioned/cold). My 4 yo is obsessed with her and constantly wants to hold her and "play" with her. I hope it's not causing the poor bird to have a nervous breakdown--to over groom and to shake. I feel bad because I can't leave her alone on the balcony and out of my 4yo's reach because I'm scared she'll jump down 6 stories but inside she has to deal with her enthusiastic excitement. She is getting to be much better at flying a away from my toddler though so at least there is that. :rolleyes:
 

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It's normal for them to groom like that. You will see white flakes being shed, that is the new feathers growing in.
 
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