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Hey there! I'm new to the forum and to pigeons so ANY advice is helpful for me in this thread!

I'm interning at a nature center that has tons of different animals but a few months back we received a non-releasable pigeon. I'm told that he was placed in with the song birds at first and swiftly taken out after killing a blind cardinal we had (I had no idea pigeons were even capable of such aggression). He now resides in his own cage where he has very limited social interaction and because of the cardinal incident, nobody seems to want to work with him but me.

I've got a soft spot for all birds but I'm especially keen on this pigeon and really want to put in the time with him. I don't know the first thing about handling feral pigeons or if they can be trained to be less skittish around humans so any advice on that would be lovely. Additionally, many of our raptors are glove trained so that we can take them to events to educate the public- is this even possible with a pigeon? I would love to use him in educational programs if at all possible to erase the stigma about pigeons being a nuisance!

Any additional advice on feeding (he eats primarily seeds from what I've seen so far) and care would be fantastic! Thanks!
 

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Hey there! I'm new to the forum and to pigeons so ANY advice is helpful for me in this thread!

I'm interning at a nature center that has tons of different animals but a few months back we received a non-releasable pigeon. I'm told that he was placed in with the song birds at first and swiftly taken out after killing a blind cardinal we had (I had no idea pigeons were even capable of such aggression). He now resides in his own cage where he has very limited social interaction and because of the cardinal incident, nobody seems to want to work with him but me.

I've got a soft spot for all birds but I'm especially keen on this pigeon and really want to put in the time with him. I don't know the first thing about handling feral pigeons or if they can be trained to be less skittish around humans so any advice on that would be lovely. Additionally, many of our raptors are glove trained so that we can take them to events to educate the public- is this even possible with a pigeon? I would love to use him in educational programs if at all possible to erase the stigma about pigeons being a nuisance!

Any additional advice on feeding (he eats primarily seeds from what I've seen so far) and care would be fantastic! Thanks!
Hi you shouldn't keep smaller birds with pigeons in general. They are aggressive about there territory and will pick on smaller birds.

Regarding getting him to trust you it depends on the bird. A bird who lived a feral life usually will not trust humans. You can try offering him peanuts and not make sudden movements. One mistake can scare him off easily.

For food you need good pigeon mix with calcium+probotics and vitamins.

Regarding glove training you can only get a pigeon to fly to you when there is ''complete trust'' You are better off raising a baby pigeon as it will have a greater bond with you. And make sure the pigeons aren't with raptors.
 

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It is possible to get a feral pigeon to be calmer with you, but more difficult because they are raised to see you as a predator. Being around him and moving slowly and talking gently to him helps. Offering treats, like chopped unsalted peanuts works pretty well with lots of pigeons as they all love them. But until they even see them as a food source, you would have to mix them in with his feed so that he will eventually try them. Eventually he will love them. He may then come to you for the treat. But you don't want to handle him with gloves. That's a huge over kill. Just hold him on your hand. They use gloves with raptors, so as to keep their fingers intact. A pigeon doesn't have the beak or talons of a raptor, so gloves are completely unnecessary. You would have to have a lot of patience as he has been wild for his whole life.
 

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Hi briesbe!

I have a rescued feral that I am (slowly) trying to work up to being used in educational programs. I volunteer with a wild bird rehab that works with all birds native to West Virginia, and we have beautiful raptor education birds that are glove-trained for this reason.

So, I'm no expert, but I will tell you what I've done so far. Keep in mind that I have had Fergus for a little over a year now. (As mentioned above, he LOVES peanuts. They make a wonderful reward.) At first, I handled him a lot with gentle restraint. He seemed to like being pressed against my chest while held with my hand against his side.

Eventually I moved on to training him on a FlightSuit (http://www.flightquarters.com). Once he was comfortable in the suit, I started using the leash. He would freak out a little once I released the restraint, but it only took him a few times of hitting the end of the leash to figure out that he couldn't run and hide. (Oh, and Fergus can't fly -- he had half of his wing amputated due to an injury from being shot. So we are always on the couch or on the ground for this part.)

Next step was to train him to sit on my bare hand (no glove necessary, and actually, I think it would be a hindrance since pigeons don't have the good grip that raptors do). We are still in this phase. He sits on my hand, arm, or shoulder, and I will walk around with him slowly. I taught him the "step up" command by saying it and placing my horizontally flat hand against the front of his legs, causing him to react and step up. Sometimes he goes with me to work (veterinary hospital) so he can get used to being around a lot of people. I let others hold him, too. He's a big hit with my coworkers and clients alike!

I think he needs a bit more time at this stage before presenting him in front of a group. I am concerned for his well-being, and taking him into situations where he's uncomfortable would break my heart. Your pigeon may need a lot of time, too, or he may not. It depends on the individual. But go slow, lots of treats, even just sitting next to him for periods of time and talking to him will help him get used to you. Good luck!!!
 

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Oh, and as for feeding, I give Fergus Hagen pigeon & dove seed mix with added dried green split peas and Harrison's super fine pellets. I have had absolutely no luck getting him to eat any fresh fruits or vegetables, hence the green peas, haha. (He did have a ball picking up and throwing blueberries once, though!) You can do a Google search for bird-safe fruits and veggies if you'd like to offer your little dude some. :)
 

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I know a falconer who uses a rescued feral in his educational programs alongside the raptors, so yes, it can be done! I'm glad you're helping this little fellow.

However, it depends in part on the personality of your bird. Some are more naturally trusting. They don't like being grabbed, and they don't have good balance, so it's easier for them to sit on your flat hand rather than on a finger. You can start by offering seeds in your hand that your bird likes - try safflower or raw unsalted peanuts (might need to chop them smaller). Once it does that reliably, you can start asking it step onto your hand. It can take a long time for them to trust you. Eventually you can work your way up to using a harness so you can show it to the public.

It's likely to be easier if yours is female, since hens like to be petted and scratched (once they trust you). Cocks only like to be groomed by their mate, so unless a cock decides you're his wife, he probably won't let you pet him even if he trusts you.

Pigeons are seed eaters - they don't digest the sugars in fruits and veggies very well! So no need to get them to eat those. A mix of cereal grains, peas, and legumes with at least 15% protein is good. They need grit with calcium, and ideally vit D supplements if they aren't out in the sunlight. Foy's Pigeon Supply carries plenty of good feed mixes and grit.
 

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Actually dark leafy greens are good for them. Chop them up to bite size, and they also like carrots chopped to bite size. They like sprouts a little broccoli, and these things are good for them.
 
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