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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all!

New here, it's been many years since I cared for any wild animals and I was hoping to get some advice. Plus the last time I did I had the guidance of tutors...

My friend's parents found a baby wood pigeon in the middle of the road near where they live; apparently no trees near by. They picked it up but no rescues would take it in due to bird flu and no vets would help either so I said I'd take it in. I want to give him the best chance so he can be released when ready.

He looks to be about 14 days old maybe? But I could be very wrong so I've attached pictures of him from a few hours ago. Also one of the cage he is in. The blue box has been exchanged for a smaller cardboard box with fleece and the food and water bowls are also smaller now. I managed to get him to eat some liquidised quiko plus earlier with a syringe but he wasn't a fan so I stopped when he got too distressed. I've tried to feed him some peas and sweetcorn but he won't open his beak and struggles like crazy when I try open it. He has seed and water in his cage in case, and I do see him looking at it but not eating. His crop is empty.

I don't have a heat mat for him, I've just given him some fleece fabric in a box for now. He tends to try snuggle in when I get him out, I'm assuming for warmth so I let him for a little bit now and then but he spends pretty much all of his time left alone in his cage out of the way. He does like to watch me though.

He's also in a small dog cage at present. He has enough room to flap his wings and does so now and then. He also preens quite a lot during the day. His breathing seems pretty stable now compared to when he arrived so he's settled in a little.

If you need to know more then please ask.

Questions:

1. Does he need a heat mat at this age?
2. Should I buy him a bird cage or will his current one be OK?
3. Any tips on the least stressful way to get him to eat?
4. How do I teach him to eat on his own?
5. Does he look to be past the imprinting age?
6. Any other tips?

Thanks for reading! :)
 

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1. He is old enough to be without a heatpad.
2. The cage you have him in, is fine for now.
3. Feeding peas and corn is the best way to get food into him.
4. They quickly learn to eat peas by themselves. After a day or 2 of handfeeding, leave a bowl of peas with him. When he starts eating them, add some small seeds and he will start eating them as well. Do a gradual change from peas to seeds.
5. Yes, don't think he will imprint. You can put a mirror inside his cage, that will help.
6. Are you familiar with a soft release? He will need to spend time outside in a cage to get familiar with the area. He will also need to backup food supply once released as he won't know where to find this. Easier if you feed thd birds in your garden. Don't release too soon, he needs to fly well and eat all kinds of seed. Also old enough to defend himself against adult pigeons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks!

Any tips on how to get him to eat the peas at first? I'm worried I'll hurt him shoving them in his beak. Glad he shouldn't imprint but I'll get him a mirror to be safe!
I'll research a soft release. And I'll find a good spot for food out of reach of cats. We do have other wood pigeons here, as well as magpies, seagulls, and loads of smaller birds including a Robin. What age will make it easier for him to defend himself?
 

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You will need to handfeed the peas. Put him on your lap (facing to the right if you are righthanded). Reach with your lefthand over his body and head and open the beak. Have a pea ready in your righthand and put deep inside the beak over the tongue. If he spits it out, put the pea deeper inside the beak. You won't hurt him. Feed 90 peas per day, divided into 3 meals of 30 each. Depending on how quickly the crop empties.

He needs to recognize the peas as food. They learn quickly. He looks like 3 weeks old. Wait till he is about 2 1/2 months old before releasing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you! Pea feeding did dot go well 😅 spat then all out so I resorted to the Quiko plus again. His crop was much more full than yesterday and he was very happy and contented after, despite the battle at the start. I've been getting my sister to hold him while I feed him because he whacks me with his wings. I'll try the peas again tomorrow.

My sister has a spare rat cage so we're going to give thar a deep clean and transfer him to that and add some perches. At present he just has a little branch he likes to perch on. He already had splayed feet when I got him so hoping that the perch will help reverse that. If not then I've come across some ways to fix it and I'll do a deep dive on these forums.

Hopefully he will be eating peas and seed on his own in no time! Especially now I know that I won't hurt him ^_^
 
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