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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of my wife's colleagues picked up a baby feral pigeon, but was not willing to look after it. My wife, the Samaritan that she is, brought the baby home and that was the day my life changed.
We started feeding the pigeon by forcing its beak open and squirting food into its beak. What a mess. I knew there had to be a better way to feed a baby like this. so I went onto the internet and found the balloon method, COOLEST THING EVER. The baby fed like a dream, no worries, no hassles, nu fuss (from our part at least).

Now I am at a fork in the road, I am doing a lot of homework on the subject of raising the pigeon, the diet, the release date etc. So a few questions for the clever ones, your help will be much appreciated.

I am currently feeding it a mix of pronutro (south african cereal that is known for its nutritious properties, they have raised baby Rhinos on this stuff) and wild bird seed. I spoke to the avian vet yesterday and he advised that I should include a protein into the diet(mince meat) The pigeon does not really take well to the mince meat, maybe the smell. Does anyone have any advice or a tip that will help me?
I had a look on Speed pigeon's aging list, and I guess that the pigeon is about 26-28 days old. I started pecking with my finger and found that this stimulates him to peck as well, but the problem is that he is only getting seeds in and no protein. He started to drink water as well.

I am planning to look after the pigeon very well and don't want to put him at risk of dying out there at the hand of some malicious child or other predator. Do I clip its wings to protect it, or do I trust its bond with me to stay and be comfortable. I want the best for the pigeon and dont want to be selfish, but if it is going to die, I would rather protect it and get the diet right on my own.

How do I find out what its gender is?

Does it poop less as an adult? I mean, this pigeon is like a poop machine, luckily we get newspapers for free.

Look at how cute he is, I can't believe how this little bird changed my life.

I know there is alot of questions, but I really want to take care of this little bird.
 

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Someone will be along to give you real answers but I want to congratulate you on your beautiful bird and give props for doing such a great job! They really do change your life, don't they?
 

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Hi and well done looking after him/her.

Personally, I'd not give a pigeon of his age any meat products as he is close to or at the stage of being weaned off soft foods. They usually are fledged at 35 days and would be eating what other pigeons can find in the way of food.

They would initially be fed with 'crop milk' produced by the parents (not milk as we know it), which contains all they need for the first few days, then increasing proportion of seeds, grain (or whatever the parents can find) softened in the crop, until eventually they learn to eat whatever the parents or other pigeons feed on.

They are seed, grain and legume eaters anyway, so once a hand raised pigeon starts to feed itself, then its basic requirements would be a variety of such food. What you can provide depends on what is available I guess. Some of us are fortunate in having access to stores which sell purpose-mixed pigeon feed, some not.

We have a member in SA, 'Plamenh', who may be able to give you some input on pigeon food availability (you may like to private message him if he desn't spot this thread)

Wild bird seed is OK for a start, but I'd suggest that he will soon need something akin to pigeon mix. This is a balanced diet giving the protein, carbohydrates, various vitamins, etc. that pigeon needs - unfortunately it normaly comes in large quantities. Failing that, if you have a store where you can get what we call 'mixed corn' here (grains plus maize) that would be good.Some of the other things in a pigeon mix can usually be bought separately - dried peas, lentils and suchlike - but I'm not a mix-your-own type, so not the best to say what should go in it.

Our pigeons like some green stuff, like crisp lettuce, or chopped greens such as spinach, watercress and / or rocket leaf, now and then.

You may be able to obtain a multi-vit for birds for occasional use, and a bird grit (like oystershell) will eventually be benficial (again there are specialized pigeon grits) to help with grinding of seed and o provide calcium.
 

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Hi tns2205! Yay! I am so glad you saved this little guy, he is very lucky and you are doing a great job! I too rescued a baby feral pigeon in May of this year and he sure has changed my life as well!

As for diet I do not buy pigeon mixes because I only have 1 pigeon and like John D. stated usually they can only be found in large quantities. I feed him a mixture of grains and seeds that I buy from the grocery store and the local health food store. I mix: barley, wheat, brown rice, lentils, buckwheat, oat groats, split peas, canadian peas, mung beans, millet, and a small amount of flax seeds (occasionally, they are more of a treat), safflower seeds, shelled sunflower seeds, and some raw unsalted peanuts as a treat (it took Stanley a good while to eat these though so if he doesn't eat them right away.. he will eventually). When Stanley was learning to eat sometimes he would avoid some of the things so I would toss one into his mouth and after a couple times of this he began eating it on his own. He should get a good amount of protein from the canadian peas (vetch peas and pigeon peas are some other types of peas as well), the lentils and mung beans. I also give him lettuce or Kale once a week.

My Stanley's wings are not clipped. He is an inside bird and besides having a loft/cage outside to spend warm days he will primarily be an inside bird. If you plan on keeping the little guy, which you sound like you do want to which is great!, he will become imprinted because of his young age and become very attached to you. Stanley, my pigeon, is like a little puppy :) He follows me around the house, cuddles and has become the light of my life. They make great family members :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the responses, I am just amazed on how intelligent this bird is, he also follows my movements, but already anticipates my schedule. This morning he came to get me out of bed and walked straight to my office. I moved his box to the office and in no time he was as content as ever. AWESOME!!!

We have a specialist pet shop in my area, so I will go and buy some of the products that you recommended. Since my last post I have dewormed the little guy, WOW lots and lots of worms. Giving a pigeon medicine is not the most comfortable thing, I am just grateful that they don't have retractable nails, because one of would have been bleeding.

With the wild bird mix that I give him, he seems to pick out bigger seeds and eat them first. He also skips the fine maize particles in the mix. I am taking it very slow to try to allow him to work through things on his own time. I followed the vet's advice and purchased an expensive bag of hand rearing parrot food with all the goodies in it that the he will need, but as Murphy wants it, the birdie doesn't want to eat it. NOW I HAVE AN EXPENSIVE BAG OF PARROT FOOD.

When introducing larger parts such as split peas and unsalted peanuts, how do you give it to him, I am against opening its beak and shoving something down his throat, If someone shoved a chocolate into my throat, I would most probably start to hate chocolates, luckily nobody has tried yet, lucky them. The reason I want to know this is that I want to reward him for flying to me and other like "trick/tasks"

I find that he is growing at an very fast pace, he is stretching those wings every 5-15 minutes, I guess that it is because of bone, feather and muscle growth.

Has anyone introduced a mirror? What fun, he is so interested in the character in the mirror, I thought that this will help him to peck for longer, because he has a companion that pecks with him, opposed to my pecking index finger. So many questions.
 

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Treats are hard for pigeons because they seem to vary in their preferences. Some like peanuts. Some of my pigeons don't want to be held at all and some like to get under my chin and be stroked on the head. The ones I have hand fed don't seem traumatized by peas and corn down the beak so I wouldn't think it would be like shoving something down our throats!
He sounds like a smart little fellow! Good luck and keep us updated. He'll let you know what he likes!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
How exactly do I give the peanut? I also heard that I shouldn't give too many peanuts due to the high oil content, "Cholesterol" and all that.

Thank you for this forum, I am learning so much
 

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They way I did it was I cut up the peanuts into small pieces and put them on my hand and then I would move them in the palm of my hand with my finger to get Stan's attention then he would come and peck. It took him awhile to get used to the shape though but once he found out he liked them... he loved them!

Or you can just put a few pieces in his food bowl, mixed with his seed so he gets used to the taste/texture. Once you notice he eats them, stop putting them in his food dish; provide them only as treats and he will love it!

Your right though about the oils and fat in peanuts, it is high. So feed them to him sparingly. Peanuts are a great tool to use if you want to train him too (to come to your hand, go to his cage, etc.)

As far as introducing large food pieces, they really don't mind (at least from my experience of feeding Stan and other baby pigeons at the wildlife center) you opening their beaks. In the wild Baby pigeons are used to their parents sticking their beak down their throat and filling them up with food. Stanley looks like he was about your pidges age when I got him and he would still put his beak between my fingers and open his mouth so I would just roll it down his throat. He will get used to eating the larger pieces with time so if you don't feel comfortable with it then no big deal. Just keep encouraging him to eat it by putting it in your palms and near his beak.

He sounds like such a smartie pants! What a cutie. I am glad everything is going well!
 

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Yes, I do the same thing with the peanuts. Don't force them down his throat. Some offer whole spanish peanuts, but I chop peanuts into smaller pieces, and as StanelyPidge said, once they find out how good they are, most pigeons love them. Just hold the chopped pieces in a little jar cover or your hand. If you want to mix with the seed as suggested, just til he tries them and finds out how good they are, that works. Soon, when he sees you have peanuts for him, he will fly to you for his treat.
Pigeons are amazing birds. Smart, funny, and great little campanions.
Releasing them can be a problem if they have been hand raised, as they don't have parents to teach them about danger of predators, or where to find food, or anything. Also, they could go to people, and not all people are exactly pigeon friendly. Usually, it is better to keep as a pet, or find a rehabber with other pigeons to be released. That way they can all be released together. They have a much better chance of survival that way. To release a pigeon that was hand reared, and to release it by itself, it's chances of survival are zero. Have you decided on keeping him?
 

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Yes. Those are both good places to find things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
To release a pigeon that was hand reared, and to release it by itself, it's chances of survival are zero. Have you decided on keeping him?
I Deffinitely want to keep him, I dont want to be irresponsible and risk his life when I had a good time, I would rather clean poop and buy food to make sure he "retires" at a ripe old age, Hope he doesn't outlive me.:p

Do I trust the bond to keep him, or do I clip his wings?
 

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Clipping his wings isn't good. If something did come along, then he couldn't fly away. That's his only defense. If you don't let him free fly, then you don't have to worry about whether or not he would come back. Sometimes, they just get lost out there, and can't come back. If they haven't been taught by their parents how to find food, or how to avoid hawks, or even that there ARE predators out there, then he would be a sitting duck. Can you let him fly inside the house, or maybe build him a place outside where he could exercise and be safe at the same time? Why would you want to clip his wings? Pigeons love to fly. It isn't normal for them to be grounded in that way, nor is it safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I share your point, that is why I asked the question. My only argument is that I took him in and want to make sure that my kindness (that actually goes against the natural flow of things) does not end up to be detrimental to him.

I have made a lot of provision to accommodate him and we also live amongst very big trees where he can flee from cats and other predators.

Clipping the wings would be the last resort and I would rather make it so comfortable for him that he does not want to leave.

Thanks for the reply though, you confirmed my opinion and gave me some guidance, thanks.
 

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If you want to give him outside time, and also want to keep him safe, an aviary would be a great idea. So many different ways to put one up. Think you'd like it.
 
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