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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A week old tomorrow (Monday), actually. Following on my thread here about our squab Bob, his mother, Little Pidgee, left about 10:30 or 11am today, and we finally had to bring him in and feed him corn soup after it got dark and it became clear she was not returning tonight.

Hope Little Pidgee comes back tomorrow, but we may have to keep feeding him. Any advice on what and how to feed? Seems to be a two-person job.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you! I hope those help if it comes to that, which I hope it doesn't.

Tonight, the wife's niece gave us advice on opening the squab's beak -- she's had to give medicine to her two doves, and a vet taught her how -- and she said to use my thumb, but gently. It was a bit difficult at first, because I was trying not to hurt Bob, but I got better at it, although I think part of that was Bob learning he was getting fed and cooperating a bit. The wife would then squirt a little corn soup into his mouth. Her aim improved after a while, and it was satisfying watching Bob swallow it down.

But it's going to be difficult for us to keep this up, especially if there's only one of us at home. I am really hoping Mama returns tomorrow. Actually, she's done this before, leaving the squabs alone at night at about a week, but she seems not to be taking into account that Big Pidgee, the father, is no longer around to do daytime feedings. :(
 

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Be careful about squirting liquid into the mouth, there is a danger that the dove could aspirate. If you can deposit it behind the opening to the windpipe (which looks like a hole in the middle of the tongue) that is fine. When I have to feed with a syringe (I have an adult bird that will regurgitate when tube fed) I put the liquid at the front of the bowl formed by the lower beak, so that it feels and tastes it and therefore swallows.

Cynthia
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Good news! Monday morning, and Little Pidgee returned. she fed Bob AND finally realized that stuff we put out was food.

I looked out first thing this morning but no Mama. But what's this? Someone had obviously been into the food. A little grain scattered and many of the vegetables gone, especially the carrots. The ants could not have done that. (The ants seem to have lost interest after I drowned a bunch of them the other day, but it could also be because the veggies dried out after a while.) And the little bit of seed I put in the far end of the flower box was also largely gone. I didn't know for sure it was Little Pidgee eating it, but I took it as a good sign.

Sure enough, in a little while Little Pidgee showed up ... and started eating! :D It took her long enough to understand that was food. This being Thailand, maybe she suspected a scam, some hidden charge that she'd get popped with later. But she was eating away. Then went and fed Bob! :D Then lounged on the rail for a while.

So the crisis is over. She's gone now, but I feel more sure now that she'll be back, especially since she understands there's food for her out there. I am mighty relieved, as I was not looking forward to trying to feed Bob on my own. There's no telling how that would have gone. I might have ended up inadvertently killing him!

Of course, there's also the fact that right now, late morning, was when she left yesterday and stayed away almost 24 hours. But I'm trying to be optimistic.

Thank you for your help. We'll keep the info for later use if we need it.
 

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I am so pleased that nothing bad had happened to Pidgee...and that Bob got a good breakfast!

Cynthia
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Tuesday morning, Bob is 8 days old, and I just saw Mama give a feeding. And she stayed here last night again, although over on the rails and not in the nest.

We hope she feeds Bob enough. In the past, she would slack off quite a bit while Big Pidgee did most of the feeding, not to mention the rest of the parenting: Enticing them out of the box, trying to get them to fly to him over on the window frames etc. Before Little Pidgee fed him this morning, I reached outside to pet Bob a little while she was standing off watching, and he kept pecking hungrily around my hand.

Also saw a stranger pigeon out there feeding this morning while Little Pidgee looked on. It flew away when it saw me. Most of the pigeons in the neighborhood have left -- I think Big Pidgee went with them; at least, I hope that's all that happened to him -- but one or two can still be seen. This one may have been George from the last batch. If so, that's okay, as we don't mind family, but we don't really want a lot of pigeons flocking here. That would raise too much attention and possibly get complaints from the neighbors. (There's a strict no-pets rule in the building, and while the pigeons are not exactly pets, we'd prefer to keep a low profile.) When Big Pidgee was here, he would chase all other pigeons away.
 

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Glad Little Pidgee is back and Bob is happy. :D If you have to feed in the future you can rig something like this:
http://picasaweb.google.com/awrats3333/BabyFeeding#

It works really well and baby picks it up quickly. I would think it would be perfect with the corn soup. You could also blend some frozen (defrosted) peas in with the corn soup if you have to feed another one. Thanks for looking out for them! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks. We may need to do something like this after all. I'm not at all sure Bob is being fed enough. Little Pidgee still sleeps here at night and hangs around a bit in the day, but we're not seeing many feedings. Of course, we're not able to watch every minute, but Bob seems a bit small for 10 days, which he turns today (Thursday).

I did look him over pretty well last night. He seemed alert and although he did peck at my hand a bit looking for a Mama's-beak-type opening, he didn't seem desperate. (Little Pidgee watched all of this from the rail and looked none too happy about it.) I'd say he checked out okay.

We'll try to observe a little more closely today and then feed him tonight when we're both home if we deem it necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Thursday night, and Bob is 10 days old. Actually, it's about 1am, so it's early Friday, and Bob is only a few hours away from being 11 days old. And I'm afraid we're back to feeding Bob, as Little Pidgee is acting like a Las Vegas stepmother. Thank you for your link, maryjane; I rigged up something similar tonight, and it worked okay.

The last time either of us saw Little Pidgee give a feeding was Monday morning. I think she has been feeding him but not a lot. I looked Bob over carefully last night, and he seemed to check out okay. Come this morning, however, Little Pidgee was gone, and Bob was actually begging me for food. Squeaking and flapping his little wings. That's odd, because usually the squabs cower from me at that age, not beg me for a feeding. He seemed thinner and really hungry.

So I tried to pay extra attention today and saw that whenever Little Pidgee showed up, it was only to eat, not feed Bob. And only in the company of the Stranger. She completely ignored Bob all day long. (I managed to throw out my back this morning and so had to stay close to home all day.) In the evening, the wife came home and asked her niece, the one who has two doves, to come over and give us some feeding tips. The wife's sister drove the niece over. The niece said not to give Bob too much at a time, and after feeding him some more corn soup indoors, we put him back out in the box.

Then a really bad development. Shortly after, Little Pidgee and the Stranger showed up. All four of us watched as Mama once again ignored her kid, but rather tucked into the chow herself. The Stranger looked in the flower box, and then he hopped in. Little Pidgee hopped in after him. They concerned themselves with the nest end of the flower box. Bob was at the other end. Little Pidgee still ignored him. Worse, she stepped right on him on her way out of the box. The Stranger seemed to be checking out the nest to see how it would suit him, and Bob was hoping maybe the Stranger would feed him. For the first time, I saw the Stranger lash out and peck at little Bob! :eek: That was it, I went out and shooed him away. Of course, Little Pidgee followed, and she did not come back tonight.

This is bad. Mama is ignoring him. I'm afraid there's nothing for it but to feed Bob ourselves. In addition to the regular syringe and eye dropper, I rigged up something similar to maryjane's link in her post above for another feeding later tonight, and it actually worked okay. And after a bit of practice with that and the eyedropper, I am pleased to report I am able to feed Bob myself unaided, a skill that will come in handy tomorrow when I'm home alone. Could still prove tricky if my back is still out of whack, though. The niece mentioned a brand of infant formula that was also good for baby birds; we may get some of that tomorrow.

And we can't have the Stranger attacking poor little Bob. We figure he's starting to consider the nest his own territory now, and when innocent Bob got too close, he lashed out. So tonight we filled a spare flower box halfway with some dirt and set that out between the old flower box and our window. Then I moved Bob to that. The idea is maybe the Stranger won't attack Bob if Bob's not "threatening" him in the nest. Previously, the Stranger had only looked at Bob; he must have mistaken Bob's begging for food this time as a threat. I don't want to stop putting food out, because maybe Little Pidgee feeds Bob some when we're not looking, but this pecking at little Bob by the Stranger has got to stop.

I'm very disappointed in Little Pidgee, but the wife is much more so. She does not want Little Pidgee to lay the Stranger's eggs here and thinks we should remove the flower box once Bob is grown and gone. I'm not sure that will work, and it may be too late anyway by that time. But I know how she feels. Big Pidgee was such an ideal father, but he's been gone for two weeks now. Bob will never experience a great father, like the other squabs did. :(

The wife had her first good look at the Stranger today, and she's pretty sure he's ... Marty, from the fourth batch! Yes, Little Pidgee's son. Here is a shot of Marty from 7-1/2 months ago. He's on the right. Note the "socky feet." If that's him, he's bigger now and has the typical moustache. But otherwise that's him.

One other thing. There was a brief, heavy rain shower this afternoon, and after it was over, I saw a large flock of pigeons feeding in the mansion grounds next door. One or two of the white speckled ones I'm sure I recognized from before, so perhaps the neighborhood flock did not leave after all. And maybe that means Big Pidgee is really dead after all. :(

Any other advice on feeding and how to keep Bob safe from the Stranger/Marty will be welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Friday afternoon, and Bob is 11 days old. Some more little feathers coming in now, back toward his butt mostly.

This morning's feeding went well, and since I had to lie on the floor on my stomach to give it, that may have stretched my back out good. It's feeling much better, although I still must be careful. There's still some twinges. I'm hanging around home today and will give Bob another feeding in an hour or so.

That's good I can feed him alone, although I think that's only because he's not trying to escape me. He still does not seem to enjoy being force-fed, but appears to like me just fine. We're buddies now :).

Little Pidgee and the Stranger came by this morning, too. Mama ignored Bob again! But at least the Stranger did not attack Bob, but then he did not check out either of the boxes this time. We still want Little Pidgee to come around, because we're not completely certain that she's not feeding Bob at all. I could tell they had been here early this morning, because the food was disturbed. Who knows? Maybe she fed him then with no one looking. Is it common for a mother to reject her squab like this after finding a new man?
 

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another feeding method

If the feeding methods you're using don't get any easier, here's another idea...I fed a sqab starting from 7 days old, and this worked really well. Take a baby bottle with rubber nipple, and cut a hole just big enough for his beak to fit into. Guide his beak into the hole while holding the bottle tilted just enough so food fills the nipple. It's a little messy but way easier than force-feeding. If the squab catches on, he'll squeal and flap and be very excited about eating! It's fun to watch...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks. That looks similar to the syringe method in maryjane's post above. May work well with the infant formula the wife's niece brought over today, the one who keeps the two doves. She seemed impressed at how nice Bob was about being fed. Her doves struggle when she has to give them medicine, but Bob is getting used to being fed by us now. Not too much force necessary.

Will try to remember to pick up a bottle tomorrow and try that.
 

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Usually the Dad would be feeding the baby at this point, and the Mom would be on another nest. This is a pretty good way to feed. I place the baby on my lap, on a towel to do this. In another few days, you'll be able to feed him frozen, thawed and just barely warmed up peas and corn. That's pretty easy, and soon he will pick up the peas and corn on his own. Soon after that, you can wean him onto seed.

 

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At 2 1/2 to 3 weeks old, you could feed the frozen, thawed peas and corn. This video will show you how to do that. You may have to put them way to the back of the throat.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU1SO0ZJoow

Soon he should pick them up on his own. It's really not very hard. You'll become a pro in no time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Bob died last night. :(

We noticed him spitting up out in the flower box late last night and brought him inside. He was very weak and thin and had obviously spit up all of his food. Convulsing some but largely listless. We made him as comfortable as we could, and he died a couple of hours later. There was no veterinarian we could have taken him to at that time of night; we know of one small-animal clinic that has a bird doctor on Sundays only, but this was Friday night, and it was obvious he did not have long as it was. Bob was 11 days old.

The wife's niece had brought over some of that infant formula she'd used with other baby birds; we don't know if it was that or if we fed Bob too much of it or of the corn soup or if he would have died anyway. We tried not to feed him too much. He was very small; comparing his size with that of previous squabs at the same age, you could see how small he was, probably from undernourishment after Little Pidgee stopped feeding him. Even yesterday, she came here all day long to feed but would not even look at Bob.

The wife took it rather hard. She really hoped we could make a go of Bob. Blames Little Pidgee for abandoning him. We never did think maybe they had a second family somewhere; seems odd to consider. I still think she could have been bothered to attend to him at least a little while she was here feeding herself.

The wife said she did not want to encourage Little Pidgee to lay more eggs here with her new man -- who looks suspiciously like one of her sons, Marty -- so we removed the flower boxes, food and water. I'm not sure this will make her and the Stranger go elsewhere, but the wife was crying, and I was not going to argue with her.

Things went very much downhill very quickly after Big Pidgee disappeared. He seemed to be the perfect pigeon. I'm inclined now to agree the poor guy must be dead, especially after seeing the neighborhood flock reappear after all after the rain shower the other day. He always seemed pretty sharp; I don't know how he could have been caught unawares by a cat or something. But whatever happened, he left, and Little Pidgee couldn't take up the slack for whatever reason.
 

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one soldier down...

Hi,

Very sorry for your loss. Dont blame Little Pigee too much.Pigeons are inteligent but they do go by their instincts. For Little Pidgee, the mating instinct was stronger than the maternal one. And I've see humans getting married with partners that already had children; same behaviour towards someone else's offsprings...

Just consider Bob one soldier down in the long list of pigeons you helped. How many were they? 17-18? I'd say you were almost 100% successfull :)
 
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