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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I need some help determining the age of a feral pigeon chick I found today and also help in what/how to feed it.

I spotted the bird through the window at my work, it was sitting in the middle of the busy precinct and wasn't moving out the way of people. As I watched a child aimed a kick at it so I went and got it :( there were no parents around that I could see and it would have either been stepped on or a seagull would have taken it (which had happened to the last baby pigeon I found).
I think it has been blown off it's nest, it's been really windy last two nights.

It is quite big maybe two thirds the size of an adult, has adult feathers but is quite bald under wings, and a little on the head, has some orangey fluff left sticking through the feathers. It doesn't have an adult beak. It can flap and walk (not steadily) but doesn't fly.

It is bright and alert, squeaks and puffs up when it's startled and is content to sit calmly on my blanket or scrunched up kitchen roll. When I've picked it up it struggles but is then calm and inquisitive and happy to stand or sit on my lap.
I've given it the rehydrating solution by using an eyedropper and dropping it on the end on it's beak. It's poo is normal by the description I've read on here.

I'm not sure what to feed it, I've tried the pea method but I cannot get it to open it's beak and I really don't want to hurt it, how do I open it's beak safely? I can't get a syringe etc. tonight but I probably could tomorrow if needed.

Help very much appreciated, I've rescued many adult/racing birds but never one this young! I really don't want it to die because I can't give it the food it needs.

from the pictures I've looked at here: http://www.speedpigeon.com/baby_racing_pigeon.htm
it looks like it could be from day 20 + (but probably not past 24). I will post a picture as soon as I have got a clear one of it.

Thank you!





 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Okay here's straight on
http://flic.kr/p/bWARBR
Here's the side
http://flic.kr/p/cdYbys

Pigeon doesn't seem to have any injuries, is preening itself and still bright and alert. I found it about 11 this morning so I've had it for nearly 12 hours now, it hasn't changed condition. It has been stretching it's wings lots and managing to miss all the kitchen roll when it does a poo. :rolleyes:

I am concerned that it hasn't eaten, and am going to try the peas again.
 

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I know you are worried about hurting the baby by opening the beak, but you must or the baby will die. The baby has no concept of how to eat on his own. With your finger nails, put them between the upper and lower beak and open the beak. You will be amazed at how easy it is and once you get the hang of it, you will be a pro in no time.
Here are the pre-written instructions.



You can hand feed defrosted peas. Run some hot water over them until they are defrosted and slightly warmed. Put the bird on your lap and hold it next to your body. If it helps because you are having a hard time handling the pigeon, you can wrap a towel around it or put it in the sleeve of a tee shirt, with the head out the wrist. This method confines the pigeon without hurting him and makes it easier to handle. Gently open the beak and pop a pea at the back of the mouth and over the throat. It gets easier and faster, with practice, for both you and the bird.
You will need to feed 30-50 per feeding [depending on the size of the pigeon] and every time the crop empties until you know the baby is eating on his own. The crop is located below the throat and above the bone in the center of the pigeons body. When it's filled with food it fills up like a little balloon and feels squishy.
After a couple of feedings, most squeakers get the hang of it, pick up the peas on their own and naturally transition into a seed diet.

In addition to the peas,one time a day, put a small pinch of powdered oyster shell, which you can buy at most pet stores, will supply the calcium the baby needs to support bone health.You sprinkle it on the peas.
__________
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Last night managed to feed some more peas, and this morning it's crop felt empty so I fed it some more. It was easier and we managed about 45 without the crop being too full, it seemed to catch on a bit that it was food I was giving it. Still bright and inquisitive, stretching, flapping and preening.

So what next? I am prepared to look after it until it is grown but I need some advice on how to do this? I don't want it to become attached to me because I want it to be okay it's own too.

Help please!

Thank you
 

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If you want to return it to the wild then the best thingwould be to take it to a rescue centre to avoid it imprinting on you and get it used to being with other pigeons .

This might be the best place:

Wild Things ResQ
New Farm
1 Amesbury Road, Newton Tony
Nr. Salisbury
Wiltshire
SP4 0HY

Tel: 01980 629470
 

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This Wildlife centre might be closer and also good:

HART Wildlife Rescue
Unit 9
Lower Soldridge Business Park
Soldridge Road
Medstead
Hampshire
GU34 5JF

Tel: 01420 562335
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
thank you very much Feefo, will check them out. Do you know if they definitely take feral pigeons? Otherwise I'll give them a ring as it's quite a journey and I'll probably have to get a train and a bus which I don't want to do with a bird in a box!

Pigeon is good today, very boisterous and learning to peck at the ground, only it's fourth feed and now it takes the peas/corn itself from the bowl! Seriously impressed. It's enjoying my mirror and likes to tap it and walk back and forth in front of it.

Any ideas how old it is?
 

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I have them both on my pigeon friendly rescue centre list: We adopted some of Wild Things ResQ's feral rescues a few years ago, and Bethany Tyler King who started Hart Wildlife Rescue (but has since moved to Devon) is a member of my Pigeons and Dove Rescue Facebook group...but it is always worth double checking !
 

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Hartland's website has some noce photos of rescued pigeons:

http://hartlandwildlife.co.uk/birds3.html

but I could find no mention of pigeons on Wild Things ResQ (now Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital), I trust the places that are proud to share photos of their rescued pigeons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Cool, I will do thank you. I will try and persuade someone to drive me asap, but at the mo it looks promising as it much prefers the company of the mirror (which it thinks is another pigeon) to me!

It keeps looking round the back for the mirror bird and sits next to the reflection, so I'm hopeful that it will stick with other pigeons when released.

I'm only handling it to give food/water to try and prevent it getting attached, it's started to take stuff from the bowl itself but it won't eat as much as it needs without some help yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Gave both centres a call, left a message with wildlife resQ so still not sure if they take but Hart wildlife rescue are more than happy to take it! Yay! They'll check it over, then it will be popped in an aviary with other pigeons and released after it's grown and doing everything normally.

So will be trying to take it to medsted soon, hopefully this Saturday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Left pij at Hart today, they were really friendly and will feed it up and it will get released into an established flock in nearby Alton, much nicer than Southampton city centre!
Thank you everyone for your advice, it was much appreciated.
 
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