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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have been feeding two baby racing pigeons from day old chicks. They are just about four weeks old now and they are really gobbling up their formula, (Kaytee Exact hand Feeding formula). I think it is due time to mix some whole grains and grit to their diet. There is so much stuff listed in the ingredients I can’t tell if there is some kind of grit in there. Any words of wisdom here?
 

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Grit should no be mixed in with food. Pigeons sense when they need grit, so it should be provided in a separate pot. With these, they would not require grit anyway until they are weaned off the formula and on a solid pigeon mix.

They would usually be weaned off by about now, so best to provide seeds/grain separately as well as mixed in the formula, so they learn to peck at the solid food and find that it is indeed food.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
We chose to hand feed these two babies as they were the result of two hens laying in one nest. I caught this too late and opted to let the sitting hen hatch them. I was surprised when all four eggs hatched all within a day of each other. The point of all this is that the remaining two chicks left under the care of the parents are still in the nest unable to feed themselves and the parents are still pumping them full of whole grains. Are they also getting grit from the parents, mixed in with the parental food and if not, how are the babies grinding up the whole grains? It seem like when leaving them all to do things naturally, the babies will take at least a week or more before they are rummaging around pecking at things on their own.
 

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When the parents regurgitate grains from the crop, they are softened by the digestive juices.

Eventually they will be eating solid grains but grit is an aid to the gizzard in grinding up food. The gizzard is muscular and can in fact grind food itself, albeit taking longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
In all my years of being around birds I have never thought of a grit-less gizzard actually functioning but I can possibly buy that thought. That gives way to the idea that maybe a parent pigeon may not pass grit to it's offspring during feeding. Interesting concept! So If I wanted to introduce whole grain into these baby's diet, how long should I soak it prior to feeding?
 

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You don't soak it. Put it in a small dish and show them how to peck by using your forefinger as a beak. They will learn in time to peck at the seed. They are also very curious, so they will find it. I always leave a bowl of seed and a small crock of water in a nest box that has babies, as they will learn very quickly and at a young age, by watching the parents picking up the seed and drinking the water. When you do introduce seeds to them, then it is time to teach them to drink on their own. Gently hold the beak on each side, and slowly dip it into a crock of tepid water, but be careful not to cover the nostrils. Do this several times a day and they will learn to drink. But for now, even if they do start to pick up seed, they are still getting some water in the formula that you are giving.

Some start weaning with frozen peas which have been defrosted and warmed under warm running water. When weaned this way, they often learn faster, as the peas are easier to pick up then seed, as they are soft. You would hand feed them some peas, then leave some in the cage with them. Sooner or later they will start to pick them up. Then........on to seed.
 

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We have been feeding two baby racing pigeons from day old chicks. They are just about four weeks old now and they are really gobbling up their formula, (Kaytee Exact hand Feeding formula). I think it is due time to mix some whole grains and grit to their diet. There is so much stuff listed in the ingredients I can’t tell if there is some kind of grit in there. Any words of wisdom here?
Pretty little things...but really,by day4/5 its best to just soak handful of peas or beans in cup warm water with pinch salt and sugar...let the peas/beans,swell up for 1hour and start pumping into the babies...not tomuch at 1st...then as they grow 7/8/9 days old you can work20 ect...2/3times a day...they will grow faster than you think and by day17/18 stop feeding..place drinker in their comparment.....and pot of peas or beans...leave for 5 mins then take away...you must be hard on this...they will eat after couple of days...then you can put small bit of grit down once a day....but remember only leave food down 5 mins and take away..simple///very effective....
from the heart
 

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It isn't necessary to be so hard on them at weaning. Weaning is hard enough on them. Even when left with the parents, they will begin eating seeds that are not soaked on their own, but while they are learning to do this, the parents are still feeding them. I sure wouldn't want my babies going a couple of days without eating, just to get them weaned. That just isn't necessary.
 

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It isn't necessary to be so hard on them at weaning. Weaning is hard enough on them. Even when left with the parents, they will begin eating seeds that are not soaked on their own, but while they are learning to do this, the parents are still feeding them. I sure wouldn't want my babies going a couple of days without eating, just to get them weaned. That just isn't necessary.
Hi Jay
i apolagise mate,my reply is based on my method over many years....i cannot afford weaklings in my loft...these babies will be sent to Barcelona at 3 years old (if they make 3 years in this loft)730 miles...
if your happy to let your birds control you .thats fair enough....enjoy your birds mate
 

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Hi Jay
i apolagise mate,my reply is based on my method over many years....i cannot afford weaklings in my loft...these babies will be sent to Barcelona at 3 years old (if they make 3 years in this loft)730 miles...
if your happy to let your birds control you .thats fair enough....enjoy your birds mate
You seem to feel that being fair with the weaning and going a bit slower is letting your birds control you. I guess we just see it differently. I think the difference in our approach is that I care about my birds. Enjoy your birds also. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
First of all, I would like to thank ALL of you who have responded to my post. It is quite wonderful to have so much information available at my fingertips. I am also happy to report that these babies are now eating grain from a bowl. What a relief! I find it very similar to the day my child became potty trained! Which reminds me ----- I am a bit confused ----- (Danny boy) How does a pigeon become a weakling based on when it learns to eat from a bowl? Would the same thought process be true for a human baby who is a “late bloomer” regarding potty training? Would you consider that child a weakling as well and would not be suited for sports or armed service, etc? I can’t quite grasp the significance of the timing issue.
 

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Oh...............good job! You must be happy about that. With patience they get there.
You're right LOL, kinda like when your child is potty trained. That's funny. You've done great! You've raised two adorable little pigeons all the way to weaning.
 

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First of all, I would like to thank ALL of you who have responded to my post. It is quite wonderful to have so much information available at my fingertips. I am also happy to report that these babies are now eating grain from a bowl. What a relief! I find it very similar to the day my child became potty trained! Which reminds me ----- I am a bit confused ----- (Danny boy) How does a pigeon become a weakling based on when it learns to eat from a bowl? Would the same thought process be true for a human baby who is a “late bloomer” regarding potty training? Would you consider that child a weakling as well and would not be suited for sports or armed service, etc? I can’t quite grasp the significance of the timing issue.
Tried to be polite in my 1st post,but any other person looking at this topic will think its ok useing your type of management...but 1 look at that picture shows poor quality,stunted growth.sorry if this post hurts..but just trying to help..
 

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Babies hand raised from day old are usually behind, as they haven't even gotten their parents crop milk. Makes a huge difference. They will catch up in time and be fine. You have your way for your birds, which is fine, but not everyones way is the same, just as not everyone is raising them for the same reason. Not everyone is demanding the strongest and fastest from their birds as they are pets, not work horses.
 
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