So long as the Baby has been fed by their Pigeon Parents uteill say day five or so, then, so long as we, as surrogate parents, provide adequate nutrition and feeding in general, the Baby-unto-Adult will be on parr with any Wild Pigeon as far as their growth and development.
If we are starting with a just hatched Neonate, or very very young Neonates less than say four or five days old, it might be more dicey, as we have no way to provide the antibodies or other subtle and important materials the natural Pigeon Milk from their Pigeon Parents provide.
Generally, out of prudence, or caution of Crop Problems, people who are raising a Pigeon Baby will not feed as generously or as often as the Pigeon-Parents would...so, people raised Babys may develop more slowly or be smaller in size as they develop.
It should be fine to leave him with Seeds and Water by day...so long as he is safe from dangers of other people, dogs, cats or whatever.
And, allow him all the explorations you can, and exercise, of course.
Do you wish to release him once he is old enough?
If so, start now and waste no time, in letting him peck and spend time with a feral flock as they graze, as you supervise from a short distance of course...once he is flying, it will be too late to do so, and you will have missed the time window he will have needed, for his gaining his socialization skills and wild-modes-awareness he needs to acquire from them, which you do not have to offer...this is an important learning time for them, which their Pigeon Parents do once the youngster is flying...but, which we have to do before they are flying.
If the feathers aren't coming in around his face, it could be an indication of canker. It can also slow down growth.
Canker is easy to treat and probably the parents and your other pigeon should be treated too because Fred would have gotten canker form his parents.
Canker is a single cell parasite that most pigeons carry. Young birds are especially susceptible to an out break because their immune system hasn't developed.
Canker is treated with metronidazole and others, all of which can be purchased on line from pigeon supply. Jedd's Pigeon Supply is located in California and would be a good one for you to order from.
I hand rear many of my birds (some in the house, some under their parents who are unable/unwilling to feed them but will still sit on them), and can say that I have not noticed any stunted growth or development, only a longer weaning process - especially in those birds raised indoors (even if I have an older baby pigeon with them near weaning to help "teach them the ropes").
I agree - poor growth and development is generally a sign of either underlying illness (like canker as already mentioned), or also preparing the formula too thinly.
You probably already know this, but for anyone who does not: Formula should progress in thickness (from watery days 1-10, then gradually thickening to applesauce consistency near weaning).
Also, I have succesfully reared babies from day 1 with no access to pigeon milk when using Roudybush Squab formula on days 1-5 (feeding around 4 times a day). Folks who routinely experience rejected or unfed babies should keep this stuff on hand. It's great, but make it thin and use a thermometer to ensure proper temperature, or it stays in the crop. I gradually incorporate Kaytee Exact into the formula until by day 10 or 11 I am no longer using the Roudybush Squab, just the Exact, and I feed 3 times a day. As my babies reach approximately 20 days, I begin mixing in pulverized Harrison's High Potency Pellets to the Exact formula and am feeding twice a day. I make certain feed and water are always available at this point. By day 25 I am alternating feedings (2 a day) of formula with feedings of water, seed, and pellets. (warm water via syringe, seed and pellets poured into the mouth, peas popped in one at a time) The babies start picking at seeds/pellets between 25-30 days, and some dont wean fully until 40 days. After 30 days I feed formula only in the evenings at dusk, and I don't fill them up all the way.
The babies have all grown and feathered at the same rate as the other babies being raised by parents or fosters (I raise short beaked birds), unless I have two big birds hand raising just one small bodied baby - then it seems to grow faster because it's being fed a lot!
Hope this helps.
I would definitely look into possible infections or illness that could be contributing to the stunted growth and treat baby and parents accordingly.
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