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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Yesterday I found a feral pigeon that - according to internet pics - looks to be about three weeks old (no tail feathers yet)
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He's been very nervous, so after an overnight stay in a warm box, I put him in a semi-covered cage in the warm sunshine, today. (I'm in Australia, so lovely weather at the moment.)

During the day he seemed to relax quite a bit, then I realised (about 24 hours after he'd been here :-/) that he doesn't know how to feed or drink, by himself!

I bought some frozen corn and peas, gave him about 25-30, warmed and softened, but am having difficulty getting water into him. Plus, I'm not confident and am concerned I'll get it wrong and hurt him. I dipped the peas and corn in warm water laced with honey and pink himalayan salt, in an attempt to get him a bit hydrated.

Could anyone here please coach me through how to get water into him, as well as how to get him drinking and pecking for seeds, by himself, and how often I should be feeding him. (I'm finding it very difficult to ascertain how full his crop is or isn't). And, I'm rather afraid of the whole germ thing ...

I feel so grateful to have found a forum such as this, where I can ask such questions. Thanks, in advance! :)
 

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Thank you for helping this young bird.

If he doesn't have any tail, then a predator may have gotten him. It is good you brought him in then.

You don't need to supplement water if you are feeding wet corn and/or peas. Do not add salt. You will need to give the bird supplement calcium/D3.

Make sure food is warm and bird is warm before feeding, and feed only when crop is empty, 3 or 4 meals per day. His crop should look like a bean bag, somewhat soft not hard when it is full. The link will also have pictures, under "how much to feed".

Here is the link on caring for baby/young pigeons. http://www.pigeonrescue.co.uk/caringforababypigeon.htm
 

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He will soon start pecking the peas from your fingers if you're not quick enough with the feeding. Once he starts doing that you can leave a small bowl of peas with him and he will start eating them. Then you can start adding some seeds to the peas. You can also leave a small bowl of water with him, throw a couple of peas in the water and he will be curious about that.

No need for water when he's on peas, they have a lot of moisture. But once he starts eating seeds he will need to drink.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Skyeking, thanks for your reply, it's really helpful!

Do I need to keep the bird warm after feeding, too? I read about the salt here: http://www.pigeonrescue.co.uk/ I wasn’t using white table salt (sodium chloride) but Pink Himalayan salt (1/4 teaspoon to 250 ml water) as it has lots of minerals and trace elements. Do you think dipping his peas and corn in water with the honey and salt as per that recipe, would be ok? I’m finding it difficult to feel his crop as his neck and breast feathers are a bit hard and crusty. Should I try gently cleaning them with a cloth and warm water? Also, it’s summer here, so I’m trying to give him some sunshine each day. If he gets this, will he need supplemental calcium/D3?

Marina B, these are great ideas, thanks! Do you have any thoughts re my questions above?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Also, can I feed him small amounts of cooked pumpkin, sweet potato or banana(it's quite squishy)? And, he has quite a bit of droppings on his feathers (from the nest?) - would it be good for me to try and clean him up a bit, and if so, what should I use (would I use any very mild disinfectant)?

I apologise if my questions are inane, and I appreciate, very much, your willingness to help!
 

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Please do not give him salt. You can clean him off with a cloth soaked in warm water. Eventually he will bathe if you set up a container large enough for him to get into, and a couple of inches high. Don't add anything to it. A disinfectant won't be good for him.
Don't worry, you won't catch anything from him. Just wash your hands well after handling, like you would with any animal. They really don't like pumpkin or banana or sweet potato. Baby food peas or carrots would be better.
To get him to learn to drink, hold his beak on either side and gently dip it into some tepid water, but not over the nostrils. Do this several times a day, and he will eventually learn to drink.
Can you post a pic of the bird?
Where did you find him? His parents may have been around and caring for him.
 

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No need for extra heat when they are 3 weeks old. Do you put him outside in the sun every day? Hopefully in a little cage, he will soon start to fly and you don't want him to escape. If he gets direct sunshine (not thru a window) then no need for extra vit D.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi all,

I'll reply to you all soon, but for now have another question. I've begun putting the end of his beak in water after meals, and he's begun drinking!! :) But he goes crazy and puts his in it, nostrils and all, and I'm finding it hard to control how much of his beak goes into the water. Will he injure himself putting his nostrils in teh water when he drinks? Anything I can do? Also, if he seems hungry just 3 hours after a meal, and it feels to me (not that I can easily tell) like there is still a bit of food in his crop, should I feed him? Or try giving him more water? (Does water need to especially be before or after food, or anything?)

Thanks again, very much!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Also, I read that they love canned chickpeas, and I got him some but they seemed so big. I tried splitting or squashing them to soften them a bit but at one point he's seemed to almost be gagging on one, and I got really scared and stopped. Would they be too big for him, or was it my imagination?

Also, he seems to be almost a little bald on his chest and quite bald under his wings. Is this normal or a cause for concern?

And he has a strange kind of sweet odour. Is this pigeon smell??
 

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Don't worry about the drinking of water, he will be fine. Feed him when he seems hungry and also leave the peas with him so that he can start practicing how to eat on his own. Peas go thru the system very quickly. Once he starts eating them by himself you will be amazed how much they really can eat.

Don't worry about the baldness, that's the last spots on his body that will get feathers. Although a photo of him will be nice.
 

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Frozen peas, which are defrosted and warmed, would be better than canned which normally have a lot of salt.
It's different if he is putting his own beak into the water deeply. I just told you not to hold it in over his nostrils.
 

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Hi all,

But he goes crazy and puts his in it, nostrils and all, and I'm finding it hard to control how much of his beak goes into the water. Will he injure himself putting his nostrils in teh water when he drinks? Anything I can do?

Thanks again, very much!!
That sounds very normal, sounds like he has interest in bathing, provide him a cat litter type dish with water (not too deep) and watch him splash around. I have had youngsters who loved bathing at around 3 weeks of age, just make sure it is warm and sunny.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
He will soon start pecking the peas from your fingers if you're not quick enough with the feeding. Once he starts doing that you can leave a small bowl of peas with him and he will start eating them. Then you can start adding some seeds to the peas. You can also leave a small bowl of water with him, throw a couple of peas in the water and he will be curious about that.

No need for water when he's on peas, they have a lot of moisture. But once he starts eating seeds he will need to drink.
He thrashes his head around as if he wants the peas and corn but doesn't yet know to open his beak to get them. It's fun, watching him taking the steps to learn how to do things!!:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Frozen peas, which are defrosted and warmed, would be better than canned which normally have a lot of salt.
It's different if he is putting his own beak into the water deeply. I just told you not to hold it in over his nostrils.
Thanks for clarifying re his beak and water. I just thought that the reason to not put their beaks in water might be that their nostrils must never go in water, so I was worried that he might injure himself.

The canned peas I heard they love were chickpeas (garbanzos), not green peas, which I'm already giving him defrosted and warmed. I'd love to know if anyone has used chickpeas successfully, at this age, as I'm scared to try them again. (I bought unsalted, and also rinsed them.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Don't worry about the drinking of water, he will be fine. Feed him when he seems hungry and also leave the peas with him so that he can start practicing how to eat on his own. Peas go thru the system very quickly. Once he starts eating them by himself you will be amazed how much they really can eat.

Don't worry about the baldness, that's the last spots on his body that will get feathers. Although a photo of him will be nice.
If I leave peas or corn with him, he won't eat more than he should?

I've tried posting photos of him, but they won't upload:( If I could email them to anyone to try uploading, I'd be happy to!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
No need for extra heat when they are 3 weeks old. Do you put him outside in the sun every day? Hopefully in a little cage, he will soon start to fly and you don't want him to escape. If he gets direct sunshine (not thru a window) then no need for extra vit D.
Yes, sunshine each day, in his cage. It's summer here, so it's lovely for him, outside. (I keep his cage partly in shade and partly covered for coziness, in case he needs it.) I think it's nice for him to be outside where there's trees and other birds nearby! I bring him inside in the evening and am wondering when I should begin leaving his cage out - in a secure spot - overnight. I don't want him to get too cold and become sick, but I also want him to toughen up, at some point, for his eventual release ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Please do not give him salt. You can clean him off with a cloth soaked in warm water. Eventually he will bathe if you set up a container large enough for him to get into, and a couple of inches high. Don't add anything to it. A disinfectant won't be good for him.
Don't worry, you won't catch anything from him. Just wash your hands well after handling, like you would with any animal. They really don't like pumpkin or banana or sweet potato. Baby food peas or carrots would be better.
To get him to learn to drink, hold his beak on either side and gently dip it into some tepid water, but not over the nostrils. Do this several times a day, and he will eventually learn to drink.
Can you post a pic of the bird?
Where did you find him? His parents may have been around and caring for him.
Thanks!

I've tried posting pics but it keeps failing :(

I found him on the grass nature strip outside our home, about to step onto the road, as I was parking my car, two and a half days ago. Here, the deal is euthanasia, if you hand any bird in that is not an Australian native. I spoke to the Wildlife rescue people and they said he may have come quite a fair way, and as I never see feral pigeons near our home, I went looking, and finally found a few at a park about one hundred yards down the road from us - they were on the roofs of the houses behind the park, and in the tall palm trees. It was just a small number of pigeons, but the only ones for at least a one mile radius from our home. When I found him, it was a very hot day, and he was disoriented, very nervous, and not in a good way. He's starting to get stumpy tail feathers but didn't have any then, and I had to decide between leaving him for his parents (or predators) to find, or caring for him. I don't know about such things and feel bad that his parents may be distressed and looking for him, but figured he might have a better chance, with some care (albeit amateur).

Today when I clean out his cage, I'm going to try and also clean him up a bit, then put him in the sunshine to dry off.

Thanks, again!:)
 

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If I leave peas or corn with him, he won't eat more than he should?
If you don't give him more than he should have, then he can't eat too many.


I've tried posting photos of him, but they won't upload:( If I could email them to anyone to try uploading, I'd be happy to!
..........................................................
 

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Here are the pics.





 

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I have to say that I know you mean well, and while it is very good to get him outside in the sunshine, it really isn't safe in that cage. A dog could knock it over. A cat can reach in between those bars and grab him. I know it seems unlikely, but we have had members that these things have happened to.
He is fluffed up in the pictures. Is he usually puffed up like that?
 
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