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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well it was a bad week here at the farm. With all of the rain we have been getting (NE Fla), I have had to keep the pigeons locked up. On Wednesday, I was able to let them out for a bit. Unfortunately, when I went in to open the coop, I saw that one of my babies was dead. It was in full rigor but had no obvious signs of trauma and I have watched both parents feed the babies and when I checked on the birds before I went to bed the night before, everything was fine. I have read that unfortunately babies die, esp the first ones, and these were our firsts as well as our pigeons as they are young.

Anyways, so not only did I unfortunately lose a baby, while I was cleaning my barn, I lost power and everything was dark (it was night), and I went over to get a flash light from the shop, only to find my two dogs chewing on something white. And feathery. :( I was sick. It was Little ******, my white female, the momma pigeon to the one (two) babies.

I had to chase the dogs and was only able to recover her right wing and backbone. I was bawling and screaming mad but I knew the dogs (they are German Shorthaired pointers) only did what was natural and I can only think that either LW got caught in the wind or landed and in the dark the dogs caught her. I was SO upset (still am) esp because I just went in to the coop and she was the tamest of the pigeons and I had just held her like 30 mins before.

So I guess everything happens for a reason now because I dont suspect that the dad pigeon would have been able to feed both babies? I dont know but I have watched him and he is taking care of the remaining baby and it is doing very well.

So after my soap opera story, my husband and I are wondering WHEN should we get a new female for Big ****** (the male), and how exactly do we go about selecting her?

Also, I dont know when a good time is to even think about another female as I dont want her to draw attention from the remaining baby or for her to attack it or anything.

Any help with that would be really appreciated.

Prayers that Little ****** went quickly. :(
 

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I don't think it would be a problem to add another hen now.
If you are worried about the squab getting picked on or abadoned, you could wait until it 3 1/2 weeks old, when you can transfer it to your young bird loft for flight training.
Keith
 

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Sorry to hear about your losses. It is not normal for babies to die like that unless they are sick. When my breeder hen died suddenly within 24 hours after flying, it only took about a week before the cock found another female. It was that fast. What happened was that the female offered herself to the cock by going to the nest box. The cock was happy and he just accepted her. If you have babies I think it is better to wait until they wean and you can either force mate them (lock both inside a cage with a separation wire) or just let the cock choose.

The dad will usually continue to feed the babies.

Lock the door next time to be sure that nothing can get in accidentally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
My husband said we should perform an autopsy but I told him I wasnt cutting open the poor baby. It was the same baby that I posted about a few weeks back because it had some type of injury on its back. Since then, its been doing GREAT and I was honestly very surprised to see it was dead.

Our coop is a converted small chicken coop that was on property when we bought it. I am pressuring the husband to build a nicer place for the pigeons as I do not like the design of this coop, esp since we have had a week worth of rain and Im fighting to keep it dry in there. Anyways, as you can tell we are newbies to this whole pigeon thing. Theres no seperate area for young birds or anything like that. Is that needed? The woman we got the birds from kept them all together though she did have an area that was "outside" but it was all wire but kind of big. But the dogs got the female because she flew out and what happened after that I do not know but the pigeons have been here with us for 4-5 months and they have been out flying for over a month now. There is a special door my husband bought that allows them to come in with these wires that swing and during the day, we open it so they can go out as they please and then we close everything up at night.

These are homers and really LOVE being able to go out and fly and then come back and hang out on the roof, cooing and the males strutting around.

This baby was hatched on April 26th. So 1 month ago. Do I need to wean it or will the dad? When can s/he start eating seed?
 

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If the baby is still in the nest, I would put it down on the floor with access to the feed and water.
It is plenty old enough to feed itself.
A lot of young birds are lazy and don't want to eat on their own.
The father will probably still feed it on the floor and it will be more motivated to eat on it's own.
Some people keep the homers they fly and their breeders seperate, especially if the breeders are not trained to fly to the loft (prisoners)
Your pigeons will produce better if you remove the young birds after they have weaned, but it is not necessary.
Keith
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Ahhh ok. I didnt think it was weaning time as that little bird makes SO much noise when it wants to be fed. I can here it from over 50 feet away. It will be by itself on the floor. Is that ok? I am going to wait probably another week though because we have had horrible weather and the floor is soaking wet and the ants keep trying to come in.

As far as seperating, with the small area we have, they will all stay together. All of the pigeons home to the coop and go out and fly and then come back home. Heres a question: since the baby was hatched here, when he starts flying, will he naturally home or do I need to keep him inside for even longer? We kept the adults inside without flying for about 4 months, and after they were laying eggs before letting them fly. And they have homed perfectly since the first day they were out.

Will the baby just know how to eat or do I need to do anything? Thanks for the help!
 

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Yeah, 1 month baby can be weaned. In fact my baby birds at that age usually fledge out and take perches. If they don't do that the mom will kick them out. At that age the baby should know how to eat and probably drink, too. My birds can eat on their own around 3 weeks old although they only get smaller seeds and not enough to satisfy them. Their parents obviously feed them the rest.

With respect to training babies,yes, their home right now is their home. If you don't have hawk problem you can start training them at 4 weeks old. First training obviously is food call. Those babies should have learned to associate food call first. Then you try trap training. Then you can allow them to go in and out freely on an exit door. If you were able to home and train those adults you have, then you are experienced. The difference is that the baby birds still can't fly strong enough to disappear. Don't keep those baby birds locked up for 4 months. In fact by 6 or 8 weeks they are already wing strong and that they can get lost if they become too adventurous or get startled and fly off.

Here is what is going on my loft right now. I have 5 weeks old baby right now that just happened to come out today. After lingering on the ground it just try to pick on grass seeds. I think I allowed that baby bird to stay outside for 15 minutes. Then I made a food call. Initially it doesn't know what to do. But it flew up and went to the loft roof, then to the trap door. It doesn't know what to do initially, but I trained that bird trap training last week at 4 weeks old. I continued making that food call and it saw the rest of the birds inside eating so it got encouraged and went inside. Success! This bird will be released again and the time for it to be outside will take longer and longer until my maximum of 2 hours. That baby bird associated food starting around 3 weeks old when they perked when I make food call. I continue food call every time I feed them. During those 4 weeks old I also introduced that bird to see the surroundings by putting that bird on the trap aviary. It was double training at 4 weeks old: trap training and surroundings training. It was food training starting at 3 weeks old. And now flying (attempted) at 5 weeks old. As you get experienced this becomes trivial.
 

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At 1 month old that baby should be eating by itself. What I do on mine is that I give the food in their nest boxes so that when the parents are eating, they are imitating and learning. Sooner or later they will try to pick on seeds as early as 3 weeks old. By the end of 4 weeks they should be eating like a pro. The cock will continue feeding them down below maybe until 5-6th weeks. Just make sure their crop is full before sunset.

Maybe you can also try feeding the parents down below as well. That way they will learn from them if they haven't learn so.

That wet floor is probably the cause of your baby dying. It probably got salmonella (bacteria). Keep the loft dry always. Damp and wet is perfect for bacteria to multiply.
 

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If the floor is dirt and wet, I suggest putting down several inches of sand to raise it up and keep it dry.
Sand is cheap, drains well, provides some grit and can be used in the garden once it is soiled. It's great for growing asparagus.
The coarser concrete sand works better than the fine play sand.
I keep sand in my flights and by pigeons like to lay on it and stretch out like they are sunbathing at the beach after they take a bath in the water bowls..
Keith
 

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If you have a wet loft the last thing you need is a new bird to make more babies in there...I would redo or build a proper loft that will help in keeping your birds healthy so you won't have anymore dead babies, there is some kind of health issue when one just dies most of the time...
 
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