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Hello all,

A pair of doves selected a hanging plant on my 3rd story apartment balcony to make their nest recently and had two adorable babies that hatched on August 20th. During the recent hurricane that hit the American Gulf Coast (Hurricane Harvey) the plant was swinging back and fourth rapidly and was about to fall, and the parents hadn't been around for more than a day. The 5 day old babies were soaking wet and I took the plant down and moved it back under the roof of the balcony so they would be somewhat more protected. After several more hours of waiting for the mother to come back with no luck (at this point it had been a VERY long time), I was very worried about the babies and took them inside. I put them in a box lined with some paper towels and a heating pad underneath set on low. They were extremely lethargic for the first several hours but when they warmed up they seemed to be doing better. Since it was late, I improvised some food for them with a mixture of wet puppy food and boiled eggs blended to a pudding-like consistency and they were able to eat. I did a little research and got them some Kaytee Exact Hand Feeding formula and I have been feeding them with a syringe that I cut the tip off of ever since. They have been eating enthusiastically and have been gaining weight and growing. They seem to be healthy and have been developing feathers. They have been eating relatively equal amounts (5ml syringe, 4x/day). One has been growing faster than the other and is almost fully feathered and the other is smaller, still developing feathers, and although she's a bit of a runt, seems perfectly healthy and VERY energetic. At this point they are 16 days old and they have learned to perch well and the bigger one has learned to fly short distances, so I got them a cage. I know they should be weaned soon but I haven't had much luck on finding the proper way to wean them, every website I've visited gives a different idea and only vaguely describes them. I ordered some Kaytee Exact Conversion online because that was what was recommended on the hand feeding formula jar. The conversion diet arrived today but the food is shaped like cheerios and is far to big for them to eat and I am wondering if I should use seeds or something else instead and, if so, what type food to get. I am also wondering when I should start giving them water since they have been getting all of their water from the formula. Finally, I was wondering when they can regulate their own body temperature and when I should remove the heating pad. Right now their box is inside the cage and still on top of the heating pad. I would appreciate any advice on how to go about weaning them properly and any other advice on the proper care of them! I have attached a picture of both of them, the smaller one is Bonnie and the bigger one is Clyde :)
 

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Good job! You have done very well thus far. Do you check that you are feeding enough by feeling their crop? I know more about how much a pigeon would get, and doves are smaller, but the amount does need to be increased as they grow. Also, always wait till the crop empties before feeding again. But sounds as though you are doing a great job.

Doves at about 2 weeks come out of the nest and learn from the parents how to find food, and how to pick up seeds for themselves. But these little guys don't have that option, and usually take a bit longer to mature than they would in the wild. You can buy a dove mix in many pet stores, and sprinkling some around them on a towel will usually encourage them to try to pick them up. Peck at the seed with your finger, as if it were a beak, and see if you can get them interested in them. I would wait another week or so to start with the seed. They are still young, and as I mentioned are usually behind parent raised babies. Where are you located? Please let us know as they grow and how they do. And welcome to Pigeon Talk
 
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