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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is the second set of abandoned baby rock pigeons I'm raising and I'm not sure when I should start adding seed and water to their diet. I've estimated they are between 15-17 days old. I've learned so much on this site, and was just curious if anyone also has any ideas on these staying at the house this time. My last pair just never came home one day, and I don't want that to happen again. Can I keep them as pets and let them free fly?
Thanks so much in advance!:)
 

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You can hand feed defrosted corn and peas. Run some hot water over them until they are defrosted and slightly warmed. Put the bird on your lap and hold it next to your body. If it helps, you can wrap a towel around it or put it in the sleeve of a tee shirt, with the head out the wrist. That confines them without hurting them and makes it easier to handle. Gently open the beak and pop the piece of corn and peas at the back of the mouth and over the throat.
You will need to feed 40-50 per feeding and every time the crop empties until you know the baby is eating on his own.
This is a wonderful method for teaching babies to eat because they feel the whole food in their mouth and it’s soft and easy to pick up and hang on to. The next step… seeds.
The crop is located right below the throat and with food it fills up like a little balloon. The peas and corn make it lumpy and squishy.
 

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Do the feeding method Charis describes above. It's easy and very nutritional. From that method, then can segue into eating/pecking solids on their own.

Regarding the second half of the question:

You need to make a decision, really.

Are these to be your domesticated, human-bonded pets ? Or are they to be released back into the Feral world ?

It would be wonderful if pigeons would agree to being half of each, and have a foot in both worlds. But that's not how they are wired.

If you wanna keep them as your friends, they can have a wonderful life under the care of a loving human if you give them the right sort of housing and care.

If you want them to be Feral and return to the world into which they were born...one has to do much more than feed them until they grow up and then just let them go outside one day.

There is a process called "soft release" which you absolutely HAVE TO do if you intend on releasing them. It mimics (in an abbreviated version) what the babies would learn by following their parents around for a while, once they fledge and leave the nest.

Just because they can fly does not mean they have the tools to make it in the Feral world. From mom and dad they learn how to eat and forage, and how to avoid predators and vehicular danger. They learn how to socialize in a flock, and how to stick with other pigeons for security.

Feel free to either do a search on the Forum for "soft release" or just PM me and I can give you instructions. It takes about 15 minutes/day for about 1 week or so....and can be started when they are about 6 weeks old.... but they should not be released before 8 weeks old absolute minimum.

Thanks for helping the babies !
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for your responses... I've started putting small seed in with the formula and they are beginning to peck at it as well as drink from a water dish. I noticed this evening that it's been 6 hours since my husband fed them while I was at work and one of the birds crop is still huge..I'm worried a bit. When should I really get concerned?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would really like to keep them as pets.. After my last set left and never returned I was heart broken.. I work at a prison so the inmates are always finding abandoned baby birds and bringing them to me.
 
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