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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!

I am an LVT and have taken on the task of raising a pigeon who's nest was blown out of a building last weekend. I have had him since Monday and I feel like we are progressing well. Baby pigeons are a rarity of baby birds to show up at our hospital. I need help determining his age and feeding amount/schedule. I've tried comparing him to pictures of babies and can't seem to nail his age.

On Thursday he weighed in at 16 grams.

I've started feeding him @ sunrise and feed him throughout daylight hours about every 2-3 hours (About 5-6 feedings a day). I'm using the balloon-syringe method with Lafeber's baby bird formula. I've joked that he treats it as a beer bong and sucks it down in less than 20 seconds. He's eating roughly 15 mL's a feeding.

He has just started taking steps, but just on his hocks, not fully standing.

His dark feathers are coming in and are shedding their 'quill covers'.

I've raised mostly blackbirds and robins in the past, and boy does this feel like a different ball game. I can't get over how big his crop is and how much he eats in one setting. And I thought baby black birds were pigs!

Thanks for any help.


Picture is from Tuesday night.
 

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Hi Meldawgofcc,

Welcome to Pigeon-Talk and thanks for helping this little guy out.

He looks to be about round 12 days old, I put a link below that is helpful in determining their age. I also placed a link below that gives some good information on hand raising a baby, it sounds like you are doing well, you may just need to start adjust the number of feedings a day. At about three weeks old you can start to put a seed dish in with him and scatter some seeds around the dish for him to peck at. I will look for some links on weaning and post them later.

http://www.mumtazticloft.com/BabyPigeons.asp

http://www.internationaldovesociety.com/Recipes/handfeedinghelp.htm

Good luck with him and if you have any other questions just ask away, lots of people here will be happy to help you out,

Karyn
 

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Thank you so much for helping this baby.

Are the joints in his legs and wings swollen, or does he have an injury/bruising/trauma?

Where do you live, perhaps we can help you find someone to take a look at him?
 

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It's very important to feed the baby only when the crop is empty because adding food to a crop that has food already in it, can cause a bacterial; infection which may be fatal.
15 ml's per feeding sounds about right and gradually increasing the amount as the baby grows.
This baby is about at the age where you can begin to feed whole foods such as defrosted peas and corn.
I also think you should check him for canker.
 

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Pre-written feeding instructions...


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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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks!

Thanks everyone for replying!

I'm going to try to run down the line of replies here.

Karyn- Thank you for your age estimate. I was thinking he was somewhere along there and had seen other charts that were not as helpful. After reading over your second link, I believe that when you say to make a schedule adjustment - it is not as often, yes? I check his crop before feeding him and it feels flatter and 'squishier'. I'm still amazed at their body size and crop size.

Treesa - All joints and limbs look good. By what the Good Samaritan that picked him up said, it sounds like the nest took the brunt of the fall. I'm in Virginia. One of the vets I work with actually does lots of avian and wildlife work, and we work closely with a local rehaber. It's about this time of year our rehaber gets SWAMPED w baby everythings (squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, birds, deer) so I offered to hold on to this one and help lighten her load. Our avian/wildlife vet was on vacation last week, so once she is back in the office I'm going to have her do a checkup on him just to make sure there isn't anything I'm overlooking.

Charis- Thank you for the peas and corn idea. My dog had surgery a couple of months ago and I still have frozen peas out the wazoo from icing his incisions. I've been checking his crop before feeds and it feels deflated. Do tell about checking for canker.

Again, thanks everyone! I'm so glad to have 'met' you guys.

:) Melanie
 

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He weighed 16 grams when you got him? Are you sure it wasn't 160 grams?

I agree, he does look about 2 weeks old in that picture. Here is another site that has pigeons as they develop.
http://www.speedpigeon.com/baby_racing_pigeon.htm

I've never heard of the formula you are describing, I always use kaytee exact. At that stage in development, I think you won't have any problem. You can start mixing in seeds to the formula, and gradually give him more seeds. Just make sure his crop empties out completely once a day and you should do fine. I've heard some debate about wether the crop has to empty completely before each feeding. I don't think the parents do that. But definatly make sure it is completly empty before the first morning feeding.
 

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It's a beautiful little baby and I am so glad you are taking care of it and the picture you took makes its wings and feet (can't see look awkward) anyway you could post a more up to date picture when you get time and what a lucky bird it is--Thanks for your expert and loving care for it....c.hert
 

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Thanks everyone for replying!

Karyn- Thank you for your age estimate. I was thinking he was somewhere along there and had seen other charts that were not as helpful. After reading over your second link, I believe that when you say to make a schedule adjustment - it is not as often, yes? I check his crop before feeding him and it feels flatter and 'squishier'. I'm still amazed at their body size and crop size.
Hi Melanie,

Yes, a little more, and not as often. The last one I hand raised, I was feeding around 30ml three times a day, morning, afternoon, night, at just past two weeks old. I know the link I posted for you says 40ml, every bird is a bit different, if you feel he can take a bit more than 30ml, you can add a bit more. I always feel that instead of going by firm numbers, let the crop tell you how much to feed. The nice thing about the pigeon age link I posted for you is you can see in some of the photos what a nicely filled crop should look like.

If you do decide to supplement with some peas and corn, as Charis suggests, make sure you take this into account when feeding, as he will not be able to take 40 pieces and then the tube feeding at the same time. The best way is to feel the crop area and make sure it has emptied before adding anything more.

Karyn
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes ... 160 grams... sorry for the typo.

I'll let him know at the next feeding that our schedule is going to tighten up a bit. Thank you for confirming that his feedings can be spaced further apart. This of course will spoil me rotten after being used to the frequent feedings of black birds.

I looked for the Kaytee's ... we live in an extremely rural area so I could not find it. The brand I did find seems compatible to the Kaytees.

Charis - I pried open his little beak looking for lesions. He slapped me in the face with one of his wings. It took me a while to stop laughing, but I got a pretty good second look and I do not see any lesions. Since there is such a prevalence of this in pigeons, is it common to treat a baby prophylactically?

Thanks again everyone, I also think he's super cute.
 

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He weighed 16 grams when you got him? Are you sure it wasn't 160 grams?

I agree, he does look about 2 weeks old in that picture. Here is another site that has pigeons as they develop.
http://www.speedpigeon.com/baby_racing_pigeon.htm

I've never heard of the formula you are describing, I always use kaytee exact. At that stage in development, I think you won't have any problem. You can start mixing in seeds to the formula, and gradually give him more seeds. Just make sure his crop empties out completely once a day and you should do fine. I've heard some debate about wether the crop has to empty completely before each feeding. I don't think the parents do that. But definatly make sure it is completly empty before the first morning feeding.
I've noticed that parents do let the crop empty before feeding. Really...the pea and corn feeding method is so easy.
 

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Yes ... 160 grams... sorry for the typo.

I'll let him know at the next feeding that our schedule is going to tighten up a bit. Thank you for confirming that his feedings can be spaced further apart. This of course will spoil me rotten after being used to the frequent feedings of black birds.

I looked for the Kaytee's ... we live in an extremely rural area so I could not find it. The brand I did find seems compatible to the Kaytees.

Charis - I pried open his little beak looking for lesions. He slapped me in the face with one of his wings. It took me a while to stop laughing, but I got a pretty good second look and I do not see any lesions. Since there is such a prevalence of this in pigeons, is it common to treat a baby prophylactically?

Thanks again everyone, I also think he's super cute.
Canker manifests in different ways other than in the lesions in the mouth. I would treat him for canker, if he was here with me.

I love it that he wing slapped you.
 

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Well, for the amount of feathers that he has, he does have a lot of bald spots, especially around the face and neck area. This usually indicates that the bird has canker. I would definitely treat him for canker. If you wait too long, it is much harder to cure.
 

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I don't like how awkwards it looks in that photo and if you could get another picture of him or her---this would sure help--for all concerned---that position bothers me and I am seriously concerned until I can get another look at your baby...c.hert
 

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Maybe to give you a bit more confidence in doing this saving a baby pigeon I have a link here for you to look at some pictures and stuff like that--I have to just type the address in because I don't know how to link things as of yet (not computer savy)--- so the address is : http://kjcii.webs.com/handfeeding.htm and I sure hope this works--just to give you confidence that these things can be done....c.hert
 

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Yes, could you possibly get another shot of him from the front and side maybe?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
More Pictures From This Morning

Happy Easter to everyone that celebrates it!

These are pictures from this morning's feedings. He hadn't had breakfast yet and was doing the happy wing dance.

He must be the sassiest pigeon on earth. I've seen the photos of everyone cleaning their pigeons face after feeding. The minute I put down his syringe and reach for the washcloth he's already made it back inside the carrier. I try reaching in and doing it, but he puts up a big scene and makes me feel like I'm killing him. It's quite similar to that of a toddler in the grocery store :)

I think at work we still have this paste metronidazole that is really dilute for kittens/cats. I'll see if we still have that, it should be easy to mix into his feedings.
 

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