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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I found a nest on our porch two weeks ago. We noticed pigeons flocking on our porch for a few days before we found the eggs. We think there were actually 3 eggs, but our dog got to one before we found the nest. However, for the past two weeks the parents have been sitting faithfully on the nest, however, last night (Friday, March 14th) we noticed that the parents were not on the nest and as of now (Saturday, March 15th) they have not returned. However, I noticed that one of the eggs has some bumps on it. (it was smooth before, but now has the bumps) Is there anything we should do? We have not gone outside since we found the eggs, we have been watching through our window. Any help would be appreciated!

Thanks
 

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If the eggs are hatching, the chicks will die if left outside without the protection of the parents. You have the choice of intervening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Should I check to see if the eggs are actually fertilized? The parents were very attentative up until day 14 and now have disappeared. If the eggs were not fertilized, would they know and eventually stop tending to them?
 

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Sure. Go ahead and check.
 

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Colder than average temperatures, unless extreme, will not always kill an embryo or hatching chick, but hot temperatures almost certainly will, within minutes. Hatching birds can often be left unattended and still hatch fine--there are tons of "miracle" stories in which an egg that has been abandoned for days on the ground miraculously turns into a baby bird.

Here you will find images of a candled dove egg in the early days of incubation.

Here are some pictures of my own of pigeon eggs just 3 or so days from hatching.



With a good flash light in a dark room, the veins should be prominent along the air cell, even in a well-developed egg. If there are no veins present, give the eggs some time... But they may not be viable. If a ring appears, the embryo moves along with the egg when you shake it, foreign objects can be seen floating in the egg upon candling, the egg turns an odd color, oozes a liquid or smells foul, you know the embryo has died. Movement is a plus but immediately before the internal pip and very early in the incubation process, movement is not present.

I would also be very interested in seeing what these "bumps" are. They seem to have come on very quickly so my guess is that the eggs are hatching and will likely continue to hatch if you take them in ASAP! Though egg shell abnormalities such as coloring or texture changes may occur in rotten eggs, they take a while to appear. Take these eggs in immediately and observe them, and please do take pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here's the update: As of Sunday Morning, the parents have yet to return. We live in South Florida so the temp is pretty moderate. In the 70's and 80's. I checked the eggs to see what the bumps were and they are actually small cracks looking like they are trying to break through. I actually felt some movement and immediately returned them. We have to leave now, but will be back in a few hours. Should I keep them outside or should we bring them in? What do we do once they hatch?

I will get pictures soon!
 

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It does sound as if the eggs are hatching. If the parents still have not returned (and it's not normal for them to abandon eggs that are that close to hatching) you will need to bring the eggs in and keep them warm. A heating pad set on low covered with a towel will work. Feeding infant pigeons from day one isn't easy, but it has been done. I don't have any knowledge of Florida's geography, but perhaps one of our Florida members is close enough to be of some assistance...will PM them.
 

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I am in Miami, Fl. If you are anywhere close to me give me a call at 305-374-3525. I will be gone most of the day but will be back after 7pm.

Reti
 

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Taking the eggs in is definitely in call. As has been stated, pigeons don't normally just abandon their babies, and it's been quite a long time. Maybe for a few minutes, at the most a few hours, but never for a day or more. Please take the eggs inside.

A very quick set up is just to take a plastic container of whatever size and, using a goose-neck lamp, hang the light just over the eggs. What I'd be most worried about is overheating them at this point, so make sure it's quite a distance away.

Here is the temperatures you need to know:

Hatching temp. for eggs in a still-air environment
(meaning that you don't have a fan to circulate the warm air, so in most home-made incubators such as a box with a light in it, it is still-air)
100-102 degrees F. Try to keep it around there and the babies will do fine.

What concerns me is the lack of humidity also. If you have a hydrometer to tell you what the humidity is, try to get it to around 60% for hatching. Just place a warm, moist cloth or a few sponges in the box with the eggs to bring the humidity up.

The parents are not coming back, so unless you can find someone knowledgeable who's willing to hand-feed the babies, it's going to be up to you. If you live within a close vicinity of some of the members here, I know the babies would be in good hands. Newborn pigeons must be fed small, diluted amounts of a good hand-feeding formula made specifically for granivorous baby birds, such as Kaytee Exact, Zupreme Embrace, Lafeber Nutri-Start, Hagen Tropican, etc. Most of these can be purchased at pet stores such as PetSmart.

There are a lot of things to know about hand-feeding baby birds, especially newborns, such as the proper temperature for the hand-feeding formula, the proper preparation of the formula, the proper temperature of the brooder, and the functions of the "crop". If you plan to raise these babies you're going to need a food thermometer, preferably a digital one. This can be used to measure the temperature of the formula. Formula that is too hot can damage a bird's crop and formula that is too cold and cause crop slow-down. Cold food is not likely to be accepted as well, and will, over time, lead to the shut down of the digestive system, which is pretty severe.

Just so you know, in advance, and in case:
Food temperature: 102-107, no higher, not even by a degree. Very minimum is 100. A non-digital thermometer may be as far as 2 or 3 degrees off, which can cost you a bird's life.

Brooder temperature for newborns:
I've found that 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit is the best. A baby should feel quite warm to the touch, not intolerably hot, however. They should not feel at all cold. Adjust as necessary to keep the babies warm.

A good brooder, I find, is a container of any sort (for instance, a 5 or 10 gallon aquarium, a plastic storage bin, etc) with a heating pad on the side of the container rather than the bottom. Lots of paper towels can be added to the bottom. Shred up a few of them to make a soft nest and to ensure the baby has better grip. Splayed leg can occur if a baby has poor grip on its surface.

If you have "Grip Mat", which can be purchased at any hardware store, it is a good way to keep a baby's feet underneath it, though it must be cleaned regularly. It's environmentally friendly, however, as you will soon find you're throwing out tons of paper towels, both at feeding times and in the brooder.

The purpose of the heating pad on the side of the brooder is that the baby is not stuck on the heat if it feels too hot. It can move closer or further away to the heat as needed. They usually know what they want, but a thermometer is your best bet. Get a heating pad that does not turn off after a certain amount of time and is safe with water--read the label carefully. You can probably purchase these at drug stores.


If you end up feeding these little ones and need more information I'm sure the others would be happy to give it. There are tons of methods to use for baby birds but I feel most comfortable with the "baby bottle nipple method" for newborns. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Update #2

Egg 1 is almost hatched! We were not sure, but last night we heard some pecking fromt the inside of the egg and this morning it has made great progress. Egg 2 is starting the hatching process as well! Reti will help take the babies once they are hatched. I will post pictures when they are here.

Thanks for your help!
 

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That is so unusual that they are hatching considering they were abandoned by the parents. My Giacomo and Homer will be happy to raise those little ones.

Reti
 

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OH, this is so cool......Can't wait for pictures. Thank you Reti for offering to take these babies and thank you tmkwv2 for caring enough to find help for them. I sure hope their parents are ok, but it is very unusual for the eggs to be abandoned, so I'm thinking something must have happened to them. :(
 

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Both of them secrete crop milk the minute they see a baby. They have raised so far a mourning dove four ringnecks and a couple of pigeon babies. The pigeon babies were three weeks old when they came in begging every adult for food. Homer fed them for another week.
I am lucky to have those two, they are the best parents.


Reti
 

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Bless you Tmkwv2 and Reti for helping these babies! It's amazing to me they are hatching after being abandoned, though I also have had eggs that got cold still hatch when I placed them under foster parents. Reti, I'm so glad you have those two as fosters for the little ones. I also have some really, really good parents who will foster any babies they are given. It's always best when pigeons can raise them. They do a much better job than we humans can, despite our best efforts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Update 3: Baby 1 is now here!!! He was hatched at 1:50 pm and has already had his first meal. The second one is making progress as well. Reti will take over the project this evening! I will post pictures once I figure it out.

We are off to Reti's house!

Thanks for your help!
 

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This is really amazing. Those babies are lucky to be in Florida. Most other parts of the country they wouldn't have survived. Got to wonder what happened to the mom and dad.
 
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