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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first forum ever of any kind and hope I am doing this right. I recently rescued a baby pigeon (Duke/Dutchess) from sure death in a steel mill. I raised pigeons as a youngster and felt it my duty to take him/her home. Duke has lived with me for 10 weeks in the basement an guessing his age at the time of rescue as about 4-6 weeks he is now about 4 months old. We have become very close and I am very attached. The reason for the extensive background is I need assistance in making a descision. I had him outside when he was unable to fly, but not since he has become able to fly. I want to take him out and let him exercise and enjoy his God given gift of flight. My problem is I'm so attached and affraid he will wonder off and not be able to make it through this cold Indiana winter. My selfish thought is to keep him/her in the basement till next spring, but this is not fair to Duke. Could someone please help me with this heart felt decision.
 

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Hello Chutez, Welcome to Pigeon Talk. Since he is acclimated to indoor temperature, I would wait until Spring. Hang on...other members will respond soon.
 

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Do not release Duke. He has become human imprinted and it would be highly unlikely that he could now survive on his own. He has not learned from his pigeon parents how to forrage for food for himself, nor has he learned the natural fear of predators. He would be a very easy target out there. You didn't care for him and save him so he could either starve or freeze to death.

I would keep him with you through the winter, and in the spring if you can find a rehabber that has other pigeons they could possibly do a "soft release".

In the meantime, if you allow him to fly around the basement during the day and you spend time interacting with him, he will be fine.

Your attachment to him is a special bond, and if you choose to do so, you can keep him as a pet. Pigeons make wonderful pets. Just enjoy him and love him.

Iwish you and Duke the best.
 

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A bit more info would help ? What were the circumstances in which you found him ? Was he hurt ?...had he been attacked? Did he fall from a nest ? Were his parents still tending him ? I am assuming he was not fledged yet.

In a nutshell...you have to make a decision between these two alt's (there really are no in-betweens):

1) He is kept as a companion bird...and you come up with better digs than leaving him in the basement....but the thought of flying free in the open blue sky is then not an option. So his life will need to be enriched with other pigeon-positive aspects.

2) When the worst of Winter has passed, you "soft release" him back to the feral world. I do not necessarily think it would be out of the question; but you would have to study up on it and see how he is reacting to the 'soft release' process. If where you live is safe for and has other ferals; and you provide him/then with food.....he may well still visit you quite often. And if your house isn't in such a place, you must find a good locale with healthy flocks. But the process must be "soft release"...which is way more than just letting him go one day. If you observe, during the soft release process, that he is not "cluing in" to the ferals he is observing, then don't release him.

It would be wonderful if we all had the in-between solution: "I am gonna soft release him and he will still be semi-domesticated, so he will come visit me and hang out with me and let me handle him....so he will have the liberty of sometimes being with the flock, and sometimes with me. " Or, even better..."He lives at my house but goes out and joins the ferals from time to time, but always comes back home for the night." But that's not the way pigeons do things.

It's one of those decisions that tears at the heart, but...it needs to be made eventually.

There are 2 arguments here...IMHO since he was 4+ weeks when you found him, that usually gives him a good chance to be released. I have taken care of babies for 4-6 weeks and then done successful soft releases....but I dunno after 10+ weeks of human-bonding (if indeed he is really comfortable with you) could certainly erase some of that potential....
 

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He can fly inside. You can take him outside in the cage to get some sun. If you release him during the winter, he will not survive.
Flying free is very romantic picture people usually imagine, but real life is not flying only, starvation, diseases, predators, cold and rain are part of reality too.
 

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Is there a reason he needs to stay in the basement?
 

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This is my first forum ever of any kind and hope I am doing this right. I recently rescued a baby pigeon (Duke/Dutchess) from sure death in a steel mill. I raised pigeons as a youngster and felt it my duty to take him/her home. Duke has lived with me for 10 weeks in the basement an guessing his age at the time of rescue as about 4-6 weeks he is now about 4 months old. We have become very close and I am very attached. The reason for the extensive background is I need assistance in making a descision. I had him outside when he was unable to fly, but not since he has become able to fly. I want to take him out and let him exercise and enjoy his God given gift of flight. My problem is I'm so attached and affraid he will wonder off and not be able to make it through this cold Indiana winter. My selfish thought is to keep him/her in the basement till next spring, but this is not fair to Duke. Could someone please help me with this heart felt decision.
can you build a flight aviary for him? he can go out there on the sunny days to spread his wings.
 

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Hi chutez and welcome to PT. You will find lots of info on this site for your new pijie friend and lots of help. We had a lost pij show up last winter on our front porch and kept him in a pen in our garage all winter. Then we got him a friend from a local pigeon guy. In the spring, I put them in another cage and took them outside numerous times to sun and look around. After a few months, I released one at a time...Flurry the male. All he did was walk around and then sit on Snow's cage. Would not leave her. If I let Snow out...same thing. I did this for several weeks. Now if I let them out, they just take a couple laps around the house, walk around the yard, sit on their BirdHouse (coop) and then go back inside. They stay out 10 minutes, 15 tops. They love their BirdHouse. I do have an attached aviary to the BH so they (and the two Kings I adopted from Elizabeth/ rescuereport.org)have access to the outside at all times.
I would agree with the others tho and keep him inside for he winter. Maybe think about adopting him a friend, wait till spring and try the 'one at a time'
suggestion.
Stay tuned . . .there will be others along to help you out. ;)

:eek: No Elizabeth . . . I do not let KariJo and Anthony out :p
 

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I would not let him outside....If he was to get out right now with winter coming, he for sure would not make it. He has none of the abilities for him to do it on his own...he has to learn them with other pigeons.

Is there no place in the main house for him to fly?
I have kept pigeons indoors for 3yrs, and they show no ill effects...they have never been outdoor till now (just completed my loft).

The reason why he would most likely fly off, would be do to being scared. The sounds, and colors of out doors would be very new to him.

Where are you located?
We have a few members in Indiana. Maybe one of us could help you out?
I also have pet pigeons, one was a hand raised feral....

Can you build a flight pen in your area?? That would be a very safe way to let him fly.

-Hilly
 

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chutez, great job on saving this little one. I also think you should keep him inside for the winter, but I think he should have free flight inside the house. The chances of losing him outside flying around is to high in my book. They do make pigeon diapers if the poop is a problem. If he did fly off on his his outside chances of survival are probably zero since he is human imprinted. Come spring if you do choose to set him free I would get plenty of opinions on how to do a soft release for his best chances of survival. Is there a reason why Duke can't be upstairs where all the action is. If you have a cage and as long as he has some free flight time outside of the cage I'm sure he will be very happy. Would love to see pictures of Duke. mindy
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I really want to keep him as a pet because of both his and my attachment. Although I would like him to enjoy healthy outdoor flight occasionally.

When I found him he was barely standing and obviously on the edge of starvation...mere skin and bone. He was staggering toward an area of the mill

with temperaures in excess of 2000 degs. He still had a lot of his baby feathers protruding from his new feathers. So his age was really nothing

but a guess on my part. Would anyone advise me as to whether or not I should take him outside at this age. He comes to me when I whistle or make a

clicking sound. Please advise.

I had a major accident since the above writing and apologize for my tardiness with this thread. Duke and I have become best Buddies and he now has

the run of the house including the basement. I have decided to keep him as a pal and will provide for him/her as needed. I really appreciate all

that have replied to my call for assistance. I will be back from time to time to let all of you know how Duke is progressing. He has recently

passed puberty and the baby chirp is gone and is now trying to coo. Would this be an indication of his approximate age? All of you folks are great

and I will be in touch. Thanks to all of you.
 

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Loved the picture and Duke is beautiful. My personal opinion is not to take him outside. The chances of him getting scared and flying off and never coming back are just to great in my book. And since he doesn't know how to find food it would be a death sentence for him. Since he is so attached to you he doesn't even know he is a bird. You are his family and thats what he wants to be with. I have 2 starlings that I hand raised since 3 days old. They live on top of my head and just want to be with me. I don't let them outside either. As long as he gets to fly around the house for a couple hours a day he is getting to spread his wings and he really looks happy just like you do with him. I hope your feeling better and sorry to hear about your accident.
 

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Love the pictures...the both of you are as cute as can be Thing is...the basement environment isn't the best because there is no natural sunlight and most living creatures need that to stay healthy.
Mindy's right...he doesn't have any concept of being a Pigeon and if you put him outside on his own he would starve, freeze or be victim of a predator.
I think the two of you are a cute couple.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Not to worry Duke and I stroll outside now with him either at my feet walking with me or on my shoulder enjoying the fall weather. He is always close to me no matter what we do. He loves being with me and has become my best friend. Having the run of the house has solidified our friendship and his security.
 

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Just a warning, many and I mean many people have lost there dear pets doing what you do. Something could scare it and fly away. I hope you make the right decision I would hate for you to lose duke. mindy
 

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That's true. People have had hawks dive bomb a pigeon sitting on their owners shoulder. You wouldn't think so, but it's true. If that were to happen, poor Duke would be so terrified that he would fly off, and probably get lost. It happens. Just as bad, the hawk could catch him right off your shoulder. I'd only have him outside in a cage or enclosure where it would be safe.
 

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Hello,
wow he is CUTE!

As far as age goes, if those pictures are up todate.. I would still say he is a youngster....maybe a bit over 30days or around 30, but not much. He still has that baby look...

Yep, many have lost their pets do to allowing them outdoors....but in the end it is your choice.

I'm located in Southern,IN, if I can ever help you out let me know.
-Hilly
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks again everyone...

I sure would'nt want anything to happen to Duke so I have followed the advise of all. I am no longer taking him outside free to fly. I have a very large cage which we visit when the weather is good otherwise we hang around in the family room which has a very large picture window. He seems content to sit on the back of the couch next to the window and check things out or on my shoulder leaning against my neck dosing as I rub his neck. (his usaual place to hang out).

By the way I think Duke is a he for sure now. Just the other day I had a pair of two tone gray socks on and he started cooing and circling my feet dragging his fanned out tail. Is this a true indication of his gender? It sure was comical.
 

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chutez, well you made me laugh out loud just now. Just picturing Duke have fun with your two tone gray socks and your feet. I would say its a male lets see if it lays an egg. Sometimes thats the only way I can tell. But I'm new at this. Glad you took the advice and your keeping him inside and when your outside its in a cage. You won't regret you decision. So happy you saved Duke and the two of you sound and look happy. Great job. Whenever I see 2 tone gray socks I will be thinking of DUKE. min
 
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