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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I took in a male and fEmale pigeon that were rescued. Bonded in September. Several clutches! No success. Finally, the mama is sitting on two young Monday night. I am ecstatic and take a photo. I leave them alone Tuesday and go back to their cote Wednesday night and the mother is laying dead on the food counter. She was so fat and healthy! I am still in shock but have found several respurces to learnfrom including this page. They are in my shop in an aquarium on a heatig pad and hay bedding. I have fed them for two days now and got some kaytee exact tonight. They loved it. What now? The male is not interested. How long do I feed them? When do I put them back? Will the male kill them? What happened to Mom? Can my pigeons and doves share an aviary?
Thanks,
Zeeknos
 

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I took in a male and fEmale pigeon that were rescued. Bonded in September. Several clutches! No success. Finally, the mama is sitting on two young Monday night. I am ecstatic and take a photo. I leave them alone Tuesday and go back to their cote Wednesday night and the mother is laying dead on the food counter. She was so fat and healthy! I am still in shock but have found several respurces to learnfrom including this page. They are in my shop in an aquarium on a heatig pad and hay bedding. I have fed them for two days now and got some kaytee exact tonight. They loved it. What now? The male is not interested. How long do I feed them? When do I put them back? Will the male kill them? What happened to Mom? Can my pigeons and doves share an aviary?
Thanks,
Zeeknos
Sounds like you're going to have to do the whole process your self. If the male is showing disinterest, he's probably not going to take them back.

How old are these babies? I'm I right in thinking about 5 days?

Here's some general info (I'm sure you know lots of this, just covering some bases.)

When the babies have all the feathers around their beaks (like right up against the cere,) they'll be ready to wean. I can't remember how many weeks this is with pigeons right now...

Keeping a baby warm

For the first 10-14 days of its life a pigeon will be brooded by its parents, so a rescued one will need a gentle source of heat. Do not place them in front of the fire or in direct sunshine as they can overheat and die.

Safe heat can be provided by:

An electric heat pad set on low.

An angled desk lamp with a 40 watt bulb or (ideally) a 40 watt nightlight red reptile bulb.

A microwaveable "Snuggle Safe Pet Heatpad" available from Pets at Home. The advantage of these is that they provide heat for an extended period, the disadvantage is that they can only be reheated when they are cold, so there would have to be a second heat pad or an alternative to provide the baby with constant warmth.

A hot water bottle wrapped in a towel (this would have to be changed every 2 hours)

A micro hottie...keeps warm for up to 5 hours....

What to feed a baby pigeon

Please make certain that the baby is warm before feeding it. If it is cold then it won't be able to digest its food and feeding it could kill it.

A baby pigeon will put its gaping beak inside the parent's mouth and the parent will pump its crop contents into the baby's mouth. During the first three days of its life the baby will receive what is known as "crop milk" , created from the lining of the parent's crop . This is nothing like dairy milk. Never give a pigeon dairy milk, they can't digest it. Please don't feed them worms either!

A hatchling will need very thin food, about the consistency of skimmed milk...this should be gradually thickened over the first 10 days to the consistency of ketchup. Suitable foods for feeding baby pigeons are:

Kaytee Exact Hand Rearing Formula

Tropican hand rearing mix

Nutribird

Chick rearing crumbs soaked in hot (not boiling) water for half an hour, liquidised and sieved.

The products listed above are suitable for raising hatchlings as they contain the enzymes required to digest food during the first three days of a pigeon's life.

For babies that are over 3 days old you can use Ready Brek or Baby's First Porridge made up with warm water if the other products are not available.

In an emergency, day old wholemeal bread dipped in warm water, or dog biscuits soaked in warm water until they are fluffy can be used.

Babies that are 2 weeks old can be fed defrosted corn and peas, served warm. They can be popped into the beak one at a time, feeding until the crop feels squishy like a bean bag.

Don't heat food in a microwave, that can leave scalding pockets of heat that can burn the crop. The correct temperature for baby pigeon food is 39 degrees Centigrade...that is a bit warmer than our body heat.
How to feed a baby pigeon

The safest way to feed a pigeon is to replicate the parents' method of feeding.

Please note that although turtle dove nestlings and squabs need the same care needs as other squabs - but more time needs to be taken as can stress easily (they are very delicate up to around 21 days old). Heart attacks are imminent in youngsters if stressed too much. If they display signs of stress such as open mouthed breathing they should be placed back in seclusion and another slow-steady attempt made later to feed, etc. By the time youngsters are 21 days old - they are much more robust and can handle stress.

How much to feed?

Pigeons and doves have different sized crops, so the best guide to feeding them is to let them eat until the crop is soft and squidgy like a balloon 3/4 filled with water. The crop hangs like a bag down the inside of a pigeon's chest.

This is a photo of a baby wood pigeon with a slightly overfilled crop! I panicked the first time I overfed a baby (it happens), but was told that unless they are showing signs of distress it is best to just leave them to be quiet and digest their food in peace. Duddly was OK, but if the crop is overfilled too often it will stretch and form a pocket that traps food which can become sour and harmful.

When the crop has flattened and the baby squeaks to be fed you can feed again. But allow the crop to empty completely every 24 hours.

As a rough guide, for the first 24 hours a baby pigeon will need 1ml at each feeding, every 2 hours including during the night. If you miss feedings the bird will become weak very quickly. Baby doves are smaller so would need less per feed.

By day 2. 2 mls will be needed at each feeding and by day 3 if they are growing well, you could be up to 5 mls.

At 1 week, they should be on 15mls and will only need feeding every 6 hours.

If you can, weigh the baby at the same time every day to ensure it is thriving.

Housing

The baby will need to be kept away from damp and draughts. While he is young he will need bedding that will stop his feet from sliding under him as this could cause the legs to splay out rather than grow in the correct position. White kitchen towel is good because it will enable you to see the quantity and colour of his poops. It will need to be changed regularly (two or three times a day). Other good alternatives are a dry facecloth or a piece of dry toweling.

Don't use woodchip or anything else that the baby might eat. Although woodchip is a good bedding material a baby woodpigeon at a sanctuary once managed to eat his bedding during the night. The surgery required to have the stuff removed from his crop earned him his name of "Sixty Quid".

While he is under 10 days old the baby can be kept in a high sided box but as he grows older he will need to to be able to stretch his wings out and exercise them.


If a hand raised baby is going to be released it is better to take him to a sanctuary where he will be able to mix with other pigeons, learn from them and be released in the relative safety of a "mini flock"
http://www.pigeonrescue.co.uk/caringforababypigeon.htm
 

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I took in a male and fEmale pigeon that were rescued. Bonded in September. Several clutches! No success. Finally, the mama is sitting on two young Monday night. I am ecstatic and take a photo. I leave them alone Tuesday and go back to their cote Wednesday night and the mother is laying dead on the food counter. She was so fat and healthy! I am still in shock but have found several respurces to learnfrom including this page. They are in my shop in an aquarium on a heatig pad and hay bedding. I have fed them for two days now and got some kaytee exact tonight. They loved it. What now? The male is not interested. How long do I feed them? When do I put them back? Will the male kill them? What happened to Mom? Can my pigeons and doves share an aviary?
Thanks,
Zeeknos
Specifically which kind of doves.

Mostly, I'm going to say it's not a good idea. It's been done before with varying degrees of success. I've heard of aggressive/pushy ringnecks getting themselves into fights and getting severely injured by pigeons.

This also depends what kind of pigeons?
 

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I took in a male and fEmale pigeon that were rescued. Bonded in September. Several clutches! No success. Finally, the mama is sitting on two young Monday night. I am ecstatic and take a photo. I leave them alone Tuesday and go back to their cote Wednesday night and the mother is laying dead on the food counter. She was so fat and healthy! I am still in shock but have found several respurces to learnfrom including this page. They are in my shop in an aquarium on a heatig pad and hay bedding. I have fed them for two days now and got some kaytee exact tonight. They loved it. What now? The male is not interested. How long do I feed them? When do I put them back? Will the male kill them? What happened to Mom? Can my pigeons and doves share an aviary?
Thanks,
Zeeknos
You may want to get their droppings tested to see if they maybe harboring a disease, The hen died for a reason so you would want to try to figure that out if you can..if not then I would take the cock bird and have his droppings tested as well. The young can go in the cote when they know how to eat on their own and fly well. I would use a net at first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Orphaned baby update

Everyone who replied, thank you very much for your thoughtful and helpful posts. The babies are, to the best of my reckoning, at least 10 days old now and doing well on Kaytee Exact. From what I have been learning here and elsewhere, sounds like I should soon be able to try them out on soft peas or corn.

The pigeon people at this website have a significant amount of respect not only for life, but also for these birds. I have had ringneck doves for years and love them but hadn't found a similar community of interest til now. But pigeons are new to me.

I was never around pigeons except to remove their bodies from the roofs of manufacturing buildings when I was younger. They would winter on our roofs near exhaust vents by the dozens and many would die there. I learned to fear their diseased carcasses, thanks to the stories of co-workers. The two I have are rescued from manufacturing buildings where people tried to harm them.

My reading tells me they have many diseases. I have two questions: how does one best protect them from disease and how does one keep from catching their diseases? I suspect that, as with most things, proper sanitation and cleanliness goes a long way, but I am looking to allay fears here with stories perhaps long overdue about the virtues of having these birds around. Since I doubt I will ever have them around more than a few at a time, I think their relative isolation also will help.

Thanks, again, everyone!
Zeeknos
 

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Everyone who replied, thank you very much for your thoughtful and helpful posts. The babies are, to the best of my reckoning, at least 10 days old now and doing well on Kaytee Exact. From what I have been learning here and elsewhere, sounds like I should soon be able to try them out on soft peas or corn.

The pigeon people at this website have a significant amount of respect not only for life, but also for these birds. I have had ringneck doves for years and love them but hadn't found a similar community of interest til now. But pigeons are new to me.

I was never around pigeons except to remove their bodies from the roofs of manufacturing buildings when I was younger. They would winter on our roofs near exhaust vents by the dozens and many would die there. I learned to fear their diseased carcasses, thanks to the stories of co-workers. The two I have are rescued from manufacturing buildings where people tried to harm them.

My reading tells me they have many diseases. I have two questions: how does one best protect them from disease and how does one keep from catching their diseases? I suspect that, as with most things, proper sanitation and cleanliness goes a long way, but I am looking to allay fears here with stories perhaps long overdue about the virtues of having these birds around. Since I doubt I will ever have them around more than a few at a time, I think their relative isolation also will help.

Thanks, again, everyone!
Zeeknos
You are very unlikely to get diseases from birds. Unless you eat their future eggs raw or something like that. Even then the risk is minimal unless you have mice in your house to give the birds salmonella that would then show up in the eggs. Generally, you will get diseases from other mammals more than anything. Going out in public with humans is much more dangerous to your health.

Wash your hands before and after handling each bird until you're sure they're healthy and you'll be fine. Also, keep their enclosures clean to help them stay healthy. Do not use anything fumey to clean with. Vinegar and vinegar water are great and safe. Healthcare with pigeons is the same as it would have been with your ringneck doves. They're related.

What symptoms of disease do these babies show? I don't see where you've mentioned fluffing/fever or bad poops?

Did you ever find out what happened to the mom bird? Old age? disease?
 

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As Libis said you are fine. I assume they have been sprayed for external parasites (mites, lice). Even these are bird and in some cases pigeon specific. The biggest risk people can get from pigeons have to deal with moldy droppings in damp, enclosed buildings. Some fanciers also have allergies to droppings from dealing with the dust of lots and lots of pigeons in enclosed dusty lofts for many years. You will unlikely ever catch anything from your pets there and are more likely to catch something from a mammal pet. Use common sense as with all animals, wash hands after handling and keep them healthy with a good diet and keep their living quarters clean within reason.
 

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As Libis said you are fine. I assume they have been sprayed for external parasites (mites, lice). Even these are bird and in some cases pigeon specific. The biggest risk people can get from pigeons have to deal with moldy droppings in damp, enclosed buildings. Some fanciers also have allergies to droppings from dealing with the dust of lots and lots of pigeons in enclosed dusty lofts for many years. You will unlikely ever catch anything from your pets there and are more likely to catch something from a mammal pet. Use common sense as with all animals, wash hands after handling and keep them healthy with a good diet and keep their living quarters clean within reason.
If you find that you are allergic to dust, and come to have more than 4 birds (not just pigeons, but also counting dusty parrots such as cockatiels) in your house, you might invest in a Honeywell HEPA air filter. I did and it's helped with my indoor allergies (we have 12 birds, 2 cats, and a dog in the house.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Zeeknos here. I have a confession to make. I do not know what breed these pigeons are. I googled images and ran through them and kept seeing images of racing pigeons that match the cock and hen I took in. They look like run of the mill pigeons to me. This is from a guy who still spelled their name with a "d" until a few months ago.
 

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Photo? They were probably ferals.....basically the "wild" pigeons of our cities and farms. Most of them revert to wild type, blue bar or blue checked pigeons. However, depending on their ancestry and genetics may have white on them or "red" or sometimes even crests or some feathers on their feet. They may not be a particular "breed" but they are still "Columba livia".
 
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