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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all;

I found a pigeon today, he (random gender choice) was wandering around on my university campus. I followed him at a distance for about half an hour, and there were no parents in evidence. I couldn't figure out where the nest might have been, most of the pigeon nests around campus are up waaaay too high for me to get at.

Anyways, I went and got a box from the bookstore, and took him home with me. He's got most of his feathers, but still has some of the yellow fluff sticking out on his head and tail, which is only about an inch long, pretty stubby. He doesn't have flight feathers yet, though he skimmed the ground for about 6 feet when he tried to fly.

I've got him in a budgie cage right now, he's all snuggled up in a towel.

I got him to eat some corn niblets, about 60 pieces. The first few I fed to him, and then he actually started trying to peck them up. Somewhat successfully.

I have raised baby birds before, as my mother bred parrots, but never one with a pointy beak! So much harder to feed!

He doesn't seem to have any injuries, though he was flapping one wing oddly while trying to eat the corn off the ground.

I'll take a picture soon, when he wakes up again, and perhaps someone can give me an idea of how old he is!

I do have 2 pet birds, a budgie and a green-cheeked conure. Unfortunately the only room that I can seal (I have two cats) is the room with my birds in it, but I'm keeping them on opposite sides, and I'll be sure not to touch anything that comes in contact with them after touching the baby.

If anyone has any advice, something I'm not thinking of, I'd be happy to hear it!

Thanks,

JBest
 

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Great job on saving this little one. I can't offer any advice about what to do next but i do want to tell you that you a good person to save this little one. Its also really good that he is eating. Maybe he just needs more time to be able to fly. But you need to get other advice on what to do next. Since he doesn't have a parent to teach him to find food, and shelter and how to stay away from predators, I don't know if he would be a good candidate for a release. Others need to help you with that. Where are you located maybe there is a member near you. mindy
 

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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 bird’s crop empties until you know it is eating on their 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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Hi, and Welcome !

Post a pic, please. Also, go here to figure out approx. how old he/she is:

http://www.speedpigeon.com/baby_racing_pigeon.htm

You are doing great so far...if he is eating well on his own, wonderful. 60 pieces is excellent. It could be that he fell out of his nest and went a-wanderin'. If he is eating by himself there's a real good chance you can "soft-release" him when he is old enough (about 6+ weeks old).

A couple of Q's just to determine if he is relatively healthy or not:

1) does he seem alert and awake ? or is he lethargic and fluffed up often ? Eyes wide open or tired/closed a lot ? (you know what an ill parrot looks like, the way they try to hide their symptoms, so you get the drift of what I am asking I am sure...)

2) take a peek in his mouth...any sign if white/yellow blotches or pale spots ? Does his breath smell bad or sour ?

3) Any sign of external injury ? Abrasions, missing feathers, sores, lesions ?

4) any odd behaviour ? head ticks, leg kicks, seeming disorientation, or the like ?

Just keep him warm and fed in the meantime...thanks for saving him....he is obviously too young to be on his own and he wouldn't have survived more than another day, maybe....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
1) Pretty alert, he was down on a sheet on the floor flapping a bit and walking around. Quite eager to get into my lap! Probably warmer there :) After he fed he was pretty fluffy though, right now he's cuddled up in a towel snoozing.

2)Nothing in the mouth, just smells like feathers! And corn...

3)No injuries I can see, feathers are all healthy looking.

4)The one wing flapping is a little weird... when he was walking around on the lawn he seemed like a normal pigeon, head bobbing and everything, but now he's all flappy and a bit stumbly.

I'm a sucker for animals, especially babies! I was really worried about the crow that was harassing him before I shooed it away :(

I dipped his beak in some water and he drank a couple beakfulls on his own, so that's a good sign I think!

I'll definitely post some pictures tomorrow :)

I've got him in the bedroom tonight, I'm not too sure how soon he'll need to eat, but hopefully not until morning! Though I've done the getting up 3 times a night to feed the baby bird thing.

I just looked over the pictures, he's pretty darned close to the 21 day old pic!

Thanks for the support, by the way, it's amazing how many people think I'm nuts for saving a pigeon!
 

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he sounds pretty healthy, without seeing it's hard to tell but very young pigeons often do funny wing flapping and stumbly walking as they are just learning how to use those wings. And they flap a lot when they are excited about food! Since he has down he sounds definitely a bit young to be on his own just yet
 

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1) Pretty alert, he was down on a sheet on the floor flapping a bit and walking around. Quite eager to get into my lap! Probably warmer there :) After he fed he was pretty fluffy though, right now he's cuddled up in a towel snoozing.

2)Nothing in the mouth, just smells like feathers! And corn...

3)No injuries I can see, feathers are all healthy looking.

4)The one wing flapping is a little weird... when he was walking around on the lawn he seemed like a normal pigeon, head bobbing and everything, but now he's all flappy and a bit stumbly.

I'm a sucker for animals, especially babies! I was really worried about the crow that was harassing him before I shooed it away :(

I dipped his beak in some water and he drank a couple beakfulls on his own, so that's a good sign I think!

I'll definitely post some pictures tomorrow :)

I've got him in the bedroom tonight, I'm not too sure how soon he'll need to eat, but hopefully not until morning! Though I've done the getting up 3 times a night to feed the baby bird thing.

I just looked over the pictures, he's pretty darned close to the 21 day old pic!

Thanks for the support, by the way, it's amazing how many people think I'm nuts for saving a pigeon!


Anyone that thinks you are nuts, is nuts!
The wing flappy thing means...FEED ME NOW!
Actually, the baby needs to be fed every time the crop empties which at this age is about 3 times a day.
 

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As Charis said, you need to feed him 2~3 times a day. During the night you do not feed him. You will be surprised to find what a wonderful pet pigeon can be. People who will let bird die or suffer are heartless. They do not deserve your attention and friendship, tomorrow they will do the same to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok so he's been pretty quiet, just snuggled up in the towel, all fluffy, and not really making a peep, for a couple hours. Does this sound normal? I have to go to bed, but I'm worried something will happen in the night!

How warm should he be? He's well feathered, and snuggled out of drafts, but should I do anything extra?

Should I be concerned if he's not moving about the cage a lot?

Thanks :)

**btw, I'm in Nova Scotia, Canada
 

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Well...he should be sleeping if you are in NS. It's well past that litlle birdie's bedtime. He should be warm enough if you are warm enough.
 

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usually birds will fluff their feathers to trap air under them to insulate heat but if it is cold there at nights you can give it a heating blanket under the towel for a little help., i've done that a couple of times.
 

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After feeding baby birds usually poops and then go to sleep. They grow very fast and they sleep lot. Before feeding they will be more active and as they grow too.
Watch him if he is preening, stretching, pooping. All these are signs of healthy bird.
Please post some pictures if you can.
 

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arnt baby piji's the sweetest little things?? i just love them.
the wing thing is part of the hungry dance along with sort pecking on your hands, or mouth if you let them near it, which you shouldn't btw, more for his protection than yours, lol, human mouths are filthy!.
sounds like he's doing great, thank you for saving him
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Here are a couple pictures of the baby, though the lighting is quite horrible in the bedroom. I'll try to lock the cats up and get some pictures in the natural light of the living room :)

Baby is good, eating voraciously as soon as he wakes up, pooping, then flapping around for a while before settling into my lap / his 2nd nest.

He does flap quite a bit, sort of like, peck peck peck eat eat eat FLAP FLAP FLAP eat eat eat.

He preens a little, though not very effectively yet, and he does stretch. Very alert little face!

So my next question is, am I going to have to teach him anything? Will he know instinctively how to perch and to fly?

Also, there's no way I can have a fly pen, so I think he's going to end up in a cockatiel cage when I'm at work, do you think this will be ok for him?

I'm still hoping for a release, I mean, a bird is a bird, he should be with a flock of his own kind, if possible! But if he's going to end up a pet, well, that's ok too, he can join my flock :)
 

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He will know how to fly and perch without you teaching him. The cockatiel cage will be fine but Pigeons do better with flat perching surfaces and so rather than putting round perches up high...take the perches out of the cage and put a brick on the floor of the cage.
The releasing part won't be so easy for amny different reasons.

1.The baby is gong to be human identified.

2. In the wild, the parents teach the babies how to find food and to fear predators. ...these are things a human cannot teach.

3. The weather is truning cold already and even if the bird can be released, you will need to hold him over until the weather warms again.
 

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He should end up your pet. Bird is bird, but one thing is bird raised by parents and another by humans. He will be so used to you and life inside that in the wild he will starve to death or end up food for predators.
If you can't keep him, give him for adoption, pigeons are bit unusual, but great pets. (except for people of this forum, here pet pigeon is something without life will be so boring) :D
 

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A 'teil cage is OK....I mean, in the best of all worlds, as Pigeons are good flatlanders, a cage which is wider in footprint than it is tall is a better option, but if the 'teil cage is what you have, that'll do. He won't do nearly as much stick-perching as a Psitticine citizen does. Pigeons like ledges and such.....

Sounds like he is pretty healthy and normal. The stretching and bit of preening in your presence is a good sign, it means he feels secure.

So, for the time being, keep feeding and watering (!), keep letting him out to exercise, and just keep an eye on any of those "red flag" sorta symptoms popping up (lethargy, fluffing, loss of appetite, heavy or difficult breathing, and such).

This one does look like a candidate for soft release, providing as he ages he attains flight ability...which should happen gradually over the next 3 weeks. I say this only because you found him at +14 days old....so he has enough "wild" in him for a return to the feral life. So, IMHO, I don't think he is totally human bonded to the degree where he cannot return to the feral world.

HOWEVER, Charis raises a good point...cold weather is coming....so, that might complicate things a bit. One wouldn't wanna release him if it is gonna be very cold/inclement for a long stretch.....hmmmm.....

Nevertheless, in your spare time (!)....you can bone up a bit on the "soft release" process so you are ready whenever the time comes. Maybe others can chime in with experiences soft-releasing in the Winter months ??? I can't help with that..it is always Foggy, Gray, and 57 degrees here in SF.....

Keep it up ! Great job !!!!

 

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If you are going to attempt a soft release...I would encourage you to wait until Spring. At that time, hormones will kick in and the bird will want to find a mate.
The hospital cages I use are flight cages intended for small birds. The dimensions are,
18"W x 30"L x 18"H. They have large doors in the front and are relatively inexpensive.
 

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Hmmmm...I agree as far as the weather situation. I do know a rehabber who actually has an "acclimation room"...where she puts her pals as an in-between to a heated space and the outdoors.

Do you think the 4-month+ waiting period would make the lil' pigeon become human-bonded, though ?????

 
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