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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I took in an approximately 7 day old homing pigeon several weeks ago. I am estimating her to be approximately 4 weeks old at this point. Almost two weeks ago, she came down with a bacterial infection which my wonderful vet in Columbus, Ohio helped me bring her out of. She is now happy and healthy again!

I am currently feeding her four times a day. I feed 15 ml of Kaytee Exact AM and PM along with two 10 ml feedings in between.

I have read that she should be being weaned at this point, but she is not fully feathered yet. Her head, neck, and under her wings are covered with growing feathers, but still have exposed skin. How often should I be feeding her and how much at each feeding? Should I wait until she is fully feathered before starting to wean her?

Thank you so much! I really love this little bird and want to make sure she stays healthy and growing!
 

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you can introduce a pigeon grain mix now, and let her play with it, show her by pecking at the grains before you feed her to get interest in them and so she gets used to those and knows they are feed by you're fingers acting like you are pecking at them.. you can give defrosted. peas and corn at this point in between the other two feedings instead of the 10ml ones. down the throat till her crop looks full, but not over full..only feed again when crop is empty.. when she starts picking up the grains she is on her way..when she starts to swallow some go to one feeding a day of the Kaytee, then to none when she is eating well on the grains..she should have feathers all in by that point which can take several weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you, spirit wings! How many feedings do you normally give a pigeon at this age? My vet seemed like he was surprised that I was feeding her four times a day.

Doveman, I will see if I can figure out how to post a picture for ya! She is going to be a very pretty bird. She is predominately white with a few grew feathers on her wings. When her neck feathers come in more, she will have grey on her neck. I recently named her "Noel" since it is Christmas time and she is mostly white! :) Her mother is grey and white, her father is almond and white. They hatched two chicks in mid-November and lost one I believe due to the cold. I brought Noel in to try and save her. She is my little buddy! I got home from work the other day and said, "Good morning, everybody!" to the animals when I stepped inside the door. She was in the kitchen and went CRAZY peeping her head off when she heard my voice. It was so cool! :)
 

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twice with the kaytee am and pm.. corn and peas inbetween when the crop is empty, but cut down on the peas and corn when she starts to eat some grains but not enough to fill her up..then when she is eating the grains go to once a day and see how it goes.. you will have to be the judge on when to stop the feedings.
 

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This is how I wean pigeons. It really easy.

You can hand feed defrosted 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 because you are having a hard time handling the pigeon, you can wrap a towel around it or put it in the sleeve of a tee shirt, with the head out the wrist. This method confines the pigeon without hurting him and makes it easier to handle. Gently open the beak and pop a pea at the back of the mouth and over the throat. It gets easier and faster, with practice, for both you and the bird.
You will need to feed 40-50 per feeding or more [depending on the size of the pigeon] and every time the crop empties until you know the baby is eating on his own. After a couple of feedings, most squeakers get the hang of it, pick up the peas on their own and naturally transition into a seed diet.

In addition to the peas,one time a day, put a small pinch of powdered oyster shell, which you can buy at most pet stores, will supply the calcium the baby needs to support bone health.You sprinkle it on the peas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am curious, is the purpose of the peas just to get the chick used to eating something other than formula?

Is 15 ml twice a day plus the peas enough to feed her or should I increase the amount of formula she is getting in those two feedings?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Aw! Thanks! I swear my birds eat healthier than I do! The pigeon gets peas, the peacocks and chickens get spinach, tomatoes, and whatever other veggies are around. I should probably start eating some of those myself! LOL
 

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Aw! Thanks! I swear my birds eat healthier than I do! The pigeon gets peas, the peacocks and chickens get spinach, tomatoes, and whatever other veggies are around. I should probably start eating some of those myself! LOL
Defrosted peas are for hand feeding. Pigeons do eat certain type of peas. Maple pea, Austrian peas..My pigeons eat as a treat mung peas. But their diet is a variety of seeds not only peas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ah, I understand that, Dima. I was just chuckling that I have all these veggies in my refrigerator and they are for the birds and not for me. :) I realize the peas are a transition food and not a permanent part of her diet. Thank you for the information!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
One last question... When I start her on peas and reduce the feedings to twice a day, do I need to place a bowl of water in with her so she is getting enough fluids or will she be getting enough from the feedings?
 

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Well you want to encourage her to learn to drink as soon as possible anyway, so by gently tipping her beak into some tepid water, you will help her to learn. Just not about the nostrils.

As far as the peas, she can be taken off the formula and given just the warmed up peas. She will transition to seed more quickly. She really doesn't need formula at this age. Feed her the way Charis explained, then wait for the crop to empty before feeding again.
 

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Thank you, spirit wings! How many feedings do you normally give a pigeon at this age? My vet seemed like he was surprised that I was feeding her four times a day.

Doveman, I will see if I can figure out how to post a picture for ya! She is going to be a very pretty bird. She is predominately white with a few grew feathers on her wings. When her neck feathers come in more, she will have grey on her neck. I recently named her "Noel" since it is Christmas time and she is mostly white! :) Her mother is grey and white, her father is almond and white. They hatched two chicks in mid-November and lost one I believe due to the cold. I brought Noel in to try and save her. She is my little buddy! I got home from work the other day and said, "Good morning, everybody!" to the animals when I stepped inside the door. She was in the kitchen and went CRAZY peeping her head off when she heard my voice. It was so cool! :)

Four times a day isn't really necessary at this age if you are feeding enough at one feeding, but the amounts you said you were giving aren't really all that much. If you feed the peas, and then wait for the crop to empty, you will probably be feeding 2 or 3 times daily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you everyone! She took to the peas beautifully! She isn't picking them up yet, but if I place her beak between my fingers, she opens her mouth and I drop a pea in. I have still been giving her formula for the last few days (haven't been on the forum for a day or so), but I will work on getting her transferred to taking water on her own and will continue with the peas.

Thank you again!
 

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PigeonMom...the reason I suggest weaning with peas is because when the babies are being fed by mom and dad, as they grow the consistency of the formula changes. It's only liquid for a few days, gradually turning into a more lumpy formula that becomes chunkier as the baby grows. This prepares the baby for seed. I have found that the defrosted peas are a good substitute for the chunky formula which prepares the baby to eat on his/her own. I have also noticed, that the longer baby is on the liquid formula, the longer it takes to wean.
 

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When I have parents feeding babies, I leave a small crock of seed and one of water in the nest box. By 3 weeks the babies are eating seed from the bowl. Charis is right in that the longer you hand feed, the more difficult it is to get them to eat on their own. So feeding formula at this age really isn't necessary. You want them to learn to pick up food on their own. The peas are wonderful for this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Update on Noel: She is continuing to do very well with the peas. She isn't picking them up yet, but I have seen her pecking at millet on the bottom of her cage. She is drinking water on her own and took to that right away.

I believe she is behind for her age developmentally, but she is improving greatly. I didn't realize it until she became significantly symptomatic that she had been sick since I brought her inside. I think that really set her back. Now, the she is about 85% fully feathered with the rest of them coming in very quickly now with the diet change.

Do any of you have suggestions for transferring her to the seed? Should I begin to slip them in with the peas?

I have tried "pecking" my finger on the ground over seeds and/or peas, but she is still very interested in my hand. Any suggestions?
 

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Do you leave some peas with her? I would also leave some mixed seeds with her, not just the tiny millet. Leave her with them in the morning for a while when she is hungry. Don't feed her right away. Being hungry should be a motivator to try and pick them up on her own.
 
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