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I am currently rearing two feral pigeon squabs. And I am debating on what to do when they are grown. I have had two pet homers before and have raised two feral pigeons. Both feral pigeons I attempted to release ( unwillingly I was young and my mom made me). I think they are happier being released but I also know from experience, sometimes it is a death sentence. My first pigeon I raised i released when he was 3 months old. We started out doing half the day outside, and sleeping inside at night. Eventually I made him sleep outside. He was always clingy. He preferred walking over flying. And would chase me all the time. He let me hold him whenever I approached him. I had a bad feeling he would not survive in the wild. My mother made me let him go a few miles away at a park. I found him the next day, ran over by a car... It was sad.
Knowing what happened before... I am worried these babies will have the same fate if I let them go... Any advise? Anyone else have this problem?? Right now I am leaning towards keeping them.
 

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How sad! I have released youngsters and not seen them again, which I found very upsetting as I have no idea what happened to them.

Right now I am leaning towards keeping them
That is what I do now.

If they are to be released they should have time (at least two weeks) in an outdoor aviary first, to get acclimatised to living outdoors, strengthen their flight muscles and develop their waterproofing.

There are also some sanctuaries that have free flying flocks and might accept them.

Cynthia
 

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If they are hand raised then they don't know how to live wild. They are not equipped to live free. They have a much lesser chance of surviving. They don't know how to find food or evade predators. I have a loft full of birds, ferals, homers, fancies.............
The homers and fancies either escaped or got lost, and were found starving and sick, because they were raised in a loft and couldn't survive in the wild. Some do join up with a flock and learn to survive. But many don't. Most will die. We have had this discussion on here many times, and there are always those who believe that every thing should be turned free. If you care about these birds, you will either keep them, or find them homes. Otherwise, they will most likely die out there. So why raise them to begin with. They learn much from their parents and the flock. It isn't just that instinct will kick in, like so many like to believe. And these birds didn't have that opportunity. What does your gut tell you? They are trusting and helpless out there. You made them that way by making sure that they had everything they needed. Now to put them out to fend for themselves is a death sentence. You could try and find a sanctuary that would take them.
 

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Even a soft release is not a guarantee that they will make it.
 

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Of course not. Releasing them is in itself giving them a second chance in the wild... which implies the possibility of death.
But soft release doesn't make it a death sentence. Especially if they are two. They have a chance.
However if your main priority is to keep them alive, you may keep them as pets. It's more secure.
 

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Well-said Pawbla. Of course there are no guarantees as to anything - this is life we are talking about ! If you want guarantees.... you are inhabiting the wrong existence :cool:

(I am being tongue-in-cheek, of course...but one has to ask themselves whether their intent is to give the pigeon a second chance at the feral life they were born into, or whether their intent is to minimize any possibility of danger in the bird's life. In some instances, as you will read below, indeed - the pigeon will have almost no chance of making it in the feral world...but in other instances, they would; and you have to ask yourself whether or not it is the bird's situation/condition which keep you from releasing her...or whether it is your own condition which keeps you from releasing her - or the opposite {is it your own condition which makes you keep releasing them ? }. Because these are 2 different things).

It is always a tough call which needs to be made with a lot of objectivity and informed by what has (and hasn't) worked before..

Now, if the babies were hand-raised from week 1 - even with a soft-release procedure they wouldn't have a great chance to make it as ferals. But if you found them at 10 days-plus THEN we can talk about trying the soft-release process. My experience has been at around that age they still have enough 'wild' in 'em for a soft release to conceivably work .

Melissa - you must read the sticky on " to release or not to release" and also do a search for 'soft release' process - because you need to understand that process 100% (PM me if you like and I can give you a synopsis).

Whether it will be appropriate in the particular instance of your little friends will be up to you - but these are important pieces of information you need to know about.
 
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