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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi Everyone,

This is my first post. I had pigeons nesting on my balcony (it's a constant fight to try to stop them and they invariably win - this time they laid their eggs even though I had thrown away all of their collected sticks and twigs - so I gave in, and they built the nest around the eggs. Determined little birds!); their babies hatched and I had watched them over the course of a few days. A week ago I came out in the morning to find the two babies (at this point, around 4 or 5 days old) shivering on the outside of the nest with their parents nowhere to be seen. I watched them all day and the parents didn't return. They were obviously freezing and starving. It's winter here so at sundown I had to make a choice. I found a box, put them in it, fed them honey water and started Googling. Soon they were eating the appropriate food I had at home, then the Kaytee hand feeding mix. It's been just over a week now and the babies have grown SO fast! They are now starting to grow their feathers and their wings are beautiful and long, no longer the little stumps they started with. However, though I am growing very fond of them, I can't keep them. I have handled them as little as possible, only at feeding times, and they then go straight back into their box. I know that in a week or so they'll be ready for their first flight. Their parents are around again, looking to nest yet again on the balcony (I can't believe that they would abandon these two beauties and then go to breed AGAIN :mad: ) so I'm wondering if papa bird will recognize his young and take them for their first flight? Or if the parents will be nice to these two fledglings if I put them out on the balcony? I need to find a way through the weaning/ first flight/ going back to the outdoors stage with these two. We've done so well so far. Any advice you all have for me is very welcome.
 

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Ok good work and try this, a long shot but MAY work. Where ever the nest was originally, put the babies back when u see the parents there, toss some seed down as well to attract the parent, when they hear their babies squeaking for food, and they WILL recognize them, they may come right down to feed them. What I woud have done when u first found them was warm them up for the day, hand feed and placed them back to see if parents would have come back. If IN the nest when you first found them the parents may very well have come back to them, but the parents DONT recognize that they are out of nest and can do nothing for them when OUT of nest. Eg: one of my bubs falls out of his nest pot and at that small age, parents will not GO TO the bub but want to sit on empty nest where the bub WAS. If placed back they go right back to it as if nothing has happened. Also I have had to pull a bub here and there for a few days and have put an egg under the parents and then put the bub back when dealt with and the parents never missed a beat. ALSO I have separated hens from cock parents and taken weanling bubs FROM dad TO other loft to mom who had not seen them in a week or so and SHE DID start to feed them instantly when she saw them and if they squeaked for food. She was EXCEPTIONAL, and taught me a thing or two. As I had only heard that if u want the weanlings fed, just put them on the floor and allow dad to feed, but never had I heard that mom would wean them out. I did it and she did it and they were perfect. So that being said, when u see the parents, quickly put the chicks out there on the floor WITH seed and see if the parents come and take care when they squeak. Do this a few times and make sure they dont get attacked by dad or mom, see what the reaction is, my bet is they will want to feed when they hear the squeaky noise as the bubs WILL recognize their parents and visa versa. Cant hurt, may help and let us know, I love to know the outcome of the scenario, as it has worked for me in the past.
 

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In the future if they do nest again, make sure they nest either right on the floor or that the nest is big enough so that the bubs dont fall out or put some type of support around the nest and keep a good eye as you did with these two, you can usually just put the bubs back in nest and parents will come back, UNLESS it was a hawk or owl that scared them off the nest or if they simply got stuck under the wings when parent was scared off nest abrubtly and then the bubs fell out. If they see empty nest they will assume the bubs are gone and abandon. Oh I forgot to mention, if they ever got abandoned again, any tiny ones like that, dont wait all day as they can die from exposure, if you dont see a parent within 30 to 60 min, take them in, warm them up and then watch for parents to return to area, if they do, do the same thing, put he bubs back and observe for a bit, if they return, ur good to go, if not, then after a short time again, take them in. If it had been ONE chick that long, it would have succumbed to the cold. Can we see pics?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you so much for all of that information! I'm in a hurry so just a quick update and I'll post more later. Chicks are growing well and seem on the verge of being ready to fly. I've put them in a box on the balcony for the last three days (just for an hour or so while I clean out their inside box. I lead a busy life and won't leave them out when I'm not home). First day I was terrified for them! The ones who I think are the parents came by, took a curious look but didn't engage with the chicks at all. Yesterday I put a flat dish of seed as you suggested and hey presto, three adult pigeons all swarmed the box, knocked the cover off the section the chicks were hiding under, in their greed to devour all the seeds. Ignored the chicks yet again. My faith in adult pigeons is fast diminishing. Now the "parents" have built a nest right next to the box and are about to lay again. To be honest, I'm so tired of this cycle of breeding and pigeon **** everywhere. Last time I threw away the nest and they laid anyway (producing these two). I do love the two I've helped raise and it's been an incredible experience, but I don't see that the adult pigeons are going to claim any responsibility here. I have to just hope and pray that the two chicks will work out how to fly and from there on, how to survive out there. Ugh.
 

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They wont, I put in another post that they are taught by the parents where to find food and water, the ONLY way this can work is if they LIVE on your balcony and you forever more leave food and water for them and pray they may find a mate and go off and that mate teaches them the ropes OR if they are brother and sister they will mate and live there and carry on. Its really a death sentence to allow them to just cold turkey try to fend for themselves. I will see if I can find the other post that says as much. If not google soft release and see how u can do this or give to another person who wants pets or a rehab place that is no kill.
 

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How long have you had them. The parents don't recognize them, so don't even know that they are their babies. CBL is right in that they won't know how to survive out there. They normally learn all that they need to know about avoiding predators, where to find food and water and all from their parents and their flock. Some people do a soft release into a flock, which you do slowly over a period of time. But even in doing that, their chances of survival go down, because they were not raised in a flock in the wild. They really know nothing about living out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
What? This is devastating to hear. I have worked so hard to save these two and give them a good start. I won't be living here forever and they need to get independent! It's the end of winter and that's one reason why I didn't make them live all day and night on the balcony. Shouldn't chicks be kept warm? I guess these two are about 3-4 weeks old now. Shall I make them a combo of two boxes on the balcony, one that's covered for shelter and the other uncovered? I'm so scared for them ... Goddamn pigeon parents :(

NB Jay3 I've had them for two and a half weeks. So I guess they're actually closer to 3 weeks or 21 days old.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So in the meantime, I will prepare to set them out on the balcony tomorrow. I just want whatever is best for them.
 

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Ok so how high up are you, what floor? If high up, you can make a box that is facing AWAY from the outside of the balcony so that if they are afraid of a hawk, they can hopefully try to run and hide IN the box so that the hawk can not SEE them but may actually follow them in and kill them. If high up enough so that no cat or dogs or kids can harm them, then your only fear is the hawks that can see and or follow them and chase them down. Another risk is that the hawk can chase them away from your balcony far enough that they cant find their way back as they are not homers. Also you would have to feed them DAILY until if and when they MAY start to roam or try to find wild mates. You may get lucky in that other wild pigeons come and they follow them but also know how to get back to you IF the wild ones show them how, as long as they have food and water with you, they may wean themselves off your balcony and join the wild ones but would need to be able to ALWAYS for the time being get food, water and shelter from you. Its a 50-50 chance they will stay or go. When I had my wild ones, the hens would find male mates and try to bring them back to house, they would feed but never stay. Ditto for the males, they found hens but eventually followed the hens to the wild. So all you can do is try. As long as you dont cold turkey them, you do have a chance. For now, keep them in for another week as they need to be fully feathered and I believe they go thru a big molt at 6 weeks. After that, they may go off to find mates, and the mates will show them the ropes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Thanks CBL! But don't you think that it's time for them to spend a lot more time outside? So when they're fully feathered (and they're getting close), they'll already be acclimatized to the outdoors? It's nowhere near freezing here, and I can give them an almost-closed box with towels inside (and a tin of hot water as a radiator at night). I'll give them food twice a day and leave seeds out in a flat dish along with water. Just trying to get clear on what you are suggesting is the best next step?

** Edited to include: CBL, I am on the first floor **

** Also: How do I post pictures here? All I see is the option to link to an already-existing web page. **


Ok so how high up are you, what floor? If high up, you can make a box that is facing AWAY from the outside of the balcony so that if they are afraid of a hawk, they can hopefully try to run and hide IN the box so that the hawk can not SEE them but may actually follow them in and kill them. If high up enough so that no cat or dogs or kids can harm them, then your only fear is the hawks that can see and or follow them and chase them down. Another risk is that the hawk can chase them away from your balcony far enough that they cant find their way back as they are not homers. Also you would have to feed them DAILY until if and when they MAY start to roam or try to find wild mates. You may get lucky in that other wild pigeons come and they follow them but also know how to get back to you IF the wild ones show them how, as long as they have food and water with you, they may wean themselves off your balcony and join the wild ones but would need to be able to ALWAYS for the time being get food, water and shelter from you. Its a 50-50 chance they will stay or go. When I had my wild ones, the hens would find male mates and try to bring them back to house, they would feed but never stay. Ditto for the males, they found hens but eventually followed the hens to the wild. So all you can do is try. As long as you dont cold turkey them, you do have a chance. For now, keep them in for another week as they need to be fully feathered and I believe they go thru a big molt at 6 weeks. After that, they may go off to find mates, and the mates will show them the ropes.
 

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They are no where ready to be put outside. If they get scared by something and should take off, they would be sitting ducks for a cat or hawk. They would get lost. They are too young to be left outside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Thanks Jay3. I appreciate your advice! But just to clarify, in your earlier reply you wrote "the ONLY way this can work is if they LIVE on your balcony and you forever more leave food and water for them and pray they may find a mate and go off and that mate teaches them the ropes OR if they are brother and sister they will mate and live there and carry on. Its really a death sentence to allow them to just cold turkey try to fend for themselves. I will see if I can find the other post that says as much. If not google soft release and see how u can do this or give to another person who wants pets or a rehab place that is no kill." Didn't you mean by that that I should start letting them live on the balcony? By the way, the balcony has a solid wall around three to four feet high, so until they can fly they have no way of getting off it.

Also I've been reading in my research that the birds should be allowed to move around and explore throughout the day. Or are they too young for that as yet? (If so, what is the correct age for having them stay 24/7 on the balcony?)

My apologies if I'm misinterpreting what you've posted, or if I skimmed and didn't take it all in properly. On re-reading, what I'm seeing is that you guys are recommending that I keep them indoors another week or so, then give them a home on my balcony with daily feedings until (if or when) they take off with other pigeons. Hope I've got that right.
 

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Girl, that was me who said all quoted. Yes but not until FULLY weaned and feathered. BUT now knowing you are on the FISRT floor that IS an issue, any cat can simply jump up if they hear them squeak or move or even just smell them. They would be gonners. Another poster here had adults killed and spooked and only ONE survived a cat attack. So as J said they are too young to be outside yet. You must wait until up on feed eating totally on their own and flying well. THEN you can attempt to release them onto your balcony with food. BUT again, if they ROOST low down even as adults they are sitting ducks so unless you have somewhere high they can roost on out of the way of roaming cats at night, there is a huge risk they will be cat bait. I think you will be better off putting them into the hands of a no kill sanctuary or rescue place and allowing them to find homes for them. Or place an add in your local kijiji to see if someone will take them sooner than later. I know when people rescue as you have done, they think its all good as soon as they are able to fly, release them back into the wild and THEY feel good thinking that its that cut and dried but it is not, it really is a death sentence and a pity for all the good work you have already done to be undone in a few days of not finding food, weakening and dying by the claws of a predator. Im sure you dont want that for you babies. The FIRST floor is the big issue here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sorry for the incorrect quote source CBL and thank you for your continued guidance. When I say first floor I mean the floor above the ground level. There is no way that a cat could get up here, luckily. I have also not seen any cats roaming this property (it's a community). That said, I will look again for a local rescue place - I found one but they never replied to my message and I suspect they are no longer in existence.
 

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CBL is corect in that just releasing is usually a death sentence, but that many do not realize that when they take in a rescue. That is what happened to me. An old porch was torn down at someones house and there were pigeons roosting in the eves of that old porch. There were babies on the lawn, and 2 babies only a couple of days old that the workmen put on a board on top of the hedge, hoping the parents would come get them. That just doesn't happen, so when I found out about them, I went and took 4 home, including the babies that were only a couple of days old. The next day they found 2 more. So that made it 6 babies. I knew absolutely nothing about how to raise a pigeon, never mind ones that young. But knew they were goners if left there. It was mid April in New England and very cold still, especially at night. And the next night it poured rain. Freezing cold rain. I figured it out and raised them, with the intention of releasing them back to the wild. Then I found Pigeon Talk, where I learned about how poor their chances were if released.

We now have a loft, where we have added other rescues over time, and have a happy little flock of about 33 pigeons, ferals, homers, and fancies. Who would have known. LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
What is really interesting is that this morning I sent out emails to about three rescue places I found online and the first replied with this snippet:

"If they can fly they will be fine being released. If not they would be case bound the (re)st of their lives. "

"Fine" with being released? I don't think this person understands the reality of this. Luckily I have a few other leads to follow, including one who has asked me to get back to them after this weekend. Fingers crossed!
 

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That's not unusual. When I called a rescue for help when I came home with my babies, the idiot told me to bring them back to where I got them. When I told her that wasn't possible, as the porch had been torn down, she told me to put them in some trees there in baskets.
Pigeons are not their priority. Sad really.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have two pics for you and a very happy completion to the story. On your advice, I did further research on rescue groups and I through that I found a very kind man, Richard, who runs the local rescue. He agreed to take my birds and either keep them himself (he has around a hundred already!) or to find a good home for them. Tonight I took them to his home, where he had two brothers waiting there to bring my birds home with them. I've given them my email address and asked them to keep me up to date with how the chicks are going. Here's a picture of the chicks taken yesterday. They are just about fully feathered and are hopping around, in and out of their box! I'm so grateful for this experience, so happy that the chicks will have a home, but you know what? I miss them already :( (I swear I can hear them peeping at me from the next room ... )

Thank you for your help and guidance with this and I hope this post brings a smile to your faces :)
 

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