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Hello all,

A little over a week ago, my friend came to my door with a wild baby pigeon she said she found sitting alone on a sidewalk. It was very young, just barely starting to grow feathers. Having no experience in raising nestlings what-so ever, I did some research and managed to use leftover baby chicken feed to feed the little guy. He is now probably nearly a month old, weened, and just about fully feathered. I plan to release him whenever he is ready to go, after I teach him a thing or two about being a wild pigeon.

The thing is, I had been thinking about getting a pigeon/dove for quite some time now, so my little prince has been sort of a blessing. He has helped me to confirm my resolve to go ahead and find domestic birds to adopt.

Yesterday I left a wanted ad at the feed store and today I got a reply. I got a phone call from a lady saying her daughter has regular and fancy pigeons she's trying to get rid of, and that we should arrange for me to come see them. I'm super stoked about this! My little prince, however, still hasn't decided to leave the house, and I'm sure he's probably too young, as he flies with worse skill than that of a chicken(I guess it's hardly flying at all). My questions to you all are;

About what age will my baby boy(or girl, I honestly have no clue LOL) be ready to leave the house and fend for himself?

And also, my god-mother, who is a bird lover herself, claims that I should never mix wild and domestic birds mostly because they can easily swap diseases to one another. Is this true? If so, is there any way I can keep them separate and healthy?

Thanks all!
 

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Hi and welcome to PT.
I started out with 1 rescued baby feral pigeon 16 years ago. Pigeons are 'feral', not 'wild' birds.
That first baby got me hooked. I tried to release it into a local flock and it was terrified, it wouldn't leave me. So I brought her back home and bought an American Fantail to keep her company........I now have roughly 100 birds in 2 lofts- Homers, Tumblers, Fantails and some rescues.
You can't raise a baby pigeon and then just let it go. The parents teach it how to forage for food and survive in the wild. Pigeons are very trusting of humans.
You would have to do a 'soft release' and try to integrate it into a local flock.
On the other hand, if you were interested in getting some pigeons.......I would keep this baby whereas you have raised it, it is trusting and friendly (pet), and any other pigeons you get this baby will help calm them. Pigeons copy other pigeons - that's how they learn. They CAN be housed together. A pigeon is a pigeon, there are over 300 breeds! The 'wild' pigeons you see on the street are not wild birds. They are a domestic bird (and offspring of) gone 'feral'. No different than the colonies of feral cats.
If it was me, I would keep it......you'll have a lifelong friend :)
As far as diseases.......normal maintenance. Isolate new birds for a minimum of 2 weeks before introducing, routine wormings, etc.
 

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....

And also, my god-mother, who is a bird lover herself, claims that I should never mix wild and domestic birds mostly because they can easily swap diseases to one another. Is this true? If so, is there any way I can keep them separate and healthy?
I'd do what Msfreebird suggests.

By the time you get other pigeons/another pigeon this little one will have done sufficient 'quarantine' to reassure you there's no infectious health issue (unlikely anyway in one so young). In fact, you will need to be reasonably sure that any you take on are also healthy! With all best intentions, loft or aviary pigeons can get sick, even if less often than a feral might.
 

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I agree with Waynette silver
I have domestic pigeons and I have feral pigeons that have intergrated with my family of homers . Usually one keeps a wild ( feral ) pigeon in quarantine which canbe a period of up to 3 weeks . This time is ideal to observe the bird for any problems or diseases and treat them accordingly , most pigeon diseases are treatable with medications ....after this period and the bird is healthy I see no reason why it could not be kept with other birds .

I really hope that you decide to keep the little one and if you decide to get him a friend or two I think you'll have a happy crew of pigeons that will bring you much joy :)
In a loft enviroment .....I find my youngsters like to explore outside around 40 days after hatching , they learn from the other birds , do a few quick flights and back to the loft ....a week or two after this and they are flying with my other birds .

Well done on saving this bird and welcome to PT.........there are a lot of fine members here who will only be happy to help you in anyway .......Just Holla !!!

Darren
 

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have to chime in and agree! keep this pet, as he is now and he will have company.. living the feral life is not the easiest and they do have a shorter life span when not captive.
 

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Just to add my 2 cents here, a pigeon is a pigeon. As far as diseases go, you could have a pedigreed bird bring sickness into a healthy loft, just as well as a feral bird could. ANY new bird you bring in, quarantine it for a month, just to make sure it isn't sick. Watch how he/she acts and looks. Check their droppings. You can even have the droppings checked by a vet. Also gives you time to get to know the bird, and for it to get to know you.

Like Waynette, I started with bringing home baby ferals to hand raise. But I came home with 6, and 2 of them were only a couple of days old. I too had intentions of releasing them when they were old enough. In time I came to love those 6 little monsters, and I also learned that their chances of survival were not great, as they had been raised by a human. The parents are the ones who teach the youngster about where to find food and water, and how to pick out shelter, and how to evade predators. Without that, their chances of survival are lowered drastically. Even if they were to join a feral flock, and learn from them. Some survive, and many do not.

Anyway, we ended up building them a loft, and more have been added since. They have a way of finding you. My flock now is around 30 birds. We have feral pigeons, racing homers, an Indian fantail, garden fans, rollers, what I think is a Saxon Monk, a King pigeon, and recently have welcomed an adorable little Satinette to the mix. She has been in quarantine for about a month in my dining room. She has now been moved out to the loft with the others, but in her own cage, where they can all meet and see each other and get to know each other before releasing her into the loft. I say she because I think she is a she just by the way she acts, and in the interest the others are showing in her. Thought I had a German Owl, until I posted her pic here on PT, and they told me I had a Satinette. They know their birds here. Very handy LOL. So we have a loft of rescues. Some are disabled and can't fly, so we have put in ramps and such to make it easier for them to get around. Never a dull moment around here.

Anyway, I think having all the different kinds of bird makes it more interesting and fun. There is no reason why you shouldn't start your pigeon keeping with this little guy. You can pick out a friend or two for him, and believe me, once you do that, you will want more. They're fun to keep, and there are always rescues that come along and need a home. I think your little one would be a great way to start. And as has been mentioned, any questions you have, lots of help on here. Good luck, and please let us know how it goes. And welcome to P.T.
 

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Oh wow, I didn't know that 'wild' pigeons are actually ferals. I didn't plan on just setting him lose without letting him observe a feral flock first hand, no worries, but I just sorta felt bad because everyone's always talking about how an animal born in the wild should stay there, and "shame on you for keeping this poor animal captive- set him free!"

I'd really love to just keep my baby bird. He shows no sign of sickness, VERY eager to eat, very alert in a calm observant way, and just as vocal. The only little thing I'm uncertain of is the occasional watery stools. It's not like diarrhea, it's as though his normal poop just has water with it sometimes. Is this normal?

He's gotta be over three weeks old by now, so from what I've seen, I really doubt he's gonna be the one that passes diseases to any other bird.

With that said, how is the proper way to introduce new pigeons to my existing baby pigeon? Is it better to have a male/female pair or can pairs of the same gender coexist without conflict? What about trios of birds? Because now it seems that I'm going to have to wait for my little Peepeep to mature and see if he lays eggs or not to determine the gender (I'm a bit reluctant to visit the vet out here, heard some horror stories about him).

Thanks all! And thanks for the warm welcome. ^^
 

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If you could post a pic of his poops, that would help people to see if they think there is anything to be concerned about. Usually, you would just put their cages next to each other and let them get used to each other for a while before you actually introduce them to one another. As far as sex, that can't be determined right now, so kinda hard to pick a mate for this bird. If you were to get a female it would be easier, as two females will normally get along fine together. But if your baby is a male, and you were to add a male, there could be problems with them fighting. So adding a female would be safer. If you have a vet, they should let you bring in a sample of the birds droppings to have them checked for parasites or bacteria. If you don't already have a vet, they may not do that without seeing the bird. It would be a good idea to find an avian vet in your area who sees birds. Then you would have to check to be sure that they see pigeons. Just always remember to tell them that this is your pet bird. Don't say that it is a feral or wild bird, or they may refuse to treat it.

Trios of birds isn't a great idea either, as two will probably mate up, and that would leave the third bird out. That can cause problems also. Also not fair to the third bird who would be the third wheel, so to speak. I would get a female, and then if you wanted to add more birds later, you could always do that.
 

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Oh wow, I didn't know that 'wild' pigeons are actually ferals. I didn't plan on just setting him lose without letting him observe a feral flock first hand, no worries, but I just sorta felt bad because everyone's always talking about how an animal born in the wild should stay there, and "shame on you for keeping this poor animal captive- set him free!"

I have serveral pigeons, in my rescue, thqt likely were raised by humans and released for the same reason. None would have survived on their own because they are human imprinted and have no clue about life in the wild.
Some are up for adoption.
 

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I'd be more than happy to post pictures of him and his poop *chuckles* if I can get a new camera, but at the moment they would have to be videos, and I would have to make a new youtube account(Deleted my old one-wish I didn't), which is just fine with me =).

I will definitely see about getting a female, that all make sense to me, Jay3. Who knows, she make even 'adopt' little Peeper while he's still very young.

@Charis:

That makes sense! I always felt like it was a bit mean to set loose an animal that is imprinted on you. I've even heard stories of people who drove their bird, squirrel, etc, out several miles away to release them so they would quit returning. I can see it being ok to set them loose if they show a vivid desire to be free, but at this rate if I tried to release my baby bird, he would definitely keep coming back to me. Not everyone around here is friendly to pigeons either...on top of that, I just discovered the remains of TWO feral pigeons on my block- we have an abundance of feral cats out here. I would be a nervous wreck if I set my baby bird free!

So everyone saying I should go ahead and keep my little prince, thank you, it actually releases a ton of weight from my shoulders believe it or not, hah. Now I just have to get my god-mother comfortable with the idea.
 

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Oh wow, I didn't know that 'wild' pigeons are actually ferals. I didn't plan on just setting him lose without letting him observe a feral flock first hand, no worries, but I just sorta felt bad because everyone's always talking about how an animal born in the wild should stay there, and "shame on you for keeping this poor animal captive- set him free!"

Thanks all! And thanks for the warm welcome. ^^
You'll always hear people saying that.......that doesn't make them right :rolleyes: If you found a 2 week old feral kitten, would you raise it and then let it go? Just ignore those people, your doing what's best for the bird to have a long, safe, healthy life :) Alot of people don't realize that pigeons are a domestic breed gone feral.
 

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I'd be more than happy to post pictures of him and his poop *chuckles* if I can get a new camera, but at the moment they would have to be videos, and I would have to make a new youtube account(Deleted my old one-wish I didn't), which is just fine with me =).

I will definitely see about getting a female, that all make sense to me, Jay3. Who knows, she make even 'adopt' little Peeper while he's still very young.

@Charis:

That makes sense! I always felt like it was a bit mean to set loose an animal that is imprinted on you. I've even heard stories of people who drove their bird, squirrel, etc, out several miles away to release them so they would quit returning. I can see it being ok to set them loose if they show a vivid desire to be free, but at this rate if I tried to release my baby bird, he would definitely keep coming back to me. Not everyone around here is friendly to pigeons either...on top of that, I just discovered the remains of TWO feral pigeons on my block- we have an abundance of feral cats out here. I would be a nervous wreck if I set my baby bird free!

So everyone saying I should go ahead and keep my little prince, thank you, it actually releases a ton of weight from my shoulders believe it or not, hah. Now I just have to get my god-mother comfortable with the idea.
Here's some reading for your God-mother :).........
Sorry, I removed the link - the site that had the link was too controversial - I'll find it elsewhere and post it
 

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its a very good link, but could tell more on how alot of poor people , were saved and fed exclusively on pigeon meat, making much of what we have today possible.
 

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A few comments:

The assertion that a pen-raised bird would not have the skill to survive in the wild is wrong; evidenced by the number of (poor) homers and rollers that will join up with wild flocks. I had such a roller one time that I caught off a rooftop 12 miles from my loft with ferals a year after he had left my loft. It is contradictory to say that ferals are domestics gone wild and then say in the same breath that domestics cannot survive in the wild.

Having said that, I would keep the baby, he is probably well imprinted on you and will make a great pet. And will co-exist fine with pedigreed birds. Ferals (those showing the classic wild rock dove markings) are really just another variation. In fact, if you do haphazard breeding, the offspring will often look like ferals. I could show you come roller/modena crosses.

As to the poop, I hope you are feeding something other than chicken mash. Too much protien. If you can find some formulated pigeon feed, good, at the very least mix a bag of cracked corn with a bag of chicken crumbles to get the protien down. Also give the poor thing some grit. Otherwise you will probably have the green squirts.
 

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i have a feral baby just half feathered, and was trying to feed the commercial baby bird formula, but it hopped down after a while and was eating spilled seed off the floor, so gave it a dish, and it was gorging itself the first full day having it, like itd never eaten, though had full crop of seeds and fluids when shop keeper gave to me (they liked the idea of getting rid of pigeons, but better that it got a good home, instead of being around for the annual "control" of them nesting and hanging out downtown, which means them shot, poisoned and often left to just flop around in road till someone runs them over).
 
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