What to Feed Baby Pigeons: How to Feed Baby Pigeons.
Birds are the most incredible creatures we received from God. There are so many things to notice about birds. Along with that, they make us learn far more about life.
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In particular, every day, we come up with birds like the crow, pigeon, starling, and many more. The vast majority of pigeons remain near human society. So, it is customary to find a squab in garden areas at their fledgling stage.
In a rare case, we discover nestling as well; they do not have feathers developed. It is quite challenging to take care of them.
Taking care of pigeons is a pretty easy task. You only need to keep some points in mind, by grasping these ways, which will help you a lot in becoming a master of keeping squabs.
So, let us come to the point straight.
What to Feed Baby Pigeon?
Fledglings are in their most awkward period of life. They have feathers and wings in underdeveloped condition. They leave their nests for learning how to survive by observing their parents. Still, they fail to escape and jump eagerly on the ground.
Thus, if you have discovered a fledgling in your yard, keep them as they are. You can do some favor of keeping your pets or other harmful things away from them.
Else, if you have observed an injured one or caring for a domestic one, you must follow the right method of feeding.
Now. Let us know what a baby pigeon eats and what you should feed them.
Natural eating habits of doves or pigeons
Their parents feed baby pigeons. Both parents of squabs produce a semi-digested liquid termed as pigeon’s milk or crop milk. It is like lactation in mammals through mammary glands.
Baby pigeons consume it from their parent’s crops to nourish and thrive. Besides, fledglings eat several grains, seeds, fresh fruits, vegetables, and berries.
Adult birds may feed their little ones in the same way they eat through a few insects, worms, or snails in the wild.
What should you feed baby pigeons?
Baby pigeons should never be provided worms or insects, hoping for the chick to grow faster.
Further, say no to dairy products or bread-related products for baby pigeons. These are undigested by birds and may be a cause of their sickness or distress.
First of all, contact a vet to understand what is appropriate for the baby pigeon. In an emergency or injury case, you should visit a bird rehabilitation center.
That time, if needed, you can feed the squab through warm water soften dog biscuits or kibbles.
If baby pigeon parents are there with you, they might feed their infant by crop milk. If not, you have to find some alternative to this.
You can get some formulas in pet supply stores to nourish the baby like its parents. These should be of appropriate consistency as the crop milk.
How to prepare formula for squabs?
Find the best hand-driven formula out there for your little pigeon. In case you can’t understand, ask the veterinarian which one will work great for the baby pigeon.
The most common formulas are Kaytee Exact Hand Rearing Formula and Nutribird A21.
Read the instructions before you start preparation. Here we have some tips to prepare a hand-driven formula for squabs.
- Take lukewarm water (not hot) and mix the needed amount of formula at starting.
- Increase the thickness after a few weeks so that the chick can take the best out of it.
- The usual advice for a newborn is to use one part formula in 5-6 part water. Gradually increase the amount with days.
- Don’t use milk as we use for our babies.
- If you do not have formulas, use either the MAC milk made by mixing some common ingredients or infant cereals.
- Warm the paste if needed. Never overheat the food before serving baby pigeons; it can severely burn the crop.
Besides formula, fledglings can eat soft grains and seeds as well. Soak them thoroughly before using it to feed the baby pigeon.
How often should you feed baby pigeons?
Infants usually sleep for 12 hours in a row. Don’t bother them at that time. After that, you can consider feeding baby pigeons in a two to three hours gap.
You must feed fledglings about 24 ccs of formulas two times per day. Gradually change the diet and practice feeding grains and seeds.
How to know when to start and when to stop feeding baby pigeons?
Experts recommend that you should feed a pigeon or any other baby birds when they are hungry. Overfeeding a squab is dangerous. Thus, once you start supplying food, be aware.
If you are wondering how to know when the chick is starving? Then the simple answer is by monitoring its crop.
Feel the crop, whether it is looking bulgy or filled. If it seems so, stop right there.
The crop of pigeons varies in size. So, no one can precisely say how much you should make them eat.
Feed next when the crop becomes flat, or the baby will prey for food. Further, vets advise feeding babies after complete digest- when you feel the crop flatter. If you observe a fuller crop for a few days, consult the veterinarian as soon as possible.
How to Feed Baby Pigeons?
Right after knowing what to feed baby pigeons or squabs, now it is time to understand how to feed baby pigeons.
After the hard work of breaking the eggshell, hatchlings need 12 hours of rest. This period is crucial for them. You should make a temporary nest for the baby pigeon in an empty shoebox. Use some tissue papers or newspapers to provide comfort.
You must keep the baby pigeon warm by holding a warm water heated pad or 40-watt bulb under the papers. Track the temperature through a thermometer to avoid overheating.
For feeding, you have to buy a syringe from a medical store. Remove the needle. Now, you can supply the formula paste to the crop of the baby pigeon through that syringe. Give fresh food every day and throw away the uneaten foods.
It is an excellent alternative for the natural feeding process of squabs. You should do this if the parents are not there. Otherwise, the chicks feed well by their parents’ crop milk.
Baby pigeons have problems opening their beak. So, it would be best if you opened it a little bit to make them eat. Be aware of their nasal passage while feeding them. If it seems critical to you, take help from bird rehabbers near you.
Fledglings can also feed with this process. A few weeks older, baby pigeons should be eating seeds or grains straight from your hand.
You can nourish fledglings with soaked seeds or grains with water. A smooth paste of grains or seeds with some boiled egg yolk also works great for the baby’s growth. Increase the size of the syringe as the bird grows up.
You can also use a plastic bag with a cut at the corner like a cream pouch for substituting a syringe. You need to squeeze the food into the crop of that squab.
Supply clean water every day and seek a vet for a new diet regularly. As they grow, you should practice them to wean by putting some grains at their cage floor.
When should you release the squab?
After the nestling becomes a fledgling, you should keep it out of the cage for a few hours a day. The fledglings love to perch to a twig or stick. This exercise will help them to strengthen their wing muscles.
If you observe the baby bird has grown entirely and learned how to escape; now, the time comes to say goodbye. Soon, they will find their community and start their new life.
God creates birds for flying high in the sky, not to live within a cage. So, it is wiser to help them in their crucial period of life and escape when they become capable. Raising a grain or seed-eating bird is not that difficult, unlike insect-eaters. However, in every case, you should maintain proper care for the baby bird.
Take help from vet or bird rehabbers in case you failed to take care in the right way. Keep an eye on “don’t do” over do things. Because if you overdo with them, the babies may destress or lead to death.