Adult pigeon pecking baby pigon - why?

Discussion in 'Pigeons and Doves' started by Jeanette56, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. Jeanette56

    Jeanette56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have one pair of week old pigeons. Today another pair of parents with eggs began pecking one of them enough to draw blood. I have not had anything like this happen before and I'm not sure what to do. Any help or advice would be welcome.
     
  2. ThiefPouter06

    ThiefPouter06 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Its called scalping. Pigeons have a natural instinct to kill babies that fall out of the nest. Perhaps the squeaking baby on the ground draws predators. In the loft babies that end up on the floor, in the wrong nest or parents that invade anothers nest can get scalped. Not much you can do. They can be saved if they are old enough to hand feed. Nest fronts are very important. And no nests on the floor.
     
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  3. ThiefPouter06

    ThiefPouter06 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    some parents abandon or stop feeding scalped babies. I have had some scalp their own when I cleaned the nest box before weaning. Unfortunately its apart of the hobby, some breeds are more territorial than others.
     
  4. Jeanette56

    Jeanette56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How would I go about feeding this baby should I decide to intervene?
     
  5. ThiefPouter06

    ThiefPouter06 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There is feed out there for handfeeding but I found that you can make a mash of pellets and force feed them til the crop is full. As well as small grains and water. I would for sure clean the babies head.
     
  6. Faith SL

    Faith SL Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have heard of young pigeons being attacked or scalped in the loft when they are old enough to have grown feathers and start exploring, but never at just a week of age... did they somehow fall out of the nest, are their parents not protecting them in the nest or is their nest in a bad location? Usually baby pigeons are safer when the parents are given a nest box or specialized compartment with a nest bowl placed in it - this way the baby pigeons have little chance of falling out and the parents can protect their nesting location. If the nest is in a bad spot where other pigeons can easily pick on the young, depending on where it is you could try to place a partial barrier around the nest to create a sort of shelter to provide privacy and safety from other aggressive birds in the loft.

    If the nest is on the floor, you could try cutting out one or two sides of a strong cardboard box and placing it around/over the nest to try and help shelter them a little. With introducing any protective barrier such as this, you must closely watch the parents and make sure they are okay with the sudden change in environment around their nest. Keep an eye on them closely for a couple of days and make sure they continue sitting on their young and feeding their young like they should - if they do not resume their usual nesting duties within about 30-40 minutes of change (or less if the temperature is colder outside) remove any barrier and return the nest and all surroundings to their original state.

    You mentioned the other pair of pigeons which are terrorizing the young have eggs of their own. Is this pair's nest too close to the other nest with the young pigeons? If so the pair with eggs is simply being territorial and trying to defend their nesting area from any other birds or their young which they view as 'intruders'. If this is the case, you might try securely placing a board or piece of cardboard between the two nests as a divider to give each of the separate pairs of pigeons privacy around their nest so they feel safe and cannot see or annoy each other while in the nest.

    I would not recommend moving the nest and young if you wish for the parents to continue feeding them, as it is extremely difficult to successfully do and sometimes not possible to adjust the parents to the new nest location. The parents are already tuned in to the original coordinates of their nest and would not naturally recognize where their young have been moved to elsewhere in the loft.

    For pigeons with head injuries or pecking/scalping injuries, I have had great results with sanitizing the area by gently wiping it with a small antiseptic alcohol pad and then smearing a little zinc oxide ointment or triple antibiotic ointment (with zinc in it) onto the damaged area. Continue to smear ointment onto the damaged area whenever the ointment gets rubbed off until the wound has finished scabbing over and is for the most part healed.

    The parents should continue feeding their young if the baby pigeons have not been injured on the head too badly - a little spot on the head which they have been picked on should not discourage the parents from feeding the young if they are still otherwise healthy and energetic. Try to remedy their nesting situation in a way that the parents will accept it and things should be okay afterwards. If there is a very large spot on their head which has been damaged however, then the parents could very well get discouraged from feeding the young and the young might not even have the strength to pull through depending on the extent of the head injury.

    If you do find yourself needing to hand feed these babies to keep them going, a fairly simple and easy way is to buy and use the Kaytee hand feeding formula (meant for parrots and such, but it has a fairly balanced nutrition for baby pigeons and will work) and mix according to directions, making sure the formula is warm like baby food but not hot to the wrist. Then to feed them, another easy method is to acquire a large medical catheter syringe (such as a plastic 60ml Kendall catheter syringe) and cut off the whole front part of the syringe towards the tip. Scoop the food into the syringe and cover the cut part of it with a medium-thick piece of cloth or paper towel rubber banded to the syringe. Cut a small x in the middle of the cloth/paper to serve as a feeding hole large enough for the pigeons to comfortably get their beaks in there and then try to gently coax the baby pigeon(s) to place their beaks into the hole and eat while you are holding the syringe of food up for them and slowly depressing the syringe to push the food to them as they eat. Feed until their crops are nicely rounded and baggy but not too tight and over full of food, and feed again when their crops empty most of the way. Don't forget to mix in a small pinch of grit to 1/2 of their feedings to begin to build up a small amount of grit for when they get older and begin to eat grains and seeds on their own. There are also other hand-feeding methods, but some can be a little more difficult.

    I apologize if my hand-feeding directions are hard to understand, I am so tired right now! [​IMG]

    Here are a couple of links to hopefully clarify how to hand feed baby pigeons:

    http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/f108/various-methods-to-feed-young-squabs-9682.html

    http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/165797594SYYRWL (View individual photos and read the photo descriptions for a walk-through of how to use the syringe-feeding method)

    (Gives an example of how the hand feeding is done)


    Hope this helps

    Faith
     
  7. Jeanette56

    Jeanette56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you Faith!
    That was the kind of information I was looking for.
    The baby is fine this morning so I may not have to hand feed it.
    My conditions are less than optimal but now I have an idea on how to improve them.
    I really appreciate your help!
     
  8. Jeanette56

    Jeanette56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for your help! Nice to know there is a back-up feeding plan I can use in an emergency. [​IMG]
     
  9. Faith SL

    Faith SL Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Glad I can help!

    If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask and I will answer them to the best of my knowledge [​IMG]
     
  10. ThiefPouter06

    ThiefPouter06 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pigeons can be a balancing act in an open loft. I have found also that if a pair lives for a while by thereselves they can have trouble accepting new pairs as they claim the whole loft. I have scalping of all ages (pouters are not good for the open loft). I have even had an adult scalped.
     

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