First Timer Baby Pigeon Raising - Won't Open Mouth

Discussion in 'Pigeons and Doves' started by LyrebirdJacki, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. LyrebirdJacki

    LyrebirdJacki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A mate of mine gave me two of his homing pigeon eggs to raise a week ago and one hatched today (the other is still chipping away so I guess that was the second egg laid), I looked around on how and when to feed the baby but the baby won't open his mouth for the syringe. I am worried that the syringe is too big for a new born pigeon, or maybe that I am just not trying to pry his mouth open enough; it just seems so delicate.

    The baby is large and healthy, wiggling around a bit and all "fluffy" now. I've had no problem with finches and wild baby pigeons (they seem to readily open their mouths for a feed), however i've never directly incubated a finch egg or pigeon, it's always been with the parent for a day so the bird already knows how to eat.

    I looked at some pictures of the syringes people used and mine has a thick end without that long piece that reaches the crop. Can I get it from a pharmacy or vet? Or do I just have to hold his beak open and poke it down into the crop. I am aware that you can drown the birds by feeding through the lung pipe.

    I squeezed a little of the formula on his beak hoping maybe getting a taste would make him a little more enthusiastic and he seemed to swallow it down little by little. I watched a youtube video and the man held the head in his fingers and seemed to pry the beak easily but mine seems to roll his head away. A trick to this?

    [​IMG]

    I also read that regular quail micro-pellets dissolved in water works as food, I bought a bag of "AVIONE" branded baby bird raising mix (says nothing on pigeons/doves, but the finches do ok on it) and was wondering if I should mix a baby bird mix with some pellets to add protein. I also wondered if adding a quail egg yolk would be a good idea, as I have quails, and want to provide the right diet for my pigeon.

    Help would be great. The pigeon is only about 12 hours or so old, maybe a little more to give an idea about it's age.
     
  2. Pigeon Power

    Pigeon Power Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Indiana!
    You have to open the mouth for it...once they realize that you are feeding them it will be a bit more easy however they are not like song birds. You'll always have o open it for them some what...We always just used pigeon pellets water and a bit of egg yolk. For the first week then just pellets and water after that and thicker as well. You kind of have to cup your hand over the body put your thumb on one side of the head and open the mouth with your fingers. Its not any easy things at first but you'll get used to it....We never used anything other then are fingers and kind of scraped the food in the mouth the babies will do the rest...don't forget about grit as well...after the 1st week or so...
     
  3. LyrebirdJacki

    LyrebirdJacki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, well I got one of those larger syringes and cut off the end, put fabric on the end and poked a little hole in the fabric; he seems to take to that (and his sibling which hatched a bit later) quite well. I will try again with the smaller syringe by being a bit more persistent with getting the beaks open. All the youtube videos I looked up were older squeakers, not new-borns so they had already been run through the drills of being fed which made it difficult for me considering mine wern't so...enthusiastic as the video pigeons.

    As for grit, what do I use, I hope that isn't a silly question. Could I add a few whole millet seeds in their formula? Or do I use a fine shell grit in the formula? Do I add this during the first days of growth or in a few days time? I think I have misread your quote:

    "don't forget about grit as well...after the 1st week or so..."

    I am guessing to not introduce grit until they are a week old and I thicken their feed?

    They seem to have taken a liking to the baby bird formula and dissolved gamebird micro-pellets that I added to their mix. I will give them some egg yolk in their next feed. I feed egg and biscuit to my finches, so I was wondering if that is fine to feed to the doves on occasion as squeakers or is it too much?

    There is also mixed information about how regular to feed them. I am feeding them when their crop looks empty (so far three times today). Some information tells me to do this every half hour to an hour, every three hours, and three times a day. I don't know which is correct but I am going off what I usually do with baby birds and wait for the empty crop as to not overwhelm them.

    By the way, under infrared heat lamp at approx 32-34 degrees Cecilius they seem to be handling well, but is this too hot and should I lift the lamp a little higher? I can't seem to find much information about brooding temperatures. I also live in a pretty warm climate which is about those temperatures in the day, but getting as low as 21-25 at night. I don't own one of those heat pads so I hope the light is sufficient. Please correct me otherwise.

    Other than that, so far they are happy babies :)
     
  4. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013
  5. Pigeon Power

    Pigeon Power Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Indiana!
    Like Coco said its hard to raises them up this young...I can only tell you that MOST of the babies I hand raised were older, However I have hand raised some that the parents kicked out of the nest from day one and a couple that I moved the parents because of weather and they did not return to the nest...They ended up dying and or being deformed (around 6 or so) I'm thinking the parents knew something I didn't because they didn't do this to any or there other babies...a couple turned out normal. I would for sure out egg yolk in with what your feeding them...that is what they lived off of in the egg and I think it helps them out a bit because they are not getting pigeon milk. I have always used the heating pad...so I don't know what to tell you about the light...Which I have only used once because it burnt out in the middle of the night and the baby died of cold....horrible. I would wait with the grit till you see pin feathers coming in (so a little after the first week) I use chick (chicken grit). As for how often to feed them...I would say 3 is not enough. We have always 6 to 7 times a day...As for whats right? Who knows! I'm just telling you what has always worked for me!
     
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  6. LyrebirdJacki

    LyrebirdJacki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One of the baby squabs (the oldest) takes quite well to food so far, and moves around in quite an active manner, while the other seems quite sluggish until I get a bit of food in it, but then it goes back to laying around. I think it might be what everyone is saying that he isn't getting the nutrients from the baby feed and egg mix I am providing or that he is just a day behind the other and is just recovering from the hatching process (the oldest is 3 days old while the other is 2); the youngest also took a lot longer to hatch, as it pipped the same time as the first and still hatched a day later.

    I have picked up to feeding more regularly as I am checking the crops to see how full they are, but more so because I have to clean the bedding all the time and notice they need a feed (small crop) when I am handling them. I think yesterday I must have fed every hour because I was paranoid that they were going to die. I kept waking up throughout the night to check on them and top them up on food. For once it's great to use the extra quail eggs that I don't eat for something as well.

    For feeding techniques I am swapping the small syringe (in the photo, as they now open their beaks for food) and the cut syringe technique where they drink from a slit in fabric. They take to the second way a lot better but sometimes I find the syringe fabric isn't dry yet from the previous feed and use the small one.

    If I knew that they have a better chance at survival with the parents (I've always known about the pigeon milk, but never actually dwelled into researching since I had no pigeons and if I did I would let the parents' do their thing) I would have told my friend that gave me the eggs to keep them himself or give me some older babies (I would feel bad removing them from their mother so probably wouldn't do that anyway). They were a present from when I did a favor, and he knows I have lots of birds at home so go figure....

    Ok I'll introduce the grit in a week if they survive, I was hoping it wasn't early since I hadn't given them any yet. I would be in some trouble if they needed it from day one. I really like them though, if the did die I would defiantly look at getting some older ones :)

    Thanks for all the help guys
     
  7. LyrebirdJacki

    LyrebirdJacki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm it's a shame the camera wasn't a little higher but I understand how that works by feeding the peas in a line with your fingers. As you say, if they make it pass 5 days ill try some more solid way of feeding as they get a little older. One in particular seems very healthy so I have my hopes with him, but I won't give up on the second who is a little weaker. If I fail with these guys I'l get myself some adults and try starting my new pigeon obsession (I'm really getting into it now) in an easier and safer way; letting the birds raise their own young. Was given the eggs on the fly by a friend so I didn't really have much time to research something that I had no idea that I was getting. I have to admit though I am face in books at the library and staying up at night looking up anything and everything I can; it's just wonderful to get peoples' experience and advice first hand though. Thank you.
     
  8. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013
  9. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    @LyrebirdJackie If you run an independent search on You Tube or the internet on pigeon or squab feeding you will be surprised at the amount of information that is currently out there.

    Always try to feed the squab slowly especially when feeding with a syringe.
    If you happen to squirt too much food into their beak before they can handle it they can choke and basically die from drowning (I learned this the hard way Jackie).


    Once the squabs get to be a week old I find you are able to cut down your feeding routine to twice a day morning and evening.

    After a week old have food and water and grit available to them 24/7.
    Every bird has a different learning curve and your duties may be over sooner than you think.


    I have earmarked this link.

    Keep us posted regardless of outcome.

    Some of us like pictures.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013
  10. LyrebirdJacki

    LyrebirdJacki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am just trying everything I have picked up with other aviary birds that I have raised over the years (parrots, finches/tanagers, older pigeons, wild birds such as kingfishers, honeyeaters, other passerines and even quails but obviously quails are pretty easy...) so I have the motivation and common sense to do this but there is never no room for more advice and knowledge; especially since pigeons is a new thing for me. I love forums as it provides instant help on the spot if I'm lucky, and gives me first hand experienced peoples' knowledge instead of all the different text sources that all vary in information that you generally can't ask any further questions about.

    I wouldn't say that I will be successful with these chicks, for all I know they may die in the next few days but if they do well and I find a thread that has asked for the same help I needed, I would give my knowledge to them. But if you feel that I could help you in the same situation that I am in, I am always happy to help. I also wouldn't try eggs again because it sounds all too high risk; unless the nest was abandoned.

    I spent a few hours on youtube actually but as I said in my first one or two posts, it was mainly older birds which is why I seeked the forums hoping someone else had done this. However I do have an idea on how to raise them once they get pass the newborn stage and hit active-flappy-wings-feed-me-now stage. There were many forms of raising I saw, some being a little rough and invasive to the bird, and others such as the one you sent me which I liked heaps. I had no idea the squabs could eat the big peas like that when they are so young for a start!
     

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