Healing and feeding a baby woodpigeon

Discussion in 'Pigeons and Doves' started by GoldRage, Aug 15, 2014.

  1. GoldRage

    GoldRage New Egg

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    Hi!
    I have picked up a baby woodpigeon that fell from its nest. The parent was pecking on it in attempt to kill it. It has a wound on its back that we are trying to heal right now. It is disinfected.

    It is about 13(?) days old, it is warm, seems healthy. The first day it was very down and quiet. We fed it a little bit of boiled egg yolk liquified with water before we knew it was a baby pigeon. Then after we found out this is a baby pigeon we read that you should feed it oatmeal.

    During nighttime it defecated which I take as a good sign (?).
    Today it is a bit more active than yesterday, squeels and spreads wings. Also refuses to eat oatmeal and sometimes gently pecks our fingers. This is our very first experience with baby pigeons and we are scared to wrong it in any way. I read about the stress signs which are opening of the beak and heavy breathing, so we are actively trying to minimise the stress. It is in a tiny container with water, some bird seeds and the container is in a separate room where we close the door to minimise noise. It reacts very positively to speech, calms down.

    1) How many times should we feed it? And what are the time intervals?

    2) How can I tell that it is full? I read about the "bubbles" that appear but I find it a little hard to picture, esp since his back is all wounded.

    3) Are there any other things I should do?

    4) When do they start flying? And what to do then?

    5) When should we release it and should we do it at all? (Since I read that migrating birds always need to make their first flight with parents, otherwise they might fly in an opposite direction and since I read tat woodpigeons are fast to get attached to people)

    Also, if this is relevant, we have a dog (standard poodle who is very sweet and kind, not at all aggressive and always aids in helping animals) and a cat. Our cat in general is friendly but still, a cat, you never know when his instinct wakes up so wd take special care and are extremely cautious. The cat and dog are best friends with each other. If anything we CAN keep the baby pigeon in our house, and watch carefully for the cat not to injure it. We are capable of buying all the necessary cages or anything that might be needed. The main question is what is best for it, to find a pigeon-keeper or let it stay with us or let it go.

    Please help! Any advice is welcome!
    [​IMG]
     
  2. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: FEEDING.

    I find the easiest way is as follow...

    Make up a warm mash of general chicken feed (not layer pellets), and warm water. Add a few wild bird seeds and fresh green peas.

    This mixture should be pasty and not too watery.

    Put into a clean plastic bag... with a hole cut in a corner big enough for the birds beak to go in.

    Squash up all the mixture into that corner... making sure no air bubbles. Then gently push the pigeons beak into the hold and into the mixture.

    The bird should instinctively start swallowing the food.

    When its full it will refuse any more.. and its crop should be full.

    Clean off any spilt food from the bird with a damp cloth.

    Wood pigeons also do great eating fresh warmed green peas. You can mix them with the food.. or simply pop them into the back of the birds beak.

    You can start to leave a pot of seed and peas and a pot of water in the birds cage between feedings and, each time, before the nest feeding, you should wiggle you finger in the loose food to encourage it to start eating by itself..

    Good luck and keep us all posted. Well done saving this guy!
     
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  3. lightchick

    lightchick Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome to BYC! How's the baby doing? You could also use this method of feeding.

    Hope he's doing well! Good luck with him!
     
  4. GoldRage

    GoldRage New Egg

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    Yesterday the baby was squeeling a lot. At first neither of us understood what was wrong as we gave it breakfast - some oatmeal. Then the baby started to put its beak in between all of my fingers which looked as if it was searching for food. So then we took it to feed the new way - oatmeal with peas and corn that were mixed in blender to make it a smooth meal. And we fed it using plastic bag.
    I have to say this was very very difficult at first. The baby ate it all and was still squeeling for more which was confusing at it was obviously full. Then I rushed to the vet store to find proper food for the baby as obviously oatmeal was too little for the kid.

    At the store there was nothing for chickens. There was parrot-specific food only. But I also found special food for pigeons and doves. There was also a bag with minerals and tiny stones for their digestion.

    When should I get this for the baby? How old should it be? As it is clear that right now it needs soft food.

    After proper pigeon food its poop was good, brown. And finally was full. After that the baby became quiet and slept some.
    In the evening I again freaked out because the baby was SO HOT. I quickly measured its temperature and it was 40.9ยค C. I thought it had a fever and rushed to internet but seems like 41-42 is normal body temp. of birds. While I was checking it out the baby climbed off my hands onto my side, made itself cozy and fell asleep.

    This night it slept very well as pigeon food seems to be enough for it. And we already got skilled at feeding it through the plastic bag. This morning it already strolls my shoulder. I tried taking it off after its breakfast but it started squeeling and again climbed onto my shoulder. For a while was riding me with interest but then got tired and tried sleeping on my shoulder. But it is difficult to not move at all, so the baby would gently squeel when I wake it up. I tried taking it off my shoulder but it only started to squeel louder and started climbing back on me. So I have spent some more time with it but then put it into container to sleep.

    I guess it already feels at home! I will keep posting how the sweetie is doing. So far situation is stable. Thank you for help!
     
  5. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    Wow. Sounds like you are doing perfectly! [​IMG]

    You won't need to feed grit as the food you are feeding is all soft and mushy and easy for the bird to digest.

    When its adult.. or starting feeding on hard seeds, them provide a pot of oyster shell grit and grit for chickens / pigeons... which is a larger sized grit then for cage birds like parakeets, etc.

    I have heard that people have good success feeding the special formula form the pet shop for raising baby parrots. I think is called Kaytee formula.

    I never used it as I can not get easily.. and my birds always did just fine with the paste made from chick starter / flock raiser and the added peas and seeds.
     
  6. lightchick

    lightchick Overrun With Chickens

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    Yay! Sounds like he's doing well! He also sounds very friendly! My baby pigeons always squeal and try to get food from between my fingers! It's so funny! lol
     
  7. GoldRage

    GoldRage New Egg

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    Today it is really spending a lot of time on my shoulders and neck. Every time I am near it squeels to be held and then climbs on my shoulders.The little fellow is very obedient, for example I have put it down on the desk and it sat there obediently squeeling to be put on my shoulder. Or it can open its beak when told to. This is all sweet. [​IMG]

    The not-so-sweet part is poop. Lots of poop. After every meal it poops 4-5 times. I don't know if this is the norm of it has some sort of diarrhea. Maybe it is because it eats like a crocodile and loves to eat and then poops like a cow. In one meal it can eat up to 2 table spoons with mounts worth of its pigeon food. And the poop is very liquid. There are huge splashes of it and it is all very liquid. Maybe because the food given has some water to make it more mushy, I don't know [​IMG]. I am a little concerned though. And also, when its crop is like 25% full it again asks for food. Then it eats 1 spoon. Oh, and good news is, it pecks some seeds by itself already.

    Also a very interesting moment - every time it is on my shoulder and is about to poop it squeels. It can squeel a couple of times or once, but always squeels. I don't know what's up with it, maybe its tummy hurts? If yes, then how can I help it? However, when I put it back in the container it poops without an squeels. I am not sure if something is wrong or it is just being nice and warns me of the bombardment (all my clothes are in poop already).

    Thing is, I cannot take it to the vet here. I live in Nordic Europe and it is forbidden by the law to touch wildlife animals. Yesterday I tried calling all clinics and they all refused stating that it is against the law. Even the zoo hospital refused. They gave me a phone number of some avian centre but even they did not want to take a look at it because apparently pigeons "have lots of diseases" [​IMG]. But even that centre is half of the country away from me... So if anything is wrong with the baby I can only rely on the internet.

    This leads to another point. Thing is, we are moving to Central Europe on the 22 of August. I really cannot leave the baby pigeon here. No rescue takes them, no breeders need it as it is a wildlife one and not some species they can use to earn money... And people n general aren't interested. I was told by the rescue centre that I should have left it where it was and let it die. Or that I can drop it off at the same place and someone's cat or a fox can eat it. They also said that if I do not want it to suffer they can come and euthenise it[​IMG]. This is not an option for me! And this is certainly not what I expect from them! I do not want to let the poor fellow die. And by that time it still won't even be able to fly, so death is imminent. Besides, it already got so used to us that it will be so heartbroken!

    And so, I will take everyone with me, not leaving anyone behind. Thus I am a little worried for the kid as in how is it going to take such a long and stressful journey. And what can I do to ease the journey for the little one? The journey will be by boat and then by car... 19 hours. My dog, cat and the little one can have my full attention. But I do not want the little one to end up with a heart attack... Although if my guess was right and it was about 13 days old when we picked it up it should be 21 days old when we have to move... So hopefully it will resist stress easier.
    However, is there anything I can take with me that calms them down? Plus, even when we arrive there the climate is different. Less humid, warmer, milder. I don't know if climate will be an issue for the little one since it belongs to the migrating birds type, but I am still a bit worried.

    The good part about moving to Central Europe is that I can actually take the little one to a vet! [​IMG] So its health will be checked, it will receive all necessary vaccinations and we will finally find out whether this is a baby boy or a baby girl.

    P.S. I am considering to name it Fliri
     
  8. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    The wildlife places should take it as its a wood pigeon.. not a feral domestic pigeon... so its a wild species. Next time you need to make that clear to them.

    Where are you located now? Have you checked about the paperwork taking you bird to Europe? As its a wild bird it will be classed as wildlife and it will be very difficult to take it I am afraid.

    All the mess and poop is normal for a young pigeon squab. Don't worry about that. When its older the poops get more normal.

    NEVER FEED YOU PIGEON WHEN IT STILL HAVE FOOD IN THE CROP.... it will lead to sour crop disease. If there is still food in there then it does not need feeding.
     
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  9. GoldRage

    GoldRage New Egg

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    Aha, alright. So only when the crop is completely empty then feed it.

    And no, they refused care for the baby. Moreover, even if they do provide some care for the aby they are breaking the official law so they and me are subject to punishment. I actually thought such law was only about wildlife animals but apparently it is related to all the wildlife including birds. Just like there is a law that forbids you to slow down your driving when there are birds or small animals (e.g. squirrels, rabbits, foxes, etc) on the road, unless someone big like an elk crosses the road. We still slow down but no one else does. In fact there is even a trend here on how many squirrels you have driven over, apparently it is cool.

    The only place that accepted it is half of the country across which is too far for us. And at first they also were reluctant to look at it. But I did receive lectures on how you should not touch wildlife and mess with the circle of life and that since it was destined to die it should die earlier on rather than drag it. And these guys still won't take in the little fellow, just a look and that's it. I was also told that I should bring it back to where it was found and just drop it the way it is. I am really out of options here.

    Actually because we are inside the EU there is no trouble with moving your animals. For most cases you can cross the border as many times as you want and no one cares if you have your pets with you or if you are on your own. It is only a case when you go outside of EU or come into EU from outside. Then you need a lot of papers, full veterinary check up, passports, microchips etc. The only inconvinience with animals is when you are going with a boat/train/airplane you will have to buy them tickets as they are counted as passengers. But little animals like rodents etc, are not exactly subject to separate ticket buying since they do not have any weight and do not take a lot of room.

    So in fact there is absolutely no trouble in moving. All I am interested in is what I can do for the baby pigeon. It might take it calmly as it is not afraid of us but I am still a little bit worried. It is a brave little kid, very curious and obedient.
    However, if it takes the journey well then it will be much better for it there. Because then there is no more "helping wildlife is illegal" sort of thing and it is possible to get it to the vet. Also there are plenty of pigeon rescues in Central Europe and pigeon owners, so finding help is much easier.

    And to be honest we already don't really want to lose this kid. It preens its feathers and preens my hair, plays with my bracelet and neckchain and likes to burrow into my hair, everytime it sees me it extends its head towards me and squeels to be taken out, loves to sleep on me and cutely grinds its beak before falling asleep. Sometimes participates in conversations and in general loves to be in the company and to be talked to and especially loves to watch how we cook in the kitchen - kitchen is its favourite room.
    I am not an expert but I do feel like it is already attached to us somewhat. I definitely do not want to break its heart.
     
  10. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    OH,, I see... I thought you were in America!!!!

    The good news is that your pigeon will not mind about traveling at all.. as now its tame and young it will just think its part of life.

    Sounds like he is doing really well. You will have a very tame, loving and unusual pet in the future!

    I find the attitudes of some of the wildlife 'rescue' places frustrating. They just don't seem to care about birds at all! I remember when I was younger rescuing a baby starling and they told me to take it back and the mother will still feed it.... well I was not stupid, and I knew that a totally naked blind chicks was not going to survive for long on the ground alone in the open! There was no way I could put it back in the 2 story high house roof either.

    I also kept calling them about a duck that had a plastic can holders stuck around its neck and beak. They lied to me saying that they would come and rescue it.. they never did.. I phones 5 times over the week... and many people also told me they called them too and they just put them off. In the end me and another concerned guy caught it with a net and cut off the plastic. It only took a few minutes.

    I know that many people make a mistake 'rescuing' a baby bird.. when the bird does not need rescuing at all. Like its just fledged and not learnt to fly yet.

    But in your case.. the baby was getting attacked on the ground. If you left it, it would die.

    I ended up being the local bird rescue guy. Anyone finding injured birds or orphaned chicks would bring them to me to hand rear and release. These people also tried to take the birds to the RSPCA or a vets.. and they are always told to put it back.. or they will 'put it to sleep' as it will not survive.

    I saved many birds lives.. and they all went back to the wild, including,

    A seagull
    Several Black Birds,
    Sparrows
    Starling
    Feral pigeons
    Robins
    and also a Thrush.

    All these birds would have died if I followed the advise of the rescue places. The black bird stayed in my garden and nested for many years... so I know they can take care of themselves. I still see many of the feral pigeons I raised in my local park.. I like to think they remember me feeding them as chicks, but I'll never know!
     

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