Please help! Accidentally gave mourning dove hatchling water??

Izzy G

May 21, 2017

So I know you don't give nestlings/hatchlings water, but I realized that the food I've been giving him may have been too watered down. He just hatched yesterday noon, and I fed him for the first time today. I fed him twice, but he hadn't defecated and I am worried because I feel like he should right after eating.

He is sleeping now but I am worried I am starving him or even endangering him now that he took in maybe too much water? Until we get the Kaytee Exact formula, we have been giving him Gerber cereal/oatmeal probiotics and original mixed with water. We give it to him between 102-105 degrees F.

So main questions/concerns:

1.) Is it normal for him to flip onto his back and lie on it sometimes? Is he dying..?

2.) If he did take in a lot of water, will he digest it or do I wait it out before feeding him again?

3.) Am I starving him? He seems hungry again even tho he ate almost an hour ago and crop is pretty much deflated?

I am aware mourning doves are illegal to own, but the nearest rehabilitator is like 3 hours away. We had the egg because sometime during the night, mom got spooked and must of spilled her eggs. One fell to the ground and was consumed, the other was hidden in a plant. We put it back in the nest and waited till the next day, but she never returned. We saw the egg was alive and decided to help it.. I'm aware bird mom knows best, but I need to be bird mom now and I don't want to neglect it. Please help, it will be much appreciated!

Sorry if I'm all over the place, I'm just trying to be quick incase his life is in danger.


5 Years
May 21, 2017
Massillon, OH
I would call the rehabilitation centre. They may have contacts who live closer to your area who can take him in, or give you tips until you can get him to one of the locations. :)
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10 Years
Mar 21, 2010
Hello! I do rehab with opossums...quite different from birds, but have done a little work with birds. So I think your main concern will be if he has aspirated any of the food, like if it got into his lungs instead of his stomach. How are you feeding him? Tube feeding is the easiest way to make sure you bypass the lungs, but only if you happen to have a feeding tube on hand... Also, he might be hungry, all the time. Most rehabbed birds are fed at least every 2 hours during day-light hours. I am not much help, but will answer anything I can. Thank you for trying to help this little one!
I agree with the person above, that a rehabber may know someone closer or even be able to arrange transport for your little one...and could give your tips until they could get it...if it has aspirated, he will need antibiotics...anyway, I'd call and see if they have any thoughts! Keep us posted!

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