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Squab Help

Discussion in 'Pigeons and Doves' started by ReseisCL16, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. ReseisCL16

    ReseisCL16 Songster

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    Hi again, it's me with the Ports. I may have mentioned this in previous posts, but due to a mistake on my supplier's end, I ended up with three hens and one cock. Technically, the cock is paired with a specific hen, but he does naughty things with all of them. All three hens have been on eggs for a few weeks.

    I'm not sure exactly when it hatched, but the "official" pair hatched a squab. Super cute, tame little thing, but about two weeks later (July 10), one of the other hens hatched two squabs. By this time, the parents of the older squab were still feeding it and taking very good care of it. The "single mother" with the two squabs seemed to be getting on fine, even without a mate. That was a few days ago.

    Just yesterday, the older squab finished feathering out and could walk (picture below from just a day or two before he left the nest). He jumped down from his nesting box and has been pestering the single hen and her squabs, just because he wants the attention. The parents of this older squab would get all fiery and, to be honest, there have been so many scuffles in that box with the two young squabs I'm surprised they've made as long as they have. I haven't moved the nest because I'm afraid the single hen will abandon the babies. But today I'm pretty sure the parents of the older squab just abandoned their squab, simply because they thought it could fend for itself by now. It wasn't at all happy about this and after "crying " and squeaking for some time, it gave up and tried to eat some of the adult food. I'm not entirely sure, but I think that it's about 2 and a half weeks old, maybe a little older.

    The big problem is that tonight, this older squab squeezed in with the two younger ones, and the single mother hen let it and actually was protecting it when I removed it from the nest. This isn't her baby and I want it to actually grow up. I'm also concerned that it might hog her crop milk, like a cuckoo chick. I would be heartbroken to lose her two little squabs now, after they've been through so much.

    So here are my questions:
    1. Is 2 and a half weeks (give or take) a normal age for the parents to abandon their squab? This little guy just didn't seem very prepared.
    2. Would it detrimental for the younger squabs if their mother also cared for this older squab to some degree? It's so big, it seemed to be pushing her babies away from her some, but they weren't too far. And they are a week old tomorrow.

    Any help would be great! Next time, I'm going to be a little more particular about which pigeons hatch eggs and when they do it, but until then, I have to resolve this problem. Thanks! :D
     

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  2. biophiliac

    biophiliac Traveler in BYCLand

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    In my experience, the older squab, now 3 weeks old is close to being able to eat on it's own and about a week away from being able to fend for itself. I would be hand feeding it thawed frozen peas at the same time offering seeds and water for it to try on it's own. I'd maybe keep it in a separate cage for this to prevent any problems with the younger squabs. And no, 2.5 weeks is too early for the parents to stop caring for the youngster.

    Re the Single hen, I had a pair of hens that raised their squab well to the age of about 2 weeks then abandoned it and moved to another nest box to get away from him! I hand raised him from then on and he's fine now. with his own mate and 2 weaned offspring. Generally the hen don't feed much after the crop milk period when the cock takes over most of it. Just a heads up that you need to watch those younger babies are getting fed enough especially after ~2 weeks and if not, pick up the slack with hand feeding if needed.. edit added - This applies to your single mom hen also, she will probably have trouble keeping up with feeding the 2 babies as they get bigger. You can help her by supplementing with handfeeding, or just take them and take over the feeding if you have to.

    Best of luck!:)

    On the bright side, you are much better off with 3 hens and one cock than the reverse!
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
  3. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Crowing

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    The male should be tending to this squabs needs as I understand it. Maybe isolating the single mother might solve this situation. The squab looks almost old enough to fend for itself maybe caging it with water and food is the solution.
     
  4. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Crowing

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    Why don't you take that squab out and keep it in a cage.

    Then after you feed the birds in the main coop in the morning and afternoon... put it back in so its dad can pump it full of seeds, then when its finished you can put it back in the cage.

    In the cage have water and feed for it so it starts to learn to eat by itself.

    At it's age is only get fed by the father bird now, while the female will be starting to lay her next batch of eggs.

    It does not get brooded or use the nest now its out. Only the father bird will feed it 2 or 3 times a day and then leave it alone again.

    Once its eating on its own you can add it back to the main coop.
     
  5. backyard pigeons

    backyard pigeons Cooing

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    Portuguese tumblers aren't the best parents around. They often favor one squab, so watch very very closely on the single hen. Get some frozen peas, and pop them down the older squab. 15 or so will do it, 2 times a day. For the younger ones, keep a very close eye on them. don't let the older squab get in with them, cause he might smother them. You might need to give him his own cage for a few days. If the mother of the young ones starts to favor one\one falls behind, I recommend getting some Kaytee Exact and hand feeding it... 3 times a day if possible. I hope this helps!
     
  6. biophiliac

    biophiliac Traveler in BYCLand

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    Just remember to thaw the frozen peas before feeding.;)
     
  7. backyard pigeons

    backyard pigeons Cooing

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    YES! thanks! I forgot to say that.... :rolleyes:
     
    mixedUPturk likes this.
  8. LamarshFish

    LamarshFish Songster

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    In my experience when a squab somewhat fledges the nest it isn't being "abandoned" as you may think. The cock bird usually feeds squabs sometimes as far out as 5 weeks of age, and I've seen my squeaker aged squabs still go and sit in the nest box as sort of a third wheel for quite some time, and sometimes even sit the nest bowl with its mom hen and her new eggs or young squabs out to 6-8 weeks of age (those post college grads that just can't get off on their own and live in mom and dad's basement) and mom hen rarely cares, and often seems to welcome it. I've seen cock birds feeding 4-6 week squeaker aged youngsters both in and out of the nest box, usually when they just get squeaked at so much they cave in and feed them, sort of like "you should be off eating on your own, but here take this so you shut up finally." They look after them. Eventually the late developing youngsters figure it out. All squabs/squeakers advance at different ages, just like humans.

    I do not think 2.5 week old squabs need you to step in with crop milk of any sort unless you see clear signs of malnutrition. You may not notice it much, but most of the time the parents are still caring for fledged young, even if fledged a bit early. If I think a youngster fledged too early perhaps by falling, I will place them back in the nest bowl, and often they're back on the floor the next day if they did it on purpose, and if they just fell they'll stay in the bowl for a while longer.
     
    mixedUPturk, cavemanrich and CCUK like this.
  9. ReseisCL16

    ReseisCL16 Songster

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    Thank you for your help y'all! I tried the frozen peas yesterday, but the squab just didn't seem interested. However, he try to eat some of the millet in the adult's feed.

    At this point, I think I definitely need to separate the older squab from the single mother and her baby. One of her two young squabs was crushed in the night, I'm guessing by a scuffle in the box. The male in the pen doesn't seem to realize that this hen is on squabs and constantly harasses her. Add that to the pushy older squab whose stealing all the crop milk he can get from this single hen, and it's a dangerous place for the last remaining squab.

    I want to just separate the hen and her last baby and put them in a separate cage, but I'm afraid she'll abandon it. I could just remove the older squab, as it seems that he is somewhat eating adult food now, and put him in a different cage. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems that give the older squab a little over a week in the cage and then he'll be on solid food. By that time the younger remaining squab will hopefully be old enough to not be so vulnerable. But then even if I do remove the older squab, there's the cock that won't leave the hen alone and keeps chasing her off of the nest! I'm honestly at my wit's end, and if that's not enough, I'm leaving on a trip that my family's been planning for months tomorrow. I have to make the new set-up as easy as possible so that my house-sitter can handle it. These things always seem to happen at the worst times...:hmm
     
  10. backyard pigeons

    backyard pigeons Cooing

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    Yikes! I am so sorry! OK, can you put a milk crate, or anything over the hen and her squab and give her a food and water bowl? That would be easy for the petsitter.
     

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