Weaning and Feeding Questions

Discussion in 'Pigeons and Doves' started by MrsO, Dec 30, 2014.

  1. MrsO

    MrsO Hatching

    Dec 30, 2014
    Hi there!

    I stumbled onto this page while looking for feeding info for baby zebra doves. I'll probably ramble on as I have a ton of questions and zero experiences, thanks ahead of time for baring with me!

    So some back story first: I live in Oahu and on December 26th I found two baby birds in front of my house. Unfortunately, one was already dead, and the second seemed in pretty bad shape, panting and unable to keep its head up. I tried looking around for any signs of broken palm leaves or twig/nest bits, but couldn't find any and the palm trees are much too tall to be able to check for nests.
    I put the little bird into an old, shallow, lined plastic container and moved it off to the side of the house out of direct sunlight and under some protection from shrubbery. I would check out the window occasionally, but no adult birds ever came by and by nightfall the little thing was still hanging on so I decided to bring it in. (Called local vets and bird rescues buy they have been unable to help).
    I scoured the internet and was able to get the bird identified as a zebra dove nestling. I did buy some Kaytee exact hand feeding formula, and have been feeding it to the dove every 2-3 hours. That in itself has been a trial and error experience with hours and hours spent on the internet researching it as best I can.

    Anyway, I'm wondering when I should start adding seed to the baby's diet and start weaning it? I think it might be ready, but I really don't know for sure as I seriously have zero experience with birds. Also, what type of bird seed should I feed it? What's the best way to introduce seed to the diet? What is grit and should I be giving it as well? If so, where do I buy grit? As I'm weaning the baby, should I also add fresh water to the diet, or will it still only need to get it's water from the formula feedings?

    I'm thinking next week I'd like to start taking the baby to walk around in the grass where I see other doves eating occasionally, is this a good idea or not? The reasoning behind that is because I really don't want to keep the bird and would like to be able to give it a successful return back to the wild.

    Okay, I think that's all my questions for now! Thank you for getting this far!
    Any other advice would also be really appreciated.
    Including some pictures of the baby here. [​IMG]

  2. cnicho05

    cnicho05 Chirping

    Feb 22, 2014
    Owosso, MI

    I have to start by saying I have little experience of my own on this topic...

    I would suggest, however, that you could begin to add solid feed to the birds environment. If you visit your local feed store you should be able to find a multipurpose feed designed for small birds (e.g., chickens, wild birds, turkey, etc.). This feed should have somewhat elevated protein levels as to encourage strong muscle growth.

    Once you have this feed I would place some in a small container and set it near the bird. I would make sure no one in your family has access to add additional feed as you will wan't to monitor how much feed it consumes. As for the amount, you should let it eat whatever/whenever it wants. This will help with the growth as I would imagine a bird like this would need feed for a minimum of three months...before it could start scavenging for it's own.

    Lastly, you didn't mention anything about a heat source which can be important for a young bird. If you haven't introduced a heat lamp already I would suggest you do so (or monitor the rooms temperature)...

    Best of luck....
  3. loftkeeper

    loftkeeper Songster

    Nov 7, 2013
    you need to go feed or pet store ask what they eat in the wild and what they have. maybe someone with a rehab center could help. at the age the pic shows you can feed it solids just have to open it mouth and drop the seeds in there. to water dip it beak in something that it can get it whole beak in it they drink like horses sucking water. put seeds in a bowl and water leave in front of it til you know it is drinking and eating on its own. heat at this age is not a big deal it has feathers so around 80 degrees or better it will be ok. think you live where stays warm . you could take some feed and start feeding the wild ones in aplace and take yours and when eating and flying good take it there and release it . you could continue to feed in the same place so your bird does have a place to eat
  4. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Crowing

    Oct 24, 2009
    Hi, I live in Thailand and breed zebra doves for a hobby.

    You are doing a great job feeding it... the bird formula you have is perfect !!!

    I can not get that stuff where I live and hand rear them on chicken chick starter feed mashed up into a paste with warm water.

    I think you dove is too young to eating seeds right now. Just keep feeding with the food you have already.

    As it gets bigger you can make the formula thicker and add a few seeds that have been soaked in warm water to make them soft.

    It won't need any grit if its eating the formula. It only needs grit when its eating hard seeds.

    You will know when its ready to start eating on its own as it will start pecking at things on the ground and walking about and starting to fly Then you can put a few seeds in a shallow pot and poke then with you finger to get it interested in pecking at them and eating them. It takes a couple of weeks to get it eating well on its own.

    Also have a pot of water for it to drink.. you can show it how to drink by gently dipping its beak in the water. But now it won't need the water as it is getting all the water it needs from the formula.

    I have a TIP that you need only feed it when its crop (that food pouch thing on its chest) is empty and its begging for food when it sees you. Then feed it as much as it will eat, then wait again till the crop is empty. Feeding it when there is still old food in the crop can make them very sick. You don't need to feed it at night.. but make sure it get food early in the morning.

    You can simply scoop up a bowl full of dry sand and dirt from your garden to put in its cage for the girt. Or you can buy proper bird mineral grit from a pet shop.

    You should also buy the proper seed for the dove from the pet shop... they eat any small seeds.. the same food as parakeets / budgies, and finches. They all love millet seeds.



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