Caring for a baby pigeon without a mother is a difficult task. Without proper knowledge, it is almost impossible to save his life. If you have parents, you don’t need to take care of it. Its parents will manage it, but if you’ve abandoned a squab, you need to learn some tricks to help it grow up healthy.
Pigeons drink crop milk. This milk is so nutritious that it transforms the baby into an adult bird in just 4-6 weeks. It is so important that the pigeon dies if it is not found. But there is a special mixture of food recipes that are almost equal in nutrition to pigeon milk. These foods are the best alternatives that can help the baby pigeons survive and grow well.
How to take care for a baby pigeon?
For proper care of baby pigeon, you need to provide him an optimum temperature. Proper nutritious food is required to fulfill his digestive requirement. Prevention from diseases and treating them at the proper time are needed to save his life. You have to save him from predators.
Here are some steps you need to follow:
1.Provide them warm temperature
Temperature is very important for the early days of birth. If temperature maintenance fails, there is a strong chance of stillbirth. Dying You may have noticed that both parents sit on their laps to provide warmth.
So, what should the temperature be? Temperatures should be between 26-32C (75-90F) in the first 2 weeks of winter. If you have hot weather outside, you should not use a heating lamp to heat them. Just put them in a box, cover them with a cloth. The box should have ventilation. It also should not be so stuffy.
If you have to raise them in the winter, you need to worry about them. To heat them, you can use a heating pad or a 40W heating lamp, a thermometer and a box.
Place the squab in the box. If you have a heating pad, turn it on low. If you don’t have any accessories, you can also cover your pigeon with cotton or a towel. Remember not to cover your mouth. You should monitor their temperature using a thermometer.
Don’t provide your squab heat, in DIRECT SUNLIGHT or don’t put them near FIREPLACE. It can be dangerous for his survival.
Heat is necessary for their proper digestion. Moreover, in the early days, the baby pigeon is very sensitive and can’t tolerate the excess ups and downs of temperature. As the new wings grow, you should don’t worry about maintaining the temperature.
2. Feed them nutritional food in liquid form
Food is the most important thing for the survival of Pigeons. After birth, they sleep for almost 12 hours. Until that time you don’t need to worry about their feed. What do pigeons eat, read here. They coo when they are hungry.
Kaytee formula is one of the best birds food out there. It is nutritious and life-saving for the squab. To prepare this add 2 tablespoons in a hot water. The water should be not be warm in the oven. It is recommended to heat it on the fire.
Cooldown the mixture for 1 minute. The ideal temperature required is 102-110 F. Stir it vigorously.
This mixture should be dense like honey. Then put it in the syringe and feed him few drops in the early days. Remember to put back the formula container in the fridge. After 2 weeks, you can add boil eggs to this feed. So they can get more nutrition and start eating in solid form. Put some seeds and grains in their cage.
Benefits of kaytee formula
- It helps the babies to grow faster
- Birds who fed this formula show better growth
- Wean earlier
- Fulfill nutrients value
- Do not reuse the formula. It can be life-threatening.
- For squab smaller than 2 days, it should be made in small quantity.
- Do not warm the water in the microwave. It can burn the crop, (not safe way of heating as heated by microwaves) .
- Stir before feeding
Home remedies for baby pigeon
1st recipe: This recipe works best for babies. This is given to many pigeons and it saves their lives. You need
- Chickpea flour
- Corn flour or wheat flour
- Soya bean
Mix all the flours and add water to them. Make it a dense mixture just like honey. Don’t forget to add soya bean because it is essential for complete digestion. Try not to add Milk to this recipe because it can cause diarrhea and ultimately death.
2nd recipe: For 1st day you can feed him egg yolk. First, boil the egg until the egg white boils but the yolk should remain in liquid form. Feed it until 2 days. From the third day, you can add wheat middlings, boot peas, egg yolk, milk, water. Add all these things. Heat the mixture until it is dense like honey.
3. Hand feed baby pigeon with syringe
The best substitute for pigeon’s milk is Kaytee FORMULA. It should be given in the liquid form. To feed them, we need a syringe.You have to replace the needle with a soft rubber tube. After that, put the tube into the baby’s mouth. It is done by gently opening the beak and inserting a tube into the crop. Make sure to lubricate the tube. Do not push the food until the tube is into the crop. For newly born, it is recommended to feed him 3-4 times a day. There is no need for feeding him in the night time.
How to do it?
It is really hard to hand feed for one person. For the first time, I recommend there must be two persons. One man holds the pigeon and the other presses the plunger.
In the first step, place the pigeon on the flat surface so it will be easy to handle. Now one person should grab the pigeon from the back with his right hand. The thumb should be at the back of the pigeon’s head. This is done so that squab will not move his head freely. Now with the left hand hold the lower beak part.
The other person should hold the upper beak of the pigeon with his left hand. This will open the beak without any difficulty. As his mouth is open it’s time to put food in his crop.
For this, you have to put the tube into the crop. Slowly insert the tube into the mouth over the tongue and then directly into the throat. If you feel any difficulty put the tube out of the mouth and then try again. When you ensure that the tube reaches its target, push the plunger. Place the food there until the crop fulfills. Put the syringe out. Congratulations work is done.
Tube feeding is life-saving it provides the nutrients, which he needs for his survival.
Tips for hand feeding
- The feeding tube must be soft
- Always lubricate the tube
- Warm the feeding formula before giving it. It should be not so hot, not too cold because it can cause irritation and can disturb digestion.
- Always clean the feeding tube and syringe
What if the food comes out? Sometimes it happens that food comes out from the mouth as you are feeding. It may be due to the tube, which hasn’t reach the crop. Put it out again. Relax and try once again. Remember to make his head up and neck straight.
I know how difficult it is for the first time. But you have to do it for saving his life. You are not going to harm him. This thing should be in your mind. Just do it. Keep yourself calm.
How much to feed?
For 2-5 day old pigeons you can feed them food in a 1cc syringe. It is enough for their crop. You can also check the capacity by pressing gently in their crop. The crop is in the front, on the chest. You don’t need to fill it to its full capacity. Always leave some hunger.
Remember pigeon chick will ask you for more. Don’t feed him more because it can be harmful for him.
For 5-21 days old pigeon you can feed him in a 6cc syringe
For pigeon older than 21 days, you can feed him in a 60cc syringe.
Remember some chicks have smaller crops, some have more capacity to eat. Always check the crop for hunger.
How many times a day?
For 1-2 weeks you have to feed your pigeon 4 times a day. After that, you can reduce the quantity to 3 times a day. For adult pigeon, it is recommended to feed him 2 times a day. Although you can feed anytime a day. AT night time you don’t need to worry.
You can also give your pigeons toys.
How to tell how old a baby pigeon is?
Baby pigeons show instant growth. If they feed on crop milk they grow healthier.
- 1-day old pigeon has very few hairs on his body. You can see his skin color. His eyes remain closed for 5 days. Hair color is yellow mostly
- 5 days old pigeon has more hairs. He opens his eyes also at that time.
- 8 days old pigeon start growing feathers. You can see blackish-white hairs.
- 12 days old pigeon start doing some walk. Feather’s color is now more prominent.
- 14 days old pigeon starts changing his feather colors, denser.
- 19 days old pigeon getting bigger has more colors but his face is still yellow.
- 22 days old has full colors on its body including the face also.
- 30 days old is now ready but can’t fly.
- 45 days old now become fully adult. He can fly
Baby pigeon feeding schedule
|1-3 days old||Kay tee formula / egg’s yolk||4 times a day|
|3-14 days old||Kay tee formula / Seeds mixture |
(Split peas, lentils, wheat, popcorn,
sorghum etc. ) Should be wet in water
|3-4 times a day|
|Alternative (3-14)||Wheat middlings + boot peas+|
egg yolk+ milk + water
|3-14 times a day|
|14-21 days old||kay tee formula / Seed mixture||3 times a day|
|21 – onwards||Seed Mixture||2 times a day|
Pigeons can start eating seeds at the age of 3-14 days. So, always put seeds in their bowl. You can also feed them with your hand.
Can baby pigeons drink water? Baby pigeons need water. Always place a small cup of water in their cage. To know their thirst, you need to check two things. Their crop will be hard and blinking eyes.
If they are too young to feed by themselves you can give them water through the syringe and massage the crop for mixing.
Once they start eating by themselves, they can drink on their own. For the first time, place the water in their cage in the same place and put their beak in the water. So they can understand. Please don’t force them. Pigeons need water just like humans. There must be the availability of water all the time especially in hot water.
4. Place baby pigeon under an other pigeon
This is one of the reliable and life-saving actions you can do. If you have several pigeons at home, it is easy for you to place the baby pigeon under another pigeon. For this purpose, you need to look for the parents who have only one squab under them.
The job is not finished yet. You have to look after the parent pigeons as if they feed their new adopted baby. They will feed him. If they peck him you need to place him under another bird. If you don’t have an option you can hand feed him as told
When can baby pigeons feed themselves? Baby pigeons can feed themselves at the age of 20-25 days. The new feathers are coming at this age. Their immune system getting stronger. Their body develops itself for digesting hard grains. Hormones activate which boost the digestion process. Fledging pigeons now can drink water. Always ensure the availability of water and a bowl of food in their cage so they can eat themselves when hunger urges.
How long does a baby pigeon live without a mother?
Pigeons leave their young. Sometimes they are attacked by poachers. If their partner dies, they can leave them. A baby pigeon can survive for 3 days without its mother. If she does not return after 3 days, she will surely starve to death.
Whenever you find a baby pigeon, wait for its mother to come. If you are sure she is not coming. Check out his crop. If the crop is empty, feed it immediately. Now you have to take care of yourself. If you can’t, you can call wildlife. You can also ask them for help or hand over the squab to them.
Can baby pigeons eat bananas?
Some species of Columbidae prefer to eat fruit. They can eat bananas, but urban pigeons may not like eating bananas. They will always prefer seeds. It is not a good idea to feed your baby pigeons bananas. I suggest you feed them a mixture of high quality seeds and egg yolk in the early days.
Can baby pigeons eat rice?
Pigeons can eat boiled rice. If they have digestive problems, you can also feed them rice cereal. When your pigeon is 14 days old, you can feed it rice. His stomach will not explode. Remember that it should not replace his other essential foods.
Can you touch the baby pigeon?
You can touch the baby pigeon. Mother will not leave him. When you are going to feed the squab, you will definitely have to hold it with your hand. There is nothing wrong with touching it as long as you hold it gently
5.Treat his injuries if any
Nestling pigeons that fall from the trees can get injuries. It is also possible that he may survive the predator’s attack. Sometimes parents also peck the squab. These all things can injure him. So, How to take care of injured baby pigeons?
First, you have to look at the affected area. Clean it with water and with cotton swabs and then with any disinfectant.
After that, place him in a cool or warm place depending upon the environmental temperature. Place the birds inside a box with proper ventilation. Give him some food and water to eat. If he refuses, don’t force him to eat. Our main purpose is to low down his stress levels.
You can add some salt to the water. If after few hours, he is still not eating. Use the syringe to give him water or juice. The environment around him should be quiet.
How do I know if my baby pigeon is dying?
There are some symptoms you have to look at if a baby pigeon is dying. Look for these
- Not eating or drinking anything
- Unfocused eyes
- Fluffed feathers
- Body-color may change
- Facing difficulties in breathing
- Wet droppings
- Sitting still
- Head on one side
How do you save a baby bird from dying?
As soon as you see these signs in a baby pigeon. You should immediately call Vegeta or any wildlife rehabilitation center. You can also take him to the clinic in case of emergency.
Why do baby pigeons die?
Pigeons die due to lack of crop milk. Sometimes they die accidentally from foot pressure. There are chances that the squab will fall into a neighbor’s nest and be snatched away by another pigeon.
During feeding, if you force the pigeon and accidentally put food in its respiratory tract, chances are it will die. This is a rare case but the possibility is always there. A baby pigeon can die from a mosquito bite. Protect it from mosquitoes; Use potassium peroxide on the bite for treatment.
What do you feed a 20 day old pigeon? You can feed him a mix of seeds including popcorn, wheat, corn, chick peas, boat peas etc. Always keep water in his cage to quench his thirst. Keep it in sunlight so it can get vitamins from sunlight.