Young pigeons are typically easy to handle and feed, though the procedure may take a bit of getting used to at first. Fledgling pigeons are easier to manage than very young birds because they don’t need to eat as frequently as those who are newly hatched, and it won’t be long before they are eating on their own. Hand-feeding will save the lives of orphaned birds, and it will make naturally nurtured fledglings into tame, friendly pets.
The easiest food to feed a fledgling pigeon is commercial bird food designed for young birds. Mix it with water according to the package directions to create a paste to feed to your fledglings. If you don’t have access to pigeon food, feed them chick starter powder or crumbles soaked until you can easily smash it with your fingers. In an emergency, soak some dog food or dog biscuits until the food is saturated and looks full and fluffy, then break it into small, manageable bits.
The equipment you need depends on what you are feeding your pigeons and what they are used to. If the fledglings have been raised by their parents up to this point it may be easiest to use a syringe with a tube on the end to feed them. This comes closest to simulating the feeding methods adult pigeons use. You can feed fledgling pigeons fed directly from your hands without the need for any type of equipment.
Baby pigeons don’t open their mouths to be fed, so the first thing you have to do is to gently pry a mouth open. This is best done with two people, one to hold the bird and one to feed it. When the fledgling is ready, carefully put the food in the pigeon’s mouth. Place bits of soaked kibble or biscuit on the bird’s tongue and allow it to swallow. When using a syringe, place the tube in the back of the bird’s mouth and down into its crop before you press the plunger. Stop when the crop is full.
Overfilling the pigeon’s crop can cause it to become loose and develop folds that will hold food until it rots, causing serious health problems. Stop feeding before the bird’s crop is completely full, and allow it time to digest before feeding it again. Let the crop empty all the way at least once a day. Between meals, provide fledglings with a few seeds so they can learn to eat on their own. Note that baby pigeons reared without other birds around may imprint on humans and will never be able to live happily with other birds.
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