All about backyard birds


Some people think of pigeons as a romantic part of urban life; others see them as an aggravation. Opinions differ but all recognize this iconic bird as an everyday neighbor. The rock dove is an immigrant from Europe, not native to America. It came with the early settlers and flourished in the New World.  This resourceful bird can be found in any city town across the American continent. Grains and seed, as well as some insects, are the primary food of these birds. Pigeons are not terribly picky as they will eat everything available to them when opportunity arises.

Baby pigeons and doves can look so fragile to humans, small and vulnerable and when one is found you can consider to raise it by yourself. The baby pigeon may be covered in a small fuzzy or spiky growing feathers and can have beaks that look strange and twisted. Squabs, like all baby birds, have unique nutritional requirements. 

Little tube is used to feed squabs. You have to insert it in their crop few times each day. We must be careful that the diet is appropriate for the pigeon - wrong diet can lead to problems like metabolic bone disease and can be life harmful for the birds.

One of the main reason we don’t find baby pigeons is that they leave the nest looking almost like adults. So if you find one he will probably need help to survive and will need Hand Feeding formula for Baby Bird

If baby pigeon or dove falls and is lost from the nest, parents that are usually devoted might not recognize the baby and won’t feed it. So he is at risk of starving if left on the ground for too long. 

The little pigeon has a long flat beak, duck-like yellow fuzzy hair, strange looking big feet and short legs. And will have a small tail. If a pigeon looks like that you now it’s very young. They never leave nest at that time, but usually after 35 days.


Keep the baby pigeon warm, this comes before feeding.

Get a warm box or a bird cage for baby pigeon or dove, stuff it with straw or hay and maybe some paper. Keep the box out of the draft and in a warm quiet place.

Baby pigeons cannot digest food in the cold and will die if not kept warm. Parents feed baby pigeons inside a gaping beak and will pump food inside the mouth. Baby pigeons will receive what is known as a crop milk. It's not like real milk but stuff made from lining of a mom’s and dad’s crop.

To feed a hatchling, you must make food that’s gona look like skimmed milk, very thin.

First 10 days you will gradually make it more thick, to look like mayonnaise, the best thing is to buy professional baby bird food.
For anyone that has a pigeon or some other baby bird, and is looking for a high quality, easy to feed baby bird diet for hand feeding birds, I highly recommend Kaytee. This food can be used to feed pet birds as well as rescued wild birds. The formula provides an abundance of nutrients for all bird types like high fat, DHA, Omega-3, and vitamins , and is very easy to make and feed. I especially like this 18 oz size, as the package comes in a sturdy well closed container that can be easily stored in the freezer when not in use. Pigeons as well as other wild bird will benefit greatly from this formula.

The Kaytee Exact Hand Feeding for Baby Bird click the link to check.

The Tropican Breeding Mash Hand Feeding Formula click the link to check.

The products listed above are suitable for baby birds and raising hatchlings as they are made with the enzymes required for baby birds to digest food during the first three crucial days of a their life and later. And the food comes with instructions.

The correct temperature for preparing baby pigeon food is a little warmer than our body heat. Newer heat it in the microwave, it can burn the pigeon as you feed him.

In an emergency:

Until you buy proper food (and for babies older than 3 days) you can use Quaker Oats Original or similar product made up with warm water. If you order bird food online and have to wait for delivery or in emergency, you can feed baby pigeons with this. The bird will survive and be happy during that time.

Puppy and dog biscuits soaked in warm water until they are soft and fluffy can also be used in this case. But I do recommend buying a proper baby bird food that is well balanced when you have the first chance.

Always check that the bird crop is empty and the food is digested before doing one more round of feeding. You can do this by gently touching the baby crop. If you can feel the food stop the feeding. Don’t over feed the pigeon. If the crop is full you can harm the pigeon by feeding it too much.

You can easily feel this by your hand if you touch the pigeon crop before the feeding

Feeding instructions

Baby bottle is a good way to feed a little pigeon

Cut the tip of the nipple half way down from the baby bottle so that pigeon can slide the beak inside. This way pigeon can eat like the parents are feeding him. And he will do it as naturally as in the nest.

How much food to give?

Doves and pigeons don’t have the same sized crops.  it is best to give them food until you can feel the crop becoming soft. It will look like a small balloon and will hang on the bird’s chest when you look at it. At that time stop the feeding and leave the bird alone to digest the food. The next time to feed the birds is when you see the crop flatten all the way. It will take hours for this so the suggestion is you can feed in the morning and then one more time in the day. 


Very small and young baby pigeons 2-5 days old

For this young pigeons the Hand Feeding formula for Baby Bird is the best replacement for parent food. Use it in liquid state, and with a syringe described above. You can open the baby beak very gently and insert the food all the way inside the crop. Push the tube over the tongue, birds will usually open the beak if hungry, but practice.  Make sure that you inserted it in the crop, only the you can press the plunger. You can feed baby pigeon three times a day. Live him to sleep over night, don’t wake him up.

Baby pigeons from five to about 21 days old

After the pigeon grows to 5 days old you can start feeding it with Kaytee Exact Baby Formula as directed on the can. You can get the bigger syringe or baby bottle as described above. If you use the syringe remember that the thinner it is the better it will flow inside the baby pigeon. Practice with the feeding, so you don’t have to clean the pigeon. Just press it a few times to learn how to use it. If the pigeon gets messy in the end don’t worry - just clean the pigeon.  Baby bottle is also fine, just find what works for you.

Older pigeons from about three weeks to independence

When the baby pigeon or dove gets bigger, you can transfer to the baby bottle as described above. You can continue to use the syringe - what works best for you. At this stage, after the baby gets to three weeks old, it starts the weaning process. You can start leaving small seeds for the bird to peck. The pigeon will start to do it little by little. Also leave some water for him to drink. He will start to do it by instinct. Little bird learn from the parents. In this case baby will have to learn by them self, but he will learn eventually. After some time when you see that the pigeon is eating a little by himself, you can skip the feeding and see how he behaves.

 Water is a different thing. You can start by dipping a beak in the water a few times a day and that is how the pigeon is going to start drinking. If the bird is not drinking you can give them water yourself. He will learn eventually. Skip the feeding in the morning and watch if the bird eats a little and do this day by day - the pigeon will start eating seeds after some time.

Pigeons are very intelligent, tender, and good friends and many people become close to them and keep them as pets. They will find a way to your heart fast. Pigeon raised by human hand can become so much used to us that he will not be able to integrate back to pigeon society. But usually the pigeon will fly away after some time. He may fly back to you looking for food but after some time returning will stop. It is best to accept this as natural process and let him go.       


           If you have a baby bird and need advice contact me on FACEBOOK link at the bottom i check my facebook page daily.   


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