Feeding baby pigeons by hand

How to Hand Feed a Pigeon — Global Pigeon Supplies Inc.


January 20, 2021 ezrie myers

Fledgling birds, unlike nestlings, have already left the nest for the first time, but are still returning to the nest and being fed by their parents. These birds have developed feathers and look like small adult birds, but they are still learning to fly. In most cases if you find a fledgling, you should simply leave it alone. If you find an injured fledgling pigeon, or are raising a domestic pigeon, you will need to follow proper care instructions. In order to care for a fledgling pigeon and help it transition to adulthood, you will need to feed the pigeon, provide housing for the bird, and tend to any injuries or ailments

Feed the fledgling baby bird food. The best food for a fledgling pigeon is a commercial baby bird formula. These can easily be obtained from a pet food supply store.

  • You can also feed a fledgling pigeon chick crumbles that can be crushed into smaller pieces and mixed with water. These can be purchased at a pet store.

  • In emergency situations, you can feed a fledgling pigeon dog biscuits that have been crushed and softened by mixing with warm water.

  • Do not feed a fledgling milk or bread crumbs.

Follow the instructions provided on the package in order to prepare the formula for feeding. In most cases you will need to mix the formula with warm water. For young birds you will mix 1 part formula with 6 parts water. As the pigeon ages you will decrease the water content.

  • Do not heat the water or formula in the microwave because this can create hot pockets that will burn the fledgling.

Most fledgling pigeons receive their food from their parents. In order to mimic this type of feeding, use a syringe to feed to pigeon. Fill a syringe with the formula.

  • A fledgling pigeon should eat approximately 24 ccs of formula, twice a day.

Pigeons don’t open their mouths when they want to be fed. As a result, you will need to push the sides of the beak in order to open the mouth. Have someone hold the body of the pigeon while you use your hands to open the mouth and insert the syringe. Gently squeeze out the formula.

  • Stop feeding the pigeon once the crop is full.
  • The crop is a pocket that hangs on the inside of the chest. When full the chest should feel squishy, like a balloon filled with water.

You can feed a fledgling by hand by placing seeds and chick crumble into the bird's mouth. For very young or distressed birds a syringe is easiest, but as the bird ages it will be able to take food from your hand.

You should also help encourage a fledgling to begin eating food on its own. Place a few pigeon seeds in the bottom of the cage for the bird to eat. This will help the bird learn to pick up seeds on its own using its beak.

  • Once the fledgling is eating seeds on its own, you can stop feeding it formula with a syringe.




Filed in: Hand Feed, Hand Feed a Pigeon, Pigeon


What Do Baby Pigeons Eat and How to Feed Them Properly

Pigeons may be seen almost anywhere. Although feral pigeons and wood pigeons are typically in towns and cities, little is known about how their babies appear, and what do baby pigeons eat in case you come across a starving one.

Pigeons or doves are wild birds that feed on a variety of foods. Pigeons, whether wild or farmed, usually have the same diet of seeds, small insects, and reptiles. But what about baby birds? Are their foods different from those of the adult pigeon?

This article will give you the answer by going into details about baby pigeons’ food and some tips on baby pigeon care. Mostly, newborn pigeons’ diet depends on crop milk in the first week and crushed foods with low sugar and salt levels later on. You also have to keep the baby warm and prepare a syringe to feed it.

Table of Contents

  • How Does a Baby Pigeons Look?
  • What Do They Eat?
  • What to Feed a Starving Baby Pigeon?
    • 1. Look for newborn birds formula
    • 2. Use non-dairy milk (Macadamia milk prefered)
    • 3. Use infant cereal without milk powder
  • How to Feed Baby Pigeons?
  • Conclusion

How Does a Baby Pigeons Look?

When newly born, pigeon chicks are generally about 5 centimeters long. Their skin is pink or black with a patchy coating of yellow that will later turn into white feathers. Their beak is typically pinkish, sometimes it can be a deeper hue and their feet are in slate grey.

In comparison with the body, their beak, wings, and feet are relatively larger; however, as the chicks grow older, their bodies will develop more evenly. Baby pigeon eyes’ are closed when they are born and not opened until they are four or five days old.

In general, unless you domestically raise pigeons or manage to wander around a pigeon’s nest, you’ll never get to see the chicks in this condition; nevertheless, this is rare because birds nest in high and remote areas. We usually observe baby pigeons once they hit their juvenile age, which is mostly identical to the adult form.

Newborn pigeons less than four weeks old are called squabs, and they are not yet able to fly.

What Do They Eat?

Both of the parent birds provide regurgitated crop milk to their newborn pigeons. Crop milk, often known as pigeon milk, is a secretion of the crop lining (a ‘container’ where pigeons store food until digestion). It also contains a lot of proteins and fats. For the first four days, this is regurgitated to the squabs within two hours after hatching.

They will be given crop milk and seeds for the next 5 days. About nine days after hatching, the baby pigeons will be fed an adult meal. This includes fruits, seeds, and invertebrates on occasion.

The food amount provided to young birds grows by the day, especially when seeds or grains are included. During the first week, both parents must feed two newborns. After that, one adult can usually nurse two squabs.

After one week, squabs will be able to eat a variety of food along with its crop milk. Only during the third week do baby pigeons no longer need crop milk and their metabolism can adapt to adult pigeon food.

What to Feed a Starving Baby Pigeon?

If you come across a newborn pigeon on the ground, it is better to just leave it alone. It will usually live better without your intervention; if you believe you know better, you generally don’t. If you do believe that there is a problem with a pigeon, please contact a local wildlife rehabilitation facility in your neighborhood.

On the rare occasion you have to raise the baby bird yourself, you should know what and how to feed it. As you do not have their parents’ crop milk, things are more complicated in the first weeks but let’s see how these following tips may help you.

1. Look for newborn birds formula

You can check out the two popular formulae: Nutribird A21 or Kaytee Extract. These can be easily purchased from pet stores or online. However, ready-made bird formulae may be rather costly. Your local wildlife rehabilitation team may also be able to assist you if the bird is of a wild species.

During the first days, you mix the formula with warm water until it looks like skim milk. Then, you can make it consistent like ketchup after 10 days.

2. Use non-dairy milk (Macadamia milk prefered)

If you can’t find any baby bird formula or prefer to make the food on your own, you can try non-dairy substitutes like Macadamia milk and blend it following this recipe from The International Dove Society. You will need:

  • 71 grams of chicken baby food
  • 1 boiled egg yolk
  • 15 grams of low-fat yoghurt
  • ¼ teaspoon of corn oil
  • ¼ diluted vitamin E
  • 2 drops of cod-liver oil
  • little pinch of vitamin B
  • 25 milligrams of vitamin C
  • 247 milligrams of calcium carbonate

Put all the ingredients in the blender and mix them up thoroughly. During the first 3 days, you can add a bit of digestive enzymes to the food and wait 30 minutes before feeding the baby. From the second week, you can feed it with seeds, grains, and pigeon foods.

3. Use infant cereal without milk powder

You can use dairy-free baby cereal if you don’t have any options. Mix the cereal with warm water until it reaches skim milk consistency. However, you should only use this if you are in a hurry and the baby is already three to four days old. You should find better alternatives as soon as possible.

Puppy biscuits are another alternative, but they must be soaked in warm water until they are softer.

How to Feed Baby Pigeons?

The baby pigeons should be warmed up before feeding. You should put the baby in a box near a 40-watt desk like a reptile bulb. You may also use a low-temperature heating pad or a bottle of hot water but make sure to wrap anything you use in a towel.

When it’s too cold, a newborn pigeon can’t digest the food. Actually, the poor little bird is meant to be brooded over by their parents and kept warm during their first two weeks.

You should prepare a syringe (with no needle) to pull up the food. First, you need to remove the plunger and wrap the broad end with a self-adhering bandage or dental rubber dam.

Then, use a rubber band to keep it in place and make a hole on it big enough for the baby’s beak. The baby bird will eat from the little hole just like pigeons usually eat from their parents’ mouth. You can gently wipe up any spills on the bird using a warm-water-dipped cotton ear swab.

When the baby is eating, you should keep an eye on its crops to make sure that it consumes enough food. The crop sits directly above the baby’s breastbone and stores food for digestion. If you see the baby regurgitates food, you need to stop because you have overfed it.

Or you can watch for another feeding technique here by AAyan Loft


Feeding baby pigeons not only requires knowledge about their special diet but also how to feed them properly. Baby pigeons require adequate nutrition, which primarily includes crop milk. However, you can try alternatives like premade bird meals, the special recipe with MAC milk, or non-dairy infant cereal. Make sure that the food is tender and warm.

I hope you find this article on what do baby pigeons eat helpful, especially when you raise a baby pigeon yourself. If you have any questions or experience with the baby pigeon, feel free to share with us!

Moreover, you also can refer more to other interesting topics of birds:

  • Baby mockingbird foods.
  • How long can birds go with no food?
  • What foods do dodo birds eat?

Artificial supplementary feeding and rearing of pigeons: pigeons_ru — LiveJournal

Surely every pigeon breeder at least once faced the situation when he had to feed or feed the chicks himself. Sometimes parents do not do their job well, and sometimes this situation is the result of a tragedy, because if one of the parents is missing or died, the second does not often feed the chicks. From the point of view of nature, this is justified, it is better for an adult bird not to waste energy on feeding chicks alone, but rather to form a new pair and start breeding again. But we, the people, have a completely different view on this matter. So you have to take orphans under your care.
I noticed that not every pigeon breeder knows and imagines how to feed a pigeon, what can we say about people to whom the chick came by accident! So I decided to share my experience.

The older the chick, the easier it is to feed it. It is almost impossible to artificially feed completely newborns for a number of reasons. Firstly, the chicks are too small and tender, they are easy to injure, and secondly, the parents feed them with special goiter milk, which is difficult to imitate. But most importantly, with this goiter milk, the chick receives the bacteria necessary for normal digestion. He won't survive without them.
I have been feeding pigeons since about 7-10 days of age. For very young children, it is recommended to feed them with boiled eggs. The egg contains the maximum amount of substances needed by the chick, because the chick is formed from the egg. For older pigeons, I use the usual grain mixture, I just add mineral feed, at least ground egg shells. The pigeon is actively growing and needs calcium in large quantities. The better the chick is fed during childhood, the healthier the pigeon will be.
Artificially fed pigeons should be placed in a separate cage, where they will always have a feeder with grain and a drinker with fresh water. The pecking instinct wakes up quite early in pigeons, and the presence of food will allow them to train in this matter. A separate cage also protects the chicks from the aggression of adults, because their father will not be able to stand up for them. When the chick begins to peck itself, I release it into the common dovecote. You can plant pigeons earlier, when they are already starting to flit. Then they are easier and faster to adapt to life with their relatives. True, they have to feed them for some more time.

If you have to feed the chick, put him on a flat, non-slippery surface so that his legs do not move apart. With your left hand, hold him from above, and fix his head with your index and thumb.

Open the chick's beak with the thumbnail of the right hand and fix it in this position with the index finger and thumb of the left hand.

The grain moistened with water must be collected in advance in the right hand. Now push the grain with your thumb into the open beak of the chick.

Several grains can be pushed in at one time. Then the chick's beak is slightly released and it swallows the grain.

Some chicks take a lot of fiddling, and some quickly figure out that you are feeding them and begin to open their beak as soon as you slightly squeeze their beak from the sides. This, by the way, is an unconditioned reflex in pigeons - their parents also cause a petition reaction in the chicks if the chick is not active.
Of course, if the chick starts asking you for food, the process goes faster. But sometimes it turns out that with its too active actions, the dove hinders you more than it helps.

After the chick's crop is full, which is easy to feel, it must be watered. You should not do this earlier, as the chick will fill the goiter with water alone and begin to refuse food, and even worse, if you try to feed it, you squeeze the water back out of the goiter - the chick may choke.
To give water to a chick, its beak is gently dipped into a drinking bowl with water.

It's even better if the chick is already begging you for food. Then his beak is lightly clamped with the index finger and thumb of the right hand, the chick reaches for the hand, and you lower its beak into the water.

Not always the first time, but the pigeon begins to drink.

The little chick does not understand for a long time where the water actually comes from and looks for it in your fingers, as it would in the parent's beak. But, if you immediately release the pigeon as soon as he starts drinking, he soon learns to find water in the drinker himself.

Of course, age also strongly influences the development of this skill. The older the chick, the faster he learns to drink from the drinker on his own. But even week-old chicks can drink on their own, without bullying them with a pipette.

Thus, for successful rearing or supplementary feeding of pigeons, there is no need to use the old-fashioned method - feeding from the mouth. This method is fraught with the transmission of infection from chicks to humans, which can be infected with a pigeon. However, mouth-fed pigeons are always tame than hand-fed pigeons.
There is no need to soak and germinate the grain, because even adult pigeons feed their chicks not with semi-digested grain, as is sometimes believed, but completely dry, mixed with water. But before feeding, the grain should be moistened, dry grain sticks to the throat and esophagus of the chick, and moistened easily passes.
You should not be afraid that the chick will choke on grain, that it will fall into his windpipe. When touching the grain of the oral mucosa, the pigeon reflexively closes the blowhole. If you gave the chick too large grain, peas or corn, it is better to let go of his head, let him handle it, swallow it or throw it away.
Holding the chick with my hand, I don't put pressure on it, my hand covers it like a "house", but fixes it and doesn't let it escape.
It is enough to feed the chick twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. But you need to drink more. At least half an hour after feeding, it is worth drinking it again. Indeed, with a lack of water, the chick will not be able to digest food. His goiter will be full, but the dove will starve.

If you do not fully feed, but only feed a chick whose parents do not feed well, then it is better to do this in the evening. Then in the morning, when the parents themselves are full and they have a desire to feed the chick, he will actively beg for food, prompting his parents to feed him. And what he does not receive from negligent ancestors, you will compensate him in the evening. If the chick is at least half full in the morning, he will not stick to adult pigeons, and their already weakened instinct may completely fade away. For a dove, a chick that does not beg for chrome is weak and unviable. By the way, this is why ordinary sisari are not the most successful candidates for feeders for delicate breeds - their instincts work better than those of domestic pigeons. (However, there was already a dispute on this topic earlier. There is a directly opposite opinion :) )

I hope my advice helps someone. Or maybe someone will give you some advice :)

Added in August
This is how we looked in July:

on the last floor, and pigeons overpowered us: they fly to the unglazed balcony, and also sit on the window sills from the side of the street and coo for whole days.

It seems to be quiet, but terribly annoying. Especially in the summer when the windows are open. At night, you can clearly hear the birds stamping their feet on the metal window sills. This is real torture!

We tried to throw the cat on the balcony, but on the second day he almost fell down when he chased the pigeon. The cat was removed so that there were no unnecessary victims. I don’t want to poison the birds either: it’s a pity.

Is there a humane way to get rid of pigeons?

Andrey Nenastiev

lives in harmony with nature

Author profile

Pigeons are not that hard to deal with, but you may have to try several methods until you find a truly effective one. I will not talk about deliberately cruel methods: persecuting birds with chemicals or installing nails on window sills with the point up. You can do without it.

Why pigeons appear on the balcony

Pigeons, as a rule, do not fly to balconies and windows just like that. There are several reasons why they visit you:

  1. Someone is feeding pigeons, including by accident. For example, a neighbor on the floor below in the summer brings water and food for the dog to the balcony, and the leftovers attract birds.
  2. There is a lot of rubbish on the balcony, in which it is convenient to make nests or hide from bad weather.
  3. Near the balcony there are comfortable places for birds to rest. If you live on the top floor, the pigeons are probably attracted not so much by the balcony itself, but by the openings of the ventilation shafts or the space under the roof canopy where you can climb.

How to keep pigeons away with glare

One of the easiest solutions to fight pigeons is glare: pigeons hate bright reflections. There are several ways to create them.

Cut strips of foil and hang them around the balcony to blow in the wind. You can also stick foil sheets inside or outside the balcony. This must be done carefully so as not to fall. It is better to buy stronger foil, you can still use candy and chocolate wrappers.

Use foil insulation - foil insulation. It is sold in rolls at hardware stores. This material is much stronger than foil and will not deteriorate from rain and wind. Folgoizol can be glued to the walls on mounting foam, fixed with roofing screws or bars. The last method is the most correct and reliable.

Hang old CDs on the balcony. They will spin in the wind and glare.

If you decide to glaze the balcony, you can leave foilizol - it will work as a heater. Source: Balconies and Windows CDs are pierced with a nail and hung on wire or rope. Source: "100 Hares"

Paint the window sill with paint that shines in the sun.

Place a large mirror on the balcony. True, the mirror will give glare only in one direction.

Hang balloons with glitter on the railing. Ordinary balloons will burst quickly, helium balloons will last a little longer, but they are also short-lived.

Use a laser pointer. Pigeons are scared by a laser beam. This method is ineffective, since the battery in the pointer will quickly run out, especially if you keep it on the balcony in the cold. It is better to use a pointer to drive the pigeons by hand without getting up from the sofa.

How to scare pigeons

Most likely, the same pigeons fly to the balcony and windows every day, not different ones. To drive the birds away from their usual place, you need to intimidate them. Here's how to do it.

Water the pigeons. They don't like to be wet: it's so hard to fly. Birds can be watered with a water gun or a spray bottle if you can get close. You can also extend a garden hose: connect one end to a tap, and fix the other end to a balcony and attach a sprinkler. When the pigeons arrive, turn on the faucet. You may have to water the pigeons for more than one day until they develop a reflex: it is dangerous to sit here - you will get wet.

But there is a problem: you have to be at home when the pigeons arrive. If you only come in the evening, and the pigeons are circling all day, this method will not help.

To scare with sound and ultrasound. Pigeons cannot stand heavy music, rustling and sounds of birds of prey. They say it's good to include AC/DC recordings interspersed with a hawk's call. It takes time for this to work - maybe a few days. After such methods, the pigeons may disappear, but it is not clear how all this will affect the psyche of the neighbors.

There are acoustic bird repellers that operate in the ultrasonic range. A person does not hear ultrasound. Manufacturers claim that such devices scare away birds on approach, but there is no unequivocal opinion about this: some work, some do not.

Ultrasonic bird repellers cost around 2000 R. Source: Yandex Market

Set up a scarecrow. You can put a scarecrow in the form of a bird of prey - a hawk or a falcon. Pigeons also do not like crows and never live next to them, so a stuffed crow is also suitable.

The scarecrow must be large - at least half a meter high, otherwise the pigeons will not be frightened.

If you are too lazy to look for a stuffed bird or they are too expensive, a large soft toy with glass eyes will do. It is advisable to rub the eyes to a shine so that they imitate the gaze of a predator.

There are also such balls with imitation of the eyes of a bird of prey. Photo editor T-Zh Maxim Koposov says that only the vinyl ball helped him cope with the pigeons. You can buy stuffed birds of prey at Ozone Stuffed birds of prey can be found at Avito. They are often sold by hunters

How to prevent pigeons from landing on the balcony

It is possible to physically restrict the landing of birds on the structure of the house. The most obvious way is to glaze the balcony and reduce the width of the window sills. But this is not always possible. Here are cheaper and less time-consuming ways.

Cover the balcony with a net. Polymer nets are sold in gardening stores. It is better not to use fishing nets, as the birds will get tangled in them, and there will be even more noise.

To close the middle balcony, a polymer mesh will be required for 1000-1500 R. Source: "Satom"

Pull ropes on window sills. Ropes or fishing lines are stretched just above the surface of the window sill so that it cannot be landed on. It is not difficult to do this on the balcony railing, but it is dangerous to stretch the line, leaning out of the window of the ninth floor.

Lubricate window sills with Vaseline. The idea is for the pigeons' feet to slide off the surface when the birds try to sit down. In addition to vaseline, vegetable oil and PVA glue are used. The method is simple, but ineffective: the funds will quickly be washed away by rain, and you can also ruin the window sills.

Install anti-additive barrier. This is a professional bird control sticky tape with spikes. Despite the threatening appearance, such a tape does not harm the birds.

Spikes not sharpened. They prevent the pigeons from landing, but do not hurt them. Source: Deka trading house

Other methods

In addition to the above methods, pigeons can be repelled with the help of smells. Cloves, black or red pepper, cinnamon are scattered across the balcony. Some use naphthalene. There are also special sprays based on essential oils to scare away birds. All this is short-term: smells on an open balcony or window sill will quickly disappear.

The idea of ​​letting the cat out on the balcony is dangerous for the cat. This method works well only in combination with a polymer mesh. The net will prevent the pigeons from landing and will not allow the cat to fall out of the balcony in the excitement of hunting. At the same time, the cat will be able to drive away the birds on the way.

How to deal with pigeons

  1. Pigeons will stop coming if it is inconvenient for them to land.

    Learn more