How often do you feed baby doves

Hand-Feeding Baby Birds | VCA Animal Hospital


General Information 

Hand-feeding baby birds is only a substitute for parents raising birds, but it does have certain advantages. Hand-raised baby birds usually make better pets, as they have been completely socialized with humans. Hand-raised babies grow up with less fear of humans or other potential dangers such as cats, dogs and young children. Hand-feeding is a huge responsibility and requires time, patience, and commitment. Hand-fed baby birds are entirely reliant on you for everything. Hand-feeding is a job best left for the experienced bird breeder or aviculturist. If you’re considering hand-feeding a baby bird, you should contact your local bird breeder or veterinarian for help. This handout is designed to provide some basic guidelines on how to hand-feed.

When do I start hand-feeding a baby bird?

A chick may be removed from its parents any time before weaning, but many suggest leaving the babies with the parents for up to 3 weeks. Older birds may prove to be more challenging in their acceptance of hand-feeding. 

Where do I keep a baby bird?

Precise temperature and humidity is essential for optimum growth of newly hatched birds. Initially, relative humidity greater than 50% is required. Hatchlings (without feathers) should be maintained at 95°-97°F (35°-36°C). As the chick gets older and develops feathers, it has a greater tolerance for temperature fluctuations. 

Generally, the temperature can be lowered by one degree every 2-3 days as feathering progresses. Chicks with new feathers (pinfeathers) should be fine at 75°-85°F (24°-30°C) depending on the development of the feathers. Fully feathered and weaned chicks can be maintained at room temperature. If you are raising a chick, always monitor your bird for signs of overheating or chilling. Wings extended or drooping, and panting indicate overheating. Shivering and cuddling of chicks together indicate that they’re cold.

Poor growth or poor digestion (delayed crop emptying) may indicate poor health (including presence of gastrointestinal tract infections), improper consistency/mixing of hand feeding formula, improper temperature of formula, or improper environmental temperature and humidity. Good quality brooders are available that carefully regulate air circulation, temperature, and humidity. Paper towel, diapers, hand towels, or other soft, disposable products can be used to line the bottom of the brooder and provide secure, clean, dry footing for birds. The bottom liner must be changed frequently to keep birds clean. If the bottom texture is too smooth, chicks’ legs may splay out sideways, leading to permanent deformities. The brooder should be carefully checked to ensure that it does not contain anything for birds to get their wings or legs stuck on or that might cause injury or deformities.

What should I feed my bird?

There are numerous commercially available hand-feeding formulas for baby birds. You should choose one formula and use it until the baby is weaned. Changes in diet may be stressful on the baby's digestion. Be sure to discuss dietary choices with your veterinarian, an experienced bird breeder, or an aviculturist. 

How do I feed my baby bird?

All food must be prepared fresh for every feeding. Food retained from one feeding to another is an ideal medium for the growth of harmful bacteria and yeast. Any food prepared or heated in a microwave oven must be mixed thoroughly to ensure that the food’s temperature is uniform and that there are no hot or cold spots. Food temperature should be at 102°-106°F (39°-41°C) throughout the mixture and should be measured with a thermometer. Food that is too hot may cause severe burns to the crop.

Food that is too cold may be rejected by baby birds and may slow down digestion. Hand-feeding formulas have specific directions on the packaging and explain how they should be mixed.

In general, the younger the bird, the thinner the mixture should be. A day-old chick requires a more dilute mixture (90% water), as it is still utilizing the yolk sac as a source of nutrition. Chicks older than one or two days, should have food containing approximately 70-75% liquid.

"All food must be prepared fresh for every feeding."

Syringes are probably the preferred feeding tool, but some bird owners still prefer a spoon with the sides bent up and inward. Accurate feeding volumes can be recorded with the syringe. Charting daily feedings is important. The natural feeding response of a baby bird is to rapidly bob the head in an up and down motion. This action can be stimulated with gentle finger pressure at the corners of the mouth. During this head bobbing, the trachea is closed and large amounts of food can be given relatively quickly.

If the bird is not displaying a strong feeding response, do not attempt to feed as there is an increased chance of aspiration of food into the trachea and lungs which can lead to death. The best time to feed is when the crop is empty. When full, the crop, which is the sac that hangs over the front of the chest at the base of the neck, will be visibly distended. 


How often and how much do I feed? 

The amount and frequency of feeding depends on the age of the bird and the formula fed. The frequency of feeding for young birds is greater than that of older birds. The following are general guidelines. With newly hatched chicks, the yolk sac is the source of nutrients for the first 12-24 hours post-hatching. Chicks less than one week old should be fed 6-10 times per day (every 2-3 hours).

During the first week of life, some birds benefit from feeding during the night. Chicks that have not yet opened their eyes may take 5-6 feedings per day (every 3-4 hours). Once birds’ eyes open, they can have 3-5 feedings (one every 5 hours). As their feathers start to grow in, they may be fed 2-3 times per day (every 6 hours). Their crops should appear full when they’re done.

Feeding between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. is not necessary at that point when birds are sleeping. The best indication of a healthy, growing chick is a good, strong feeding response at every feeding, with the crop emptying between feedings, and the regular production of droppings (feces). Weight gain should be monitored and recorded at the same time each day using a scale that weighs in grams with 1-gram increments to detect subtle increases or decreases.  Birds’ weights may fluctuate up and down daily but should trend upward over a period of days to weeks. Birds that are not gaining weight should be checked by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

When should birds be weaned off hand-feeding formula? 

Deciding when to wean a bird off of formula is often a difficult decision for both the bird owner and the bird. As a bird gets older and develops a full complement of feathers, it should be encouraged to wean off formula and to eat more on its own. Some babies start weaning themselves by refusing certain feedings.

 Birds should be offered a variety of foods including formulated pelleted diets as well as fresh fruits and vegetables to encourage exploration and experimentation. As food introduction continues, hand-feeding may be withheld at certain times, often starting with the mid-day feedings. As time goes on, the morning feeding may be withheld and ultimately the evening feeding. Some birds learn quicker to eat on their own by watching other birds or older babies eat.

Should I be concerned about disinfection? 

Baby birds have poorly developed immune systems and are more susceptible to developing infections. The brooder should be disinfected regularly. All feeding utensils must be cleaned, disinfected, and dried thoroughly between feedings. Using separate feeding utensils for every individual bird is recommended.

How do I know if something is wrong? 

If you suspect something is wrong with your bird, you should immediately contact your veterinarian. Signs to watch for include: 

  • Chirping or crying all the time
  • Fussing a lot and not sleeping
  • Listless, droopy wings or head
  • Not accepting food
  • Lack of feeding response
  • Slow or lack of crop emptying
  • Poor weight gain
  • Slow growth
  • Abnormal posturing or abnormal wing and/or leg positions
  • Abnormal or lack of droppings
  • Wetness or food on skin over the crop (indicating a possible burn)

Baby Mourning Doves: Caring for and Feeding Abandoned Dove Babies

Sharing is caring!


  • Share

You step outside to get the mail and you find a baby bird in your driveway—what do you do? Should you leave it, rescue it, try and put it back in its nest?

It can be nerve-wracking finding a baby bird on the ground and wondering what the best option is, especially since not all species can be treated the same.

Here are a few tips to prepare you for that day:

Step 1: don’t panic 

Step 2: read this article

Here, you’ll learn all about baby Mourning Doves and how to care and feed them if they’re abandoned. It’ll be just a little more information in your pocket, should you ever be in this situation. 

Let’s dive in!

Baby Mourning Doves are called squabs or chicks. 

When they are just hatchlings and a few days old, their bodies are covered in patchy, yellowish down. The down is very thin and you can still see their naked bodies. Their bills are dark, as well as their faces, and their eyes will be closed. At this point, they are only a few inches long.

Around 7-ish days, the squab’s eyes will be open and will be dark. They also will have started to get in some pin feathers. These look just like the shaft of a feather without the barbs. They will lay in a relatively ordered fashion. You’ll also still see the scraggly, yellowish down poking up around the pin feathers, which makes the nestling look pretty frazzled and messy! They will have almost doubled in weight and size. 

Around 12 days, the Mourning dove will be a fully feathered fluffball. It’s feathers will be a slaty brown color. They will have grown so much that they will be larger than your palm. At this size and age, the babies will be about ready to leave the nest and take flight for the first time!

What do baby mourning doves eat?

Unlike many other baby birds, little doves don’t gape—the mouth wide open, begging for food behavior. When they’re hungry they will root around. The parents provide “crop milk” to their babies. 

Crop milk (also known as pigeon milk) is a semi-solid excretion that is made by the sloughing of fluid-filled cells from the lining of the crop.  

The crop is a thin-walled, sac-like food-storage chamber that extends off the esophagus and is normally part of the digestive system. Food can be stored here quickly while the bird is foraging in the open and allows the bird to go back into a secluded area to digest. Most birds have crops, but not all make crop milk.

As said before, the crop is normally part of the digestive system, but it shifts its function to milk production just a day or two prior to the eggs’ hatching. This is believed to be caused by hormonal changes. During that time, the parents may stop eating entirely so there is no seed in the crop. Brand new hatchlings aren’t able to digest seed yet, so this is for the better! After several days of feeding crop milk to the babies, the hormone levels taper off and the crop no longer produces as much milk. By this time, the squabs are able to digest regurgitated seeds from mom and dad. 

Crop milk is nutrient-dense and contains more protein and fats than human or cow milk. It also has immune-building properties with antioxidants and antibodies from the parent. 

Both parents can produce crop milk, so both are able to feed their babies. This is done by opening their mouths wide and allowing the squab to stick their little heads in and suck it up through their bills like a straw. This is important to keep in mind if having to hand feed baby doves, as sucking is their natural instinct and the safest way for them to eat. 

Crop milk substitute

If you find a squab that needs rescuing (we’ll talk about how to determine this in the next section) chances are you’re going to need to make a homemade crop milk substitute or purchase a formula.

A great formula substitute is RoudyBush Squab diet. Yes—there are pictures of parrots on it. Don’t worry, it can be used for baby doves, too. 


Roudybush Squab Diet For Birds, 1-Pound

  • No Added Sugars Or Colors
  • 100-Percent Edible And No Animal By Products
  • Scientifically Formulated

Last update on 2023-01-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The only potential issue with this is it will need to be ordered online and might take a day or two to arrive. If it’s likely you’ll be hand-rearing the baby for a few weeks, this is a good option. 

Another substitute is Kaytee Exact Handfeeding Formula which is available at pet stores. Some reviewers say this formula doesn’t offer the babies as well of a nutritional panel as RoudyBush, and the birds are often below the curve for weight. If it’s a matter of life or death for a squab, this is better than nothing.

A last option if you don’t have access to a pet store and need it immediately is homemade formula using baby cereal. Make it more runny if the baby is wee little and gradually thicken it up as they get bigger. A good test is to see how quickly their crop empties. If it empties too quickly, start to thicken it up. 

How often do baby mourning doves need feeding?

Brand new babies will need to be fed more often than older squabs. The younger doves will also eat formula that is more watered down. All feedings should occur within a 12-hour span. 

  • 0-4 days old: 5 feedings per day
  • 5-7 days old: 4 feedings per day
  • 8-14 days old: 3 feedings per day 
  • Fledgling: seeds

The safest way to feed a baby dove is by pouring the formula onto a tablespoon and letting them suck it up. Remember earlier when I said to keep their straw-sucking instincts in mind? If food is poured into their mouths, they may aspirate by trying to suck while you’re pouring or dropping it in. So it’s best to let them take the lead and let them slurp it up themselves! 

Does the baby mourning dove need to be rescued?

A few different factors go into the response to this situation.  

The first step in deciding if a baby dove needs rescued is by determining what stage of growth it’s in. The second is analyzing what the situation is while keeping its growth stage in mind. For example, a 2-day old baby found in the driveway vs a 14 day old found in the driveway will have different solutions!

Baby dove growth stages

Stage 1: unfeathered

Unfeathered babies are roughly 0-6 days old. This early in the brooding stage, it’s unusual to find babies out of the nest, but not impossible. 

One reason a baby might be out is if the entire nest was blown over or knocked down. Wind, predators, or weather can all knock a nest loose. 

Babies can also be found on the ground if the parents perceive it to be defective in some way and decide to remove it from the nest. 

Babies this young cannot be left on the ground!

At this point in their life, they are too young and too naked to keep themselves warm. If a baby is found, it needs to be warmed up immediately. This can be done using a heating pad on the low setting or using electronics that heat up and are warm to the touch, such as laptops or game systems. A little heat goes a long way for them, and this is the first priority.  

While the baby is warming up, see if the nest can be located. If the nest turns out to be blown over, see if it can be put back securely so it won’t fall again. If it can’t, find a new place for it that isn’t entirely out in the open and won’t get drenched when it rains. 

Once the baby warms up, put it back in the nest and watch for the parents to come back to it. If they do, you’re good to go. If not, the baby might need hand-reared. 

If the baby you find is not from a blown over nest and was kicked out by its parents, it will need to be hand-reared with a crop milk substitute, at least for a few days. After a few days of feeding, put it back in the nest and see if the parents take care of it. If they kick it out again, it will need hand-reared until it’s old enough to survive on its own.  

If it turns out that you have to hand-rear the baby for a while, a makeshift nest box will be needed with either a fake nest inside or nesting material like straw. A heat lamp is the best option to keep the baby warm, so your heating pad doesn’t get dirty.

Stage two: partially feathered

Partially feathered babies are roughly 7 days old to fledging age (12-15 days old). 

At this age the babies are far enough along that the parents probably didn’t kick them out, so if a baby is found on the ground, it’s almost always from nest failure. This is actually a good thing because there’s a better chance the parents will take back over when the nest is fixed.

As with the younger babies, get these squabs warmed up. Once they’re warm, investigate the nest situation. It either fell in a storm or broke apart because it was poorly constructed.

If it only fell, try and secure it as mentioned before. If the nest is found to be broken or falling apart, a new one will be needed. You can buy fake nests from a craft store, or make one. Don’t be afraid to make them, there are online tutorials to show you how! 

Once the old or new nest is up, put the baby inside and wait for the parents to come. If they don’t come by nightfall, bring the baby in for the night and then return them again in the morning. If the parents still don’t come back, by the afternoon or evening, the baby will need to be hand-reared and kept in a nest box with heat. 

Stage three: fully feathered 

Fully feathered babies are fledgling age (12-15 days, give or take) and are nearly self-sufficient. If one of these babies is found on the ground, it doesn’t need to be returned to a nest. Actually, it’s highly possible that this baby just took its first flight from its nest to the ground!

Babies at this age are still being monitored from afar and fed by their parents. The best thing you can do for this little one is to leave it be. Of course, there are exceptions.  

If the fledgling is in a high traffic area, like a driveway or close to a road or sidewalk, move it somewhere more relaxed. Don’t move it across town, because the parents are still caring for it, just move it a few feet away to safety. 

If the fledgling doesn’t try to run away from you when you approach it and it appears cold to the touch and lethargic, it might not be getting fed by mom and dad. You can gently palpate the crop to feel if there’s food inside. If there is, the bird might have an injury or may be sick, in which case it’s best to call a wildlife rehabilitator. If there isn’t anything in the crop, the bird might just need a meal. Some mashed bird seed might help it out.  

In conclusion 

Helping out a baby bird can seem daunting, but with the right information, you can do it safely and confidently. If you’re still unsure, you can always call a rehabilitation center to see if they can take the baby in!

Also check out: Gift Ideas for bird watchers guide.


Chaifetz, T. (2017, September 26). How to Determine the Age of a Mourning Dove Hatchling. Retrieved 2020, from

Ehrlich, P., Dobkin, D., & Wheye, D. (1988). Bird Milk. Retrieved 2020, from

Mayntz, M. (2019). Do Birds Produce Milk for Their Young? Retrieved 2020, from

Mihaylo, K. (2017, August 11). How to Care for a Baby Mourning Dove. Retrieved 2020, from

Sebastiani, J. (2012, April 26). Baby Birds: A Dove Story. Retrieved 2020, from

White, H. (2014). Mourning Dove. Retrieved 2020, from

Sharing is caring!


  • Share

Basic rules for feeding pigeons.

| Pigeons of Kazan

The right diet.

Pigeon diet has an impact not only on the appearance of the bird, but also on life expectancy and health.

With daily feeding, the pigeon breeder has a wonderful opportunity to observe his pets. Success in breeding pigeons directly depends on regular monitoring of the entire flock as a whole and the health of each individual bird. Pigeons' food first enters the goiter, where it softens for several hours, and then into the stomach. thus a long uniform digestion occurs. It practically does not matter how many times a day you feed the pigeons - one or two, since they, depending on the amount of food, evenly consume it, and eat the rest throughout the day. If, under normal conditions, in winter, pigeons are fed once a day, then, as practice shows, they eat everything without a trace. nine0005

For hygiene reasons, the pigeons should be fed in separate troughs to avoid infection. To make pigeons more trusting of you, you should feed them in pairs or individually. It is good if you take an individual approach to each cage or each pigeon family. If each pair gets their food individually, the question of malnutrition of some pigeons will disappear by itself. The advantage of the separate feeding method is confirmed by the following fact. Growing pigeons learn to eat from their parents very early, from 21 to 24 days they can simply not leave the feeder. There have been cases of overeating. nine0011 When feeding chicks, pigeons especially need a complete, varied and characteristic food for this species. In addition to the grain mixture, some species require animal and soft food. Pigeons willingly eat compound feed for poultry, white bread soaked in milk, dry cottage cheese, flour worms, insect larvae, hard-boiled and finely chopped chicken eggs. When feeding pigeons with a variety of feeds, it is easy to determine which components they need when feeding their chicks. When compiling a diet, special attention should be paid to providing birds with vitamins and minerals. Chicks of almost all species of pigeons are prone to rickets and are more sensitive than adult birds to a lack of vitamins and minerals. nine0005

Plumage appears gradually. First, pegs of feathers are visible, then flight feathers appear from them, then all the rest. Almost all chicks have a short tail by the time they leave the nest and have the ability to fly.

Feeding young animals.

Jigging of young birds. Young wild pigeons that have flown out of the nest become independent in 2-3 weeks; up to this point, the chicks do not search for food energetically enough, and without additional feeding by their parents, they can become very weak and even die from exhaustion. During this period, more food should be given so that the pigeons regularly feed the young birds that have flown out of the nest. nine0005

Often, shortly after the chicks have hatched, adult birds begin to build a nest and lay eggs. Through observations, it is established which of the parents is the initiator of this, they are caught and isolated from the chicks. Most often it is a male. The remaining bird continues to feed the chicks until they are completely independent. When young birds begin to do without parents, they are placed in a separate cage. Young animals often do not take food from feeders and starve, therefore, the first time after jigging, food should be placed in several places and scattered along the bottom of the cage or aviary. Quarrels can begin between young birds, which are usually harmless, but it is better to keep a close eye on them. nine0005

Until the onset of puberty, young animals are richly fed the same food as adults. During this period, they eat more than adults. If the pigeons give up feeding the chicks, then the brood will surely die. Young growth must be especially carefully protected from drafts and dampness, since at this time it is very sensitive to colds. It should be kept in a spacious room so that the birds can fly and run freely on the floor.

Birds may also be orphaned if one of the adult birds dies. To save them from imminent death, it is necessary to place the chicks with foster parents. A laughing pigeon can be used as a foster parent, whose merits as a "nanny" are established and recognized. nine0005

When selecting "nannies", one must take into account their biological characteristics, as well as the characteristics of the reared species. So, domestic pigeons can feed the chicks of a wedge or pigeon, and various exotic small doves, respectively, are the same small species. When breeding, it is always necessary to have in reserve several pairs of pigeons capable of performing the duties of foster parents, which are best kept in pairs in separate cages measuring 70 × 60 × 50 cm. Keeping “nannies” in one aviary is not recommended. Earthen, pheasant and some other pigeons are kept in low cages, since the chicks of these species leave the nest when they are still bad at flying and when jumping from a high-lying nest, they can damage their legs or wings. Pigeons fed by "nannies" retain all the features typical of their species. nine0005

When laying eggs in the nest for "nannies", it is necessary to take into account the period of incubation. If the foundlings hatch earlier than 4 days or more, the adoptive parents will not yet have goiter milk and the chicks will die by this time. When placing already hatched chicks of valuable species in the nest with foster parents, their own eggs or chicks must be removed. The age and size of the chicks of the nested species should approximately coincide with the age and size of the chicks of the adoptive parents, the difference should not be more than 3-4 days. When raising chicks by other types of pigeons, the danger of "imprinting" foster parents is not noted, as in weavers and parrots. Fosterlings retain all the features of this species and subsequently choose a partner of the same species. nine0005

Consider the feeding of pigeons according to the seasons of the year.

In spring and summer, at the time of breeding, feeding chicks, pigeons expend a lot of energy. To restore it, they need food with a high protein content, such as legume grains, skim milk mash, etc. Young animals especially need mineral supplements to build the skeleton.

From July, the birds begin to molt, which sometimes lasts until October. For the formation of a feather, pigeons have to spend a lot of nutrients, mainly protein. Therefore, increased feeding is again, only one must not overdo it, otherwise the pigeons from abundant food can break out the instinct of reproduction, and by the end of the summer this is useless. nine0005

In autumn, pigeons are transferred to winter food. If you can still find fresh greens, they must put them in the feeder, and if not, then dried greens, carrots and pumpkin as a vitamin supplement. In the winter months, the food is selected so that there is no excess protein, otherwise the pigeons may decide to hatch the chicks at the wrong time. Therefore, it is better not to give high-protein grains (lentils, peas, beans, vetch) at this time. From grain feeds, barley, oats are included in the diet, or even do without them. A mash will be quite sufficient in terms of nutrition, for example, from potatoes boiled peeled in salt water, wheat bran with the addition of vitamin feed and crushed slaked lime. In winter, birds look great when fed every other day with rapeseed or flax seeds, 20-50 g per day for 15 pairs. nine0005

In winter, only homing and chasing pigeons on a special diet. Even during this period, they have more energy costs, and they can be replenished with feed rich in starch and sugar. And there are many of these substances in corn, rice and barley. Rapeseed and flax seeds are also very useful for them - about 3-4 g per pigeon per day. During the competition they are fed with sugar.

About competitions. Before the start, the pigeons are not fed, but after a long flight they are allowed to peck at some seeds of rape, colza or other oilseeds mixed with crushed wheat. For pigeons, these seeds are a delicacy. Some fanciers, in order to accustom birds to returning from walks to the dovecote, lure them with this particular delicacy. During the transportation of birds to the competition, they are not fed with legumes, since the birds need to drink plenty of water to soften it in the stomach. On the road, you need to drink, but the strong thirst of the pigeons will complicate the matter. nine0005

Food is taken out 2-3 times a day at a strictly defined time, the feeders are placed on an equipped area in front of the nursery. The site should always be clean so that crumbs do not lie on it and mold, which birds can then peck at. During the feeders, they observe: if the pigeons pecked and went to the drinkers, nests, then they were full, the feeders can be removed, and the site put in order.

An important factor determining the rate of development, growth and live weight of pigeons is feed. The reproductive ability of birds also depends on them. Changes in feeding, both quantitatively and qualitatively, affect the functional activity of organs and systems, their morphology, the appearance of the pigeon and its general condition. nine0011 All feeds are composed of organic and inorganic substances. Inorganic feeds include water and mineral salts. Organic substances are more complex in structure - these are proteins, fats and carbohydrates. No single food contains all the nutrients necessary for the body of pigeons. Therefore, their diet should include a variety of foods.

Proteins - the most important component of plants and animals Once in the digestive system of an animal, feed proteins break down into components - amino acids, which are absorbed by the body and used to build organs and tissues. Without protein, the existence of a living organism is impossible. Excess protein taken with feed is not absorbed, which adversely affects the condition of the bird. Grains of leguminous plants (peas, beans, lentils, etc.) are rich in protein. There is less protein in the grains of cereal plants. nine0011 Fats, like proteins, are part of plant and animal organisms, but are used by animals as an energy source. In plants, fat accumulates mainly in seeds. Most fat in sunflower seeds, hemp, flax and other oilseeds. Of the main feeds for pigeons, corn and oats contain the largest amount of fat. Fat reserves are deposited in the body of the animal (under the cat, in the muscle tissue, near the internal organs). Feeding fat-rich feeds must be done very carefully to avoid obesity in birds. With insufficient intake of Fat in the animal's body, there is an increased consumption of proteins and carbohydrates. nine0005

Carbohydrates, like fats, are used by the body for energy. Plants are mostly made up of carbohydrates. Juicy feeds (green feeds and root crops) are especially rich in them. The group of carbohydrates includes fiber, starch and sugar. Fiber is poorly digested in the bird's body, so the less it is in the feed, the higher its quality. Little fiber (2%) in the grain of corn and wheat. Starch is a valuable component of grain feed and potatoes. Starch and sugar, after digestion and absorption into the body, ensure the work of muscles, are used to generate heat, and serve as a source of fat formation. nine0005

Vitamins are complex organic compounds found in feed in very small amounts. They are involved in many biochemical processes occurring in the body, therefore, with a lack or absence of vitamins in the feed, the animal's metabolism is disturbed. They are contained mainly in green plants, germinated seeds, root crops. Feed yeast, fish oil and vitamin preparations produced by the industry can serve as a source of vitamins.
Minerals are part of all cells and tissues of the body. nine0005

They are divided into macro - and microelements. Diets of birds should be balanced in three macronutrients: calcium, phosphorus and sodium and in six microelements: manganese, zinc, iodine, iron, copper, cobalt. Macronutrients include calcium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium. With their deficiency, the growth and development of young animals are delayed, the backbone is weakened, and the egg shell is thinned. Therefore, crushed and sifted shell rock and chalk (3% of the daily feed intake) are introduced into the feed mixtures. Sodium and Potassium regulate the reaction of the blood and metabolic processes in the body, affect the absorption of nutrients and are part of some enzymes. nine0005

Magnesium, calcium and phosphorus are involved in metabolism. Sulfur is a good feather growth stimulant and is essential in the diet of pigeons, especially during molting. With a lack of iron, the synthesis of hemoglobin in the blood is disrupted, which leads to anemia. In addition to iron, other trace elements also participate in it: copper, manganese, cobalt. Cobalt stimulates the formation of red blood cells and affects protein synthesis. Copper promotes the use of sugars, affects the activity of sex hormones. Manganese affects the redox processes in the body and the intensity of protein metabolism; its deficiency delays the formation and growth of pigeons. Zinc is part of enzymes and hormones; with its deficiency in poultry, gastrointestinal diseases often occur. Iodine is part of the thyroid hormone; its deficiency affects the growth of young pigeons. nine0005

With the monotonous feeding of birds with grain feed during the breeding period, the need for minerals increases sharply. In percentage terms, they should be contained in the following quantity: bone meal - 80, calcium phosphate - 5, mineral components - 1.5 (ratio of manganese, iron and copper - 6: 1: 0.3), iodized salt - 13.5. Gravel. Along with minerals, pigeons require the smallest pebbles (gravel), which settle in the muscular stomach and grind food.

nine0002 The gravel should have a rounded shape, the diameter of the part should be about 2-3 mm. Chalk, shell can not replace it. Sometimes gravel is replaced with coarse river sand. The amount of gravel consumption is regulated by pigeons. From 10 to 100 pebbles are found in the stomach of an individual bird. Gravel should always be in a separate feeder, it is recommended to add it to the feed mixture once a week. In the absence of gravel in the stomach of a pigeon, the absorption of feed is reduced by 25-30%. It not only grinds food, but also has a beneficial effect on the development of internal organs. With a lack of gravel, weakness, depression, intestinal upset, and ruffled plumage appear. In its absence, pigeons die from atrophy of the muscular stomach within 20-30 days after the onset of the disease (with clinical signs of general underdevelopment and increased thirst). nine0005

To provide pigeons with minerals and gravel, mixtures are usually prepared, which are given in the form of scattering or so-called loaves. A mixture of mineral feed can be prepared from four parts of red brick crumbs, two parts of old plaster crumbs, one part of eggshell, one part of meat and bone meal, one part of coarse river sand and one part of a mixture of calcium carbonate, copper and iron sulphate and cobalt sulphate. . All this is well mixed and poured with an aqueous solution of sodium chloride (in a ratio of 20 g per 1 liter of water) to such a state that small flat bread can be molded. They are dried in the sun or on a tile. If not dried, they become moldy from the inside and become unusable. Store bread in a dry place and, as needed, give it to pigeons in crushed form. nine0005

Water. It is involved in all metabolic processes as a solvent and carrier of nutrients, minerals and active substances in the body. During the life of the body, water is constantly consumed and, accordingly, must be replenished. The body of a pigeon contains from 60 to 80% water, depending on age. They drink relatively much - from 30 to 60 ml of water per day, and feeding chicks - sometimes more. The need for drinking water in pigeons depends on the temperature and relative humidity of the air, body weight, type of food (some feeds require a lot of water to swell) and the work performed (hatching eggs and rearing chicks). Lack of water affects the pigeon worse than starvation. nine0005

In pigeons, unlike other types of poultry, the intestines are short, its ratio compared to body length is 1:7, so the need for feed and its quality is very high. In connection with the special structure of the intestine, plant fiber is not absorbed enough, and the diet should contain at least 15% protein and no more than 5% fiber. Stern. Feeds for meat pigeons are largely similar to those used for chickens and turkeys. However, there are a number of features in the feeding of these birds. In addition to traditional grains (corn, wheat, barley), pigeons are fed grains of legumes and oilseeds. Green and juicy feeds are necessary for pigeons as sources of vitamins, carbohydrates and other nutrients. As these feeds, they are recommended to feed finely chopped lettuce and cabbage leaves, spinach, sorrel, clover, germinated oats and barley, carrots, young nettles, alfalfa. nine0005

In winter, green fodder is obtained by sowing oats in boxes with soil; the removed greens are given to pigeons. At the same time, it is necessary to cope so that the germinated seed does not get into the feeder along with the sprouts. Sometimes pigeons are fed potatoes. Peeled potatoes are boiled, mashed and mixed with grain feed. Such feeding has a good effect on the pigeon's body. Grains of cereals are the main food for birds, containing many easily digestible nutrients. On average, cereal grains contain protein - 9-13% -, fat - 1.5-8%, fiber - 2-9%, starch - 65%, minerals - 2-3%. Grain feed can serve as a source of vitamins B, E, K (there are few other vitamins in them}.

Feed grain must be dry, free from harmful insects, fungi, mold, dust. It is not recommended to eat cracked grain for feeding, as it absorbs moisture and quickly becomes moldy. Feeding pigeons with freshly harvested grain should be avoided, as it causes diarrhea. It is better to feed with grain from last year's harvest.
When buying grain, you must first make sure it is dry; for this, they put their hand into the bag with it: if it slides easily and the grain does not stick to it, then it is dry. There are several ways to check the quality of the grain. With the help of a magnifier or a magnifying glass with a 3-5-fold increase, a suspicious grain (especially along the seam) is viewed with a lagging husk. The presence of black spots indicates its defeat (for example, fungal diseases). nine0005

In another test, a small portion of the grain is dipped in a saturated aqueous solution of common salt. The affected grain, beetle larvae float to the surface, they are drained together with water, the remaining grain is examined as in the first case. Some pigeon breeders practice immersion in saline solution of all grain to be fed, especially peas; unaffected grains are washed and dried. Pigeons eat wheat willingly, but it is recommended to feed it in small quantities, as it contributes to obesity. It is recommended to feed durum wheat varieties to pigeons, as their grain contains more protein and less starch than soft varieties. Barley is the best food for pigeons, as it contains all the nutrients in the required amount. It does not cause sexual arousal, so it is especially appreciated in winter. Pigeons, accustomed to other food, are reluctant at first to eat barley, leaving it in the feeder. In this case, the feeder should be removed, and the remaining grain should be fed to the hungry pigeons at the next feeding. nine0005

Corn. Although the grains of corn have a shell as hard as a cornea, yet they are easily digested, and pigeons eat them with great greed. Corn grains are too mealy, pigeons grow fat from a large number, become lazy, inactive, with flabby muscles. Feeding corn alone causes diseases of the digestive system, which often end in the death of the bird. Small amounts of corn in the diet increase the activity of the gonads, especially the ovaries. It should be fed in crushed form. Millet is considered a very good food for pigeons, especially its brightly colored varieties rich in vitamin B2 and carotene. Millet is a light feed and is especially recommended for young animals that have left the nest prematurely. The disadvantage is its hard, hard to digest shell. Pigeons of large breeds spend a lot of time and energy to fill the crop with one millet. nine0005

Oats. Whole grains of oats with an intact shell are not allowed to be given to pigeons. Hulled oats (oatmeal) is a very good food, which is given to them in feed mixtures. The high percentage of fat and minerals makes it especially useful in winter. Despite a significant percentage of fat, oats do not cause obesity.
Rice contains more starch and less fat than other grains. In pigeon breeding, rice is mainly used as a fixing agent for indigestion. With diarrhea, pigeons are given semi-cooked grains of rice sprinkled with chalk. It is not recommended to give peeled rice in large quantities and for a long time, as this can cause a disease that affects the nervous system - beriberi B. Buckwheat can be included in the feed mixture in small quantities, but it is not recommended to give rye to pigeons, as it causes diarrhea. nine0005

Oilseeds. Seeds of rapeseed, hemp, flax, colza, sunflower contain a lot of fat. Pigeons eat them more readily than other cereals, but they must be used in food very carefully and moderately. As a rule, oilseeds are mixed with other feeds in small quantities and only occasionally. Hempseed greatly excites pigeons, and frequent use causes inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nostrils. It is recommended to give it in small amounts before mating and during molting. Rape and colza are also recommended to be given during molting, they speed up the process of its passage. Aniseed is a delicacy for pigeons. It is considered an aphrodisiac. Aniseed is added to feed mixtures for weakened pigeons to increase appetite. nine0005

Legumes are superior in protein to cereal grains. The composition of legume grains in sufficient quantities includes calcium and phosphorus, which are necessary for mineral metabolism in birds. Legumes should be fed from the previous year's harvest, the seeds should have a natural gloss, if it is not there and the seeds are shriveled, then their nutritional value is negligible. All legumes, especially beans and peas, are fed during fallow and molt. Legume grains need a lot of moisture to swell, so it is best not to feed legumes during transportation of pigeons. Beans quickly saturate the pigeon, this is especially beneficial during the feeding period of the chicks. Peas mixed with cereal grains are the best food for pigeons. This feed mixture contains all the necessary nutrients. Pigeons are usually fed with field yellow peas, the grain of which should be bright yellow and shiny. Feeding freshly harvested peas causes diarrhea, greatly weakens the body of pigeons. nine0005

Vika contains more protein than other legumes and is well eaten by pigeons. It is recommended to feed it in the second year after harvesting from the field, otherwise it causes stomach diseases. Vetch is fed in feed mixtures.
Lentils are good food for pigeons. It is especially recommended to feed lentils to young animals. It must be remembered that its flat grains can stick to the palate of young pigeons. Adhering grain irritates the sky, makes it difficult to breathe. Therefore, when feeding with lentils, it is recommended to inspect the young every day and, having found the grain adhering to the palate, remove it with the blunt end of the pen. Lentils are flat, small and well ripened as feed for pigeons. nine0005

Beans are also fed to pigeons. It is only necessary to choose fine-grained varieties; too large beans are crushed.
Acorns. In Belgium, pigeons have long been fed acorns during the winter months (20-30% of the total feed). Before use, they are cleaned and, after complete drying, crushed. Grain waste. Pigeons are better than other birds at digesting weed seeds. Therefore, grain waste is a valuable food for them, in which there are often many seeds of wild grasses and weeds.

nine0002 Compound feed. In industrial poultry farming, compound feeds containing all the elements necessary for the body are widely used. Pigeons are reluctant to peck mealy feed because of the structural features of the beak and oral cavity, adapted to receive grain feed, therefore, granulated feed is used to feed them. A complete feed contains all the necessary nutrients, vitamins, amino acids, however, such feed can contribute to the obesity of pigeons, so it should be used in limited quantities. Some pigeon breeders give compound feed as a feed additive only during the period of young growth and molting. nine0005

Yeast. Yeast is used as a feed additive. They are especially useful during molting, rearing chicks.
Fish oil. Pigeons also need fish oil. It is added to grain feed mixtures with a weekly cycle (one week is given, the other is not). It is possible to replace fish oil with trivit (vitamins A, D, E), multivitamins; give them with water or feed. During the heat, fish oil should not be given to pigeons.


Feeding pigeons is dangerous to health

April 16, 2013

A meeting of the regional Extraordinary Anti-Epidemiological Commission was held in the administration of the Vyborgsky district under the chairmanship of the deputy head of the administration, Ye.N. The meeting was attended by heads of health care institutions of the district, educational institutions, epidemiologists, specialists from Rospotrebnadzor and representatives of the district administration.

Among the issues discussed at the meeting were the spread of ornithosis and deratization. nine0005

Ornithosis is an acute infectious disease that is transmitted from birds to humans. The most common ways of infection with ornithosis are contact with sick domestic, ornamental birds and city pigeons. At risk are sellers in pet stores and people who regularly feed pigeons. Ornithosis spreads by airborne dust - through the inhalation of dust containing chlamydia.

In 2012, 10 cases of ornithosis were recorded in the Vyborgsky district. Seven cases in pet store workers who had contact with diseased ornamental birds. Three cases of infection from urban pigeons. nine0005

Gathering in large flocks when feeding, pigeons not only infect each other, but also become a serious threat to the people around them.

Veterinarians also warn that when buying ornamental birds in pet stores (for example, budgerigars), it is necessary to request veterinary accompanying documents for the bird. If there are no such documents, you cannot buy a bird.

All residents are strongly advised to refrain from feeding pigeons, especially in crowded places - in parks, near playgrounds, in yards. It is also extremely dangerous to feed pigeons from a window or balcony - air with dust and chlamydia will enter the apartment and may pose a threat to its residents. nine0004

Also in 2013, a one-time deratization of all institutions, residential buildings and buildings will be carried out in St. Petersburg. For more effective control of rodents, the treatment will be carried out in two stages: in the spring - from April 22 to May 21, in the autumn - from October 1 to October 31.

Ornithosis is a particularly dangerous acute infectious disease of birds and humans, characterized by fever, general weakness, symptoms of diseases of the lungs, central nervous system. The causative agent of the disease is an intracellular microbe - chlamydia (lat. Chlamydia psittaci)
You can recognize sick birds by their behavior: they become less active, seem sleepy, their body trembles, it is difficult for the bird to breathe, it stretches its neck, opens its beak wide. In many birds, ornithosis is asymptomatic , but the pathogen continues to be released into the environment when sneezing and coughing, as well as with feces. Sometimes this infection is even called "parrot disease". People who get infected from parrots get very sick.

The time from the moment of infection to the appearance of clinical signs in humans is on average 8-12 days. The first signs of the disease in humans are chills, headache and muscle pain, fever up to 38-40 degrees. There is a dry cough. From 5-7 days, chest pains, shortness of breath, cough with sputum, signs of pneumonia appear. Possible insomnia, dizziness. nine0005

It should be remembered that ornithosis is a particularly dangerous disease, which means that it is easily and quickly transmitted, only a small amount of the pathogen is required to cause the disease.

Learn more