What do mourning doves feed their babies

All About Mourning Dove Eggs and Baby Mourning Doves

We share the answers to the most common questions about mourning dove eggs and baby mourning doves, including when they leave the nest.

What Do Mourning Dove Eggs Look Like?Courtesy Claudette MooreTwo mourning dove eggs in a nest

A female adult mourning dove lays two plain, white, nondescript eggs per clutch. The parents may go on to have up to five or six broods of baby mourning doves in one season.

How Long Does It Take for Mourning Dove Eggs to Hatch?

COURTESY AMY NICOSIAA baby mourning dove hatches from a white, nondescript egg.

Birding experts Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman say, “Mourning doves often choose protected spots on the ledges of houses for their twiggy nests. After the pair finishes building the nest—which takes two to four days—the female usually lays the first egg within a couple of days, and a second egg a day or two later. Both parents will take turns incubating the two eggs. The eggs hatch after 14 days.”

Learn how to identify bird eggs by color and size.

What Does a Baby Mourning Dove Look Like?Courtesy Arthur ScherwinEach clutch of eggs usually produces two baby mourning doves.

After hatching, a baby mourning dove’s eyes are closed and it is helpless, relying on its parents for warmth. The hatchling dove is covered in an ivory-colored down material. By two weeks old, the young have grown significantly and are sporting fluffy feathers.

See beautiful pictures of mourning doves.

What Do Baby Mourning Doves Eat?Courtesy Eileen ColeBoth parents help feed the hungry baby mourning doves.

Male and female adults produce “crop milk,” an antioxidant-rich liquid secreted in their throats. The milk is also high in fat and protein. Both parents feed this milky substance to the young while they are still in the nest. Eventually, their diet transitions to seeds, an adult mourning dove’s main source of food.

Do mourning dove feathers and wings make noise?

When Do Baby Mourning Doves Leave the Nest?

Courtesy Anna JohnsonThe baby doves fledge after two weeks.

Baby mourning doves are ready to fly and leave the nest when they are about two weeks old, but they stay close to their parents and continue to be fed by them for another week or two.

What does a mourning dove call sound like?

What Does a Fledgling Mourning Dove Look Like?Courtesy Bethany TerryAs a baby mourning dove grows, it start to resemble an adult bird.

A juvenile mourning dove has white markings on its face. It looks very similar to adults in the body but has white spots at the tips of the feathers.

Check out more super cute pictures of baby birds.

What Should I Do if I Find a Baby Mourning Dove on the Ground?

Courtesy Jean FieldThese mourning doves are approximately three weeks old.

When you find a baby mourning dove, or any abandoned baby bird, on the ground, it’s important to first determine what stage its in. (Learn how to tell the difference between a nestling and fledgling.) If it’s a nestling and its nest is nearby, simply place the bird back in the nest. If the bird is older, in fledgling stage, it’s likely not abandoned—one or both parents are probably nearby—and it’s best to leave the bird where it is.

Next, learn how to identify a white-winged dove and a Eurasian collared-dove.

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Baby Mourning Doves: All You Need To Know (with Pictures)

What does a baby mourning dove look like?

What do juvenile mourning doves look like?

How big are baby Mourning doves?

How much do baby Mourning doves weigh?

Why do you never see baby Mourning doves?

What is a baby mourning dove called?

What do baby mourning doves eat?

Do both parents feed baby Mourning doves?

How do Mourning doves feed their chicks?

How long do baby Mourning doves stay with their parents?

What do Mourning dove eggs look like?

How many babies do Mourning doves have?

How long do mourning dove eggs take to hatch?

When do Mourning doves lay eggs?

Mourning doves live exclusively in the Americas and are part of the sizable Columbidae family, including pigeons and doves. Like many other species of pigeons and doves, the Mourning dove is a highly successful species and is one of the most abundant birds in North America.

While Mourning doves are a relatively common sight, their babies remain somewhat concealed. This is a guide to baby Mourning doves, and there will be many pictures of baby Mourning doves along the way!

What does a baby mourning dove look like?

At birth, baby Mourning doves (which are also called squabs) are covered in a sparse yellow-brown down. Their skin is very dark, and they look quite prehistoric - much the same as baby pigeons.

The beak is also dark and has a prominent egg tooth, which is a tooth that enables the chick to break out of its egg while hatching.

Mourning dove squabs are weak and unable to thermoregulate, meaning they need to be kept warm by their parents for a few days. They’re also unable to raise their heads or open their eyes for around a week. Despite being small and helpless at birth, baby Mourning doves grow extremely quickly.

Mourning dove chicks (squabs) in the nest with their mother

What do juvenile mourning doves look like?

While baby Mourning doves are tiny, weighing just 5g, they grow rapidly and develop feather coverage within around ten days or so. Their eyes open after around a week, and they’ll begin to shuffle around the nest.

At around the 10 to 14 day mark, which is pretty much when the birds are ready to fledge, Mourning dove squabs will have developed most of their adult feather sheaths and will be near enough covered in their juvenile plumage. Juvenile plumage is a darker brown than adult plumage and has a more speckled pattern which is thought to provide camouflage.

They’ll also begin to exercise their wings and rummage around near the nest. Despite fledging after just 10 to 14 days, baby Mourning doves stay close to their parents for around 20 days to one month.

A recently fledged juvenile mourning dove

How big are baby Mourning doves?

At birth, Mourning dove hatchlings are just a few cm long, weighing 5g. However, by day 7, the chicks grow to around 10cm long, and by day 10, they measure around 15cm long, which is around half their adult size!

How much do baby Mourning doves weigh?

At birth, baby Mourning doves weigh around 5g (0.17oz).

After ten days, their weight increases dramatically to 45 to 60g. At fledging, after around 12 to 15 days, the chicks weigh some 50 to 80g. This isn’t too far off their average adult weight of 115 to 170g.

Close up of a newly hatched Mourning dove chick

Why do you never see baby Mourning doves?

Mourning doves are well-camouflaged, and though they’re quite flexible with regard to nesting sites, they’ll choose well-hidden nesting sites if they can. Once born, the squabs stay in the nest until they’re around half the size and weight of an adult at least.

So by the time you’re likely to spot a baby Mourning dove, they probably look similar to an adult. With that said, it’s not too uncommon to see juvenile Mourning doves throughout the breeding season.

Baby Mourning doves grow extremely quickly and fledge after just 14 days or so. At this point, they hardly look like adults, but they won’t stray too far from the nest and will remain as hidden as they can until they’re able to fly off and become independent.

What is a baby mourning dove called?

Baby Mourning doves are often called squabs, a name which is also given to the young pigeons and other doves. Technically, ‘squab’ is a culinary term and refers to baby or young pigeons which are consumed as meat.

Like other birds, baby Mourning doves are also commonly called chicks. At birth, just after emerging from the egg, they’re called hatchlings. Then, while they remain in the nest, they’re called nestlings. Once fledged, they’re called fledglings, and then finally juveniles and adults.

Mourning Dove fledgling resting in a sheltered area, as they're unable to fly just yet

What do baby mourning doves eat?

Like many other doves and pigeons, baby Mourning doves are fed with crop milk. Crop milk is somewhat similar to mammalian milk, though it’s secreted from the crop, which is an extension of the digestive system. Both the male and the female begin to produce crop milk some 2 to 3 days before the chicks hatch.

In Mourning doves, feeding with crop milk continues for around five days, at which point the parents start to introduce more seeds and harder foods, which are usually partially digested and regurgitated into the chicks’ mouths. Not all birds create crop milk, but those that do tend to feed it to their young in the first few days after hatching. Crop milk is extremely rich in proteins and fats, and it helps the baby birds put on massive quantities of weight in a short period.

Parental feeding continues for around a month at the most. Most foods are regurgitated into the chicks’ mouths for the first week or so. After that, chicks aged 14 days are fed broadly the same diet as their parents, primarily seeds, grains, and berries. While both parents feed the young chicks, the male takes over at the 12-day mark to allow the female to prepare for the next brood.

Close up of a female mourning dove feeding her chicks

Do both parents feed baby Mourning doves?

During the first 4 to 5 days, both parents feed the chicks with crop milk. After that, the female generally takes over feeding duties for around ten days, though both parents still feed the chicks.

After that, the male begins to take over feeding at around 12 days, at which point the female prepares for the next brood. Finally, the male may feed the fledgling chicks for around a month until they’re confident enough to fly off and become independent.

How do Mourning doves feed their chicks?

In the first few days, Mourning doves feed their chicks with crop milk. Crop milk is a nutritious compound produced in the crop of adult birds - it’s similar in composition to mammalian milk.

Not all birds produce crop milk in abundance, but most birds from the Columbidae family do. Crop milk enables the chicks to grow rapidly; the parents then introduce more seeds and harder foods after around 5 or 6 days. By 12 to 14 days, baby Mourning doves are fed on practically the same diet as their parents (seeds, grains, and berries).

Female Mourning dove with her chicks in the nest

How long do baby Mourning doves stay with their parents?

Mourning dove chicks fledge after around 14 days, but they stay close to their parents (typically the male) for around a month. After 14 days, the female will begin to prepare for the next brood while the male continues to feed and care for the chicks.

After a month or so, the chicks will fly off to join a juvenile flock, and the parents will begin incubating the next brood. This extremely efficient breeding system is partly why Mourning doves are so successful.

What do Mourning dove eggs look like?

Mourning dove eggs are small and white with no markings. They measure around 2.6 to 3.0 cm long and 2.1 to 2.3 cm wide.

They’re typically sub-elliptical, meaning they’re more rounded than some bird eggs. In addition, studies have shown that eggs laid later in the breeding season tend to be longer than those laid earlier on, but the reasons why are unclear.

Two mourning dove eggs in the nest

How many babies do Mourning doves have?

Mourning doves nearly always lay two eggs. However, the size of their brood doesn’t prevent them from raising as many as ten chicks a year.

Many pairs of Mourning doves will raise 3 to 4 broods a year, but six broods have been recorded a few times - that’s more than any other bird in North America! In addition, both chicks have a pretty good chance of surviving until they fledge, but their odds of living for one year are only around 25% to 40% or so - as many as 75% of all Mourning doves die before they see their first birthday.

Nevertheless, the prolific breeding abilities of the Mourning dove are partly why their populations are so large, even despite high mortality rates and being killed and eaten as game.

How long do mourning dove eggs take to hatch?

Mourning dove eggs are incubated for around 14 days. When they begin to hatch, the chicks will emerge within just hours. Baby Mourning doves are equipped with a sharp egg tooth, enabling them to break through the eggshell efficiently.

A pair of Mourning doves perched in a tree, during the winter

When do Mourning doves lay eggs?

Mourning doves can lay eggs as early as February in some southern states such as Texas. However, the breeding season usually gets underway in March, and most Mourning doves will have laid at least one clutch by early April.

The Mourning dove breeding season is exceptionally long and can continue all the way through to October, weather permitting. This long breeding season is partly why Mourning doves can afford to raise six broods. Surveys have found that the majority of broods are raised between April and August.

Expert Q + A


How long after hatching do mourning doves fly?

BirdFact Team

Baby mourning doves can usually fly at around 20 days after hatching. However, they won't fly far at this time. It usually takes 27 to 30 days after hatching for greater flight distances to be covered.

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how to get out at home if it fell out of the nest


  • 1 What does the pigeon chick eat
  • 2 What to do if the pigeon chick fell out of the nest
  • 3 How to feed the pigeon chick
  • conditions
    • 4.1 First week
    • 4.2 Second week
    • 4.3 Third week
    • 4.4 Fourth week
    • 4.5 After a month
  • 50006
  • 6 What to do if the pigeon chick does not eat
  • 7 How to hatch the pigeon chick
  • 8 Conclusion

Chicks, just like human children, need care and care from their mother. Often in life there are situations in which the chick is torn off from the mother's wing, for example, when he fell out of the nest. If necessary, a person can independently feed a feathered friend at home and, upon reaching the required age, release him into the wild. It is in such situations that it is necessary to know what pigeons feed their chicks, as a result of which there is a high probability of going out and raising a bird on their own.

What a pigeon chick eats

If a feathered bird is left without parents and was picked up by a human, then it should be properly fed and then sent to the wild when it reaches the required age. As practice shows, it is necessary to feed a pigeon chick from birth with crushed and well-brewed food. In the first days of life, a boiled egg yolk is perfect, which is injected into the feathered oral cavity through a syringe. In the future, it is worth feeding grains crushed to the state of flour and steamed in hot water. As the diet grows, it becomes much more diverse: fruits, vegetables, chopped greens, vitamins, live insects are introduced.

What to do if a pigeon chick has fallen out of the nest

In the event that a pigeon chick has fallen out of the nest, it is recommended to look around, suddenly its parents are nearby and are afraid to fly up to it because of the presence of people. If there are no adults nearby, then it is worth visually inspecting the pigeon chick itself. If there is plumage, it is completely dry, it behaves quite actively and is warm to the touch, then such a bird does not need help. Most likely this is his first flyby.

If the found pigeon chick does not fit this description and it is clear that without the help of a person it will die, then you should carefully take it without damaging the bones. Take home to a warm place, starting the feeding process.

How to feed a pigeon chick

It is recommended to feed a pigeon chick strictly according to the age category. This is primarily due to the fact that if you give a week-old baby food intended for a pigeon chick aged 2-3 weeks, then the body simply will not be able to digest food and the pigeon will die. For feeding, you can use a syringe, nipple or pipette. Food is introduced into the oral cavity, making sure that the food completely fills the goiter. From the first days of life it is necessary to accustom to water.

How to feed a pigeon chick at home

Feeding a pigeon chick at home is not as difficult as it may seem to many at first glance. As practice shows, it often becomes necessary to independently feed those birds that were found, fell out of the nest and were left without maternal care. In order to understand exactly how to feed and care for pigeon chicks, it is necessary first of all to correctly determine their age - this is the only way to avoid causing even more harm.

Approximate age can be determined by the following signs:

  • rudimentary plumage appears on the 6-7th day of life;
  • Eyes fully open on day 9;
  • fully developed plumage can be seen by the end of 4 weeks;
  • pigeons begin to show the first flitter rides at 6 weeks;
  • the first molt occurs at 7 weeks;
  • bird stops squeaking and starts cooing at 2-3 months of age;
  • first sexual instincts appear at 5 months;
  • final molt at 6 months.

If you correctly determine the age of a pigeon chick left without maternal care, then you can feed and leave the baby.

In the first week

If a newborn pigeon chick is in the hands, then in this case it is important not only to properly feed, but also to water. Thus, it is initially necessary to teach the feathered to take water and food. As practice shows, it is most difficult to get out birds that are about a week old, no more. This is due primarily to the fact that in the first 7 days of life, newborns need breast milk. In order to save the pigeon chick, you will have to make quite a lot of effort.

A step-by-step algorithm of actions that allows you to feed newborn birds is as follows:

  1. First of all, you need to purchase a 20 ml medical syringe from the pharmacy and carefully put a nipple on it, preferably a pipette.
  2. Egg yolk is perfect as a feed, as it contains a large amount of minerals so necessary for the normal life of a pigeon. You can also use special grains that are pre-ground to a state of flour.
  3. Received food is gently introduced into the oral cavity through a syringe, allowing time for the processing of the received components.

Pigeon chicks need to be fed at least 6 times throughout the day.

In the second week

Starting from the second week, it is recommended to introduce grain mass into the diet, as very soon the chick will start eating like an adult pigeon. It is worth feeding only grain crushed to the state of gruel and well steamed. This will require:

  1. Thoroughly grind the cereal through a coffee grinder several times.
  2. Mix the resulting flour with hot water.
  3. Let stand for 7 minutes.

It is important to understand that such a semi-liquid porridge is still incomplete food and cannot be fed. It is recommended to add chicken yolk to the steamed grain and only after that start feeding.

Since pigeon chicks require calcium for full growth and development, a solution based on calcium gluconate can be added to food. To improve the immune system, before you start feeding the chicks, add 2-3 drops of honey to the porridge.

By the end of the second week, the body of the chick will be completely covered with feathers, it will begin to move and scream even louder. During the day, birds are fed from 4 to 6 times. At the same time, it is worth making sure that the goiter is filled with food to the maximum.

Tip! If necessary, calcium gluconate can be replaced with crushed egg shells.

In the third week

From the third week, pigeon chicks feed completely differently. During this period of time, it is necessary to teach them to eat whole grains. Before feeding the birds, the grains should be placed in warm water for 10 minutes. In their natural habitat, parents give the chicks seeds of plants that have been in their stomach for some time and have undergone all the necessary processing, partially undergone splitting.

It is worth feeding with hands, young pigeons put no more than 3 grains into the mouth at each time. During this period of time, pigeon chicks begin to drink on their own. That is why, after they have already been fed (not before eating), you should carefully lower the baby's beak into a container of clean warm water.

Attention! It is important to ensure that liquid does not enter the chick's sinuses, as there is a high probability that it will choke.

Chopped greens and carrots can be gradually introduced into the diet.

In the fourth week

3 weeks after birth, pigeon chicks try to start eating on their own. During this period of time, they can be fed more varied. At this age, pigeons can be given a boiled and well-chopped chicken egg and a small amount of white bread. It is important to take into account the fact that only white can be fed, this is largely due to the fact that dark bread varieties have a coarser grinding and are less digestible by chicks.

It is recommended to sprinkle a small amount of grain on the table and lightly tap on the table top, thereby attracting the attention of pigeons. As practice shows, the chicks quite quickly understand what is required of them, and begin to eat food on their own.

Important! For a few more days, it is recommended to additionally feed the birds, giving food from the hands.

After a month

After a month, the diet can and even needs to be diversified. In such cases, it is necessary to feed with fruits, which are pre-cut into small pieces, give chopped greens. Small balls are made from the bread crumb, this is necessary so that the birds can independently take it in their beak and swallow it.

One month old chicks can be fed in the same way as adult pigeons. During this period of time, the babies are preparing for their first flight. Despite this, you should not quickly allow pigeons to adults, it is best to feed them separately for some time.

Tip! If the bird looks rather lethargic and eats little, then you need to add 3% glucose solution to the water.

What not to feed the chicks

Despite the fact that growing birds need insects, it is not recommended to feed them with the following:

  • carcasses of insects of any kind. As practice shows, the death of an insect is a consequence of intoxication, and the poison also has a negative effect on the feathered body;
  • Colorado beetles - they are not recommended because of their toxicity;
  • ladybugs - capable of excreting a toxic liquid. Under natural conditions, if a bird has eaten a ladybug by mistake, then it immediately spits it out;
  • hairy caterpillars - since such insects contain small hairs on the body, they can quite easily clog the crop;
  • Brightly colored bugs - rich colors indicate that it is better not to risk using these insects.

In addition, meat and fish products should not be introduced into the diet, as it is quite difficult to process them.

Attention! It is best to feed the bird with nondescript bedbugs.

What to do if the pigeon chick is not eating

If it has been noticed that the pigeon chick is not eating, then special attention should be paid to the diet. It often happens that the age of the chick was determined incorrectly, respectively, and further feeding is carried out incorrectly. It is important to take into account the fact that at first adults feed babies with semi-digested food.

It is necessary to feed the bird with a syringe if it is still very small, larger individuals are fed by hand. It should be borne in mind that at first the chick will not be able to take food on its own, it must be helped in this matter. If necessary, you can add a 3% glucose solution to the water, which will help give strength.

How to hatch a pigeon chick

Caring for a pigeon chick must be of high quality and complete. It is important to understand that at first the plumage is completely absent, as a result, the chick may freeze. For these purposes, it is recommended to use a heating pad that will maintain the optimum temperature. When plumage appears on the dove, the heating pad can be removed, but it is necessary to ensure that the temperature regime does not fall below + 25 ° С.


Pigeons feed their chicks with semi-digested food. To do this, they use plant seeds that, while in the stomach of an adult, undergo primary processing and undergo partial splitting. This knowledge will help the chick come out on its own.

Do you know how to handle domestic pigeons?

Do you know how to handle domestic pigeons?

Pigeons are mostly pets. Forcing interaction can frighten the bird, or worse, break its wing. However, some pigeons can be tamed manually. Pigeons are very sociable with their own kind, and they can be trained to take food from your hands.

Are pigeons affectionate?

Most people don't know this, but pigeons love to cuddle in the arms of their owners. Pigeons are really affectionate. They love to sit on the arms of their owners, cuddle with them and coo endlessly quietly. But their voice is not very loud, screeching like parrots.

Are pigeons tamed?

They are attractive, gentle and easy to care for. Domesticated for thousands of years, pigeons and pigeons have been used as sacrifices to the gods in the past, raised for food, and also kept as pets.


How much is a dove?

In most jurisdictions, anyone can walk into a pet store, buy some white ringed doves (about $25 each) and release them to a wedding or funeral.

Pigeons are dirty pets?

Pigeons can be dirty too. They shed and shed feathers, requiring weekly cage cleaning. They will toss or toss their seeds to find their favorites. Choose feeding containers that discourage this behavior and you'll be a happier watchdog.

Are domestic pigeons noisy?

Pigeons express themselves by cooing. It can be soft and soothing or, depending on their needs, it can also be loud and relentless. But, this is still a “coo”, and not a screech, shrill or whistle.


Is the dove true?

Pigeons mate for life, are incredibly loyal to each other and work together to build their nest and raise their young. Because they tend to nest in places that people can watch, people quickly learned the virtues that pigeons shared; they found them devoted, noble and peaceful.

Do pigeons like pets?

Pigeons are wonderful pets - cute, curious, silly, loving and sociable. They are relatively easy to care for and can live for over 20 years. While both have a distinctive laugh, females tend to be quieter overall, with males bowing and cooing as well. Pigeons are sociable and happy as a couple.

Are pigeons friendly to humans?

Pigeons are incredibly obedient creatures with an affectionate nature. These creatures are often considered peaceful birds, representing tenderness and love. Their ownership is much the same - they tend to be gentle, warm birds with a shy demeanor. Pigeons get along well with people, especially when hand-fed.

How much do domestic pigeons cost?

Pigeons: $20 to $100. These docile birds need exercise, and not just in a cage. Bird-proof a room in your home where your pigeon can fly for at least an hour a day. The room should be free of easy escape routes and common household hazards.

Is it easy to care for pigeons?

The dove can be a wonderful pet and easy to care for. While you will need to groom it daily, it won't take long. If you're looking for a great beginner pet, you might want to try the pigeon. Compared to other birds such as parrots, pigeon care takes a minimum of time.

How long does a pigeon live?

The average life expectancy of an adult weeping dove is 1.5 years. The oldest known free-living bird found in a bird ringing study was over 31 years old.


How much do 2 pigeons cost?

On average, a pair of white doves will cost around $150, with some companies offering different packages (eg 8 doves for $175 or 21 doves for $250). The doves are usually released from wicker baskets, which are included in the offer.

How to make friends with a pigeon?

Communication with pigeons If the cage is large enough, consider sitting in it for a short time when the birds are comfortable around you. The next step is to offer treats, such as mealworms, carrot or millet pieces, by hand.

Do pigeons need toys?

Keep at least three toys in the pigeon cage. Pigeons generally prefer ladders and toy swings. They also like small wooden toys that they can rearrange many times. You can paint wooden toys with food-safe dyes, but avoid wood staining.

Do doves poop a lot?

Yes, mourning doves poop a lot. Also, he can store a lot of food in his crop (see my post on bird digestion for an explanation of the function of a bird's crop), so his metabolism is always going well.

What size cage is needed for a pigeon?

Pigeons are quite sociable and live well in pairs or even flocks. Keep the pigeons in an aviary large enough for them to spread their wings, climb and play. The size of the cage must be at least 18 x 22 x 18 inches (46 x 56 x 46 cm). The larger the enclosure, the better, especially if there are several pigeons in it.

What do you feed your domestic pigeons?

Pigeons should be offered fresh fruits and vegetables along with seeds and pellets.

Learn more