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 How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?

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SquirrelTickler



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PostSubject: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Mon May 30, 2011 2:42 am

Hi everyone,

Could someone tell me how much a 6 week old pigeon should eat roughly per day please?

Up until 4 days ago, he had a ravenous appetite and would go through about 80ml of a wet mix of seeds, oats and baby food a day. The last few days though he's only eating about 20ml and gets fed up with syringe feeding easily and just splatters the food over the room. Despite this his energy levels seem good and he's still producing a lot of firm poops considering how little he's been eating.

I've tried to get him onto seed but he just pecks at it in a bored way and lets the seeds drop out of his beak.

I'm really worried my little fella is going to starve...

Any ideas as to why his appetite might have decreased so?
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Mon May 30, 2011 6:56 pm

Hi SquirrelTickler,

At six weeks he should be eating and drinking on his own, and he needs the equivalent to about 60 ml a day. Young squeakers eat quite ravenously during the period of maximum growth, and then as they start to move into adulthood they eat less, but 20 ml a day isn't enough.
Is he disabled, is that why he's still being syringe fed?
Do you have any other pigeons, any adults whose behaviour he could copy?

A good way to wean him is to offer thawed frozen sweetcorn and peas (soak them in hot water for 5-10 minutes), which you can push with your finger to the back of his throat. As they are soft they are easy to swallow and to digest, and between them they have lots of good nutrients and protein for growth. Aim for 35-40 peas+corn three times a day.
As for drinking, try dipping his beak in water (without getting his nostrils in the water) and he will eventually get the idea. Until then you will need to give him some water with a small syringe, but if he's having thawed peas and corn he won't need much, as they hold quite a bit of water.
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AZWhitefeather
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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Tue May 31, 2011 7:29 am

Hi SquirrelTickler, Hi there/Bye
Welcome to Pigeon Angels.

I agree with Teresa in that your 6 week old should be eating on his own.
Given your description of his behavior (good energy level and normal appearing poops) he may be rejecting the 'syringe' feeding because he's getting tired of it.

Are you offering him seeds in a dish or scattering a few in front of him?
If you aren't putting them in a dish, you might try that as it may be easier for him to keep hold of them.
You might also want to mimic picking them up in front of him using your index finger and thumb. They learn well from watching.

If he is going to be a 'pet' pigeon, and not released, you will need to have a small dish of grit available to him at all times. This dish should be separate from his seed dish. They eat grit as they feel the need.

Definitely go with Teresa's suggestion on the peas and corn.

How did you acquire this little one?
Is there any chance of posting a photo?

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SquirrelTickler



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PostSubject: Thanks for your advice!   Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:11 am

Thanks for your suggestions and advice Teresa and AZ Whitefeather!

I don't have any experience with pigeons so I've been trying to learn as much as possible.

Des was given to me 4 weeks ago. He'd been found in a market car park on the ground about to be run over. At the time I didn't know he was a pigeon, just a baby bird who needed help.

Fortunately, he's not disabled and flies around the house quite well.

Regarding the peas and corn feeding, do either of you have any suggestions as to how I can get him to open his beak wide enough for me to pop these in? He always struggles too much when I try. The videos on youtube make it look so easy.

I have scattered instant oats and seeds in front of him, as well as placing them in a dish, and imitated pecking at them with my fingers but he hasn't cottoned on yet.

I think I will keep him as a pet although I would prefer he was free but I worry about him getting attacked by neighborhood cats as he has no natural fear of predators now.

I would like to get him a pigeon friend as I worry he must be lonely on his own. Do you think if I adopted an adult pigeon, the adult would take Des under his/her wing?

Thanks again for all your help, I really appreciate it Happy

P.S. Will try to upload a picture of Des tomorrow
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:51 pm

SquirrelTickler wrote:
Regarding the peas and corn feeding, do either of you have any suggestions as to how I can get him to open his beak wide enough for me to pop these in? He always struggles too much when I try. The videos on youtube make it look so easy.

They do make it look very easy Laughing but it's not the same when you're trying it for the first time!
To make life easier for you, you'll need to restrict his movements a bit by wrapping him in a towel or similar. What I do with fidgety or scared birds is to hold them between my hand and my chest, then with the other hand place the towel over his body and then round his legs until you have a cosy pigeon burrito. With the pigeon on your lap, use your thumbnail to open his beak, by wedging it into the beak opening, and pop a piece of corn into the beak, pushing it with your finger to the back of his mouth. (I do both those actions with my right hand, which leaves the left hand free to gently hold his head, if needed.)
Here's a picture of a happy pigeon burrito ready to be fed, and I marked on it the line of the beak opening, and also the nostril, so you know how far to dip his beak in the water without getting water into his nostrils.



Quote :
I have scattered instant oats and seeds in front of him, as well as placing them in a dish, and imitated pecking at them with my fingers but he hasn't cottoned on yet.

It takes a little time, but it will work eventually, especially after you hand feed him seed-sized food. At this point, if he's always been syringe fed, he won't even know that seeds are food.

Quote :
I think I will keep him as a pet although I would prefer he was free but I worry about him getting attacked by neighborhood cats as he has no natural fear of predators now.

I would like to get him a pigeon friend as I worry he must be lonely on his own. Do you think if I adopted an adult pigeon, the adult would take Des under his/her wing?

Pigeons make great pets! And you are absolutely right in thinking about getting him a companion. At this stage, an adult wouldn't act as a parent any more, but just as a companion. If you could adopt one from a rehabber or a sanctuary, you would be saving another life.
Not knowing the sex of the youngster, it would be best to get a female. Two females get along fine, but two males will fight for supremacy.

You may be able to teach him to distrust cats by showing him a picture of a cat (especially one that looks like the neighbourhood cats) and clapping your hands loudly to startle him whenever you show him the 'cat'. He will associate cats with something not to be trusted.

Quote :
P.S. Will try to upload a picture of Des tomorrow

Great job
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AZWhitefeather
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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:33 pm

It sounds like Des will make a wonderful pet.
I agree, a companion would be wonderful.
There are so many needing to be adopted. Pigeon angel

We would love to see some photos. YESS!!

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SquirrelTickler



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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Fri Jun 03, 2011 5:31 am



Thanks again for all your suggestions AZWhitefeather and Teresa!

I will try Des on peas and corn tomorrow and let you know how I go.

Please excuse the lumpy thing on Des' neck in the photo. It's a lump of dried food I've been trying to get off him. He's a bit of a mess maker when it comes to feeding time.

How do I know if Des is a boy or girl?

Do you of any pigeon rescue/sanctuaries in Melbourne, Australia where I might be able to get a mate for Des?

Oh, and do you know at what age squeaker's voices break? Des still screeches... I really look forward to him making the pleasant cooing sound adults make

Sorry for all the questions and thanks again for all your help!

Smile Smile
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AZWhitefeather
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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:55 pm

Des is adorable. Tickled Pink
Thanks for sharing him with us.

Is he pretty much featherless under his beak?
Have you checked the inside of his mouth? If not, could you please. It should be nice and pink and free of any obstructions.

At this age it's pretty much a guessing game as far as gender goes.
As a general rule, the male will display a 'courting' type behavior.
They will coo, bob their head up and down, prance in circles and fan their tail in an attempt to impress the 'ladies'. Wink They also enjoy looking in the mirror.
The female on the other hand is much more quiet.

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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:49 pm

As Cindy said, it's impossible to know the sex of a very young pigeon. Sometimes the personality may be an indicator (females tend to be tamer, quieter) but that's very hit and miss.

You may still have another couple of months of squeaking... and be prepared for the change of voice to be a little disconcerting, with the bird producing two different notes, one high and one low, at the same time -- like someone blowing through a cracked reed!

Unfortunately, the only contact we have for your area is for the Melbourne Veterinary Clinic. They don't have rehab birds, and I believe that the law in Australia doesn't permit centres and rehabbers to keep birds that cannot be released. But you may try to find out the contact of any racing/breeding lofts near you, and ask them if they have a bird that they don't want. Sometimes they will give you one that is not very fast and they don't intend to race.

Finally, I would advise you to get him checked by a vet, because the lack of feathers on his neck may be a symptom of canker (trichomoniasis). That's easily treated with Ronidazole, but in Australia you can only get it with a vet's prescription. However, you may be able to buy it (or Metronidazole, which does the same) online, in which case we can help you with instructions and dosage.
As Cindy suggested, have a look inside his beak and throat, and if you see any yellow nodules, then that's a cert, and he'll need meds fast.
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SquirrelTickler



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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Sat Jun 04, 2011 9:20 pm

Thanks again ladies!

I had a look in his mouth and throat and couldn't see any nodules or yellow stuff. It's nice and pink in there at the moment. Could the reason Des' feathers are a bit stunted on his neck be due to the food that keeps getting stuck there and him pecking at it when he cleans himself up?

I made a feeble attempt to fed Des' peas and corn as you suggested but I have clumsy hands and feel like I am going to accidentally break his neck when I try to open his beak so I got my boyfriend to start popping peas down his throat. Hopefully Des will learn to feed on his own soon!

Des is quite a chatty and extroverted bird so maybe he is a boy.

Thanks for the tip about contacting some pigeon racing clubs to see if they have any slow pigeons they don't want. I'm keen for Des to have a friend asap.

Do you mind me asking what housing arrangements you have for your pigeons eg. do they live in a large aviary with other pigeons and sometimes go out for a fly around?
I've never liked the idea of birds in cages but now that we have Des and he probably won't be able to fend for himself in the wild, I'm thinking that housing him in a large outdoor aviary with a pigeon friend and letting them out sometimes will be their best chance at surviving and hopefully being reasonably happy. Happy Dance
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AZWhitefeather
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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:34 pm

My pigeons are housed in an 8 ft L x 6 ft W x 6 ft H aviary.

This picture was taken a few years ago but you can kind of get an idea of the size.


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Cindy

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If we become ill or injured in any way,
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:35 pm

My pigeons are all kept in cages, either individually or in pairs, as most of them have some form of disability and need special arrangements. But they get to spend time out of the cages every day to exercise -- one flies with the feral flock, the others run around the room.

Here's a VERY long list of various members' arrangements. That's too funny I'm sure you'll find some useful ideas there:

http://www.pigeonangels.com/t991-food-for-thoughthow-to-create-a-safe-loft

http://www.pigeonangels.com/t2054-pictures-of-your-loft-or-where-you-keep-you-pigeons-or-doves

http://www.pigeonangels.com/t2269-introducing-our-quickie-loft

http://www.pigeonangels.com/t708-if-you-need-an-aviary

http://www.pigeonangels.com/t946-loft-floor-substrate-what-do-you-use?

http://www.pigeonangels.com/t349-aviary-floor

http://www.pigeonangels.com/t2488-interesting-loft-floor

http://www.pigeonangels.com/t2484-my-new-loft-fan

http://www.pigeonangels.com/t953-the-aviary-is-finished-almost

http://www.pigeonangels.com/t523-mistwold-loft-s-has-a-birthday!!!

http://www.pigeonangels.com/t467-aviary-renovation

http://www.pigeonangels.com/t2172-building-of-a-public-pigeon-loft-in-holland

http://www.pigeonangels.com/t2579-some-ideas-for-special-needs-cage-designs

http://www.pigeonangels.com/t869-helpful-hints-and-tips

http://www.pigeonangels.com/t427-first-night-in-the-loft

And this one is my favourite:
http://www.pigeonangels.com/t444-my-fly-cage-is-finally-finishedwhat-do-you-think

PS. It's very possible that the cause for the lack of neck feathers is due to what you said.

I'll try to get you some more information on a possible adoption. Fingers crossed
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:20 pm

I've managed to establish contact with someone in Australia who is looking after 4 rescued pigeons. She has one who would be a perfect companion for your little one, but she lives very far away from Melbourne. Is this a lost cause, or do you know anyone who regularly travels across the country and could bring the pigeon to you?
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SquirrelTickler



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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:07 am

Thanks Cindy and Teresa for letting me know about your pigeon housing arrangements! I've got some really helpful ideas from the links you forwarded me Teresa.
Currently Des is living on our sun room but once he's set up in his aviary, I'll send you both some pictures :-)

Teresa, that is so kind of you to look into finding a rescued Aussie pigeon to befriend Des! Thank you!
Where does the lady live who has the rescued pigeons? Depending on how far away she is, I might be able to get there myself.

Just to update you that Des is eating much more than when I first posted. He's having around 40 peas and 50 ml of oats and seed mush mix a day. He seems to look much healthier after getting him on the peas like you suggested. He is still being hand fed but I'm seeing signs that he's started to grow more independent

Thanks again for being so helpful, ladies cheers
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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:36 pm

Thanks for posting all links to our member's setups, Teresa.
And Great work on the contact to hopefully find Des a companion. Great job
YOU rock LOTS!!

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Cindy

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If we become ill or injured in any way,
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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:38 pm

SquirrelTickler wrote:
Thanks Cindy and Teresa for letting me know about your pigeon housing arrangements! I've got some really helpful ideas from the links you forwarded me Teresa.
Currently Des is living on our sun room but once he's set up in his aviary, I'll send you both some pictures :-)

Teresa, that is so kind of you to look into finding a rescued Aussie pigeon to befriend Des! Thank you!
Where does the lady live who has the rescued pigeons? Depending on how far away she is, I might be able to get there myself.

Just to update you that Des is eating much more than when I first posted. He's having around 40 peas and 50 ml of oats and seed mush mix a day. He seems to look much healthier after getting him on the peas like you suggested. He is still being hand fed but I'm seeing signs that he's started to grow more independent

Thanks again for being so helpful, ladies cheers

Thrilled I'm so glad Des is beginning to eat more and looking healthier.
We so appreciate the update.

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Cindy

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If we become ill or injured in any way,
Please lead us to safety where we are welcome to stay.
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:49 pm

That's wonderful news, SquirrelTickler! Happy Dance Happy Dance Happy Dance

About the Aussie lady, I don't know where exactly she lives, but I've sent her a message asking. As soon as I know anything I'll let you know! Fingers crossed
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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:08 pm

I'm afraid the proposed adoption might not work... Disappointed

This is the message I got:
Bella wrote:
Unfortunately I live pretty much on the other side of the country to Melbourne, in the far north, whereas Melbourne is far south. Melbourne is very cold whereas I live in the tropics, so I'm not sure how well suited our pigeons would be to the extreme cold in Melbourne winters. Overall, our feral pigeons don't have much meat on them and only weigh in around 250 grams when healthy.

You can blame for not anticipating something like that... my own country is too blooming small to have such differences in climate!

Still, don't give up! Local vets, breeders or racing/show enthusiasts may be able to help you, or to put you in contact with someone who can. Smile
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EgypSwiftLady
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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:43 am


Sorry for being so out of it but.... we are talking about just regular pigeons right? Not some fancy pigeon species... correct?

We have pigeons that were raised in Las Vegas, NV. & Calif. that live here at the sanctuary, we are located in WI. where our winters usually are -0 degrees, thats not even counting the wind chill! These pijjies have adapted to our seasons very well.

The pigeons do arrive while the weather is warm getting used to the season change gradually. We of course offer seeds that contain high amounts of fat in the autunm & winter months.

Pigeons are very adaptable, we all know that, I think they would be fine.
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SquirrelTickler



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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:33 pm

Thanks again! It's really nice to know there are people out there who want to help

Feeling great

That's a shame about the lady up North with the pigeons. It sounds like she is in Queensland or the Northern Territory which would be too far for me unfortunately.
I contacted a local pigeon racing club to see if they knew of any members who had a slow female pigeon they no longer wanted. Someone got back to me quickly to say they could definitely help and would ask their members. I hope I hear back from them soon...Des is so lonely! Disappointed

How long do you think it might take for Des to start eating peas on his own?
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:27 pm

It's great that someone at the racing club is so willing to help! Great job I hope Des can have a companion soon! Fingers crossed

As you intend to keep Des as a pet, there's really no harm in interacting quite a bit with him so he doesn't get bored and lonely. With the tip of your finger/nail, you can gently rub his face and head, especially around the eyes. Parents would do that to groom the babies, and they love it!

You can also offer him a bath in a wide, shallow container (cat litter trays are perfect for that) with two inches of water. Healthy pigeons LOVE to bathe, when they get the hang of it!
I use tepid water, and on warm days, but many use room temperature water and say it's fine.
If he's standing on your hand, just gently lower your hand into the water until his feet are in it. (Have someone with a camera standing by, as reactions can be very funny...) If not, gently stand him in the water, stand back a bit and see what he does. He may find it strange at first, but believe me, he'll come to love it.
Then it's time to dry out in the sun. Direct sun is best, like inside a wire cage in the garden. Direct sunshine produces vitamin D in the pigeon's body, and this is essencial for calcium absorption and general good health.

As for how long it will take for him to feed himself, it depends mostly on repetition and incentive. He has the inconvenience of not having an adult pigeon to copy (or not yet), so you'll have to become quite proficient at 'making a beak' with your forefinger and thumb, and 'pecking' at seeds to encourage him to do the same.
Just make sure nobody sees you do it, especially if all that is accompanied by comments like, 'Look, Des, yummy seeds, nom nom nom...' That's too funny That's too funny That's too funny
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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:06 pm

I will keep my fingers crossed that someone in the racing club will be able to help find Des a companion. Fingers crossed

I agree with Teresa, since you have decided to keep Des as a pet, interacting with him would be fine.

Please keep us posted. Smile

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Cindy

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If we become ill or injured in any way,
Please lead us to safety where we are welcome to stay.
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SquirrelTickler



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PostSubject: Des update   Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:02 am

Hi ladies,

Just a quick update to let you know that Des seems to have gotten the hang of eating seed on his own! We are still feeding him thawed peas and corn in the morning and night though but will hopefully have him on full seed by the end of next week.

Is there a particular seed mix you would recommend for him, and how much should he be eating at 11 weeks old do you think?

Also, Des' neck feathers have come through and he looks so handsome! I'll upload a picture soon.

Unfortunately, we haven't heard back from the pigeon racing club so I may have to buy a friend for Des from a breeder Disappointed

Hope you and your pigeons are well!
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:08 pm

Hi SquirrelTickler, it's great to hear from you! Hi there/Bye

Thank you for the update on Des, he seems to be coming on just fine! Great job

Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with the seed mixes available to you in Australia, but any proprietary pigeon seed mix is fine. Check that the seeds don't look old or shrivelled, that the mix has as little seed dust as possible, and that the grains don't have black bits inside them, holes made by weevils, or insects.

He will also need grit or a pickstone, to get the minerals he needs. You should be able to find those at any pet shop, but the best supplements and meds are sold right there in Melbourne: http://www.auspigeonco.com.au/
I hope that helps!

What a shame the club hasn't got back to you... I'll keep my ear to the ground!

I'll be looking forward to the picture!
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PostSubject: Re: How much should a 6 week old pigeon eat?   Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:07 pm

pigeon 1 I raised a dove named Cookie. He was eating a warm, soaked millet and baby food powder(I used the Gerber Mixed Grain Cereal) mix. It seemed like a nutritional diet for a baby dove. He's 15 months old now and still healthy. Anyway, your pigeon is adorable!
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