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 How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing?

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Kaiya



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Join date : 2011-05-12

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PostSubject: How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing?   How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? Icon_minitimeThu May 12, 2011 7:34 pm

This Monday this chap (or chapette) arrived in our garden. For better or worse, his/her name is Squabble:

How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? Squabble

He had a wound 5mm wide and bruised under his left wing, but was otherwise in good condition. Whatever made the wound also damaged the muscle but didn't puncture right through it, so I was happy the air sacs etc. were intact. He couldn't fly and was easy to catch. I'm a vet, but I also have cats, so he picked the best and worst garden to crash land in! I've flushed the wound, which has superficially sealed today (suspect a few more days before it properly heals), and he's been on antibiotics and anti-inflammatories (for the pain and bruising) since.

I know a bit about bird physiology but not much about pigeons specifically, but I believe he is a Wood Pigeon, and from his beak (squabbishly wide and grey) and feathering (some flight-like feathers, some down) a young one, fledgling, estimated 30 days? He's refusing to eat normal seed so I am hand feeding him (mush of various wholemeal cereals and milk to bind as I read calcium is important in young birds). I have to feed him as otherwise his keel narrows and I'm worried he's losing condition. Of course he started off with a proper wild attitude but after being fed these past few days he is becoming tame, and this worries me if he is to be released. My requirements for his release are that the wound is healed, he eats proper food, be it plant material or seeds, and that he can fly, and currently he can't do either. However the longer he stays with me the more humanised he gets. He now allows me to feed him without any restraint, and perches (learnt how to perch today- Go Squabble!) on my hand willingly. This is great for me as it means it's so much easier to feed him, but is perhaps not so great for him in terms of being released - I don't want him to be human friendly, as pigeons aren't popular around here.

My main query is whether my guesstimate of his age is about correct and whether his development is on track - should he be flying/eating by now? Is there anything I can do to encourage him to eat? I've tried pretending to peck (with my hand) at seeds and he just blinks at me owlishly and waits for his next pellet of fast-food.

Or do I aim for the prospect of a pet pigeon? Is it even fair to have a pet pigeon - I know they are gregarious naturally but do they suffer if kept alone?

Many thanks :)

Kai & Squabble
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Teresa
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Teresa

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PostSubject: Re: How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing?   How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? Icon_minitimeThu May 12, 2011 9:43 pm

Hi Kai, and welcome to the forum! Hi there/Bye

I'm afraid I can't see your picture, perhaps this may help?
http://www.pigeonangels.com/t709-instructions-for-posting-pictures

From your description, Squabble may be less than a month old, and at that stage it can be difficult telling a wood pigeon apart from a feral pigeon. There aren't any woodies where I live, but I hope someone will come along who is familiar with them. Are you in the UK?

Meanwhile, for comparison, this is a feral aged about 18 days, with some baby plumage and some feathers, as you described. At this stage, she was learning to eat by herself, but she couldn't fly yet:

How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? DSCNB6138-r550

It is possible for pigeons to become human-imprinted when they're hand reared, but it isn't ideal, as that doesn't prepare them to live like other pigeons, and as they mature they will need a companion of their own kind. Do other pigeons visit your garden? Because if so, you could perhaps attract them with some goodies (when the cats are not around Wink ) so Squabble can see them and hopefully start to mingle.

I used that strategy to release several youngsters that I hand raised for a while after they left the nest too early. It worked with all but one -- Strophe, who was my youngest rescue, became a mummy's girl. She flies free every day, but comes back after half an hour to land on my head. But I hope one of these days she finds a better suited partner...



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AZWhitefeather
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AZWhitefeather

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Location : Arizona Southwestern United States

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PostSubject: Re: How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing?   How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? Icon_minitimeThu May 12, 2011 11:43 pm

Welcome to Pigeon Angels, Kai and Squabble. Hi there/Bye

It sounds like little Squabble may have escaped from a predator attack.

If you are still unable to get your photo posted after checking out the link Teresa posted, please let us know so one of us can help you get it posted as we would love to see Squabble. Smile

We look forward to updates on how things are going.





_________________
Cindy

A Pigeon's Prayer
Please watch over us while we fly,
Keeping us safe from the predators that share the sky.

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



Posts : 4
Join date : 2011-05-12

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PostSubject: Re: How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing?   How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? Icon_minitimeSun May 15, 2011 4:44 am

Oh no Silly me! The picture is hosted on my own site but I forgot it blocks hotlinking! Here we go:

How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? Squabb10

I think he's quite a bit older than the 18 day old Teresa posted. He has wing flight feathers I think but his tail feathers are a bit ratty/holey rather than sleek complete feathers. His belly is fluffy still rather than feathered. This was 1 week ago - he looks the same now but less huddled - he has a branch he perches on now and although he still snaps his beak and occasionally pecks if I approach him too much, he will perch on my hand to come out of the cat basket. He's upgrading to a dog crate today as the basket is too small for him to exercise, and we allow him to attempt to fly around the room once a day. He is getting slightly better at flying instead of falling with style, though he very often gets in a mess and ends up as a pile of feathers somewhere! He's still not registering that seed on the floor is food though and is relying on me to feed him pellets and liquids. I thought he was drinking on his own at the start but I realise now he was just spilling it all while perching on the dish, as the water level doesn't change now he has a branch to perch on.

I am in the UK, in Essex - we have a pair/family of wood pigeons in the local gardens (I suspect his relatives?) and a pair/family of collared doves, so I could put him out in the dog crate (just to prevent him fly-falling over the fence into next door's - they have a Beagle) and see if they show any interest? We keep our cats indoors most of the time and the garden doesn't get other cat visitors really.

Thank you both for the friendly welcome!
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Teresa
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Teresa

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PostSubject: Re: How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing?   How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? Icon_minitimeSun May 15, 2011 10:08 am

What a cutie!!! I love it/them I love it/them I love it/them He certainly looks like a woodie.

Yes, he looks older in the photo (but I'll check and get back to you), so if that's the case he should be eating and drinking by himself. Putting him in the dog crate in the garden would be a very good idea. Try putting some food in the crate in a deepish bowl (to maximise his chances of success at grabbing the seeds) and scattering some seed very near the crate, to encourage others to come and eat it, something he would be very likely to copy.
As for drinking, you will probably have tried this already, but what I do is gently push their beaks into the water, but without getting their nostrils in it. Eventually they discover it's a good idea! Happy

Correction: My first guess was the right one, according to a friend who has raised woodies. Their developmental stages are different from those of feral pigeons.

She referred me to this photo of a woodie squeaker called Hope, aged 20 days...

How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? Jane-Hope-20days

... and said yours looks a little younger:

Quote :
The squeaker is probably a little short of 20 days, if you look at Jane Grey's photos of Hope she looks a bit more developed than that at 20 days. He wouldn't be flying at that age and not eating on his own either as he wouldn't have left the nest.

Kai could try hand feeding warm defrosted peas, that often gets them excited about eating by themselves. She could also leave a small pot of peas next to the baby, not too much because unweaned woodies will eat whatever happens to be there, one ate a nest full of woodchip and another a few small pebbles!

This is the link to Hope's story and photos: http://www.hopeinparis.com/hope

I hope that helps! How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? 142829
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Teresa
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Teresa

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PostSubject: Re: How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing?   How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? Icon_minitimeSun May 15, 2011 4:01 pm

P.S. There's also a video about Hope: http://www.pigeonangels.com/t1779-hopea-pigeon-in-paris
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AZWhitefeather
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AZWhitefeather

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PostSubject: Re: How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing?   How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? Icon_minitimeSun May 15, 2011 8:37 pm

Your little rescue is quite a cutie, Kaiya. Smile
You mentioned his tail was ratty and holey. When you say 'holey' do you mean there are little pin holes in his tail? If so, he might have some mites, which can be taken care of very easily.

_________________
Cindy

A Pigeon's Prayer
Please watch over us while we fly,
Keeping us safe from the predators that share the sky.

If we become ill or injured in any way,
Please lead us to safety where we are welcome to stay.
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http://www.pigeonangels.com
Kaiya



Posts : 4
Join date : 2011-05-12

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PostSubject: Re: How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing?   How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? Icon_minitimeThu May 19, 2011 4:14 am

Thank you! I'm so relieved to hear he probably shouldn't be eating by himself! I was worrying that I'd broken him by feeding him tasty pellets - he seems to base his choices on taste as if he ever takes the seeds into his mouth he rolls them about a bit and then drops them, but he'll bite my fingers in his attempts to eat the pellets.

Pellet a la Kaiya
- crumbled wholemeal bread, including crusts as they are soft in the loaf I have
- wild bird seed mix (contains barley?, millet, sunflower)
- crumbled digestive biscuits (less biscuit than bread)
- water to bind (sometimes milk but I don't like to keep it long if it's milk)
- 1/4 of a Rennies or similar for calcium once or twice a week

The amounts are by eye and whatever is needed to make it form a pellet - usually it's half a small slice of bread, and 1/3 to 1/2 a biscuit, and the resultant mix will do him about 2 meals. I'm upping the bird seed but am limited as the pellet falls apart with too many, and I'm trying to reduce the biscuit a little as it's very tasty and possibly too rich, but it is good for binding and some energy.

He's drinking on his own now :) I saw him do so yesterday, so that's reassuring!

I'll get him some peas and put him back in the garden over the weekend (I move around and he moves with me, so he only gets the garden at the weekend unfortunately) with seed as you described and hope the resident pigeons get interested! The local nosey blackbird has already visited him on one of his outings which Squab seemed to recognise as a fellow bird.

I'll take some more pictures tonight so you can see his details better. By holey I mean they are not nice complete feathers - straggly - almost like wet feathers? But not wet. We'll have a little modelling section tonight as he's much better looking now than he was in the previous picture Wink The picture of Hope (love that video!) looks very similar to what he looks like now. Oh and he still squeaks when fed - I haven't heard him make a proper pigeon noise yet, just these whispered squeaks.

We're practicing flying around the room (mostly to keep the muscles in shape rather than to really achieve flying - the dog crate is for a large dog but he can't really do anything more than flutter-jump in it) but he still sometimes ends up in a heap. He's getting better at identifying safe places to land though - like curtain poles.

A bit of an aside but are there obvious male/female differences in wood pigeons? I've been calling Squabble a he but no idea whether he is or not!

I have to say - I like animals and birds generally but never really appreciated pigeons (or even knew the difference between rock/feral and wood pigeons and collared doves) until I got to spend so much time with one - he looks very pretty now and has real character. Though naughty he's very much worthwhile!
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Teresa
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Teresa

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PostSubject: Re: How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing?   How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? Icon_minitimeThu May 19, 2011 10:38 pm

Thank you for the update, Kaiya, you had me laughing all the way through with Squabble's antics! Laughing
Squeakers are just adorable!

I'm glad he's drinking on his own now, and your recipe for pellets sounds yummy! Heck, if the wild bird seed was replaced by sesame seeds, I'd have a go myself!!! That's too funny Let us know how the weekend experiment in the garden goes.

As for sexing a wood pigeon, that's almost impossible, as there are no physical differences. If you are really curious, you can have a DNA test done; otherwise, best wait until he's a little older and observe the interaction with other woodies in the garden -- does he court other pigeons, or do they court him her? You could also put a mirror in front of him and see the reaction: males tend to challenge 'the other male' or admire themselves, whilst most females ignore it. Note that I said 'most' females... there are also feminists in the pigeon world! Wink Laughing
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AZWhitefeather
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AZWhitefeather

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PostSubject: Re: How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing?   How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? Icon_minitimeFri May 20, 2011 8:11 am

Appreciate the update, Kaiya. Smile
I'm glad that he is drinking on his own now. How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? 142829

Most pigeons seem to like the peas. Let us know how Squabble likes them.

Please keep us posted on how things are coming along.

_________________
Cindy

A Pigeon's Prayer
Please watch over us while we fly,
Keeping us safe from the predators that share the sky.

If we become ill or injured in any way,
Please lead us to safety where we are welcome to stay.
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http://www.pigeonangels.com
Kaiya



Posts : 4
Join date : 2011-05-12

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PostSubject: Re: How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing?   How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? Icon_minitimeSun May 22, 2011 4:16 am

Here we go! Updated photos from yesterday:

Headshot:
How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? Squab_10
- his beak is similar to when I first got him but now has a yellow end

That ratty tail:
How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? Squab_11
- it doesn't help that he bashes his tail against anything going but I guess these feathers aren't "normal" - is that likely to just be damage or something like mites? I've not seen any mites and I handle him without gloves but no idea if I would see them or not.

Under side:
How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? Squab_12
There was skin under his wing before but this is all feathered nicely now. This isn't his injured wing but they look identical.

Personality-wise I'm pleased that he is becoming less tolerant - now that he eats from my outstretched hand instead of me holding him and his beak open (been eating from my hand for a week now) he now doesn't let me catch him without a fight. Although inconvenient for me moving him between dog crate and cat carrier this is good for life!

Peas are tentatively popular - he will eat them but doesn't grab them with the same greediness as the pellets. I've put him in the garden again today with piles of bird seed in his cage and just outside but no other pigeons have come near - I do wonder if they don't trust him/the cage as they come back when he is brought back in! No one's eating the seed yet, regardless of whether he's in or out. I've noticed him pecking at the grass (the dog crate has a wire bottom) so I've put 5 peas in there among the grass and will count them when I go to get him in later Wink

Regarding release (once he eats on his own?) - I believe my options are to release him in my garden and hope he joins the 4-5 pigeon "flock" in the area (2 woodies, 2-3 collared doves) or see if a local rescue centre will take him into an aviary with other pigeons and release them all as a flock later. If he doesn't eat on his own I guess a rescue aviary may also be an option to try and teach him how to be a pigeon? I don't know whether local centres take woodies or pigeons at all, so need to do some research.
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Teresa
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Teresa

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PostSubject: Re: How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing?   How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? Icon_minitimeSun May 22, 2011 4:38 am

Hi Kaiya,

Thanks for posting the photos! I love it/them

It's great that he's becoming more independent! It's very likely the others don't come near the cage because they see it as a foreign object to the garden. But they should get used to it in time.

Some of the tail feathers look broken. The most common causes are predator grabbing tail, or repeated inpact. But they will soon regrow with the moult. Woodies have long tails, and part of the straggly appearance is that he's been dragging his tail in his poo Laughing whilst learning to balance properly. Bathing his tail in tepid water, maybe using an old toothbrush to clean the feathers, will make him look spruced up in no time!
Mite damage is in the form of tiny holes on the feathers, about the size of pinpricks -- you can see them (if they're there) when you hold a feather against the light.

It would be ideal if he could be released in your garden, but if not, this contact may prove useful:


Mistley Place Park Animal Rescue Centre
New Road
Mistley
Manningtree
Essex

01206 396048

Sanctuary, mainly for farm animals but have a large flock of pigeons. Might be useful for rescue and relocation of garden doves, release of vulnerable ferals (eg hand reared).


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Teresa
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Teresa

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PostSubject: Re: How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing?   How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? Icon_minitimeSun May 22, 2011 5:49 am

And here's another one:

Wildlives Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre East Anglia
Catkins
Frating Road,
Thorrington,
Colchester,
Essex
CO7 8HT

Phone and Fax: 01206 251174
Mobile: 07802 767016


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PostSubject: Re: How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing?   How old is this pigeon? And what should I be doing? Icon_minitime

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