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 When should a woody fledgling start feeding itself?

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LesleyA



Posts : 5
Join date : 2009-09-23

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PostSubject: When should a woody fledgling start feeding itself?   When should a woody fledgling start feeding itself? Icon_minitimeMon Sep 28, 2009 5:54 am

I have a fledgling woodpigeon, which I rescued from our pond last week. He seems to be about 18-20 days old, judging by photos I have found online. He is fully feathered, no sign of any yellow fluff left, and I think he is almost strong enough to fly. I have been feeding him small grained pigeon food twice a day, and giving water by syringe. He has a dish of food in his box all the time, and water bowl, but he is not showing any sign of helping himself yet. He is also getting very strong and resisting my trying to force feed him - I'm afraid I'm going to damage his beak trying to open it, as he struggles so much. I left his evening feed yesterday as my hubby suggested this might encourage him to take some food himself, but his crop was empty when I picked him up this morning.

I tend to think that youngsters only learn to eat by copying adult birds. We have our own pet pigeons, and could put him in their large shed to see if he gets the idea, but he'd be almost impossible to catch again once in the larger space. He can see the other pigeons from his quarantine box.

Not sure what to do next - any advice much appreciated.

Thanks Smile
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Cynthia

Cynthia

Posts : 733
Join date : 2009-01-17
Location : England

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PostSubject: Re: When should a woody fledgling start feeding itself?   When should a woody fledgling start feeding itself? Icon_minitimeMon Sep 28, 2009 6:54 am

Hi Lesley,

It seems to vary between pigeons, some start feeding themselves at a very early age.

Have you tried the warm peas? You defrost peas in boiling water and pop them into the beak one at a time while they are still warm. Often this stimulates self feeding.

Instead of forcing his beak open, try slipping it between the fingers of one hand...he may be young enough to react by gaping so you can pop food in his mouth.

Another thing you could do is to scatter a nice variety of food around him rather than having it in the dish. Then he can test different textures and tastes, it might get him going.

Wood pigeons in the wild forage all day, so their crops would not normally be as full at any one time as a baby that is having his crop filled perhaps twice a day. Is he pooping normally and gaining or at least maintaining his weight?

Can you upload a photo so that we have a better idea of his development?


Cynthia
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LesleyA



Posts : 5
Join date : 2009-09-23

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PostSubject: Re: When should a woody fledgling start feeding itself?   When should a woody fledgling start feeding itself? Icon_minitimeMon Sep 28, 2009 8:44 am

Thanks for reply.

Yes I tried the defrosted peas, got some more ready for him this evening. He's totally uninterested. To be honest he is so flighty and stressed whenever I go near the box I'm afraid he's going to injure himself. I have scattered some food around for him, but its difficult when I can't watch him 24/7 to see if he is picking anything up. I doubt he is though, as I creep out there several times a day and watch where he can't see me, but haven't yet caught him in the act. I think he is maintaining his weight, but as we've only had him about 4 days and up until yesterday I was feeding him twice daily, he probably hasn't had much chance to lose any!

I've tried putting my fingers either side of his beak - this sometimes encourages him to drink from the tube on the syringe - but he won't take any food unless I open his beak and put it in, and even then he sometimes shakes his head and drops it. He just seems so stressed when I handle him that it seems like I am doing more harm than good! I'll try and get a photo in a minute and post later.

Its so tempting to try him in with our other birds, to see if he will copy them eating, but not sure he is ready yet.

Thanks for your advice, I'll keep trying!
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jamy
Special Pigeon Angel


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Join date : 2009-07-10
Age : 71
Location : West Midlands UK.

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PostSubject: Re: When should a woody fledgling start feeding itself?   When should a woody fledgling start feeding itself? Icon_minitimeMon Sep 28, 2009 12:07 pm

Hi,

I had one up to last week that was wild as opposed to hand reared. The same problem arose as he never ate while I was around. After force feeding him peas for a while just to make sure he was well fed I did put him in the shed with my pigeon residents, but still in a cage for a couple of days, and kept up feeding him a little a.m and pm. Keeping him in the cage made it easier to catch him for feeds.
In the end I did let him out to be free in the shed amongst the others and managed to catch sight if him eating seeds. Unfortunately he did scurry away when he saw me, so I had to just be careful to creep up and watch from a distance to catch him at it.

Obviously the playing with seeds with your fingers is no good when they're wild as it would with hand reared fledglings.

It's worth a try if he's getting stressed.

Janet
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LesleyA



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Join date : 2009-09-23

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PostSubject: Re: When should a woody fledgling start feeding itself?   When should a woody fledgling start feeding itself? Icon_minitimeWed Sep 30, 2009 12:55 pm

Well, I think we may be making some progress. I fed him this evening and if I put a small piece of maize or pigeon pea just inside the end of his beak, 9 times out of 10, he manages to throw it back in his beak and swallow it. The odd one still slips out, but I think he is beginning to associate holding something in his beak with eating.

We have been hearing the fellow squeaker in his nest in the sycamore tree beside our house, being fed by the parent every evening, but today it has fledged and was sitting on our barn roof, with the parent visiting it with a "meal" every now and then. It was very tempting to let my little one out to join him, but I doubt the parental bonds would be strong enough for the parent to take him back. Besides, I think he would just fly away in panic.


When should a woody fledgling start feeding itself? 2009_011

Hopefully if I've done this right, the above should be a photo of him!

Thanks
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jamy
Special Pigeon Angel


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Join date : 2009-07-10
Age : 71
Location : West Midlands UK.

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PostSubject: Re: When should a woody fledgling start feeding itself?   When should a woody fledgling start feeding itself? Icon_minitimeWed Sep 30, 2009 1:53 pm

LesleyA wrote:
Well, I think we may be making some progress. I fed him this evening and if I put a small piece of maize or pigeon pea just inside the end of his beak, 9 times out of 10, he manages to throw it back in his beak and swallow it. The odd one still slips out, but I think he is beginning to associate holding something in his beak with eating.


Brilliant, that's a good way of getting them used to the idea of using their tongue push it to the back of the throat. If you leave some in front of him he may try himself now. I still find there are certain seeds that they just can't manage to get. When I had two fledging at the same time, one was a wizz with large seeds whereas the other couldn't get those and would always go for small seeds. It's probably the size of the first ones they're successful with that they keep going for from then on. Great job
Hope he gets it by himself soon.

I agree it's a risk letting him out in case the parents don't recognise him as their own. I honestly don't know if they would or not. Perhaps others can help on this. If Woodies weren't so nervous of people you could put him nearby in his cage to see if there was any reaction to him, but unfortunately they'd scatter if you went out to open the cage, so I don't think that would work.

There is another thread regarding a Woodie that was being pecked by an adult and she thinks he was orphaned and trying to get them to feed him. So he might be at risk if they don't know him.

Janet
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Little Fledgling
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Little Fledgling

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PostSubject: Re: When should a woody fledgling start feeding itself?   When should a woody fledgling start feeding itself? Icon_minitimeWed Sep 30, 2009 2:23 pm

You're doing a great job. I've fed my little one with the bottle method and he still loves it although he's perfectly capable of doing it himself now. I crept up on him today to see him pecking away.

I agree he looks about 4-5 weeks old now as he's lost all the little yellow bits off his feathers.

Mine loved warm sweetcorn too and I found that agreed with his digestion a little better than peas. Also try Janet's trick of water cress. My two go mad for it and I think that has taught my little one to peck properly. Chop it up into small pieces with scissors and offer it in your hand.

Personally, I think you're probably stressing it by trying to force feed liquid and food. I've got a small bowl I fill with water and I find that they take water in as they need it, especially about ten minutes after eating, if you just offer the bowl. Wiggle your finger in the water for him so that he can see it's there.

For the bottle method, which I still love doing, even though he's a big boy now Embarassed go to www.pigeon-aid.org.uk where there are some fabulous photos showing you how to do it. He may be too old now though, but at least if he can feed this way for a bit, you know he's getting some good nourishment. However, he looks in superb condition so you are obviously doing something right!

Good luck.
Wendy
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jamy
Special Pigeon Angel


Posts : 388
Join date : 2009-07-10
Age : 71
Location : West Midlands UK.

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PostSubject: Re: When should a woody fledgling start feeding itself?   When should a woody fledgling start feeding itself? Icon_minitimeWed Sep 30, 2009 3:03 pm

I hadn't seen the bottle feeding method used until I saw Wendy doing it for Tweaty.
It certainly looks a clean an easy way to feed them once they're past the early formula stage.
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PostSubject: Re: When should a woody fledgling start feeding itself?   When should a woody fledgling start feeding itself? Icon_minitime

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