If you have found an orphaned or abandoned baby pigeon, you need to hand-feed it. To make it easier for you, I have shared a detailed guide on how you can make feed and a feeder for the baby pigeon. I have also discussed essential details like how much and how often to feed it.
Firstly, you need to understand, baby pigeons cannot eat solid food. They need to be fed a soft diet. The natural diet of baby pigeons is pigeon milk which parent birds feed it. Since the baby cannot receive a diet from the parents, you will be making something similar to pigeon milk. Let’s start with how to make the feed.
How to prepare food for baby pigeon?
I recommend using the packed baby bird feeding formula Kaytee or any other. They are prepared according to the nutritional need of baby pigeons.
Step 1: Get Kaytee (pigeon baby feeding formula) and some water.
Step 2: Mix 1 teaspoon of Kaytee and ½ teaspoon of water.
Step 3: Add ½ to 1 teaspoon of water and stir again. The baby pigeon food is ready to be fed.
However, if you want to try making baby pigeon food at home, it is easy to make.
How to make baby pigeon food at home
Follow the below steps to make baby pigeon food at home.
Step 1: Get the following ingredients.
Step 2: Mix ½ teaspoon of cereal, ½ teaspoon of split chickpeas flour, and ½ teaspoon of water. The mixture will look like a very thick paste.
Step 3: Add ½ to 1 teaspoon of water and stir well. Now the mixture will look like a regular cereal, neither too thick nor too thin.
The homemade baby pigeon food is ready.
Just in case, if you cannot find any cereal, you can make the food with just split chickpeas flour and water. But it is not recommended as the split chickpeas flour mixed with water is slightly hard to digest and provides limited nutrition.
What should be the ratio of water and other elements in baby pigeons’ diet?
The pigeon diet needs to be thin during the 1st week and as the baby grows, you can make it thick. Follow the below table for a detailed ratio.
|Age (weeks)||Water (teaspoon)||Kaytee (teaspoons)||Cereal + Split Chickpeas (teaspoons)|
|1||1||1/2||1/4 + 1/4|
|2||3||2||1 + 1|
|3+||6||4||2 + 2|
How much and how often should you feed a baby pigeon?
The quantity of food, the number of times to feed a day, and the gap between each serving depend on the age of the baby pigeon. Please refer to the following table.
|Age (days)||Quantity of food (milliliters)||Times to feed per day||Break between feeds (hours)|
How to make a syringe feeder for baby pigeons?
Follow the below steps to make a syringe feeder for pigeon babies.
Step 1– Get a drip set and a 20ml (20cc) syringe from a pharmacy.
Step 2– Extract the yellow-colored pipe from the drip set. If you can’t find a drip set with a similar pipe with a uniform thickness, you can cut and use a 6-inch piece of transparent pipe from any drip set.
Step 3– Remove the needle from the syringe and insert the yellow pipe into the syringe.
Your pigeon baby syringe feeder is ready.
How to hand-feed a baby pigeon using a syringe feeder?
Now that you have made the feed and the feeder, let’s talk about how to use it. First of all, you need to hold the baby pigeon in the right position. This is important, baby pigeons usually resist, open their wings, and vomit if they are not held properly while being hand-fed. Follow the below steps.
Step 1: Spread an old towel or a cloth on a table and put the baby on it.
Step 2: Hold the baby’s beak with your thumb and index finger while keeping the weight of your right hand on the baby’s back. This helps immobilize the baby.
Step 3: Now slowly insert the feeder’s pipe inside its mouth. You have to pass it down almost 2-3 inches. If the baby seems fine, slowly push the feed from the syringe inside its throat. If not, take out the pipe and insert again.
Step 4: Once you have pushed all the feed down its throat, gently take out the pipe and clean the side of its beak with the towel. Oftentimes, few drops of feed are left on the sides of their beak which harden with time and irritate the baby. If the beak is cleaned while the feed is still wet, it is easy to remove.
If you are still confused about how it is done, check out the following video.
What to do if your baby pigeon vomits/throws out the feed?
It usually happens when you are either not inserting the syringe pipe properly. Make sure the syringe pipe passes through its neck so that the feed is pushed directly into the stomach. Otherwise, the feed stays in the mouth or goes in the throat and that’s when the baby vomit.
It also happens when the baby pigeon is over-fed. Make sure you refer to the table that discusses the quantity of food you should feed at a time. Also, make sure you never fill the stomach to the full, the stomach should be always slightly loose.
If the baby pigeon is being kept in a cold environment and is too small to move around, it may not digest the food properly. In such cases too, the baby pigeon vomits. Make sure the baby is warm at all times. An easy way to do that is to keep the baby pigeon in a pigeon breeding box or any card box covered from all sides with a small hole on the top (for air and light).
Read this article on How to Take Care of an Abandoned Baby Pigeon to learn more about how you can keep it warm.
Never feed your baby pigeon until it does not completely digest the last feed. If your baby does not stop vomiting feed, you should immediately take it to a vet for a detailed examination.
What to do if your baby pigeon does not start self-feeding?
Keep feeding it 1 time a day for 1 more week. Sometimes, the babies take longer than usual to start self-eating. This usually happens when they are physically weak, their growth is slow or they are still struggling to understand how they have to eat on their own.
Also, make sure you keep the baby in a small cage so that the baby stays close to the feed bowls. If you are keeping the baby in a large cage, chances are, he is still unfamiliar with the feed bowl. Best if you have another young pigeon that is self-feeding, keep it with your baby pigeon. When the baby pigeon will see the self-feeding-aged pigeon eating from the feed bowl, it will learn from him.
FAQs about feeding baby pigeons
Bilal is a freelance writer and a content creator. He has been in the pigeon hobby for over 15 years. Over the years, he has worked on various fancy pigeon breeds and explored their history.