Newborn Baby pigeons barely look like pigeons at birth. They go through several transformations from birth to their first flight. If you are someone who has never seen a baby pigeon or has found one and wants to identify its age, this article is for you. I have shared below images of an Indian Fantail pigeon baby growing day by day.
Baby pigeons hatch after the eggs have been in incubation for almost 17-18 days. They are slightly wet at the time of birth. Over the next 24 hours, they completely dry. The parent birds keep incubating them over the next few days.
They do not have any feathers except some yellow fur, and they can not see or feed on their own. The parent pigeons feed the babies pigeon milk and that is the only diet they consume. Their stomach is so delicate that you can see the pigeon milk inside it.
At the age of almost 2-3 days, their eyes finally start opening up. They spend most of their time sleeping and their growth starts getting faster.
By the end of the 1st week, their eyes completely open up and they start gaining weight faster. Their diet increases and you can see their stomaches getting heavier than before. Their yellow fur starts falling off and they start looking more pink.
As they turn 1 week old, their pin-feathers start appearing on some parts of their body; especially on the back and feet.
As they further age, their pin-feathers start growing. You can easily identify the color of their feathers from the color of their pin feathers.
Over the 2nd week, pin-feathers appear on most parts of their body except under the wings and head. At this stage, they start gaining weight fast.
By the time they enter the 3rd week, the pin-feathers start attaining the proper shape of feathers. Moreover, pin-feathers start appearing on their head.
If the pigeon breed has a crest, you can observe the pin-feathers irregularly shaped in the crest area. This irregularity later helps form the crest.
By the end of the 3rd week, the baby pigeons are almost 90% covered with feathers. They can now keep themselves warm. The parent birds almost stop incubating them. In fact, they are preparing for the next clutch of eggs.
Over the 4th week, you can observe significant growth in their structure and feathers. They finally start looking like pigeons.
They start coming out of the nest, roaming around, squeaking more often, and trying to eat by themselves.
By the end of the 4th week, the baby pigeons slightly start eating but they are still dependent on the parent birds for proper feed. While the parent birds start ignoring them for most of the time so that the baby pigeons can finally start eating on their own. However, they still protect the babies.
Usually, the parent pigeons lay the next clutch of eggs during this period.
During the next 2 weeks, the baby pigeons finally start eating on their own and the parent birds stop feeding them. The babies do not stop squeaking and make more noise than ever. But the parent birds are preparing to welcome the next clutch of babies.
The baby pigeons also start making short flights and by the time they turn 7-8 weeks, they can fly well. This is the time the baby pigeons become completely independent and leave the nest but stay closer to the parent birds. Over the next few weeks, they scavenge with the parent birds, learn from them, and molt to grow larger and stronger feathers.
By the time they turn 6 months old, they are adults and ready to breed and start their own family.
As the baby pigeons start eating on their own, they eat the same food as adult pigeons. At this time, their body structure is still growing and they need a protein-rich diet.
If you have recently found a baby pigeon, you might want to read this article on how to take care of an abandoned baby pigeon. If you need any further help, feel free to ask in the comment section.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many days old baby pigeons can fly?
45 days old baby pigeons can make short flights but they start proper flying at the age of 60 days.
How many days old baby pigeons leave the nest?
Baby pigeons permanently leave the nesting site when they are 60 days old.
How to tell how old a baby pigeon is?
You can tell the age of a baby pigeon by its growth and behavior. Check the pictures of baby pigeon growth shared in this article and compare your pigeon baby’s growth with theirs to know its age. Also, look for the below factors.
1-3 days: Small, has only yellow furr, no feathers, and eyes are closed.
1 week: Eyes are opened but have no pin-feathers.
1-2 weeks: Pin-feathers on some parts of the body but not on the head.
3 weeks: Pin-feathers on most parts of the body and can slightly walk.
4 weeks: Entire body is covered with feathers and it can walk well.
4-6 weeks: Still has some pin-feathers on the face, can make short flights, and parent pigeons still feed sometimes.
6+ weeks: Flies well and eats on its own.
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.