Whether you’ve found a baby pigeon that needs care or you are looking to raise a pigeon as a pet, it’s important to know how to supplement the diet of a baby pigeon as best as possible. But what do baby pigeons eat?
Baby pigeons, also known as fledgling pigeons, should eat a diet of baby bird food and seeds to ensure they’re getting the proper nutrients.
There’s important information that you should be aware of, however, on how to administer said food and how much to give them per day.
If you’re interested in reading on how to properly feed your fledgling pigeon, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to find out how baby pigeons should be fed so you can ensure the health of your little friend.
What do baby pigeons eat in the wild?
In the first few weeks of their lives, before they can fly, baby pigeons are fed by their parents. They are fed something called ‘crop milk’ which is a nutritious mix of regurgitated food produced in the ‘crop’ of both male and female pigeons.
After the first week, adults start feeding their babies slightly softened seeds and plant matter. At about 4 weeks of age, pigeon chicks usually shift to a complete adult diet.
When should I feed a baby pigeon? Should I feed an abandoned baby pigeon?
You might have come across a baby pigeon near you in a park or maybe on the road. Chances are that the baby pigeon has fallen out of its nest. Generally, it is best to leave the chick as it is. They are strong birds that will be able to survive on their own.
However, if the weather is too hot or cold or if there are predators like dogs and cats around, you may want to take the chick to take care of it. At such a time when you are removing the chick from the territory of its parents, you will need to feed it.
If you are raising a flock of pigeons, then you may have to feed the chicks. It is important to know the right technique because pigeons dig in their parents’ mouths for food instead of waiting for the parent to put food into their mouths.
Related Read: When do baby pigeons start to fly?
Fledgling Pigeon Diet
Thankfully, baby pigeons can eat general baby bird food, so it’s not too hard to get your hands on the main food of its diet. In fact, you can find baby bird formula for your fledgling pigeon at any pet supply store near you.
Finding the right food is important because young pigeons need all the right nutrients to grow properly.
You can visit the pet store and ask the attendant for help or you can call a wildlife help center to inquire about the best formula to feed the baby pigeons.
If you are unable to find any pigeon formula, you can feed them human infant formula as well. This is not the best alternative but it will work if you have nothing else.
Another option is feeding the baby pigeons dog biscuits soaked in warm water.
After 2 weeks of age, baby pigeons should be able to eat defrosted peas or corn. You’ll need to warm these up a little bit and place them near pigeons or in the pigeons’ beaks.
If your baby pigeon is a little past infancy and can handle some hard foods, you should also give your baby pigeon seeds as well to help them acclimate to eating food on their own.
Let’s take a look at how to properly administer baby bird food and seeds to your fledgling pigeon.
How to Administer Food to a Fledgling Pigeon
Most baby bird food formula comes in dry form, with instructions on how to mix it with water properly to reach the right consistency.
First, follow the instructions on the packaging of the baby bird formula you’ve purchased to make the wet formula. No matter what, never use hot water- use room temperature water instead.
A very young pigeon, i.e. one which is less than 2 weeks of age should be warmed before it is fed. This can be done by placing the pigeon box under a bulb or by using a blanket or heating pad.
Baby birds can digest food only when they are sufficiently warm enough to do so.
In order to imitate the effect of getting fed by their parents, you’ll want to invest in a syringe to feed your baby pigeon with.
For baby pigeons, you should fill the syringe up with the formula and feed them around 24ccs of formula per day.
You’ll need to gently open the fledgling’s mouth by pushing the sides of its beak so that it can take the formula.
You will know the chick is full by feeling their crop. The crop is a sac-like structure between their neck and stomach.
When flat, it means the pigeon is hungry and needs to be fed. When it is full, it may feel like a sack full of water. Even when the sac is partially full, you should avoid feeding the pigeon. Overfeeding may cause distress or digestive problems.
When the pigeon is in its first week of life, you’ll have to feed it 4 times a day. After the first week, you can reduce the feeding to 3 times a day and twice a week in the third week.
As your baby pigeon ages, they’ll reach a point where they can take hard foods, too. Try to hand feed your baby pigeon birdseed as they age.
Once they’re able to start taking seeds from your hand, you can leave a bowl out for them in their enclosure so that they’ll learn to start getting food for themselves.
If your baby pigeon has reached the point where they can eat seeds on their own without human assistance, you can forfeit the syringe and formula and provide it with seeds exclusively.
There you have it! A baby pigeon should be fed 24ccs of baby bird formula a day through a syringe, and they should begin to work their way up to eating hard foods like seeds or insects on their own.
Make sure you’re feeding your baby pigeon the proper diet at the proper times and they’re sure to grow up both happy and healthy. Good luck!