When Can Baby Pigeons Feed Themselves?

Baby pigeons are adorable, miniature versions of mature pigeons. As you look at these precious creatures, you may be wondering, “When can baby pigeons feed themselves?” At only 20 to 25 days old, baby pigeons can feed themselves. 

How Do Baby Pigeons Eat Before They Can Feed Themselves?

Intro Video - Backtobirds
Intro Video - Backtobirds

From the beginning of its life until it is able to feed itself, the baby pigeon is given crop milk. 

The crop is a small structure at the back of the throat where birds can store their food prior to digesting it fully. The lining of the crop secretes fluids that liquefy and fortify the food within it. Then, once the food is completely liquid, the crop milk is then regurgitated and siphoned into the mouth of the baby bird. 

Both male and female pigeons can produce crop milk, as crops are found in every pigeon regardless of gender. Pigeons can begin to produce crop milk up to three days before their eggs even hatch. This ensures they will have an adequate supply of nutrients for the freshly hatched baby birds. 

Baby pigeons are fed pure crop milk for at least one week. Then, their parent will begin to introduce them to crop milk that is not completely liquefied, preparing them to eat and digest regular food later in life.

Why Does it Take So Long?

Baby pigeons are like any other baby of the animal world. They are born into this world with little means of defense. They cannot fly or feed themselves for several weeks. These creatures are defenseless without a parent bird looking out for them.

When pigeons are born, their digestive systems are still developing. These small tracts cannot digest complex structures such as grains or nuts. This is why crop milk is in total liquid form for the first week of their life. Liquids are easier and quicker to digest than solids. 

Even if the baby pigeons were able to digest solid food at this time, they cannot leave the nest to procure any. Squabs don’t take flight until at least four weeks of age, with the average graduation to leaving the nest occurring at the six-week mark. For the first three weeks of life, baby pigeons will survive solely on crop milk. After that timestamp, the parent bird will begin to bring whole food to the baby birds for them to eat.

Once squabs are old enough to take flight, their parents still stick around to show them the ropes. This could include showing them common places to find food and teaching them which foods to avoid. 

Around the 20- to 25-day-old mark, baby pigeons will also be needing water. Water is essential to life, and baby pigeons get their water intake from their ingestion of crop milk. Once they begin to eat whole foods or find food for themselves, they’ll need to take in an adequate amount of water as well. Parent pigeons will show their children where to drink water from.

How to feed your pet pigeons in the initial days?

  • It is very crucial to look after the eating intakes and health of the baby pigeons in the initial months for better health and steady growth. A pigeon owner must be extra sensitive in feeding the baby pigeons.
  • You should bring some heat to the baby bird before feeding him in the initial days. These small birds can not swallow and digest the food if their bodies are left cold. Especially in the first three weeks, it is mandatory to keep them warm. Using a lamp or a mini heater will help you to provide the required warmth to the bird.
  • Using syringeless needles to feed bird to the baby pigeon is the right alternative to feed healthy nutrition to the bird. You can prepare the needle by removing the string and then using the piston to hold some semi-solid or liquid food in the needle pump. Using a rubber will help to reduce the hole in the mouth and can make things easier for the bird.
  • The crop plays a crucial role in the initial days of the bird’s digestion. The digestion of food takes place in the crop. It is important to look out after the bird to ensure that it is filling the crop more than half. In cases of lower appetite feeding the bird by your hand becomes more important.
  • The feeding schedule should be planned smartly as the bird receive food at the interval of every three to four hours. It is considered to feel the bird four to five times in a day with ideal amounts of food. One of the things to keep in mind is to reluctantly reduce the bird’s food amount and portions to make it habitual to adult eating behaviors.

When you can feed seeds to baby pigeons?

Initially, it is not advised to feed solid food of any type to baby pigeons for the first three weeks. After a time period of 22 to 27 days, pigeons can easily start eating seeds and other nuts that are comparatively soft.

One thing to remember is that you should only feed them with nuts on a very rare basis or two or three times a week only. As frequent consumption of nuts by the baby pigeon can cause severe digestive issues. Another thing to keep in mind is the seed size i.e. not too large. The seeds should be of small or moderate size so that the bird can easily break them.

How to know if a baby pigeon is full?

In the initial days, it is important to know if the baby pigeon is eaten enough or not. Feeding more than the required daily dose can make the bird sick or can induce symptoms like nausea and vomiting. One way to check this is to inspect the crop of the bird.

You can use your fingers gently around the crop below the neck area to see if the crop is full or empty. The crop usually bugles while the baby pigeon eats the food. In case of full crop do not feed any extra food to the little bird.

Do baby pigeons need water  

Water is an essential component of a baby pigeon’s diet in the early weeks as it helps in maintaining proper hydration and blood purification in the body. The water also removes toxins from the body that can be toxic for a young baby pigeon.

In many cases, little baby pigeons sometimes do no drink plenty of water, you need to feed them water manually through a needle or by dipping cotton into water. Using an eyedropper can also help in feeding water to small baby pigeons directly for maintaining the bird’s hydration.


Baby pigeons require a lot of care and attention in the initial days of their birth for better growth and development of the body. It is important to look after their eating patterns and other needs for better health.

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