Care of the Abandoned Racing Pigeon Hatchling– Part 2 Feeding

Care of the Abandoned Racing Pigeon Hatchling– Part 2 Feeding

Hand Feeding Young PigeonsFeeding the Pigeon Hatchling

Before you begin to handfeed the pigeon hatchling, you’ll need to create an artificial beak. You can do this by taking a syringe and cutting of the needle attachment at the end. The diameter of the opening should be large enough for the chick’s beak to fit inside with room enough for it to open its beak. You will have to adjust the syringe size as the bird develops.

Fill the syringe with formula. The hatchling will drink the formula when its beak is submerged into it. Natural parental regurgitation is mimicked by depressing the syringe plunger while the hatchling eats.

Hand Feeding Formulas

Initially, the formula must replicate pigeon milk, which is high in fat, protein and water. There are virtually no carbohydrates in natural pigeon milk.

As the hatchling grows, the formula will need to be adjusted and progressively become similar to the adult pigeon diet. During this progression, the level of carbohydrates and solid matter increases while the protein and fat content decreases.

Commercially produced diets are readily available. A popular brand is called “Roudybush™”.  This brand was developed by Dr. Roudybush, an American vet who established and operates The Roudybush™  bird food manufacturing company.
Formulas available through this company that you may want to consider using are the Roudybush Squab Diet and Roudybush Formula 3.

The nutritional requirements of a growing pigeon squab can be categorized into four stages. These four stages and the corresponding recommended feeds are:

Stage 1: Hatching to 4 days

  • Feed Roudybush Squab Handfeeding Formula™
  • Diluted 2.2 parts water : 1 part formula by volume
  • Feed five to six times daily

Note: Some newly hatched chicks can survive off the resorbing yolk sac for 24 hours. There are some people who prefer to initially feed either saline or Hartmann’s solution, especially if the chick appears dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration include a deep red color and poor responsiveness. This is more likely to occur in prolonged hatching. You can obtain the saline and the Hartmann’s from a vet or pharmacist.

Stage 2:  Early growth, 5 – 7 days

  • Roudybush Squab Handfeeding Formula™
  • Diluted 1.5 parts water : 1 part formula by volume
  • Feed four to five times daily

Stage 3:  Late growth, 8 – 14 days

  • Roudybush Squab Handfeeding Formula™
  • Dilute 1 part water : 1 part formula by volume
  • Feed three times daily

Stage 4:  Fledgling, 15 days – weaning (28 – 30 days)

  • Roudybush Formula 3™
  • Initially dilute at the rate of 1.2 parts water : 1 part formula by volume
  • Reduce the amount of water as the chick ages
  • Feed from 3 times daily down to once daily and start to provide normal adult seed mix

Throughout all the stages, adding a probiotic, such as Probac, to the dilution water for at least one feed per day is highly recommended.

And so, is it all worthwhile? From personal experience, it’s a lot of work and the youngsters at weaning do tend to be slightly weaker than those that are parent-reared. But, once weaned and eating independently, they do quickly compensate and catch up and can certainly perform competitively as racers.

In summary, care and hand-rearing the abandoned racing pigeon egg or hatchling is probably best undertaken for those special youngsters. It really all depends on the value you, the fancier, placed on that particular hatchling.  But, it’s reassuring to know that you do have the option of incubating and hand-raising and you can succeed at it.

Care of the Abandoned Racing Pigeon Hatchling– Part 1

The Racing Pigeon Insider