Three Little Pigs

DSC_0066It seems wrong to keep calling them squabs, I suppose technically they’re called squeakers now, which would make sense to anyone present during feeding time.

I have three little ones now, the most recent addition has a scar over his eye where I think he must have been injured as a young chick. It makes his eye look a little bit funny, like his eyelid is crooked. Hopefully it will grow out and be less noticeable with time.

Pigeons are very funny birds. I only had to bottle feed the first two for maybe a week, and they didn’t get the hang of it so I was basically force-feeding them every time just to make sure they had something in their crops. Even though I was providing food, they didn’t associate my hands with happy feelings and remained a bit skittish.

I decided to start exclusively hand-feeding them so they would think my hands were good things. To do that you need the emotional fortitude to leave baby birds in a cage with no food for at least 24 hours. Not easy! But once they were really hungry, after a lot of patient waiting, Fifty finally starting pecking from my hand. On seeing this, the other two immediately joined in. Pigeons really notice things like that.

DSC_0052Baby number three is a little happier with me since he never needed force-feeding. To him my hands are not quite as scary. However he would probably have not begun eating on his own so quickly without the other two to show him how.

I do allow them to come out of their cage sometimes now after feeding, which I think is a mistake. Since they are full, they don’t really care about going back in, they want to explore. Then I end up having to chase and catch them which just makes them scared of my hands again. I need to train them to come out of the cage when hungry, then go back in to be fed. I think this can be done by luring them out to a little bit of food in a consistent location, and then back to the cage for the rest of the meal. They need to be trained to go back in the cage by themselves on command.

There looks like there may be a fourth white squab in development in the loft. I expect it will be a piece of cake to continue to train new birds once I have them living with well-trained older ones. They will just copy exactly what the older birds do, like good little pigs.

Stay tuned for a post about an exotic new addition to the coop!

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