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!

White Squabs’ First Flight

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Here is Fifty. I think she’s a female.

The two white squabs have been living in the barn for a few weeks now, getting used to their new accommodations. They are fully feathered out at this point and have been handled regularly. Today while I was working outside, I decided to take them out of their cage to see what they would do.

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This is Fifty One. I think he’s a male.

Fifty and Fifty One as they are affectionately known, are very nice little birds. They were taken out and placed on top of their cage where they observed me with great interest as I took care of all my rabbit chores. As their courage built up, they hopped and flew around a bit, checking out the tops of the rabbit cages and pecking at spots on the windowsills.

DSC_0044I had purposely not fed them before letting them out and had only given them a small meal yesterday. I went over to see them every once in awhile to talk to them, pick them up or give them pets. Fifty is a little better with being picked up than Fifty One. Maybe it’s because she was the one who fell out of the nest a few weeks back.

DSC_0056After a little while they flew up to the door and hung out there, heads peeking out into the sunshine. It was very sweet to see two little white doves gracing the entryway.

DSC_0060 DSC_0070I was feeding the quail chicks when I heard and felt flapping wings near my head. The squabs had flown to the top of the chicken coop, attracted by the sounds of the other pigeons. I was a little worried. Would they come back down or keep exploring?

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You can barely see them against the sky

Thankfully after about five minutes they gracefully flew back into the barn and landed on top of their cage. They were very proud of themselves, shaking their tails and preening. I told them they were very good birds, very smart, and put them back into their cage with some food. Have I mentioned what awesome pets pigeons make?