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Dr. G.
Dr. G., Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1248
Experience:  Bird and exotic animal veterinarian for over 16 years.
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I have two mourning dove hatchlings that their mother and father

Customer Question

I have two mourning dove hatchlings that their mother and father were attacked by preditor birds and either killed or driven away. My question is; they appear to be only a few days old. What is the best way to feed ther, what, and care of the hatchlings? Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX L. Chanslor
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. G. replied 5 years ago.
Hi,

Thanks for your question and for trying to help these babies. Here is a algorithm that will give you options.

See: http://www.nwrawildlife.org/documents/jacobs_birds.pdf

If you have to find a rehabber, here is a site that will help you find one. These are people who are licensed to help wildlife and will have the proper cage, food etc. It is very hard to raise baby birds as they can die if you feed them wrong. They also need to be with other birds soon as they need to learn their song and language from others etc.

See: http://www.tc.umn.edu/~devo0028/contact.htm

Check with local avian vets if they will take them in (some will, some won't) but they may also know of rehabbers in your area.

If you need anything else, please let me know.
Dr. G
Dr. G., Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1248
Experience: Bird and exotic animal veterinarian for over 16 years.
Dr. G. and 2 other Bird Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I suspect that I did not make myself clear. I need to know more about raising the mourning dove hatchlings. For instance the temp to keep them at, the method of feeding them (if with a eye droper or what) and if the bird formula at PetCo is enough for them to grow on. I have Fenches near by to socialilze with them, but I don't know if they would let them in the same cage with them. How ofter should they be fed (if they eat) and how much. My wife and daughter want to raise the birds; however, not being a expert, I am unsure of what to do. There are NO BIRD VETS near my location and NO REHABERS near by that can offer assistance. A reply will be greatly appreciated. XXXXX@XXXXXX.XXX
Expert:  Dr. G. replied 5 years ago.
Hi,

If you are sure there is no around to help you, then you have no choice but to try and raise them. If you lte me know where you live (city, state), I may know of someone who can help you.

Heat is the most important thing until they start to get feathers. I would keep them at 85-90 degrees. You can get a small pet taxi or something similar. At hardware stores you can by a clamp on light that you can use above them. I would use a red bulb as this will provide heat, but not light. This is important at night especially. You'll have to adjust the distance from the light above them to see how the temperature is. At Radio Shack, they do have easy to read temperature gauges.

Most babies sleep and eat. I would use the hand feeding formula at the store. There are pigeon/dove formulas available, but I don't know how easy it would be to find. I would follow the directions on the bag. It needs to somewhat thick, but not too thick that it isn't easy to get out of a syringe or dropper. When the baby is hungry, it should react (feeding response) to you touching the side of the beak. They should open their beak and 'pump' the food in. You can use an eye dropper or a syringe. I find the syringe easier. If a bird does not have a good feeding response, don't force it as it is very easy to choke and kill the baby.   The food goes into the crop which you will see fill up at the base of the neck. The crop should be full and should empty well. Babies are prone to crop problems like slow crop emptying, crop infections etc. The baby should be feed when the crop is empty. Most babies do not need feeding overnight as their parents don't feed overnight.

They don't need to be offered water as they will get water from the formula. Just feed them and leave them alone as we don't want them to get used to people. If the babies are crying or 'begging' then there is something wrong as they are usually quiet (so as to not attract attention).

This website talks about raising a different type of dove, but looks helpful.

See: http://www.diamonddove.info/bird05_Raising.htm

Again, let me know where you live just to make sure there isn't anyone that can help. This may be difficult to hear but this will not be an easy thing to do - they may not make it. Also, if you take this on and they do survive, they may not be releasable and you may have to raise them. Depending on where you live, it may be considered illegal to have them also as having wildlife is usually not allowed.

Please see the above site and let me know what other questions you have.

Dr. G
Expert:  Dr. G. replied 5 years ago.
Hi,

Forgot to add, click on 'reply' not 'accept" again if you need anything.

Dr. G
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I don't know if my previous email went through; however, my real question is what to feed the chicks, what temp. to keep them at, how long will it take before they will be able to eat on their own, and is the formula for baby birds at PetCo the right thing to feed them while they are young. I guesstimate them to be approximately 1 week old. Thanks for your reply. Dr. R. L. Chanslor
Expert:  Dr. G. replied 5 years ago.
Hi

Did you see the above answer?

Dr. G
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Nothing else came through. They appear to be Mourning Dove Hatchlings, who lost the mother and father to preditors. My wife and daughter decided to take matters into their own hands. The fleglings appear to be one or two weeks old. I would like to know, without sending them to a stranger at a rehad location, how to best care for them. So far the last two days they have been eating the food formula at Pet Co. Is it a good enough product to raise them on. Should they be kept at a particular temperature and how long do they need to mature. I have searched the webb and I am getting mixed suggestions on everything. I decided to ask Just Answer to see if a real "expert" could shed some light on the matter. Thank you.

Dr. R. L. Chanslor

Expert:  Dr. G. replied 5 years ago.
Hi,

Can you emailXXX@XXXXXX.XXX and ask them why you can't see my full answer above. I don't know why you can't see it.



Dr. G
Expert:  Dr. G. replied 5 years ago.
Hi,

If they are about 2 weeks of age, they will be fledging soon.(14-15 days old) This is when they leave the nest. They would almost completely feathered at this point.   The parents will still feed the babies when they are out of the nest, but they are obviously eating more normal foods also.   You can introduce wild bird type mixes as they are weaning (switching from hand feeding to normal food).

I did find an online group all about dove/pigeons. You will have to have an account with the service (but they are free). See: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/doves-pigeons/

Please let me know what else you need!

Dr. G

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