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Birds--General/Feeding a baby Dove

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Question
I was in my garden this morning and I found a baby dove.  He was very cold and not moving much. I brought him in putting him on a heating pad. As he warmed up he started opening his eyes and his mouth. I found a earth worm and cut it half. The baby did eat it. I took a Q tip and moistened his beak. What do I need to feed him? And what else do I need to do to keep him a live.  Thanks.

Answer
If there is any way you can find the nest and return it to the nest, that is the very best thing to do for it.  Depending on the type of dove, they may nest on a flat surface (roof) or often on a low branch in a smallish tree.  Also, if there is a wildlife rescue organization near you, give them a call, as they may be able to raise it for you. If neither of those are possible, you should visit a feed or pet store and find a baby bird formula made for squab (follow the package directions for age appropriate dilution). Pigeons and doves feed their babies a type of 'milk' formed in their crops that contain all the necessary nutrients for the baby.  Baby doves don't open their mouths or chirp at feeding time like other birds. They suck food through their beaks, as if they're using a straw. Don't put food into their mouths; aspiration (food going down the wind pipe) is a real danger with baby doves. Offer food on a teaspoon and let them suck the warm (not hot!) formula.  Make sure your heating pad is set on low, that it has a covering of paper towels on it, and offer the baby a place to get off the heat should it over-heat.  Good luck, they are very hard to raise, and depending on how old it is, you may be feeding it regulary for many weeks!  

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Robin Keister

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I can answer questions about bird identification, avian physiology, avian conservation, avian genetics, bird song and music, and injured/ill/orphaned bird rehabilitation. I am not trained as a veterinarian and therefore can NOT answer questions about companion/pet bird injuries or diseases.

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