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Birds--General/8day old white dove


My grandmother has two white doves who have laid maybe 8eggs and now for the first time they have a hatchling. The parents are maybe 10month old and first time parents. About 9bhours ago they both went on the perch and stopped keeping the bird warm, I don't know if they are feeding the bird while I'm sleeping... For some reason they aren't too fond of me so I try to leave them be besides trying to figure things out.

So I got home found out the birds aren't going in the nest and I thought maybe the cage wasn't conducive to a baby bird and that it might me able to do some things in its own... It's not. It barely hobbled when I moved it into the new nest. I gave it maybe 3 teaspoons of water which it drank and then it started falling asleep so I stopped. After I changed the nest and cage putting the baby in the nest and the parents on the floor of the cages. The dad eventually walked in the new nest and stood on the baby bird... One foot on head one foot on body. I quickly scooped up the dad and put him in the old cage. The mom stood on the side of the new nest but didn't go in and is now perched on the water bowl.  

The baby has its head down and you can barely tell it is breathing but seems to be sleeping?.. I thought maybe like humans it's breathing is slowed when sleeping.
What should I do... I don't know if I should be stepping in...
And at night do they normally feed the baby? I live in Florida and they are on the porch which is maybe 85 degrees... Is this too cold or hot for it to be solo.

I understand that if I feed it I should get parrot baby food and mix in a little seed and water. Ah and yesterday afternoon I put some grit in a bowl and the parents ate two teaspoons at least(didn't know they go crazy and think it was food) ... Is this whole thing my fault?

They where pretty good parents feeding it and occasionally both leaving the nest to eat then resume caring for the baby. Arg. If I bring it in the house will it survive the temperature change with a heating blanket... And how often is it fed at 8 days. Also what are the signs that it's dying :/ I  tend to be optimistic but it's good to know if I should be stepping back. It does  have  what Seems to be a wound on its chest smaller than a pencil eraser since day 1.

Wow, what an ordeal you've been through, and I agree, it's very hard to know when to step in or leave things alone.  First-time parents can do weird things, and when you see they're potentially ignoring their baby, it's natural to want to intercede.  Some birds just shouldn't be parents! The wound on it's chest may be from parents attacking it, or may have resulted when it hatched from it's shell...sometimes the skin gets stuck to the shell and tears. (However, it should have healed after 8 days...maybe apply a little aloe vera or Neosporin?)  There's no right answer, but if they turn out to be bad parents, it may be wise not to let them breed again? Also, over-eating grit is usually not normal, but mother birds may eat more than normal to 'stock up'. Grit can be insoluble or digestable, the latter kind makes it less prone to becoming impacted.

From what I've seen of wild birds, no, parents do not feed at night.  85 should be warm enough for a partially feathered baby bird, though if it was warmer (95-100), it might be more active. It sounds like you know what to feed it, if you do decide to take it away. Also, if you use a heating pad/blanket, make sure (if the dove is in a box) the box is placed half on/half off the heat (set on LOW) so if it overheats, it can move off.  I don't know if dove breathing is visibly slowed at night during sleep...sorry!  I would feed it every few hours if it's hungry, just watch the crop to make sure it is digesting the food. Signs of dying would I guess be lethargy, loss of appetite, losing weight, etc.  Good luck with everything!


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Robin Keister


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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