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Birds--General/how to care for baby dove


lbeach wrote at 2007-03-19 02:40:46
We found a baby dove 5 days ago that had fallen from the nest.  We have been caring for it, it was fully feathered.  Started off with half & half and ground pecans.  Then went to a mixture of walnuts, pecans, almonds and oatmeal mixed with water.  The little guy is eating like a pig.  So far so good.  The only downfall was after the first night.  I had failed to put any warming light and he was really cold.  Thought I would loose him, but spent several hours holding him in my hands to warm him.  W

I don't know how long it will be before he his able to fly off.

mary wrote at 2007-06-04 17:42:40
I found that tiny pieces of wheat bread help. or put small seeds on tiny pieces of wheat bread and put in mouth. I found this help alot, after feeding 11 baby pigeons,doves,wild birds. water or hand feeding bird formula for bird. mary from arizona.

Hawaiian animal lover wrote at 2009-03-06 06:29:05
Hi there !

How I raised my baby dove was by feeding it Gerber baby food. Beef and vegetable flavor or chicken and vegetable flavor. I used a syringe from my dental office. The type that I used was the one that is used after a tooth is extracted. It has a curve at the end. It sort of looks like a birds beak.  I clipped off a little at the end to make the opening of the syringe a little bigger. You need to be careful when trying to feed any baby bird. You have to watch out for their little tongues. When placing the syringe in their mouths what you do not want to do is rip their tongues right out of it's attachment. Also be careful when assisting the baby dove when it tries to open it's mouth. We don't want to rip it's mouth of twist it out of place. I would usually get the food to room temperature and place the leftovers in the icebox. I would also give the baby dove water also through the syringe. As far as keeping the baby dove warm,  I purchased an aluminum light hood from Ace hardware and hooked it up with a 60 watt lightbulb and placed it above the doves cage about 8 to 12 inches away from the baby. This would keep it warm. Make sure that the baby has enough room in it's cage to move away from the heat if it feels like it.  As the dove got a little older, I would offer it finely chopped boiled eggs and lettuce. I mean very finely chopped. Then when they have almost all of their feathers,  slowly mix in dove feed from the pet shop or a feed store into the mix and the rest is pretty self explanatory.. Good luck.

Karene wrote at 2009-06-22 19:39:04
Chrys has provided excellent informationon caring for a baby/young dove!  Probably the best I have encountered in a very long time.  Every year I am left with all species of wild birds and I can assure you that the Kaytee parrot hand feeding formula will keep your bird healthy until he is ready to be released into the wild.  I have a baby dove right now who is still quilled and is thriving on the formula - and he is now at 2 hour interval feeding times. But I just wanted to say that Chrys has provided critical and accurate information for all who reads this post!


magzz wrote at 2009-07-09 03:43:52
i've also had some success with found baby doves, you will have to  feed it every few hours, "Kaytee Exact" or "Lafeber's instant Nutri Start" are both good . Last feed ta night about 8 or 9 , then first feed in the morning about 4 or 5 . The "crop" is located in its chest area you will see it get big as it eats, tapping the side of its beak with a eyedropper of food will usually put some food into it,the crop should empty in a few hours after getting full. always give water afterwards.Good luck.

Bay wrote at 2009-07-20 18:27:50
I also found a baby dove under almost the same circumstances, i found they like mashed up boiled egg yoke. Its also helpful to put a small hand towel or wash rag around the bird.

Bird Lover wrote at 2010-04-16 16:02:48
I hand baby cockatiels and find that feeding a baby dove is very similar, the only big difference is the beak size. :) After you read this article and still need information or just aren't sure yet, I suggest going to cockatiel cottage and read the handfeeding baby birds section, there is where you'll get a wealth of information and all your extra questions answered.  

Wonderful info and advice everyone has given.

My tip to the subject is GSE (grapefruit seed extract..found at health food stores) GSE is nature's anti-bacteria, add a few drops to the clean up water and use to wipe the baby's beak and anywhere you've gotten the formula (Kaytee Exact for all baby birds) on the feathers, be sure to pat dry with a unscented tissue. If you don't have a syringe available you can use a plastic sandwich bag with the corner tip cut off and fill that with the formula. At first the baby won't open it's mouth, gently press on both sides of the beak with your thumb and formula, this should make the baby open. Another tip is placing the bowl of formula in another bowl of hot water to keep it warm for the baby.

If you don't feel that you are available time wise and can't commit to the babie's feeding schedule, please contact the wildlife rehabilitation center in your area and turn the baby over to them.  

God bless you for caring for that little one and saving it's life!  

Julia wrote at 2010-04-28 21:32:53
Thankyou for this fab information. I have found a baby dove myself yesterday. The bird seems quite well grown and not sure if pushed out of the nest or fell. Doesn't seem to be hurt. We have a rabbits pen and we have put it in there during the day today hoping  that's the parents would come down. But no luck. It doesn't seem to be making much noise. We tried to feed it today but it was not taking anything so we will be off to shops tomorrow to purchase the parrot formula as you have sugested. So hope that will help as worried not feeding. The bird it about 4 -5inchs and all of the body feathers seem well established. Head feathers around ears no grown. We are putting in box at night and putting in shed with towel over part box so no drafts. Do you think this is ok?  

Darryl wrote at 2011-05-18 14:28:29
Hi All, thanks for all the help, while working the dog my wife came across a Dove, its body seems to be covered with what looks like quills or very fine artist style brush. Reading the posts on here i would say (Derek)looks around 2 weeks old ? We placed him in a shoe box & we left the heating on, pushed the box under a radiator + we wrapped up hot water bottle for him, this morning all is well, but we can only get him to take water. I'm worried for him not eating, I'm also not sure how much i can go to make him open his beak ? Off to the pet store later & will try the suggestions on here. So far we have tried blended dog food, boiled egg & apple souse (recommended on other site)but with no joy, i even took the little fella to work to keep an eye on him. Any other advice or tips would be most welcome, PS - its Derek the Dove, christened by my 8 year old daughter Elena. Thanks

Jess I. wrote at 2011-05-24 19:29:39
Just a bit of info.....doves are not open/gape mouth feeders. They take food right out of mom & dad's throat. I use the squeezable rubber from an eyedropper, fill it with the food and gently tap the top of the baby bird's should then dip it's beak into the container and slurp the food up......I repeat this until the crop is full and feed when the crop empties.  

irene wrote at 2011-12-13 13:59:45
hello my name is irene.

I have pigeons and the eggs just hatched a day ago.

and the mother rejected one of the 2 babies.

I don't have a heating pad but I have putted him under a light bulb not to close the heat is just right and he"is doing well there. I just wanted to know what I can feed him? and if pronutro will work?  

Diego wrote at 2012-04-14 19:54:55
Thanks for your advice! I found 2 baby doves! For your advice I had finally learned how take care of baby birds! THANK YOU!!!!!

For all your help the baby birds won't die. Your post was helpful!

JCIN HB wrote at 2012-04-24 23:24:19
I found a Jr. dove, w/pretty full feathers 4/23/12.  He is drinking Pediasure (sp?) and lapping it up from a syringe and eating bird seed.  He sleeps & hangs out in a 2'x2' box, no heater as our temp is nice at 70degrees.  I have been giving my flying lessons in the afternoon to help build his wing strength.  He is doing quite well thanks to all the posts here.

Jina Perry in Iowa wrote at 2012-05-21 14:56:21
We found a baby mourning dove on Saturday.  The internet has provided much information and several pictures to make me conclude our baby dove is about 5 days old today.  No feathers, just small, spindley quills.  Eyes are open and the claws try to grasp whatever is underneath him.  (No idea if it's really a him or not.) Will not open his mouth, but has no problem consuming Cream of Wheat mush, mixed with some pigeon grain. We've been using a small flat-head screwdriver to feed him about every 2-3 hours to get his crop full.  As we're holding him, he'll dip his beak in the water and get his own drink. I'm not sure what his chances of survival are, but we'll do what we can for him. He's in a ice cream bucket with shredded paper in the bottom and the lid is slotted with six 1/2" slots for air.  Then there's a napkin on top of that, makes easy to get rid of the poopy by just replacing with a new napkin. Also, he's covered with a spare sock to keep him comfortable.  I'm no expert with this young little life, but I'd like to believe we're taking good care of him.  My 14-yo daughter and 6-yo son are loving this little bird.  They hold him and talk to him and pet his wings. I can only hope and wish that we can get this bid to an age where he can fly away healthy.  I'm guessing that if he's still pooping and peeing, then he's still doing OK.  If anyone has any other suggestions, please feel free to email me.

Need help! wrote at 2012-05-26 19:44:35
I just found a baby dove (it was being pecked two pigeons). It's fully feathered but it's underbelly (I know nothing about birds, sorry for the awful descriptions) is very fluffy and thin. My husband and I have it in our secure back garden and we're wanting to feed it. If you could email me, I'd be so appreciative - my email is

It's a precious little guy and I just want to see him have a fighting chance. He's going on 14 hours with no food and we can't get him to open his mouth and we're scared of hurting him. I did get him to drink water after a few hours of trying. I don't think he's bee taught any of this stuff yet, poor thing!

Angie wrote at 2012-06-15 04:56:29
Hi Chris a couple of dove mom and dad made a nest on our back porch, and were raising baby doves, this is their 3rd hutch this year but a few days ago the mother appeared tired so 2 days ago she abounded the doves the appeared to be about 4 days old they have some baby feathers, so my husband and I broad the babies in the house and we created a nest for them and are feeding the baby parrots formula, feeding them with a syringe, the are eating so far, I worry about the mom, I saw their dad outside our house saying cucu, I broad the babies out so he can see the babies are a life, any advise will be appreciated, Angie  

Anthony wrote at 2012-06-30 05:44:36
and watch this video if not too late on how to feed him..I too have a baby Dove, its about 4 weeks old is my guess, I own 14 Budgies, but love all animals..

Heres the vid:

Best of luck!!


Lucy wrote at 2012-07-13 03:15:35
hi! i know what you probobly feel like!today I found a baby dove in my neibors driveway! they seem to like seeds and a bread or cracker crumb every once in a while! it would probobly like a normal bird cage with a low perch! let it get out and stretch its limbs every once in a while, by getting on your shoulder!a way to know there age is by the amount of fluff they have! if it has a bunch of fluff and looks like a cotton ball,then it's a newborn!if it looks like a grown dove,it's a 5-week old! and somewhere in the middle, it's most likely a 3-week old!

Arik wrote at 2012-08-05 13:37:57
As  a child I used to grow wild doves. I fed them with wheat grains by opening their beaks. I gave them water out of my mouth but heard recently that I can get germs from them. Recently I found one little guy  and took him home. I fed him the old way and he is doing fine.  Now he can peck but he can't swallow big grains so I crushed them very small.

I noticed that they became attached to you and think you are their mom. I whistle to them when I feed them so when I whistle they come and sit on my shoulder.  They like to be pet. One warning. Once they get used to people they may lose their natural fear and can get into troubles. Two of birds in my childhood were eaten by a cat because they were not afraid of it. It was a traumatic experience for me.  

gerda wrote at 2012-12-20 13:08:33
Hi - i hand reared to baby doves. one male and one female.

they then bred out one chick. they fed the ckick up to being covered in feathers and now stopped feeding it. The baby is constantly crying for food.

I have taken the baby out of the nest and put it in to a bird cadge with the mother to check on them.

the mother woudl groom the baby, and sit with it but would not feed it.

I then started to feed the baby in the same manor i raise it parents, but the baby keeps on bringing up the food again.

it pecks at the seeds but i can not see it taking in anything.

what can i do ?

Donna wrote at 2015-07-10 14:08:48
This works very well for feeding fledgings:  Find a quarter inch round clear flexible tube approximately one and a half to two inches long.  Plug it with a flat head screw that stands on itself.  Fill tube with lukewarm water or the appropriate soft food and place on beak.  Holding it there, you will see them sip it up quite neatly.  

Sanada wrote at 2016-11-08 23:01:28
Also there is a way to make it open its mouth voluntarily. If you place your index finger on the top of the beak, and your thumb under the beak it will open its beak.

Sanada wrote at 2016-11-08 23:01:45
Also there is a way to make it open its mouth voluntarily. If you place your index finger on the top of the beak, and your thumb under the beak it will open its beak.


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Chrys Meatyard


I`ve been raising/breeding/handfeeding/selling parrots for over 20 years (parakeets/budgies, cockatiels, 6 subspecies of conures, parrotlets, amazons, lovebirds, etc.). I've been published in "Budgies" and "Cockatiels" offered by Bow Tie Productions, and have written avian articles for publication in England. I can provide advice in raising healthy birds, handfeeding/weaning babies, some health problems (although I'm NOT an avian veterinarian), nail/beak/wing clipping, general husbandry, etc. I also have experience with racing/showing homing pigeons. I cannot diagnose specific illness over this website. If you suspect your bird is ill or if you have an emergency, contact an avian veterinarian or emergency pet clinic ASAP.


Experience: Over 20 years raising parrots and over 13 years raising pigeons. Organizations: Currently, American Racing Pigeon Union and American Federation of Aviculture. Prior member Miami Valley Bird Club, Southern Ohio Pigeon Association, National Cockatiel Society, Miami Valley Sportsman's Club, others. Publications: Monthly newsletters of bird clubs.

I've been published in "Budgies" and "Cockatiels" offered by Bow Tie Productions, and have written avian articles for publication in England.

American Federation of Aviculture, completed Level I course, Fundamentals of Aviculture. Keeping/breeding parrots and other birds for over 20 years.

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