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Georgie laid an egg (no surprise there, I guess… ha ha). What do you think of it?

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Ok, so that’s obviously not her egg. :)

We put the chicken egg there to see if she’d try to sit on it, but Georgie just looked perplexed. :)

Georgie is ignoring me now that she’s incubating. She’ll get up to eat and then go back to incubating. Then 20 minutes later she’ll get up again to eat. She does this all evening. I cannot believe how well she eats when she’s broody. Normally, Georgie doesn’t eat that often – which is why I keep track of her weight to ensure she’s eating enough. However, when broody, Georgie has a full crop of beans so to speak. I call her crop her “bean bag”. It’s lovely to feel how heavy she is and I’m hoping she doesn’t lose her post-incubation weight, which was what happened the last time.

In other news, Elmo likes to “hide and seek”, however, he’s not very good at it. He’ll hide behind the bedroom door and then he’ll coo and coo and coo until we find him. Here’s what happened on one such occasion:


The following information is from a fantastic book about hand-rearing birds. It includes rearing guides for a variety of different species.

Hand-Rearing Birds

by Laurie J. Gage and Rebecca S. Duerr

2007, Blackwell Publishing

Chapter 20: Pigeons and Doves by Martha Kudlacik and Nancy Eilertsen

The number and variety of hand-feeding diets being used in rehabilitation and captive breeding are such that they cannot all be covered in a short chapter. The underlying principle is to mimic the natural diet as much as possible.

The first 2-3 days of life, columbids are fed crop milk, which is high in protein and fat. About day 3 or 4, small amounts of regurgitated seed are added to the milk; crop milk production ceases about day 7-9 and regurgitated seed is fed throughout the fledging period.

Table 20.1. Mourning Dove tube-feeding schedule (weights based on California population). Feed hatchling diet to chicks of weights in bold. Birds on the hatchling diet may not require as frequent feeding as is listed. Check the crop at the interval and feed when crop empties.

Weight (grams) Quantity (ml) Hours between Feeds
10 1 1
15 1.5-2 1-1.5
20 1.5-2.5 2
25 2-3 2
30 2.5-3.5 2
35 4 2
40 5 3
45 5 3
50 6 3
55 6 3
60 6-7 3

Above 65 grams, skip meal if any seed in crop

65 6-7 3-1/2

Newly admitted juvenile mourning doves over 70 grams will usually self-feed unless debilitated, emaciated, or otherwise compromised.

70 8 4
80 8 4

Above 90 grams, do not tube-feed unless bird is debilitated. Healthy juveniles will almost always self-feed at 90 grams.

90 9 3x/day
95 9-10 3x/day

Expected weight gains of hand-reared Mourning Doves and Rock Pigeons.


On the 29th Dec 2010 (in Egg free at last) I wrote: “George has in fact filled out very nicely in the past month. She feels really chunky and solid, which I’m very happy about since she has always been a bit too slight and thin. I hope she doesn’t loose her “pregnancy” weight!”

Boy do I regret saying that. Georgie stopped eating on that day and for days refused to eat her seed. So I tried popping some peanuts down her throat, however, she simply vomited them up later. :(

Not wanting to cause her to become even more ill, I decided not to force-feed her anymore. Sometimes, giving food can cause more problems. A vet visit was scheduled, and Georgie lost all that lovely weight she had gained.

Basically, Georgie stopped eating for about 4 days. On the fifth she wolfed down some granary bread and had a go at her seed – but not in her cage! She refused to eat from the seed bowl if it was in her cage – so we put it on the sofa and she had a field day – swishing seed left and right and making an awful mess.

An important message regarding ill birds: Since birds are very good at hiding any illness you often won’t notice anything until it has progressed quite far. So if you suspect anything is wrong with your bird, contact your avian vet immediately, otherwise it may be too late.

Sometimes I forget this. Georgie was acting normal and looking fine except for the simple fact that she wasn’t eating. And when she did start eating, she wouldn’t eat when in her cage. It got very frustrating.

However, after the visit to the avian vet we felt better about Georgie. In fact, on that day Georgie had eaten a lot of seed from her bowl in her cage, but vomited it all up on the journey to the vet due to car sickness. It was nice to see that Georgie had eaten, but upsetting that it had to come all out.

The vet said that Geogie most likely had an eye infection when she was a baby due to mycoplasma bacteria which scarred her eyes (the cloudiness) and distorted her pupils (it’s so nice to finally have an explanation for Georgie’s eye condition). This bacteria is laying dormant in her body until her immune system is compromised, such as when she’s using a lot of energy to produce and lay eggs. So the mycoplasma took the opportunity to attack Georgie’s system which made her lose her appetite. She’s on antibiotics and we also bought some vitamin and mineral supplements to give her on top of the calcium and vitamin D that she already receives (to boost her health).

At the moment Georgie is eating well but she’s still thinner than she should be and feels very light. We’re keeping a close eye if anything changes. I cannot bare to think of what would happen if the worst happened. Georgie has become such an integral part of my family and heart.

It’s always scary when your animal becomes ill. It can be hard to know what to do and when to act, however, a good vet that you can trust is really the best, as well as support and advice from good people in the pigeon rescue field!

Today Georgie was annoying Elmo and Richard so much because she kept walking over to Elmo’s side on the sofa to get some peanuts, however, she wasn’t swallowing any – just pecking at them and throwing them about. It seems they were all the wrong size for her liking! In the end, Richard popped a few into her mouth and she seemed grateful to be given a helping hand. She’d never have come to a decision on her own. (I guess this means I have to go search for smaller sized peanuts.)

Here’s the mess Georgie made on the sofa on the day she decided to eat again:

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Been ill for the past 4 days and haven’t managed to post anything. Thankfully, I had some drafts that my hubby could quickly proof-read and then post on my behalf, however, yesterday he had to write a post himself when he discovered that there weren’t any more of my drafts left. I think he did splendidly.

Georgie has also been ill and she’s seen the vet and received her medication. She’s eating again but she’s lost weight. We’re keeping a close eye on her.

Elmo is fine – just going through a little moult so there’s feathers everywhere.

I’m afraid that’s it because my energy is running out.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be much better and can write something proper.


Today both Georgie and I had had enough (read yesterdays post to catch up). I removed the nest and infertile egg after Georgie had quickly become restless and fed up from the 16 days of non-stop incubating, and now she’s settled and calm. By tomorrow she’ll be sitting on my lap, cooing contently once again. I cannot wait.

Yes, the past two weeks have been quiet and easy going without Georgie’s constant attention-seeking behaviour, so I was happy for the break, however, soon after a week of being pigeon free I really started to miss her affections and company. … And Elmo wasn’t being obliging in filling the void. … No matter how hard I tried to bribe him to love me instead of my husband.

I had forgotten how hard it is to deal with Georgie during her broodiness. You can forgive me since it has been 8 months since the last time she had laid an egg. But now that we are once again egg-free things should hopefully go back to normal. I must simply remember not to encourage her broodiness. I don’t want more eggs anytime soon.

Here’s the darling girl sitting down in a calm manner. How cute is she?! (Thankfully she didn’t climb onto the pink and white fleece!)

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George has in fact filled out very nicely in the past month. She feels really chunky and solid, which I’m very happy about since she has always been a bit too slight and thin. I hope she doesn’t loose her “pregnancy” weight! :)

And I mustn’t forget dear Elmo. I know I haven’t been writing much about him lately, which I will try to rectify soon. Do you know that pigeons seem to synchronize their behaviours? Well, Georgie and Elmo certainly do. Today, Elmo had a bath right after Georgie had one, then they both sat on the sofa to dry off. Then a little while later, at the same time, they began to preen. And then it was time for a nap. Here’s the boy zonked out. This is why we love him so much! :)

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Weighed the pigeons today. Georgie is 305 grams, which isn’t great. We’d prefer her to be above 320 grams. Elmo is a nice 368 grams! It’s the heaviest he’s been.

George is quite easy to weigh – I just put her on the scales and she stands there. Elmo on the other hand is not quite so easy. If I put him on the scales he runs about trying to attack me, so my hubby has to put him on the scales – in which case Elmo runs about trying to court him. So Richard has to try to calm Elmo down to get him to stand still for a moment so we can get a true weight number. It can take a while.

Georgie stands by and just shakes her head in disbelief at Elmo’s behaviour, proud of the fact that she does it like a pro. Here she is shying away from Elmo who’s just walked past her:

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Internet problems today so a quick post:

Weighed the pigeons and Georgie is 305grams, which is a bit low for her, and Elmo is 363grams which is the heaviest he has been since he came to us in 2008.

Georgie is a bit annoyed with me (I think because I was taking photos with the flash on) and keeps wing slapping me. I’ll have to give her extra cuddles to calm her down.


A feral pigeon is supposed to weigh anything from 230g to 400g, a racing pigeon 400-600g and a woodpigeon 284-615g (figures received from a wildlife rescue centre). In my eyes Georgie is small for a feral pigeon. When we first got her I was worried that she was too thin and small so I gave her fatty foods such as peanuts to help her gain weight. Georgie has now filled out a bit but I believe she’ll always be dainty and petite.

I started recording her weight just to monitor any ups and downs:

  • 295g – 7.4.09
  • 273g – 18.4.09 (She lost weight because when we went on holiday we left her with a friend and I think Georgie got a bit stressed that we weren’t there.)
  • 294g – 14.5.09
  • 318g – 13.6.09
  • 323g – 23.8.09
  • 317g – 27.9.09
  • 344g – 17.11.09 (Georgie was with egg.)
  • 322g – 21.1.10
  • 325g – 10.2.10 (Before we went on holiday. Georgie stayed at home with pet sitters visiting frequently.)
  • 322g – 16.2.10 (When we returned from holiday. Georgie didn’t loose much weight this time, which is good.)

Elmo is a bigger boy and here’s his weight chart:

  • 360g – 7.4.09
  • 352g – 18.4.09
  • 343g – 14.5.09 (Elmo was moulting.)
  • 350g – 13.6.09
  • 357g – 23.8.09
  • 348g – 27.9.09
  • 354g – 17.11.09
  • 358g – 21.1.10
  • 342g – 10.2.10 (Before we went on holiday. Elmo stayed at home with pet sitters visiting frequently.)
  • 350g – 16.2.10 (When we returned from holiday. Elmo gained a lot of weight! He obviously wasn’t stressed that we were gone. He loved the pet sitters [more on this later] but was very glad to have us back.)