Monday, 9 July 2012

Jasha's progress

9th July 2012

Tues 3rd July – Jasha seems well – bright eyed and alert. After another messy and largely unsuccessful attempt with the rubber glove finger feeder, I made the mixture drier and formed it into pellets.
Jasha - rescued squab - photo 6th July '12
These were about 3.5cm long, and were too big, and a smaller, rounder shape, like a medium sized pea worked better.
Too big and wrong shape!
I fed him at 7am and then again put him in the crate in the garden where he could observe the other birds. He has his ‘nest’ of a towel inside the carrying box, and the end of the crate is draped with a plastic sheet and towels against wind/rain. I was well sorted for the 10am feed, with the little ‘peas’ ready made. I dipped each one in tepid water before I put it in his beak. Feeding him means gently prising his beak open with my fingernail and also gently but firmly pushing the feed down his gullet with my finger. He seems to accept it. I’m feeding him 3 hourly to the routine – 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm. After the 4pm feed I noticed that there was a lot of ‘brown stuff’ on his bedding. First I thought it was poo, then I realised it was probably regurgitated feed. I thought I was maybe feeding him too much, so I only gave him a light supper! It’s trial and error, but I think I am doing quite well considering I have never done this before in my life! I could have taken him to the local wildlife aid, but felt he was old enough for me to give it a try myself – one to one attention can’t be bad! I don’t recommend anyone does this unless they are prepared for the commitment and ongoing feeding schedule. Preparing the food, giving it, and clearing up afterwards takes quite a bit of time.

Wed 4th July ’12 – The Kaytee Exact mix I had ordered for Jasha came before the 1pm feed, but I decided to use the mix I had already made and experiment before the 4pm feed. I ordered it from ebay from Garden Feathers Poultry Supplies (gardenfeathers is their ebay name) at a cost of (£9.99 + £2.20 postage and was pleased with the quick delivery. I didn’t in the end get round to it by the 4pm feed as I was blogging! And I also had feed I’d made already to use up. I keep it, covered, in the fridge, but warm it before I give it to him, by placing the little dish the pellets are on in a larger dish of just boiled water. After this feed, I opened the Kaytee mix and found it to be a tan coloured substance, finer than the chick crumbs.

Kaytee Hand Rearing Food (left) and chick crumbs
I made up the following recipe – this was my own idea, and I have no idea how nutritionally right it is, so please bear this in mind if you decide to use it!
1 level scoop of Kaytee Exact (scoop was in the tin and is approx 4 rounded teaspoons)
1 level scoop of chick crumbs (bought from my pet shop)
1 level scoop of tiny grains/seeds –( taken from my usual pigeon feed which is Natural Granen made in Belgium by de Scheemaecker Bros.)
A couple of pinches of crushed bird peanuts – very fine
A couple of pinches of grit (Bob Martin Avia grit)
I sprinkled the top with vitamins (Natural Antwerp Vitamix – a pink powder)

Then I dribbled in cooled boiled water and mixed until I had a medium-hard paste that I could roll into ‘peas’. This made enough for several feeds.
Mixed up squab feed
When I feed the squab, I will dip each ball of mix into water just before I gently prise open his beak with my finger nail, and gently push the food down his gullet. As I was crushing the peanuts in my stone pestle and mortar and stirring the mix, it occurred to me that in times gone by I would’ve been ducked for a witch!! Jasha ate this mix for the 7pm feed so I will see how he is in the morning.
Not my regular readers, but some people might wonder why I am bothering to do all this for a pigeon which may well not live long anyway. Having seen it, and recognised its plight, I wouldn’t have been able to forget about it very easily, so I suppose I am doing it for my own peace of mind, plus the fact that I get pleasure out of all the doves and pigeons in my garden. I like to have pets, and pigeons have helped people survive in the past – read the heartwarming story of Cher Ami - so I’m just returning the favour in my own little way. I know of course that young birds shouldn’t be taken from the wild but this one wouldn’t have survived without human help.

I left Jose out a bit longer tonight as it was reasonable weather and Happy was with her. At about 8pm hubbie called from the kitchen to say there’s a dove tapping at the window – I went in and it was Happy. I thought it was odd, until I went out and saw Jose was the ground – I truly believe he had to come to tell me so I could pick her and put her on her table again! Not long after that though I took her into the conservatory for the night. I noticed that a pigeon that I’ve seen round the garden for the last couple of days with a curled up foot, and bad wing, is roosting near the kitchen door so I put some newspaper down – I am sick of cleaning the patio up after the pidgies! Then of course, the pigeon moved on – but stayed the night on the building round the corner.
Thursday 5.7.12 -  Same thing happened this evening – Happy came and sat on the top bit of the open stable door to the kitchen – wish I’d got a photo! Hubbie again called me, and again Jose was on the ground. Happy seems to realise her disability and comes to get me – or do I just imagine it to be so?  I brought her into the conservatory about 8pm and Happy stayed the night, under the gutter round the corner. Fennie is in his usual place. I took the babies, LizzyII and Pip out of the nestbox when Sky and Summer had left for the night. No particular reason except for my own pleasure. Sooo sweet, white and fluffy, I adore them at this age!

Friday 6.7.12 – Happy brought sticks to the hutch, and a new but so far rather scrappy ‘nest’ has been made. I had to turn out all the sticks he brought before we went away as I had put Elizabeth in the hutch, she had had diarrhoea and I would’ve cleaned it out for Jose after her use even if she hadn’t!
Jane, one of my blog readers, emailed me with suggestions for Jasha’s feed so on her advice I added a scoop of ground almonds to the mix next time I had to make it up, and also fed him a few de-frosted (but not cooked) green peas – petit pois no less! He still seems to be thriving. Like all squabs of his age, he just sits quietly in his nest on the folded towel, watching the other birds in the garden. He is nest trained! - he doesn’t poo on the towel but over the edge onto the paper. I judge that I am feeding him ok by the fact that his poos are a brown firm but not hard dollop with a white top. Sorry if TMI but there you go!
Saturday 7th - I tested Jasha's flying ability in the corridor, with all doors closed off, and just the linen basket in the area. He can flap and fly a little, but is certainly not ready to be released yet - besides the fact that I haven't seen him peck at grains either!
Sunday 8th – Jasha learnt to drink out of his little shot glass at the 4pm feed today! I have always dipped his beak before and after each feed, but this time, he reached in and slurped! I’ve had him a week today – wow, pleased with myself for managing to rear him – so far I have given him 28 feeds! Today I put his crate on the lawn, rather than the table, so he can observe the other pigeons close up.

Happy has added more sticks and spends a lot of time sitting, cooing, on the ‘polo’ nest he has made (nest with a hole!) but Jose still stands on her brick. She says she has always stood on her brick, and she is still going to stand on her brick, despite being married!!!
The nest Happy has made for Jose

Happy on the nest
Happy is now tame enough for me to put a dish of grain down on Jose's table without scaring him off.
Fennie is so much better as you can see from the photo below....
Fennie, pretty well recovered
Fennie with injured wing, as he was at the end of May '12

Summer and Sky are continually mating, and Sky has brought a lot of sticks to the new nestbox – this is the front one, most favoured by all doves, past and present. I must make an effort and clean out Lizzy2 and Pip tomorrow evening, before I don’t get the chance again. Mummy Sky might be laying new eggs. I don’t know if Jose ever will – she and Happy do mate, but maybe she is barren. Eggs for Jose would be a big problem for me anyway. Nature will take it’s course, and we will see.
Sky 'driving' Summer - part of the mating ritual
Mon 9.7.12 – Summer seems to be sitting in the nest box – I may have missed my chance to clear out the babies, if she stays tonight.
I asked my husband to take some photos of me feeding Jasha this morning....first he has a little drinkie... then I pop the mixture rolled into 'peas' down his throat.
Hand rearing a pigeon squab

Hand feeding a pigeon squab

Jasha now - a more mature shape
Jasha - when he first came a week ago

To be cont...


Lesa said...

Jasha looks great! The mix you bought is very similar to the one I used for Bertie years ago. I always used the water dip method to help clean his beak after his meals. Tidy bird! So great he's eliminating away from the towel. Makes clean up so much easier. I understand your reasoning for taking on the task; I feel the same and it's so worth it to see them survive and thrive. Congratulations! Fennie looks wonderful too!

Faith said...

I'd be interested to hear more about Bertie, if you ever want to tell. Just add it to the comments. Thanks, Lesa. Lesa dove is doing well too!

Fennie said...

You are doing most excellently, Faith, and the proof is a happy and growing Jasha and really a contribiution to the sum of human knowledge. Maybe you should send your record to the RSPB or someone.

I think if it happened to be I would have been inclined to chew the food myself and then spit it out to make into little balls - chick crumbs are quite tasty, though a little salt and sugar wouldn't come amiss.

Faith said...

Fennie, I hope you are joking!!!

Calico Kate said...

Faith what an amazing woman you are and a superb job you're doing.
Fascinating to read about their personalities and characters. Thank you for sharing.

hopeinparis said...

You and Jasha are making great progress, Faith! I think you're doing everything right. You are correct that he needed saving, and indeed it is a big commitment. Until he can feed himself you don't really get to have your own life :-) Rearing a squab is a wonderful experience and gives us all the more reason to admire the devotion of pigeon and dove parents.

hopeinparis said...

You and Jasha are making great progress, Faith! I think you're doing everything right. You are correct that he needed saving, and indeed it is a big commitment. Until he can feed himself you don't really get to have your own life :-) Rearing a squab is a wonderful experience and gives us all the more reason to admire the devotion of pigeon and dove parents.

Faith said...

CK, and Hopeinparis, thanks for your comments. Yes it's a huge time-consuming commitment and I thought about the parent birds who have to actually FIND the food, rather than order it from ebay!!

CAMILLA said...

You have done an amazing job with Jasha, Faith, you possess such care with all your darling birds, you also have immense patience. Wonderful to hear Jasha is doing well and she certainly looks it from the first pic you put up for us when she was poorly. Good to hear too Fennie has recovered quite well too.

A question Faith, I have a young adult Thrush come to visit me every day, love her speckled breast..... she looks healthy, can fly well too, but she does seem to stay very near to our gardens, no problem with that. I have named her Miss Tippy-Tap as she taps on the kitchen window - sill for bread crumbs even though I put lots of food out for the birds. She has become quite tame now and lets me stand very near to her when I throw some food to her. Don'think I have ever known a bird so tame come to visit.!

Faith said...

That's lovely Camilla, especially has it's a Thrush - they seem to be rarer than they used to be - certainly round here we don't see them very often. Not sure what your question is? If it was me I would probably get some special thrush food from the garden centre and give her some tit-bits!