Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Cissie and Sultan are proud to announce......

Cissie with egg shell - has a baby hatched?

Tuesday 28th July 2015 – Before Sultan took over – nice and early for him at about 11am – I peeped in again at Cissie and talked softly to her. As she shifted position, I caught a glimpse of a tiny wriggling yellow downy baby!

Below, has my Grace, right, teamed up with handsome new male, Snowdon?
 I hope they will be as happy as we are, says Cissie, below, with Sultan

By Wednesday there seemed more shell in the nest, so I was pretty sure the other egg had hatched too! I am so thrilled! My Cissie, with her problems, had still managed to hatch two live babies!

Thursday 30.7.15 – All goes well. Sultan comes to the hutch earlier now there are babies, so Cissie gets longer free time than when they were sitting on the eggs. I’m glad that the more competent bird is on the nest during the day, feeding the babies. Mind you, Cissie, despite her disability, is coping magnificantly with the new responsibility– I am proud of her!

Below, I gently move Cissie to get photos of the new little ones

Cissie’s story, in brief, so far:- On the 19th Jan ‘14, I picked Cissie up from the lawn. She was a very unremarkable little pigeon, obviously very young, probably quite newly fledged and she had paramyxovirus. I called her Narcissus as, at the time, I had a male with PMV called Echo – she was soon shortened to Cissie. She was in quarantine for 6 weeks before being allowed out in the garden to mix with the others, but she was a very scared and unsure little bird. She eventually settled into her life as a flightless bird but has given me at least two scares – both when she somehow managed to fly! One by flying up to the roof, and down on the other side where the offices and the old mill wheel is - and deep water - I luckily found her on the pavement -  and two when she flew or blew over the fence and into the river – where I fished her out! Earlier this year she and Cloud started up a little girlie kissy kissy relationship that didn’t get very far before Sultan arrived on the scene – a big male with a racer’s ring. Cissie enticed him away from his first choice, Cloud, then took over Cloud’s hutch and laid two eggs – one broke and one she hid. Then she and Sultan started again, and here we are now, with two babies, aged two days old today. (At a guess, Cissie is about 19-20 months old)

1st August 15 and already I am feeling a Septembery tinge in the air. Cissie came out of the nestbox into the main hutch early at about 9am and I wasn’t expecting this, but did manage to get a photo of the babies alone.

I let her do her big morning poop on the ground, then fed her quickly and put her back with them. One baby is much smaller than the other, though I have seen this before with other siblings. They are both still covered with downy yellow fluff, but I can now see dark patches and dark ends to their beaks. Their parents are both grey pigeons so I am expecting them to look similar. I’m calling the babies Tink and Pan – Tink’s the little one and I am of course very much hoping she will continue to thrive and catch up in weight.  Although my little ‘chickens’ are hatched and I AM counting them – two!  ....I realise that anything could happen. One thing in their favour is that when they are shut in the hutch with mummy or daddy they are much safer than little squabs in a normal nest or even the dove cote which is open to possible predators – or falling out from! One thing that is worrying me is the babies’ food. At present, baby pigeons get fed ‘crop milk’ – which is of course nothing like milk, but is some sort of glandular secretion produced by the parents. So this is fine.... but soon the babies go on to half cereals half crop milk.... What is worrying me is that I feed Cissie (as I have to) and therefore she is not choosing what to eat so it may not be right for the babies. I can only hope that Sultan is feeding them correctly.
Sultan went on the nest later today at 11.30am and an hour and a half later I saw him come out into the hutch – oh no mate, you’re not coming out now! Luckily, he didn’t try to – he ate, drank – then having thought about and realised he was stuck inside, crouched and did a poop  - he doesn’t like to on his own doorstep, but needs must! - I will clean up later. I’m not going to the hutch now and letting him think he can come out so early – this is Cissie’s free time and she deserves it!

Sun 2.8.15 – Tink and Pan are now about 6 days old and are getting big; with Pan still bigger. They seem fine and I love to look in on them every day after I’ve fed Cissie. I don’t disturb  Sultan when he’s  in charge as although he is very tolerant of me, he doesn’t know me like Cissie does. I was telling someone about Sultan and Cissie, and she suggested that maybe Sultan is having a holiday romance, and will head off back to his owner and loft when summer turns to autumn. Well, we’ll see.....

 Above and below, Cissie re-arranges her nest
 Below, the cote doves, surprisingly, sit with the homies -
Left to right, Chino, Cissie, Lucky, Cloud (sitting) and Lottie below Cloud

Mon  3.8,15 – Pan is just beginning to open his eyes, but Tink not quite yet, as she is obviously the younger sibling. The lovely thing about having them in the hutch is that I can just open the door as see the entirely, without having to peer into or delve into the dovecote. I’ve only had this once before when Jose and Happy reared baby Pearl in the old hutch.
I saw the kite again today, soaring overhead.....And also some little cuties popping about in the leaves – I am pretty sure they were juvenile Long-Tailed Tits and they were so adorable, probably just fledged.

Later – Tink’s eyes are now opening. I saw Cissie feeding them this afternoon..... it’s so awkward about the food, I’m not sure what to do. I gave Cissie an extra feed today  and have put a jam jar of smaller grains in the hutch for her to attempt to get grain for herself and the babies. I am worried about them being underfed, especially Tink, who seems half the size of Pan – but having said that they both are growing and seem healthy enough.

You can see the difference between the babies - Pan, on the left, is far bigger

Below, Cissie manages to control her head 'wobble' to feed the babies.....

When I went shopping I saw someone had dumped a hutch down our little country road. We do get some fly tipping but not that much, thank goodness. The hutch seemed more or less ok, so I rang hubby at work and asked him to have a look when he came home. When he arrived he had it in the pick up – the deal being that I get rid of the run (which he hates because it is ‘messy’ he says). The hutch will probably be more useful to me than the run – although of course I won’t have that ‘outside’ facility, but the birds don’t actually use it that much. The hutch will need a huge clean out which I will have to tackle tomorrow – it’s full of old dirty rabbit straw. It is appalling that someone would just chuck something like this in a little local road but I will be able to put it to good use.
If I had wanted to get rid of it I would’ve put in on Gumtree for ten or twenty pounds, buyer collects and it would’ve sold.

Lucky built a new nest immediately and he and Lottie have been sitting in it at times and ignoring it at others. I expect they will have new eggs soon.

 Tink and Pan again

And the kite, way up overhead

Tuesday 4.8.15 - The babies, or at least Pan, are roughly a week old today, and can be left for short periods. Normally the parents would fly in and out of the cote as they see fit, but I have to monitor what Cissie is doing and open the front for Sultan if he wants to go in. It's awkward, but worth it as I love these babies and want the best for them. I don't want to leave the door open unless I have to at least until the babies are two weeks old - oh well I have managed so far!

 Above, Tink and below, Pan

Lucky built a new nest immediately and he and Lottie have been sitting in it at times and ignoring it at others. I expect they will have new eggs before the end of the summer.
Later...... Lottie’s staying the night!

Wed 5.8.15 – One new egg this morning. And today's photos of our lovely babies. The light across them is the chink of sun coming through when I opened the nestbox side door.

 The homies rest together in the afternoon - L to R Cloud, Cisse, Chino

 To be cont....


hopeinparis said...

Faith! SO happy about the TWO babies of Cissie and Sultan! I hope they make it. About what to feed the parents whilst they are rearing the babies - when my pigeons are on a nest, I just keep feeding them peanuts, which is high in protein and fat, similar to pigeon milk. The parents need that nutrition and they love it.

I believe the enzyme they secrete in their crops also softens food there, so that they can feed that to the squabs. So no matter what the parents are eating (almost), as long as they do have food, they can feed their babies. That helps to explain how pigeons have come to dominate cities around the world - they adapt very well.

If Cissie feeds herself, a "buffet" of peanuts in one bowl and a separate bowl seeds, grains, and a small amount of grit should be good.I hope this is helpful.

What do you feed the small squabs born in the dovecote when you "top up" their parents feedings? This formula could be used with Tink and Pan, and would be good to review in an upcoming post. Thank you for a beautiful blog!!! xx

Fennie said...

Yes, thank you Faith! I left a comment on PC but thought I ought to get around to leaving one here. Don't the chicks look like dodos? Strange to think that one day they will fly. Glad things are in the up.