Friday, 21 August 2015

Will Tink and Pan be my last babies?

 Thursday 6th August 2015 - Below Tink and Pan today - for new readers Tink is the little one

 Their parents, Cissie (left) and Sultan enjoy time in the garden

I had a look at Lottie's new egg - it was bloody, as you can see - I have never seen that before but the people from the poultry farm told me later that this sometimes happens. The second egg laid was also like this - and within days Lottie had abandoned the nest, so no new babies there then.......The first egg was laid 9 days after Selfie's death. And now Lucky and Lottie seem to have no interest in the cote or each other.

7.8.15 - Sultan goes in to feed his babies who rush towards him. He wouldnt feed them when I was looking though, so I had to shut the door so he could get on with it.
9.8.15 - Below are Cissie and Sultan in the open hutch, with Cissie's 'ladder' in place, with Cloud sitting below - and you can just see Chino on the lower left, peeking out.

 The babies ear holes are very obvious at this age - about 12/13 days
 Below, Chino avails herself of the ladder and goes up to visit the babies - no Chino! they're not yours.....
 And when I went out, she thought better of it and here she is preparing to jump down

Mon 10th Aug 15 - A rainy day - here's my darling Solo, putting his wing up on the flower pot as he has a nice shower! Solo, partially hand reared by me, is very tame and comes to the crook of my arm when I am feeding the flock so he can eat out of the pot! - and get extra peanuts!

11th Aug 15 - With the babies about 14 days today, Sultan and Cissie canoodle..... I hope they don't start nesting again! It's too awkward for me.

Thurs 13th all went as normal, though it was a murky rainy day. I brought the babies in for some photos, and you can see the difference in their sizes - Pan's the big one.

My blog reader, Fennie, said they look like dodos and I think they do! 
Miniature dodos or tiny little vultures - ha ha!

Friday 14th August 15 -  Sultan wasn’t on the roof in the morning and hadn’t turned up by his usual time to feed the babies. As always in these situations I stressed about it, but gave the babies a little feed and hoped he would arrive soon to take over. Cissie doesn’t seem to have much interest in the babies now and either can’t or won’t feed them herself. I was giving her three feeds a day so she could share with the babies, instead of her usual two, but I think it is pointless. Sultan didn’t come and I had to go out at 10.30am so, reluctantly, I left the hutch open as I didn’t want him to not be able to get in if he did come back. Cissie was in charge as she is quite good at repelling intruders! When I returned at 11.15 there was no evidence that Sultan had been and gone, so again I waited. 12 noon, no Sultan so at half past I gave the babies another little feed. They can scream for England, and seem to do so all the time!  Time went on, with me keeping an eye on the garden. Although it rained sometimes it wasn’t as bad as the day before, and I didn’t keep Cissie in the hutch – she has the usual run of the garden when I am at home, the same as Cloud and Chino. They are only shut up if I am out for their own safety. I feared that something must have happened to Sultan as he still didn’t come..... it seems unlikely he has met with a hawk, as he is a bigger than average strong male and not a potential target but it’s possible he has met with an accident, has been involved in a cull......or remembered where he came from and has gone back to his owner’s loft. If he did that, the owner may have kept him in for some reason......for all I know he may have been going back every night and the owner let him out every morning and now has decided not to. Or maybe Sultan has just got fed up with the babies.... but surely not? I decided to give them another small feed...... and planned to give them a good supper at about 5.30pm which is the time Sultan normally last feeds them before the night.
There have been one or two times in the past, I remember, where parent birds have missed a whole day’s feeding and then come back and carried on as if nothing had happened.
This morning I  went to move a big box that we had left on the patio – we had meant to burn it but didn’t get round to it and now it was soaked by the rain.

It felt odd as I tried to grab it and I looked inside to see a pigeon looking up at me! Special Delivery – One Pigeon!

It had obviously been there a while as there was quite a lot of poop – maybe it had been there all night. I got it out but it couldn’t fly and had an injured foot and was limping, so because the day was forecast very rainy, I shut it up in the new hutch with food, water and a folded towel to sit on. I left it there all day, checking it occasionally, and in the late afternoon, brought it into the conservatory for the night – hubby is away so no smuggling was necessary! I do not want a new homie, especially an ordinary unremarkable unknown grey pigeon but I am incapable of leaving it to its fate, so I will give it a bit of a chance.

Saturday 15.8.15 – Sultan hadn’t turned up by 10am and by that time I had given the babies a small feed before I put them in the hutch – just in case he did come to feed them – and then just before 10 a normal feed, as he was in the habit of feeding them about 9.15/20 am. He may never come back so I have worked out and written down a feeding schedule for them, and will tick off each feed as I do it. I am not cross with him as it may not be his fault and I am grateful for the gift of Tink and Pan who may be my last babies. They are incredibly lively and noisy but seem different in some way to the previous dove babies I have had, though I can’t put my finger on the what that difference is! I have never had pigeon babies before – all my babies have had more or less white parents, and though some babies have been dark or speckled they have not had the pure pigeon blood of Tink and Pan – who also are half racer/half feral. I still hope Sultan comes back as though I don’t mind at all feeding the babies, I do feel ‘orphans’ do less well than babies whose parents take an interest, and it’s a shame for them.  They may as well be orphans for all the interest Cissie takes.
I weighed them both before the first feed – Tink 142g and Pan 238g – but they both move about so much on the scales it is probably not very accurate. Next time I will have to weigh them in a  box.
So why is Tink so much smaller than Pan?  I don’t think Pan is exceptionally big so it is Tink that is small.  Pan may be male which would make him larger, and the first hatched, so at least a day older. Also stronger, and able to get more food, elbowing Tink out of the way, when Sultan was feeding them. I don’t think there is anything wrong with Tink, she is just the little one!

The new poorly one, as yet unnamed,  was fine except for its injuries (no wound or anything) so after the flock had been fed, dispersed and calmed down a bit, I put it out on the low roof to enjoy the sun and the company of others. If it comes down to the ground later, I will pick it up and house and feed it. It may be ok in a few days, but if not, I will have to rethink as I definitely won’t keep another pigeon – I can’t!

Above, poorly one on the roof- not looking too jolly, but
later she sat down and was fine, as you can see

 Though keeping herself away from the others
 Tink and Pan in my old hood

 I tried having them in the main part of the hutch
 But Pan struggled back to the nestbox leaving Tink alone
 So I put them both in there together

I am at the moment trying to reduce the flock. I am not in a position to be able to keep up the amount of feeding I am doing due to the cost and as I really am cutting down, I felt it best to do it now, in the summer, when there is potential other food out there to be found. This week I have cut down by one bag (20kg) of grain. This is my plan: I stick to strict set feeding times – first thing in the morning, then not again til 2pm earliest, then about 5pm. I have written a list of the only birds I really want to feed and it seems ridiculous to keep feeding these hungry hordes of others. And even if I took ten ton of food out every day, there would never be enough as more and more pigeons would arrive, until I was feeding the five thousand and the garden sunk into the river with the weight of all the pigeons!!!  So – the only birds I really want to feed are –The homies (Cloud, Cissie and Chino),Sultan if he ever comes back, Tink and Pan, my darling babies, of course! – and Lucky and Lottie, and any babies they may have in the future, Solo, my much adored baby now coming up 5 months old, Autumn, Grace and Dolly, 3 females, all hatched in my cote and now between 2-3 years old,  Mr. Strong and his new mate, Blackie, Silver Shadow, the magnificent huge grey pigeon, Seagle, the unusual bright grey pigeon,  and a few others like Snowdon, Charity and Sausage – plus any returning birds that were hatched in my cote.
Pandora and Tufty would always get fed too, but both have now been missing for a while. Bianca too, who must’ve perished as she had PMV.
I never really felt the same after the cull in January, that destroyed so many of my favourites I had had for so long, and Snow White that beautiful white daddy dove, and Charm, Lucky’s first wife. Another reason for trying to reduce the number of birds in the garden is the MESS and the work! Recently I have had to be slooshing down the patio up to three times a day - then there are feathers everywhere (not all suitable for my shop, just messy!), and I hate the water baths being dirty so I am tipping out the dirty water and refilling 3, 4 even 5 times a day! I don't begrudge any of the work for the homies and cote birds but it has been getting ridiculous with the others.
Hubby has told me that scaffolding is going up at the beginning of Sept and work starting on the cottage chimney a week later, as it is in need of repair. At one time the thought of that would’ve filled me with despair as I would’ve been worried that it would affect my birds – now I don’t care. I will always like pigeons, but the whole thing has got too much for me, and far too expensive, so I am hoping that by next spring the flock will be much reduced and I will try to keep it that way.  I now feed far less generously and try to target the special birds so they still get enough.
Another plan is not to ring any more birds – unless hatched in the cote/hutch – so therefore I won’t have any more favourites.... like Sausage for example! I also plan that when Lucky goes (dies or doesn’t return) the cote goes – unless of course there was another breeding pair in there with eggs/babies.
Sultan didn’t turn up all day. I’d put the injured one on the roof, and by the end of the day couldn’t see it anymore, but just before I was due to go out for the evening, I heard a funny rustling and went to investigate. She had scrambled onto the light above the porch – obviously the chosen roost for the night. I got the steps and the net, and she didn’t resist so I captured her easily and brought her in for the night to the conservatory, with food and water. Better think of a name, I can’t keep saying the injured one.

Monday 17.8.15 – Sultan has not returned, and I am beginning to think that there is something wrong with the babies. Although they scramble about, squeak for food and seem happy enough, I don’t think they can stand very well. My strategy with so many things is to wait and see, so that is what I am doing.
Because the injured one favoured the light as a roost, and I remembered Pharos, named by hubby who did the same some years ago – my train of thought went like this – Light – Lamp – Lady with the Lamp – Florence Nightingale – Flo – so that’s what the injured one is now called. Hubby came home from his weekend away, and I hurried him in to the shower,saying dinner was nearly ready, but it was really so I could catch Flo and bring her into the conservatory for the night, and food and water. I am not going to get fond of him or her as I really won’t be having another homie, but if I can bring her in at nights, I will do.

Below, Silver Shadow, the huge and magnificent pigeon, eats peanuts from my hand but gets bombarded by interlopers trying to do the same!

Flo came down during the day for water, and I made sure she ate some food too. She sat with the homies for a while, then I put her back on the roof. By the evening, she was nowhere around, though I checked the back of the offices just in case – so ......I just don’t know what happened to her. Maybe she has Flo-wn away!.....joking apart, she probably won’t have made it, poor thing.
Tuesday 18th Aug 15 – As far as standing goes, Tink, the little one, can stand better than Pan. Pan now doesn’t seem to be able to stand at all but gets around a bit but wiggling, or scooting along using his wings instead of feet, like a baby bum-shuffling. Despite this he has a definite interest in life, and wants to be out of the dark nest into the main part of the hutch. When I consider the weather is warm enough, I open up the nest door and put a grille up, so they can see out and can have light and air – or put them in the main part of the hutch – but if I do that, then Pan tries to get back to the nest cos he doesn’t know what he wants! Ultimately I don’t see him surviving, and maybe Tink won’t either, but I am enjoying having them and as they are only 3 weeks old today, then we will see if things improve. I think there is little chance now of Sultan returning, and if he does then he might well reject them if he thinks they are in any way ‘different’.

Later – I have been reading up on why a young pigeon wouldn’t be able to stand – and there are so many reasons and possibilities; most of which would be very expensive to correct. I did kind of wonder if he might be suffering from a form of rickets, due to lack of sunlight, as the nestbox is so dark, and that is another reason I am making sure they get fresh air and day light now. I could make him a sort of contraption that supported his body and left his legs dangling out but touching the ground. I wonder if that would help make them stronger. I would be really loathe to have to euthanize him......I have messaged one of my blog readers who keeps racers for advice.

 Above, Tink's feet - and Pan's, below

Wed 19.8.15 - 

 Below, Tink manages to scramble to the top of the bricks


Thurs. 20.8. 15 - Cissie takes no interest in the hutch or the babies, but today she seemed to be listening to their peeping and looking up, so I put her up in there with them.

 She ignored them, as usual, and made her way to the dish of grains - so I removed her soon
 Now, I wouldnt leave her alone with them, in case she pecked at or tried to harm them.

A few days ago, I grabbed a pigeon with one eye that was all gunked up or sealed over, and using a soft non-fluffy cloth and tepid water, I just kept going over it til I got the stuff off. I didnt even know if there would be an eye underneath, but there was - very swollen surrounding it though. I didnt ring the bird, but I think this is it below - and as you can see at least now it has the use of that eye.

 Cloud wouldn't come out of the run when I wanted her to, so I left her there with the top up - and later found her on top of the new hutch.....
 Wow Cloud - how did you manage that?

Friday 20.8.15 - More than a week since we last saw Sultan, but Cissie and the other homies don't appear to miss him, and the babies have adapted perfectly well to me feeding them.

Tink and Pan have actually been picking up small grains and feeding themselves for quite a few days now, and I give them the opportunity at most feeds, if I have time. I feed them roughly at 7.30am, 11.30am, 2.30pm and 5.30pm - and they go to bed at 6pm. I am now bringing then into the conservatory when I bring the other homies in - depending on what sort of day it is, light and weather wise, but about 5pm or so - and they go on the conservatory floor on a rug, to sit and peck grains and make a mess! - before supper and bed! 

 Little Tink on the right is so much smaller than Pan - who is probably normal sized for their age. They currently weigh, roughly, Pan - 257g and Tink - 159g

Friday 21st August 2015 - I am wondering whether to take the babies to the vet. He's a lovely man and he'd see them and do his best, but any visit starts at about £30 and could easily go up to £100+ which I couldnt really afford.....but I am thinking about it. They have a lively interest in what goes on around them, they preen as normal, are starting to feed themselves..... it's such a shame they can't stand and I can't imagine why not.....but with a recovered PMV sufferer as a mother and a runaway racer as a father maybe it wasnt the best start in life for them. Now they only have me.

Below, Tink and Pan looking tiny on the rug at the afternoon feed

 This is 'watch and learn' time too - so I throw some grains - enough to encourage a few pigeons near, but not bring down the madding crowd of them!

 Both babies drink well from the little glass - and sometimes from a little dish if I put it near them
 Later, when I put them back in the nestbox, Pan scrambled up to the top of the bricks on his own! The bricks were in that arrangement for when the parents were on the nest, to partially block off the doorway - they don't need to be like that now, so I rearranged them to make it more comfortable for Pan, but of course then he didnt like it and went and sat with Tink again!

To be cont....


Fennie said...

A rather sad blog Faith. The end of an era. But I can understand how numbers can get out of hand. I don't know what you can do. I go through about a kilo of grain a week feeding my sparrows (of which now there must be 25-30) but they aren't here all the time. They also get fat balls and peanuts, though the pigeons and collared doves take most of those.

As for Tink and Pan not standing, the problem may right itself but if the cause if genetic then it won't, of course. There may be no alternative to keeping them as pets.
But if you got rid of the cote it would leave a very big hole in your life, I am thinking and you'd have doves banging on the window in protest. Still everything comes in cycles I suppose. Best wishes to you and to all the birds.

Faith said...

Thanks Fennie x