pigeon control

Caring for African Owl Pigeons (Part II)

Find the time to read the first instalment of this article so that you will get the overall learning experience that it brings. This article is meant to complement the first two tips outlines in its first part. But you also start with this part and simply proceed to the other later.

3. Be Ready to Hand-feed

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Part one of this article has already discussed about the "feeders" or the foster bird parents which are supposed to raise the pigeons until they are capable of eating on their own. However, it should be noted that at some points the young birds have to be hand-fed (some circumstances will make this the only option in order to save the bird). Thus, it can be said that a real pigeon owner should somehow know hand feeding. Moreover, hand feeding is one of the most effective ways to make the birds tame and acknowledge their owner. This is extremely important because it increases the bird's sensitivity to its owners command (this makes training way easier). Majority of the most successful African Owl breeders/racers say that they owe their success to the time and effort that they have spent in feeding their birds by hand.

Thus, if you plan to be a successful breeder yourself, then you should learn how to do this too. Fine, you can keep feeders, but you should allocate at least 7 to 10 days of the entire development stage of the bird to feed them on your own. If you have a lot of birds, you can feed them on a schedule, this way, you will be able to cover all your birds while still giving them enough time to be fed by the feeders which are really good providers. Since there is a chance that you will not be feeding them enough if you do the feeding on your own alone, it is very wise that you feed your birds alongside your feeders.

Methods of Hand Feeding

Of course, pigeon owners have also devised their own ways of feeding their birds by hand. But, the most popular ones involve the use of a ketchup squeezing bottle. This particular container has been widely used because of its long nozzle which makes the feeding easier. The food mix is placed inside the bottle and then it is simply squeeze to squirt out the food into the chick's little beaks. Baby pigeons learn very fast and after two to three feedings, they will already suck the nozzle on their own once you draw the bottle near to them. This is better because when you control the amount of food that gets into their mouth, you might end up giving them more that they need and thus you might even choke them in the process. If they suck the nozzle on their own, they get to decide for themselves if they still want more food or if they already have enough.

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However, ketchup bottle feeding is not advisable if you are feeding very small baby pigeons. The bottle is best used when you are dealing with 10-day old chicks or older. For younger ones, you can try using syringe so that you don't choke the chicks with the size of the nozzle that you have to slip into their beaks. At this stage, the chicks should not be given anything more than 20 cc's of food mix. When they about 10 days old, you may start giving them 20 to 30 cc's of food and gradually increase this amount until they reach their 20th day (it can reach up to 60 cc's). At this stage, the birds will be able to feed on their own, so all that you would have to do is to food enough food inside their feeding plate and you can let them do the rest.

Don't be surprised, but there really is baby bird food available in the market. So, you do not really have to make these mixes on your own. The most popular baby bird food is called "Kaytee Exact". This baby food was originally developed to nourish young parrots but eventually, pigeon owners started to use it and after a couple of years it became a staple baby pigeon food. It is very easy to prepare; all that you need to do is to mix it with lukewarm water and mix it up until its consistency becomes soupy. Of course, you can use other baby bird food brands, one of which is from "Roudybush". You can also do your research and look for other options, just make sure that the nutrition value of the baby food that you will choose is high and it contains the nutrients that a baby African Owl pigeon needs. But, if you have enough time to make your own feeds, you can also try grounding turkey meat and use it as to feed your birds. This is actually a cheaper option but it would take away a portion of your time. Moreover, turkey meat can't be introduced to the birds using the syringe so you will be limited to using it to older birds. Well, the choice is really completely up to you. You can also join forums and read blogs on baby pigeon feeding in order to improve your skills and increase your knowledge about it.

4. Warm and Dry

Don't forget that African Owls like the habituate dry areas and they also love the sun. This particular breed tends to become sickly when they do not get enough sunshine or they you make them live in a wet environment. There have been cases when they caught respiratory illnesses just because their loft is not dry enough. If you are not careful, you might just end up killing your entire stock (that is such a waste in terms of money, time and energy). This scenario should be avoided and the best way to do so is to give the owls exactly what they look for is an environment.
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