Babies are very delicate, be it of humans, birds or animals, so we need to take proper care of them and feed them good quality and nutritious food to grow healthy. So, if you have a baby mourning dove at home or found the abandoned baby dove, here are some of the food recipes you can make at home.
You can make baby mourning dove food using high protein and vitamin rich foods like finch birdseed, oatmeal, suet pellets as the major component. Also keep the food warm by heating at temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Baby mourning doves love to eat warm food and birdseed that is digestible.
Before making baby food ensure that you have enough information about the food items that the bird can eat.
Different ways to make baby mourning dove food
Here are some of the ways of making mourning dove food at home.
1. Oatmeal and Soy milk
- Pour 1.25 cups of dry instant oatmeal into the empty cup.
- Next, add 1 cup of unsweetened organic Soy milk in the cup. You have to microwave it for 30 seconds. This milk will add protein and calcium to the dove’s diet.
- Mix both the ingredients with the spoon and then microwave it for 1 minute or as per your preference.
- Remove the mixture from the microwave and let it cool down. Once it has cooled, add 2 large eggs and mix well. Note: You should never microwave the mixture after adding the eggs, as it can make the mixture lumpy and unusable.
- Mix the mixture well with the spoon until homogeneous.
- Refrigerate the mixture for an hour until it becomes smooth and creamy and all lumps are dissolved. If you think that the mixture is too thick, you can add more soy milk.
- Later remove it and let it settle down to room temperature before feeding the dove.
2. MAC milk
Take 71 grams (1 jar) of strained chicken baby food, 1 hard-boiled egg yolk, 1 tablespoon of low-fat yogurt, 1/4 teaspoon of corn oil, 247.6 mg calcium carbonate, 2 drops of cod liver oil, 1 drop of diluted vitamin E, a small pinch of vitamin B (size of a sesame seed)) and 25 mg of Vitamins C to a blender. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly.
- Dilute vitamin E with a drop from 400 IU capsule and 10 drops of corn oil. Mix all these well.
- Add 1/8 teaspoon of digestive enzymes in the whole recipe, but you need to add it to the recipe 30 mins before feeding the baby dove. Digestive enzymes need to be added to the recipe in the first 3 days after hatching.
- At the beginning of the second week, you can add a mixture of other seeds and foods intended for doves or pigeons.
3. How to make suet pellets food for baby mourning doves
Check out below video on how to make baby mourning dove food out of suet pellets which are rich source of protein and vitamins.
What food do the doves eat?
As doves are omnivores, there are various foods they prefer to eat.
- Grasses, including Panicum and Echinochloa
- Weeds, including knotweed and ragweed
- Fruits like dates, figs and plums
- Flowers and buds
- Leaves of trees like willows, poplars and elms
- Insects like ants, beetles and grasshoppers
- Insect Larvae and Pupae
- Bone from owl pellets and animal faeces
- Discarded human food
How to feed the baby dove?
Baby doves also need to be fed with care as we take care while feeding a human baby. Continue reading to know how to feed the baby dove appropriately.
1. Warm the baby dove
Keep the baby dove in a box near the 40-watt lamp in the initial week of birth. You can also make use of a pet-safe heating pad or a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel. The reason to keep them warm is that these babies are brooded by their parents in this period.
2. Make a feeding syringe
You can use the normal syringe without the needle as a feeding syringe to pull up the food. You have to take the plunger out and use the vet wrap to cover the wide end. You can use the rubber dam to secure the wrap and hold it in place. Now poke a hole in the vet wrap so that the bird can fit its beak into it. Make use of the cotton ear swab to clean the food spillage on the bird.
3. Let the birds feed enough to fill its crop.
The crop is the pouch over the bird’s breastbone and is used to keep the food that needs to be digested. Aim to fill the crop atleast 3/4. If you gently press the crop, it feels like a water bottle when its 3/4 full. After some time, gently press the crop, and if the bird brings the swallowed food to the mouth, you have fed it too much.
4. Feed the baby 4 times a day
In the beginning, feed the baby 4 times a day as they have a larger pouch. Only feed once their crop is fully empty. Keep a check on the baby bird every 3 hours and if you feel that the crop is empty, feed the bird. It is advised not to feed the bird at night.
5. Reduce the feeding times
You can gradually reduce the feeding to 3 times a day as the baby grows. For a few days, the baby bird will become restless when hungry.
Note: As an alternative option, you can also use the 3-millilitre disposable pipette with tubing to feed the baby dove.
What precautions need to be taken while feeding the mourning baby dove?
While feeding the mourning baby dove, ensure that you don’t:
- Apply pressure on the full or partially filled crop as this may bring the swallowed food up to the mouth
- Try to pass the catheter or pipette till the bird’s head is in the star gazing position with the extended neck.
- Attempt to feed the baby dove if he is not bright and alert.
- Neglect or avoid good sanitation
Doves are usually ground-feeding birds, and so they would prefer to eat from the flat surface where they can comfortably sit and enjoy their food.
Here are some of the things that are easily available in your home and you can use as a dove feeder n your balcony if you don’t want to invest in a feeder:
- Water/food serving tray
- Empty bottles
- Milk container
- Craft sticks
- Soup ladle
- Cake pan
Baby birds need extra care while feeding to get all the essential nutrients and have good health. I hope this article has helped you make a healthy baby dove food and added extra knowledge of how to feed appropriately.