Many bird enthusiasts show concern for babies or adult birds and wonder whether social birds like pigeons can survive without care and parental interaction.
How Long Can Baby Pigeons Survive Without Their Mother? Baby pigeons can survive without their mother if their father is in the nest because male pigeons can also produce crop milk and care for the babies. However, the squabs can live for 15 to 24 hours without parental care as their parents provide food, warmth, training to fly, and protection from predators.
Young pigeons have soft and naked bodies, which means they can easily get affected by changes in the external environment. Their survival rate depends on external conditions and parental care.
How long can baby pigeons live without their mother?
Pigeons are responsible parents and care for their babies until they are mature enough to collect their food and protect themselves from predators.
Baby pigeons need parental attention and care to continue their growth after hatching eggs. The male and female birds prefer to go out to collect food individually.
One of their parents preferably remains with squabs when the other is out of the nest. The females can die due to predator attacks or other reasons, leaving squabs alone with their father.
Both males and females can take care of their squabs individually, so these young ones can survive when they have support and care only from a single parent.
He can also produce a crop milk to feed the young ones, which is primarily the responsibility of mothers because it is similar to the lactation process in other animals.
This nutrient-rich crop milk is essential for the growth of squabs; otherwise, they cannot turn into healthy adults and die earlier than healthier fellows.
Furthermore, their father crow can protect the babies from predators in the absence of their mothers, so they can easily complete their growth and developmental cycles without their mothers.
How long can a baby pigeon survive on its own?
Baby pigeons need their parents to complete the initial growth phases of their lifecycle because they cannot collect their own food for nutrition and can die of hunger.
They need food 3 to 5 times a day because their bodies are passing through crucial changes and organ development processes, so they need essential elements and nutrients.
In addition, adult females or mothers feed their squabs many times a day. It is not possible for the young ones to survive on their own for more than a day.
The squabs make a peeping sound and give a call to their parents when they need food after a few hours of feeding. They keep giving calls or creating sounds until their mother comes to feed them.
However, they can spend only 15 to 24 hours on their own when the parents are not present in the nest to take care of their young ones.
They can die due to dehydration and starvation because their bodies need food every few hours. Moreover, they make loud sounds that attract nearby predators looking for prey.
So, the predators can eat them because they cannot fight for their defense and lack eyes to see the incoming predators in the first week of hatching.
How long do pigeons take care of their babies?
Baby pigeons are born with closed eyes and undeveloped feathers on their bodies. Accordingly, they need care and attention from their mother and father during cold weather.
The time taken for eggs to hatch and release squabs and the growth period of young pigeons varies in different species of birds and depends on the environmental conditions.
Moreover, their eggs take almost 10 to 18 days to hatch and produce young babies. After that, the squabs eat nutritious food and develop into adults with wings and open eyes.
The time duration for a squab to become an adult and fledge depends on the time of year because they can quickly begin to fly in warm weather.
Accordingly, the squabs can fly in almost 26 to 32 days during warm weather, but they can increase up to 43 or 45 days during the winter season.
In the same way, the availability of food and moisture also affects their growth pattern as their development process slows down when they do not have access to nutritious food and water.
So, they are dependent on their parents for at least 2 weeks and even more than a month, depending on the external conditions.
Why do baby pigeons cannot survive on their own?
The baby pigeons cannot survive on their own because these are helpless creatures that cannot go out of their nests to collect food due to closed eyes.
Their eyes begin to open after 4 to 6 days of hatching, and they cannot see the world by themselves and rely on their parents for food or protection before the opening of their eyes.
In addition, the squabs do not have developed and larger feathers to support flying for almost 5 to 6 weeks. So, they cannot fly away from predators even after seeing them with their eyes.
Accordingly, they need protection from their mother and father as they guard young ones until they can fly.
The digestive system of squabs is not strong enough to digest complex food particles for at least the first week, so they consume highly nutritious pigeon milk.
Pigeon milk is also known as crop milk, which is regurgitated food from the crops of adult birds. It is partially digested liquid food that helps reduce the burden on the squab’s stomach.
It is easy for young ones to digest and extract energy from this partially digested food. However, they shift to adult meals and switch eating habits to seeds and fruits after a week or two.
Additionally, parents take care of their water requirements because young ones need more water to keep their bodies hydrated and energetic.
Furthermore, they cannot survive without mothers and fathers because they need training to learn the basic skills for flying and avoiding predators.
They learn ways to interact with their siblings or enemies and learn the importance of cooperation and aggression toward predators to ensure survival.
What to do if you find baby pigeons without their mother?
It is better to observe the situation carefully before getting close to the baby pigeons when you see them without their mother.
Look at the crying babies when they are making sounds for food, as there is a possibility that their father is present in the nest or close to it.
There is nothing to worry about if their father is present because he can care for the babies just like their mother. However, you can pick them up gently if he does not appear after hours.
After that, you can give them food and water after inspecting their bodies for injuries and place them in a warm place or wrap them in a towel.
It is better not to feed baby pigeons if you are not aware of their eating habits and ask for help from expert rehabilitators because they know what to feed and how to feed.
You can look for their mother in the nearby areas to keep them together; otherwise, contact rehabilitators to ask for suitable ways to care for these squabs until they turn into adults.