My dad brought 2 baby pigeons from his shop whose nest broke and mom was nowhere to be found. What do I feed them and how do I take care of them? I don't know how old they are, but they have black hair on them.

2 Answers 2


The food that a baby needs depends on its age. Parent doves produce a special slurry of food that is often called 'pigeon milk', and baby doves will need this food until they are grown well enough so that their feathers are well developed. (I have had some babies who bothered their parents for food even when they were as large as their parents, and the parents continued to feed them.) If you can get specialty foods that are made for baby birds, that is excellent. If not, soft food made for human babies can be a workable substitute. Detailed instructions can be found at: http://www.eastvalleywildlife.org/DoveCentral.html

It is no small amount of effort to raise orphaned doves, but the rewards are great. Doves can be very affectionate, and hand-raised ones usually love being held. Your compassion will be rewarded by their affection.


In the wild, pigeons are mostly seen pecking for seeds of all kinds. However, a balanced diet consists of only 50% seeds and 50% fresh fruits and vegetables and the occasional insect.

VCA Hospitals and Pets on Mom have articles about balanced pigeon food. In summary:

  • Offer clean water at any time.
  • Feed 50% seeds. That can be a mix of cereal grains (wheat, sorghum / millet, barley, oats, rye, rice, bulgur, semolina), legumes (lentils, beans (only coocked!), peas) and seeds like sesame, safflower, sunflower or flaxseed. Finely chopped nuts should be fine too, but they contain lots of fat. Avoid corn / maize, because it's mainly stored as fat and doesn't aid healthy bone and muscle growth.
  • There are specialized pallets for pigeons available in assorted pet shops and online. These have the advantage of including all neccessary minerals and vitamins. Make sure to select a special food for young pigeons, because they have special nutritional needs due to their growing up.
  • Feed 50% of a mix of finely chopped fruits and vegetables.
  • Suggested fruits are: apple, cherries (not the pit), pear, apricots, coconut, banana, fig, pineapple, plum, pomegranate, dates, grapes, raspberry, grapefruit, kiwi, blueberry, melons, mango, nectarines, strawberry, orange, cantaloupe, papaya, peaches
  • Suggested vegetables are: Chinese vegetables (bok choy), peas, asparagus, peppers (red/green & hot), corn, beans (cooked), cucumber, chick peas, dandelion leaves, potato, lentils, endive, pumpkin, rapini, mung, rice (brown), soy, kale, romaine lettuce, beet, spinach, sprouted seeds, broccoli, squash, brussel sprouts, cabbage, sweet potato, tomato, carrot, carrot tops, parsnip, zucchini
  • Very pale vegetables like iceberg salad, head lettuce or celery have almost no nutritional value. Avoid them if possible.
  • Do not feed avocado
  • Avoid feeding breadcrumbs if possible
  • A little bit of finely crushed eggshell seems to aid digestion and offers additional calcium for healthy growth.
  • Most animals need protein while growing. So my guess is that the occasional swatted fly (only fresh) or a piece of earthworm might be welcome. Some people also feed small amounts of cooked egg, meat or fish.

If you are unsure about the best food, please contact a local vet and ask for advice.

You can have a look at this video to compare your pigeons with the chicks shown to estimate how old they might be.

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