Pet Talk: September 26th
Columns, Pet Talk

Pet Talk: September 26th

By Maneka Gandhi

In this week’s Pet Talk, Maneka suggests on what should be fed to baby pigeon and tells why parakeet suddenly loses its feathers?

A pigeon has laid an egg in a nest near my house. The egg has hatched and a small baby pigeon has come out but the mother died so I have kept that baby pigeon with me. What food should I give the baby pigeon?

In nature, the mother and father feed the baby a thin milk like substance which they generate from their own bodies. You need to give a very thin mixture, the consistency of skimmed milk, as well. This is what you can mix: biscuits soaked in water combined with soaked and mashed warm peas and soaked and mashed corn. This should be gradually thickened over the first 10 days to the consistency of ketchup. You can add mashed apple, wholemeal bread, soaked oats.

What NOT to feed baby birds: Water, bread or bread products, whole birdseed, milk, worms, kitchen scraps.

The best guide to feeding them is to let them eat until the crop is soft and squidgy, like a balloon 3/4 filled with water. The crop hangs like a bag down the inside of a pigeon’s chest.

There are small bubbles that appear on a hatchling’s shoulders when it has received enough food. Once these bubbles start to inflate, stop feeding, it means that the crop is full enough. Allow the crop to empty completely.

Could you tell me which is the most intelligent rabbit species?

All rabbits are intelligent. The most intelligent would be the wild variety, but it is illegal for you to have them.

I have brought some parakeets home. But now their tiny feathers are falling off in our home. Will these feathers cause any harm to us?

Why have you bought birds? It is a vicious and cruel thing to do. These birds are taken from their families into cages. Thousands die after capture. Is it fair for them to lead lives in jails? And instead of worrying about the bird, you are worried about the harm the feathers will cause you?

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When a parakeet suddenly loses its feathers, this is why: Parrots typically go through moulting phases, where they shed their old feathers to make way for new ones. This is completely normal and should cause no concern for owners. After owning a parrot for a while, you are likely to become familiar with their moulting process. Normally, moulting should only result in small patches of lightly covered feathers on a parrot. If your parrot is completely bald on some areas, it is not moulting.

Malnutrition: If a parakeet isn’t consuming the vitamins, minerals, protein, and other key nutrients it needs, its feathers may slowly fall out as a result. Make sure your parrot is fed a well-balanced diet of vegetables, fruit, bird seed, bird pellets that you get from pet shops. All these should be bite-sized pieces.

Feather Plucking: Parakeets that are emotionally and/ or physically stressed, may pluck their feathers. Over time, this can lead to bald patches, or even open wounds. Perhaps your parakeet isn’t receiving enough mental stimulation. Most parrot and bird species are naturally social creatures in the wild; therefore, they crave the attention of others. Forcing your parrot to remain cooped up inside its cage, alone with no mental stimulation, will result in boredom along with a variety of other psychological disorders. When parrots are bored, they may pluck their feathers to relieve some of the built-up frustration.

Skin Disease: Another common cause of feather plucking is related to skin disease. Studies have shown that 40% of parrots, exhibiting this behaviour, are suffering from some type of skin disease. Parakeets are incredibly sensitive to the elements. Excessive humidity, dust and chemicals in the air, can all irritate their skin. Remove all chemical usage from the room, like phenyl in the pocha and make sure they get fresh air. It could also be parasites, like mites, on their skin.


The feathers will grow back once you start addressing these problems.

Is it safe to have cats and a pet rat together in the same house?

Why do you want to create so much tension for yourself and the rest of the beings in the house. It is an instinctual habit for the cat to prey on the rat. Some cats have a very high prey drive and will attack any small mammal introduced into the home. Do you want a circus going on all the time, with everyone running to save the rat? Do you want to keep the rat caged and fearful all the time? What do you want from your pets? Unhappiness?

Do you think that a wagging tail of a dog doesn’t always mean that it is happy?

The tail is a communication device. Dogs use their tails to communicate strong emotions, such as agitation, annoyance and anger, as well as happiness. They even wag their tails to spread their natural scent from their anal glands. Stiff tails means the dog is getting ready to be aggressive, slow tail wags means that they are hesitant about something. Wagging their tails just between their legs means they are afraid. Even the left wag of the tail means something different to the right wag.

Are donkeys intelligent?

Donkeys are not stupid and lazy. Donkeys are very social animals. They will not move in situations they perceive as dangerous. This prevents a lot of accidents. Donkeys  have an incredible memory — they can recognise areas, and other donkeys they were with, up to 25 years ago. Donkeys have a reputation for stubbornness, but this is due to their highly developed sense of self preservation. It is difficult to force or frighten a donkey into doing something it sees as contrary to its own best interest or safety.

September 26, 2018

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