The safest way to feed a pigeon is to replicate the parents’ method of feeding. In natural conditions the baby will insert its beak inside the parents beak and gape. The parent bird (both parents feed the young) will pump food from its own crop into the baby’s beak. For the first three days they produce pigeon milk, which is NOT like dairy milk, from the crop cells after that they feed whatever they have eaten but soaked in the crop first.
These are some ways that can be done:
Using a clean plastic bag
Using a syringe and a balloon or piece of fabric
Using a baby bottle
For fledgelings : feeding warm, defrosted peas and corn by hand
Please note that although turtle dove nestlings and squabs need the same care needs as other squabs – but more time needs to be taken as can stress easily (they are very delicate up to around 21 days old). Heart attacks are imminent in youngsters if stressed too much. If they display signs of stress such as open mouthed breathing they should be placed back in seclusion and another slow-steady attempt made later to feed, etc. By the time youngsters are 21 days old – they are much more robust and can handle stress.