do birds drink milk from their mother

Pigeon milk edit

Although crop milk in pigeons is similar in composition to mammalian milk, it differs greatly in appearance. [4] Pigeon milk is a semi-solid food that resembles cottage cheese in color and consistency. Compared to cow or human milk, it has higher levels of fat and protein. [7] In contrast to animal milk, pigeon crop milk was found to be devoid of carbohydrates (sugars) in a 1939 study. Additionally, it has been demonstrated to include immune-stimulating agents and antioxidants, both of which support milk immunity. [9] Like mammalian milk, crop milk contains IgA antibodies. It also contains some bacteria. [6] Pigeon crop milk is an emulsion made of protein- and fat-rich cells that proliferate and separate from the crop’s lining, in contrast to the emulsion that is mammalian milk. [10].

A few days prior to the eggs hatching, pigeons start to produce milk. At this point, the parents might stop eating so they can give the baby pigeons and doves, known as squabs, milk free of seeds, which the very young squabs wouldn’t be able to digest. During their first week or so of life, or roughly 10–14 days, the baby squabs are fed only crop milk. Following this, the parents start adding some adult food—which has been softened by time spent in the moist conditions of the adult crop—to the mixture that the squabs are fed. By the end of the second week, they are being fed only adult food that has been softened.

Pigeons normally lay two eggs. In the event that one egg does not hatch, the remaining squab benefits from having enough crop milk to feed two of its own and grows considerably more quickly. [11] Studies indicate that clutch sizes are restricted to two because a pair of breeding pigeons cannot generate enough crop milk to sustain three squabs. [12].

Other birds edit A

The male emperor penguin and flamingo both developed crop milk independently. [1][2][3][4] Flamingos produce a bright red, relatively thin liquid during the first few weeks of life. [5] Although it has a color similar to blood, canthaxanthin is what gives it its red hue instead of red blood cells. [5] The color gradually fades after the first few weeks; flamingos can nurse their young for up to the first six months of their lives. [5].

Sameena is a horticulture graduate from SKLTS Horticultural University, Hyderabad. Like any other girl caught with Korean fever, you can find her binge-watching K-dramas in her free time. And, if not, she is probably annoying her best friend with a new list of amazing facts. She spends much of her time answering people’s questions about horticulture. No complaints though, since she loves introducing people to her version of the plant world!


Do birds make milk for babies?

The pigeon is one of only three bird species (the others being flamingos and male emperor penguins) known to produce ‘milk’ to feed their young. In pigeons the milk starts to be produced in the crop of the parent birds two days before eggs hatch.

Can birds breastfeed?

One of the best known examples comes from the world of birds. A few types of birds, notably pigeons, flamingos, and penguins, produce a substance from the lining of their crops (the muscular pouch near the throat where food is temporarily stored) known as crop milk. Both males and females produce crop milk.

Do baby birds drink breast milk?

But beyond that very isolated and unusual event, please don’t ever give milk to a baby bird. Mammals drink milk as babies because their mothers produce this nourishment to feed them. Birds are not mammals. Birds do not breast-feed their young.

Can I feed milk to birds?

Don’t feed the baby bird bread or milk. Many people make the mistake of feeding baby birds milk or bread. Unlike mammals, milk is not a natural part of a bird’s diet and they will be intolerant to it. Bread is full of empty calories and will not provide the baby bird with the nutrients it needs to survive.