What name is given to a pigeon that hasn’t yet flown?

Question: What name is given to a pigeon that hasn’t yet flown?

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A pigeon that has not yet flown is commonly referred to as a “squab.” This term is used to describe young pigeons or doves that are typically less than four weeks old. Squabs are characterized by their inability to fly, primarily due to their stage of physical development. The term “squab” can be used both in the context of pigeon breeding and in culinary contexts, where it refers to young pigeons used as food.

In the initial stages of their lives, squabs are highly dependent on their parents for survival. After hatching, squab pigeons are fed a nutrient-rich substance known as “pigeon milk,” which is produced in the crops of both parent pigeons. This form of nourishment is crucial for the growth and development of the squabs in their early days. Pigeon milk contains a high level of protein and fat, providing the essential nutrients required for the rapid growth that squabs undergo.

During this early stage, squabs grow quickly, developing feathers and building up the muscle strength necessary for flight. Physiologically, they undergo significant changes; initially, they are covered in soft down, which is eventually replaced by harder, adult feathers. Their initial lack of feathers and underdeveloped muscles render them incapable of flying.

The process of a squab learning to fly is a critical developmental milestone and is part of the fledging process. This stage is when the young birds leave the nest for the first time and begin to learn flying skills. Fledging is a significant period in a pigeon’s life, as it marks the transition from dependency on the parents to increased independence. The age at which squabs fledge can vary but typically occurs around four to six weeks after hatching.

In many cultures, squabs have been domesticated and bred not only for their ability to return home over long distances but also for meat production. Squab meat is considered a delicacy in some culinary traditions, known for its tender texture and rich flavor.

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