Emergency Feeding a Young Pigeon
Emergency Feeding a Young Pigeon
Catching the Pigeon
Pigeons are easier to catch than most birds because they are semi-tame.
flock to which the patient belongs can be attracted with corn or unsalted
peanuts. A soft cloth, coat or towel is often helpful. Throw it over the
bird from behind while its attention is distracted. The first attempt is
most important since pigeons (being preyed on in the wild) quickly become
wary of attention. Pigeons very rarely bite and their beaks cannot cause
injury. One may be apprehensive of causing further pain or stress by a
clumsy catch, but if you leave the pigeon where it is, a cat or other
predator will almost certainly find it. If the capture was successful,
a cardboard box with something soft and make a few air holes in it.
will not die of fright through such confinement. Place the pigeon in a
dark area away from other animals, children and loud noise. Warmth and
are vital to overcoming shock and will also help if dealing with the
of illness or injury.
Over the years I have had the pleasure of handling many exotic birds,
learning there ways and needs.
I thought I had enjoyed all the beauty that one could endure until the day
the Feral came into my world.
I consider it to be a true honor to be able to hold, comfort, and tend to
there needs. To watch them fly provides solace and a sense of peace deep
They are truly a majestic bird.
A COLD BIRD SHOULD NEVER BE GIVEN FLUID OR FOOD, PERIOD!!
Fluids should be given after, and ONLY AFTER, the bird has been warmed,
examined for any injuries & a determination is made as to the severity of
Description and degree, of hydrated and dehydrated birds
A well hydrated bird will be very alert, have elastic skin, bright eyes,
moise, plump membrane inside the mouth and well formed moist droppings.
A moderately dehydrated bird will be less than fully alert, have dry,
skin, dull eyes, non-formed droppings and have a sticky membrane in the
A severely dehydrated bird will be lethargic or unconscious, the skin will
'tent' when slightly pinched, have sunken eyes, dry or absent droppings
have dry membrane in the mouth.
Depending on the cause and degree of dehydration, reversing this condition
can take up to 24 hours. If the bird is alert, he may be rehydrated by
by using an eye dropper and putting drops along his beak every few
(This would be the safest and easiest method for beginners).
If the bird is not swallowing on his own or fully alert, he must be given
fluids under the skin (sub-Q method.)
WARNING!! Be certain you learn how to do this before you try for the first
time as all birds have extensive air sacs throughout their body that
not be punctured. A needle introduced in the wrong place may paralyze the
*Heat source suggestions:
Heating pad, set on low
Hot water bottle
Low wattage lamp, directing the light into the cage.
Emergency heat source substitute:
Fill an old sock about 2/3 full of rice. Microwave the sock for a few
seconds. Making sure it isn't too hot, place it around the bird.
**Ringers solution substitute:
Small amount: Add to a cup of water a pinch of salt & sugar, mix well. Use
this solution to rehydrate by mouth.
The following is intended as assistance towards recognizing problems
elimination of possibilities until arriving at the most probable cause of
illness and diagnosis - a 'Layman's' directory!
Assessing a sick Pigeon
Many pigeon ailments have similar symptoms and yet are completely
in their nature and severity. Many common pigeon ailments are equilibrium
unbalance problems; that is to say that they are stress related. Bacteria
live permanently in balance within the body until something reduces the
individuals resistance and the natural balance becomes upset. A sick
will fluff out it's feathers as if it is cold. The patient hides perhaps
under a park bench or in a doorway, and is seen on the ground at dusk when
its flock has flown up high to roost. The droppings may appear green and
watery, and signs of bullying injuries by other birds may be visible
the head. An injured pigeon may be in shock, limping badly, drooping a
Pigeons suffer from a variety of ailments peculiar to themselves, the most
common being the Paramyxo virus and throat canker. The virus causes birds
appear fluffed up, unbalanced or dizzy. They may walk in circles, throw
seeds in the air when eating, hang their heads upside down (star gazing)
have fits. No veterinary treatment is available as far as we know but the
pigeon can recover after a lengthy period of rest and care. However, he or
she must be kept separate from other birds for at least 6 weeks. Canker or
Trichomoniasis seems most common in young pigeons aged between 2 and 5
weeks. It is detected by a swollen throat containing yellow/white
button-like cheesy growths, wet or bad smelling discharge from the beak
unwillingness to fly. Depending on the severity, it may be very difficult
for the bird to eat or breath. This disease in young birds is fatal but
be treated with drugs such as flagyl (metronidazole) or spartrix
(carnidazole). Crop-feeding may be necessary while healing is underway.
Please do not attempt to scrape away these growths unless they are
restricting breathing, as this may damage the lining of the throat. Keep
patient away from other birds. As with dealing with any animal, please
observe common-sense hygiene. Wash hands throughly before and after
any wild pigeons.
The Medical Formulary
SETTING A BROKEN LEG
Unfortunately it happens that a baby (or adult bird) suffers from a broken
The following advice was given from a vet: "Cut two pieces of 'cloth'
adhesive tape, align the bones as well as possible and place one piece of
tape on one side and the other piece opposite. Squeeze the tapes together
down each side of the tape with forceps, as close to the bone as possible,
and then cut the tape close to leg, maybe 1/16". After this, run a bead of
'super glue' down both seams and let dry. The super glue holds the edges
together and also strengthens the tape, "A perfect little cast."
RESETTING BROKEN TOES (SMALL BIRDS)
Breeders have successfully used super glue to "weld" the broken toe to the
neighboring toe. Eventually the toes become unglued on their own and the
broken toe is perfect.
Cats commonly have Pasteurella bacteria as part of their natural flora.
While this bacteria is ubiquitous in cats and does them no harm, it is
DEADLY to birds. Even if you cat just bats your bird or gets saliva on
bird, you could end up with a dead bird. Also, if your bird has a
problem with itching and other skin issues and you have a cat, this could
a cause and your vet should be asked to screen for this bacteria. If your
bird is ever in a confrontation with a cat, take him to the vet
even if there are NO apparent wounds. The bird could still have been
to this bacteria. You should get your bird to a vet the same day if you
think it has come in physical contact with a cat's saliva, feces, or food.
This bacteria means even friendly relationships between cats and birds are
not safe. Period.
These are much smaller than the average housefly and are found in lofts
especially in the south. They can carry disease. If your pigeons fly with
quick, lively movements be sure to check under the feathers of the
pigeons as they seem to rest there. Keep the nests clear and destroy any
larvae which resembles small lead shot, then spray the loft and the birds.
I found a link that concerns this issue here;
These or quite different from lice and very hard to control if you have
large numbers of pigeons. These mites will get into tiny crevices and
in the nest boxes and lofts and they feed at night by sucking blood. They
will appear like tiny flakes of black pepper. Consult your local feed
for a good mite powder that can be used for pigeons.
I found the following link's concerning this issue.
These are the most common of pests on pigeons and are very small but still
visible to the naked eye. Examine your birds regular as these are not
bloodsucking insects but they do live off the pigeon's skin scales and
feathers and never leave. In the warm months they rapidly multiply.
Some links pretaining to this issue.
This is a protozoan infection and is very common in pigeons. Adult birds
get it but it strikes mostly the squabs in the next, symptoms of
this canker are lesions in the mouth or throat with a yellowish-white
Pigeons get colds just like humans and dampness in the loft is a major
Usually if you will make sure your loft has no drafts your pigeons will
fewer colds. Keep the birds warm when sick and administer cod liver oil to
keep up their strength. Consult your feed store for an ointment or
suggestions to help open the nostrils and make breathing easier.
Watch your pigeons, if their throat is parched, if they have difficulty in
breathing, have fever or just look sick it could be pneumonia. Be sure to
keep drafts away from them and keep the area warm. Consult your feed store
for antibiotic drugs to help.
If pigeons are exposed to drafts or dampness in the winter roup can occur,
the symptoms are similar to a cold, then a nasal discharge changes to a
like mucus and will clog the nostrils. Be sure to isolate the sick
birds and disinfect the loft and all utensils. Consult your local feed
for remedies to help clear up roop.
Usually this occurs after a pigeon has eaten sour or moldy grain or
unseasoned grain. Remove any grain you suspect is not perfect and feed
and small grains till the pigeon is improved. You might try a dose of
oil or Epsom salts to clear out the bird's system.
With this disease the flesh will waste away and the pigeon will look sick
and have diarrhea. This is a symptom of another problem, consult someone
help in curing this and feed warm milk with bread or meal in the meantime.
Sometimes a hen will have problems in passing an egg, if you will bathe
vent with a little warm water and take a medicine dropper and put a warm
olive oil on it the egg will just pass on out.
Sites where one will find supplies to treat a variety of medical
FIRST AID KIT
BIRD PROOFING YOUR HOUSE
National Pigeon Association
Keep the egg shells from breakfast, microwave them for 1 minute to kill
bacteria, let them cool, then chop them up fine, provide this to your
to supplement calcium.
One can also crush up a tablet of (Tums) and add to the water, this is
an excellent means of Calcium.
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Dove Laying Timetable
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN the Great Passenger Pigeon
Do's and Don'ts...
DO look differently at pigeons next time you see them in your town
DON'T consider making pigeons (or any animal) a part of your life
fully understand and accept the responsibility.
DO obtain all necessary permits and permissions from the local and
DON'T remove animals from the wild unless necessary for their
DO consider adopting animals from your local shelter.
DON'T keep pigeons or other birds in cages that do not allow them
flap around and exercise... don't be a bird jailer!
DO drive carefully... look out for fellow humans and furry, fuzzy,
things on the road ways. Especially in the winter, animals are drawn
to the habitats of man because food is in short supply. Pigeons, by the
are almost always found near humans. Perhaps they like us.
DO ESPECIALLY consider with gratitude and awe the beauty of all of
creation. Treat your fellow Earth-dwellers with respect.
DO JOIN our Resource Data base, there's a Pigeon Down that could
Why do Pigeons strut?
A BIG HOLE
Little Tim was outside in the back yard digging a big hole in the corner
the yard. He had been out there for a while really making this hole very
large and deep.
The neighbor had been watching him for some time through her kitchen
and decided to go out and find out what was going on.
"Tim, why are you digging such a big hole in the yard?" she asked.
Tim did not even look up but spoke in anger, "Because my pigeon died"
"I am so sorry to hear that Tim" she said. "But why are you digging such a
Tim replied, "Because your cat is in there too."
Feral and Domesticated Cats are destroying our wildlife in great numbers,
this is also effecting the natural predators and there food chain.
The domesticated cat is not part of the natural food chain.
Please keep your pet cat safe within your home at all times.
Thanks for the time you spend concerning this issue.