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Whesandra Whesandra is offline
Posted 5th July 2013, 11:52 PM
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Found pigeon can't fly, broken wing? Need advice for care.


After the Fourth of July parade in my town, I found a pigeon "hiding" in a corner on the sidewalk by the door of a closed business in a parking lot on the parade path. I thought it was odd it would just stand there alone, so I got closer and it did nothing but back into the corner. I walked up to it, and it tried to hop away as if trying to fly, but it couldn't get more than a few inches off the ground. I captured it in a cardboard box and brought it home. I looked up a little bit about injured pigeons to try to figure out what to do with it, but I haven't come up with much, so I thought I'd ask here.

I handled the pigeon enough to check it for injuries. Its only injury seems to be on its right wing, which hangs a little loose from its body when folded up. I extended the wing to see if it's misshapen, but it doesn't seem obviously so. I lifted it and found a fleck of blood on the underside feathers near the topmost joint but haven't been able to locate any obvious wound. It may have a small wound hidden under the feathers that I can't see. The bird is very quiet for the most part and only chirps occasionally when I frighten it by reaching for it too quickly. Otherwise, it's been very tame, if nervous, sitting still on my finger for a long time or walking up my arms and across my shoulders. When I poke and prod its injured wing, it doesn't make noise or seem to be in pain, but I'm not sure how to read pigeon pain signs.

The first night home, I set the pigeon and its cardboard box in a window well with a crumpled up shirt for a "nest"; a small bowl of salted, sugared water; and few pieces of raw cherry and crumbled soft corn tortilla. This morning, the air was chilly, and I saw the pigeon sitting "sleeping" with its feathers fluffed up. When the day warmed up, I found it pecking a little in the dirt of the window well, but when it saw me, it went back in the box. It may have eaten some tortilla, but I can't tell.

Today, I brought it inside and put it in a wire dog cage covered with a bed sheet, gave it a heating pad wrapped in a towel on low heat, and lined the cage with newspaper. I gave it more corn tortilla, a leaf of lettuce, and a dish of plain water. It scattered the tortilla a little, but I can't see that it ate anything. It spilled half its water, but I can't tell if it drank anything. By the way, I can easily feel its breastbone, but it's not "sharp" feeling. I just replaced its old food with a new leaf of lettuce and a shredded wheat cracker.

Its droppings are mostly dark green, loose, and watery, and when left alone, its behavior is mostly to just sit still with its eyes half closed. It wanders around very little. Once it tried to fly off my shoulder but just fell to the floor. I also noticed what I assume is one of many lice in its feathers.

I'm in Butte, Montana, USA, and I don't know of any rehab centers nearby. I might call the vet tomorrow for advice, but I suspect if I brought it there, they would just euthanize it.

Can you help me decide what to do with this bird and improve my care plan? Do you think its wing is broken?

(By the way, can its lice or whatever bugs it has infect humans? Also, can you tell if it's male or female?)

Here are some pictures. Thanks for your help!


^^Here you can see its sagging wing.^^

^^It seems to have a bit of feathers missing near the joint.^^

^^This is where I saw the fleck of blood, though it's gone now.^^

^^This is a typical dropping.^^



Last edited by Whesandra; 5th July 2013 at 11:54 PM.
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Jaye Jaye is offline
Posted 6th July 2013, 12:04 AM
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You have done well so far.

Continue to keep her in a warm room or space, talking 75 degrees around the clock.

NEXT, go get some wild birdseed at the grocery or hardware or pet food store. The tortillas don't cut it. It has probably been a few days since he/she ate, so he needs food and quickly. Also go buy some frozen peas, in case she won't eat the seed and you have to handfeed her.

She is a youngster, not a fledgling but looks like a juvenile, maybe 4 months old or the like.

I am concerned that the injury is from a bb gun. They make almost invisible holes. You need to rustle the feathers around with your fingers, gently, and see if you can find the wound. Look also for any very inflamed areas. Also cat fangs can make very small punctures as well.

The GOOD news is, you saved her/him. Also, the wing is not totally messed up.

When you extend it, does it 'spring' back into a closed position, or does it just droop ?

Next, and ASAP: if you do NOT have an avian vet in your area, you need to do the following:

1) wrap him in a towel with head sticking out and gently pry his beak open. Is there any phlegm or yellow or white growths in his mouth or throat ?

2) given that he likely was injured by something, starting some antibiotics would be a good plan...and fast (within the next 12-24 hours). Do you have, or can you get from friends, neighbors, whoever...any of the following: Penicillin, Amoxycillin, Clavamox, Augmentin, Ampicillin, Cipro (Ciproflaxin, Baytril, Enroflaxin), Ceclor, Ampicillin, Cephalexin, or Trimeth Sulfate ?

If it was an attack by a predator or the result of being shot at, the antibiotic is of utmost importance and needs to be begun w/i 48-72 hours of the injury.

The fluffing up is NOT because she is cold, but because she feels ill and/or is in pain. It is not usually a good sign. The eyes half closed, also not a good sign ~ usually means illness or again, a lot of pain. The poops are nothing alarming, really.

Get back to us with those answers and we can take it from there. As I said, if there is an Avian vet nearby, that is the BEST course of action: just tell them that he belongs to you; or that your friend has a Pigeon loft and you are tending to it while he is away and this one came back injured.

(The fact that she acts so tame and at ease around you likely indicates she is used to human contact, so may NOT be a Feral but rather a domestic-raised Pigeon).

Do NOT take him to a wildlife rehab center. He/she has a wing injury and cannot fly...95% chance they would just kill him as 'unreleasable'.

Last edited by Jaye; 6th July 2013 at 12:14 AM.
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Whesandra Whesandra is offline
Posted 6th July 2013, 01:04 AM
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Thanks for your speedy reply, Jaye!

I rustled the feathers as best I could and examined any skin I could find on the wing, but I couldn't find any holes or any more blood. The skin looks bright red, though.

When I extend the injured wing, it goes back to its "normal" folded position against the pigeon's body; it doesn't just flop uselessly. The pigeon also lifts both wings over its head when it tries to get away. I can very easily extend the injured wing, but the pigeon fights stronger against letting me extend the healthy wing.

I looked in its mouth as far back as I could, but I don't see any phlegm or growths. It just looks pink and clear. I hope I'm not just missing them.

I don't have any antibiotics available, but could I at least give it some pain meds for now? I have ibuprofen 200mg, acetaminophen 325mg, and aspirin 81mg tablets. I also have a blunt-tip 1 mL syringe, if that helps.

I can't get seed until morning, but how do I handfeed frozen peas?

Also, do you know if its bugs can infect humans or my dog?

Thanks so much for your help!
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Whesandra Whesandra is offline
Posted 6th July 2013, 05:41 AM
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The poor pigeon just looks sad and miserable now.
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Skyeking Skyeking is offline
Posted 6th July 2013, 05:44 AM
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This is a youngster and it needs to drink and eat asap. It is no doubt starving.

Have you hydrated and fed the bird?

Just defrost frozen peas, warm and drain them and then gently open beak. Put one pea in back of throat on top of tongue and allow the youngster to swallow. (close beak) and repeat about 20 times.
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Whesandra Whesandra is offline
Posted 6th July 2013, 05:49 AM
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Thanks, Skyeking, I'll try that now. I'll check back later.
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Whesandra Whesandra is offline
Posted 6th July 2013, 07:27 AM
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Well, all hope is not lost. My pigeon ate about 23 peas (three of them on its own!) and drank maybe 3 mL of water from the syringe. It's nice to be met with a little success now and again.

I'm still worried about it being in pain, though. Anyone know if it's safe to give it any kind of human pain meds?

Thanks very much for your help, guys!
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Jay3 Jay3 is offline
Posted 6th July 2013, 08:04 AM
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No. don't give it anything for pain. He is probably weak from not eating, or could be sick. Most human pain relievers can kill him. Keep him warm, as a bird who is injured or sick has a hard time keeping himself warm. That is why he is fluffed. He needs clean water and food, and time to build his strength up. If a predator did catch him, then he needs antibiotics. Get some wild bird seed for now, and leave him with that and clean water. If he doesn't eat it on his own, then you can continue the defrosted peas. Try giving him about 50, then wait for the crop to empty and give him 50 more. Probably 2 or 3 times a day.
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Msfreebird Msfreebird is offline
Posted 6th July 2013, 08:28 AM
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NO Ibuprofen or pain meds!!!! As Jay said....Can be fatal!!
If he's drinking on his own, you can add a 'pinch' of salt and sugar to his water. He's definitely a youngster....thank you for caring for him
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Skyeking Skyeking is offline
Posted 6th July 2013, 08:47 AM
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As said:

Keep him warm.
Wait for crop to completely empty before feeding again.
You don't need to hydrate him after feeding the defrosted/drained/warmed peas.
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Jaye Jaye is offline
Posted 6th July 2013, 09:58 AM
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Great news that he perked up with food.

It still sounds like he is injured...the red areas of the skin, is it inflamed/swollen ? Red areas of skin are not typical.

Do a search around for antibiotics today. Again, they are prescription...so if you cannot find a vet, then you are relying on anyone you know who might have some kicking around the house, whether meds for man or beast. One can order online and have them express-shipped, but that would not get them to you until Monday or Tuesday at this point. I'd say we need something sooner.

Dunno where you live exactly, but are there any farm animal supply stores around ? They sometimes have over-counter Trimeth Sulfate or some other antibiotic for livestock, which would work in this case.

No, pigeon lice or pigeon fly (if he/she has either) do not transmit to other bird species or mammals. They stay put on Pigeons.
Nevertheless, just as typical precautionary measures, keep her in a room away from other birds and dogs/cats. One can treat to eradicate any of that, but let's not do that quite yet given her somewhat fragile state.

Keep it up you are doing great !
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Jay3 Jay3 is offline
Posted 6th July 2013, 10:56 AM
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You can dust the bird with Sevin 5% garden dust or permethrin dust. Just don't get any near his face. That will get rid of the bugs fast. Or even pick up a spray for bird mites and lice. You can get that at any pet shop, and I always do that right away. Don't want them in my house or on the poor. He has enough problems. Getting rid of them can only help him, and it won't hurt him any.
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Whesandra Whesandra is offline
Posted 6th July 2013, 03:51 PM
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OK, no pain meds. Thanks.

What's it mean for the crop to empty, and how will I know?

I can't tell if it's drinking on its own. When I put a bowl of water in, I'll come back to find half of it soaking the newspaper lining. Do you think it's drinking or just making a mess?

My mom brought home bird seed and unfilterd apple cider vinegar for mites. We're hoping her coworker will bring us a capsule of amoxicillin later, too.

I left ten peas and ten corn kernels in its cage overnight, but it didn't eat them. However, my mom scattered a little seed in its cage, and it went over and started pecking at it right away. I checked back a few minutes later, and all the peas and a couple kernels of corn were gone. So I cleaned the cage and gave it more water, fresh seed, and 23 more peas (all I had left), and the peas lasted all of about 30 seconds! The pigeon went right over and scarfed 'em down fast! Now it's pecking in the seed. I'll have to get more peas from the store.

I haven't tried giving it apple cider vinegar yet.

Hopefully the amoxicillin gets here soon. I don't know how many milligrams it will be, but hopefully the coworker will. What do I do with it once I get it?

Thanks so much for all of your help, you guys! You're really making this easier on me, and the pigeon seems to be doing better now that I have your advice. :)

Oh! I haven't gotten to check its wing again yet. I'll post another picture in just a sec.
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Whesandra Whesandra is offline
Posted 6th July 2013, 04:04 PM
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I won't get a chance to even try to look at its skin again until late tonight, but here's another picture of its wing--the right wing is the injured one.

You can see that the top of its right wing folds up against its body fairly normally, but the bottom part (the part with the longest feathers) droops to the floor. The picture's a bit dark, but you can see its left wing is sticking out over its tail, but its right wing isn't.

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Jay3 Jay3 is offline
Posted 6th July 2013, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whesandra View Post
OK, no pain meds. Thanks.

What's it mean for the crop to empty, and how will I know?

I can't tell if it's drinking on its own. When I put a bowl of water in, I'll come back to find half of it soaking the newspaper lining. Do you think it's drinking or just making a mess?

My mom brought home bird seed and unfilterd apple cider vinegar for mites. We're hoping her coworker will bring us a capsule of amoxicillin later, too.

I left ten peas and ten corn kernels in its cage overnight, but it didn't eat them. However, my mom scattered a little seed in its cage, and it went over and started pecking at it right away. I checked back a few minutes later, and all the peas and a couple kernels of corn were gone. So I cleaned the cage and gave it more water, fresh seed, and 23 more peas (all I had left), and the peas lasted all of about 30 seconds! The pigeon went right over and scarfed 'em down fast! Now it's pecking in the seed. I'll have to get more peas from the store.

I haven't tried giving it apple cider vinegar yet.

Hopefully the amoxicillin gets here soon. I don't know how many milligrams it will be, but hopefully the coworker will. What do I do with it once I get it?

Thanks so much for all of your help, you guys! You're really making this easier on me, and the pigeon seems to be doing better now that I have your advice.

Oh! I haven't gotten to check its wing again yet. I'll post another picture in just a sec.

Apple cider vinegar won't cure the mite problem. You can mix some in his water for drinking at a tablespoon to a gallon of water, and some do put it in their bath water, but if you want to get rid of the mites then you will need a bird lice and mite spray from a pet shop, or Seven garden dust, or Permethrin powder, or something that is for mites.
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Last edited by Jay3; 6th July 2013 at 06:23 PM.
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