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pigeoninSF pigeoninSF is offline
Posted 17th January 2010, 10:47 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1

Pigeon covered in oil... or something. How to clean?


Hi everyone,

A few days ago I found a pigeon sitting on the sidewalk near my apartment in San Francisco that was able to run but not able to fly. I managed to catch it and brought it inside my apartment. I've helped pigeons in the past (mostly babies who fell out of their nests too early), and this one seems healthy (clear eyes, nothing oozing out of anything anywhere, good looking poop, decent appetite) but it's completely covered in some oily-type substance. Its feathers are a mess (hence I think why it can't fly), and the bird isn't preening at all.

I already tried to give it two baths, once with Trader Joe's dish washing liquid and then with Dawn (since I saw that Dawn was the cleaner-of-choice of rehabilitators who help birds after oil spills). The water turns gray after each washing, so something is coming off, but the bird still feels very oily and its still not preening. (Plus, each bath seems to freak it out way too much--I can see it breathing heavily for at least an hour after each washing.)

So, is there something else I should try? Or should I just be more aggressive during the bird's next bath? (By "aggressive," I just mean suds it more, rinse it more, use a toothbrush, wash it until the water is completely clear?) Or is there something that works better than Dawn? Any advice that you kind experts could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!


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plamenh plamenh is offline
Posted 17th January 2010, 11:12 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Johannesburg South Africa
Posts: 1,504
It is important to let him relax and calm down, keep him warm, let him eat and drink.
This is procedure for washing feathers:

Removing Oil From the Feathers

The product found through IBRRC testing to be the most effective at removing oil is Dawn dishwashing liquid.

Once the bird has been approved by the veterinarian to be washed and is moved to the washing area, a team of trained personnel begin the wash procedure. Because the experience is extremely stressful and can result in the death of the bird, only trained staff and volunteers oversee cleaning oiled birds. The bird’s entire body is immersed in a one percent solution of Dawn and warm water (warm enough to approximate the bird’s internal body temperature. Once wet, the bird is unable to thermo regulate) by one person while a second vigorously agitates the water into the bird’s feathers. A WaterPik filled with the same solution is used to clean the head. A soft toothbrush and cotton swabs are used to loosen dried oil around the head and eye area.

When the water becomes dirty, the bird is moved to a second pan. The washing process is repeated as often as necessary and ten to 15 tubs are not uncommon. The bird is considered clean when the tub of water is clear and free of oil.

The bird is constantly monitored for any signs of stress during the washing procedure. If a bird exhibits signs of exhaustion or undue stress, the wash procedure is stopped by the team leader or veterinarian.

Rinsing the Solution from the Feathers

After wash, the bird is taken to a separate rinsing area where a special nozzle is used to completely rinse the solution from the feathers. The rinsing process is just as important as wash, because any detergent or solution left on the feathers can impair the natural waterproofing process even if all the oil has been removed. Specially designed spa nozzles are used that propel the water at sufficient psi to remove all traces of detergent from the birds feathers. Rinsing is done by a team of experienced rinsers who are able to determine when all the soap and oil has been removed from the feathers.

P.S. It is good that he doesn't preen as it may be poisoned by oil.

Last edited by plamenh; 17th January 2010 at 11:15 PM.
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Jaye Jaye is offline
Posted 18th January 2010, 10:13 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Country: United States
Location: Portland
Posts: 4,045
Good info above - but sometimes it just takes repeated apps of Dawn - you are correct - give a few days in between baths so as not to stress him\her too much - l am in SF & have PM'ed you as well
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Elizabethy Elizabethy is offline
Posted 18th January 2010, 11:54 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: SF, CA
Posts: 692
Hello and thank you for helping this poor pigeon. Without you- dead.

In my experience, it takes time (as well as bathing) for their feather quality to return to normal-enough-to-survive (feathers not only need to be in correct shape for flying but also for warmth). The last greasy bird I cared for, Slim, was with me for a couple of months.

If you keep him in the house with you that long, he'll probably not be releasable (too tame). I see that Jaye has reached out to you and he'll have good suggestions. I know a rehabber that *may* have room to keep this bird with some others recovering for release or, and not everybody agrees with me on this, I'd say WildCare is a good resource for a pigeon like this. All it needs is time and it will be fine (so unlikely to be euthanized) but would be in a wildlife setting so not so likely to become tame.

And of course, if you'd like to keep the little guy, he'll become an amazing pet for you and I have LOTS of homeless pigeons fostered- any one of which could make a great friend for yours if you do keep him.

I can be e-mailed at AdoptKings@gmail.com

Just my thoughts... I'm no expert. You're in the right place, though! Pigeon Talk folks ARE the experts!
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c.hert c.hert is offline
Posted 18th January 2010, 02:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,766
Washing it with Dawn is good but the very most important thing right now is to keep it real warm because with the oil on the feathers it cannot regulate its temperature..get a hot water bottle or heating pad or even a small space heater and keep it warm but make sure it is not hot enough to burn the bird.
Wash it quick and the best you can then wrap it in a towel and dry it the best you can without freaking it too much but each time it does get easier for you and the bird---use a hair dryer ---if not too freaky ---support feed it little by little and keep it hydrated little by little until it is able to eat--probley will only eat when it is semi-dry or dry---then the next day do the same thing and gradually you will work your way to a okay bird--but one of the most important things is to keep it warm for it not it will freeze to death because the oil stops all temperature adjustments for the bird..Good luck to you and you will get better at this---be strong....c.hert
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altgirl35 altgirl35 is offline
Posted 18th January 2010, 04:17 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Country: United States
Location: Northeast
Age: 46
Posts: 2,331
i volunteered to help with oiled ducks and geese last summer and it is a huge production.
they actually did 3 baths, the water needs to be 106f degrees.
i can't remember what the ratio was but the first tub had the the most dawn in it, then a little less in the 2nd and less in the 3rd.
they really scrubbed those birds for about 5 minutes in each tub, at the end they rinsed and rinsed them in 106 degree water for a good 10-15 minutes, when they rinsed them it was weird it almost rinsed them dry.
after that it took most of the birds about 2 weeks to regain thier water proofing.
call tri state bird rescue in the morning, they should be willing to advise you even though your not permitted because a pigeon is a non protected species, super nice people
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altgirl35 altgirl35 is offline
Posted 18th January 2010, 04:18 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Country: United States
Location: Northeast
Age: 46
Posts: 2,331
oh here's the link
http://www.tristatebird.org/
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c.hert c.hert is offline
Posted 18th January 2010, 05:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,766
I would take a quess that it is covered in something that is called TANGLEWEED and I hope I got this name right--there are other names too----people put it on their roofs to keep pigeons off thinking it won't harm them but it does and eventually kills them by hyperthermia--don't know if hypothermia or the other one but they actually freeze to death..they step in it and try to get it off and it spreads to their whole body and becomes a gooey mess--maybe tanglewood---can't remember---I saved one time 5 pigeons and what a mess it was and yes it takes quite a few weeks to sort all of this out but they do get clean after about 5 or 6 washings..maybe more--depends but its up to you and be braver than the pigeons---but they do fine if quickly done and snuggled and kept warm in a nice soft towel--pretend they are your babies and you will survive..
and I wish I was there to help you---good luck..c.herts.....
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altgirl35 altgirl35 is offline
Posted 19th January 2010, 10:25 AM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Country: United States
Location: Northeast
Age: 46
Posts: 2,331
i have had some birds with horrible stuff on them, roofing tar, polyurethane, glue traps, flypaper.
that is a whole different thing, and water makes it worse, depending on how bad it is u can usually work it off them with a little mineral oil, then do the dawn bath to get the mineral oil off.
i have resorted to using acetone on really bad ones in of course a well ventilated area
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Jodie Jodie is offline
Posted 24th November 2010, 05:41 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Country: Australia
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 16

Cleaning Pigeon


Quote:
Originally Posted by pigeoninSF View Post
Hi everyone,

A few days ago I found a pigeon sitting on the sidewalk near my apartment in San Francisco that was able to run but not able to fly. I managed to catch it and brought it inside my apartment. I've helped pigeons in the past (mostly babies who fell out of their nests too early), and this one seems healthy (clear eyes, nothing oozing out of anything anywhere, good looking poop, decent appetite) but it's completely covered in some oily-type substance. Its feathers are a mess (hence I think why it can't fly), and the bird isn't preening at all.

I already tried to give it two baths, once with Trader Joe's dish washing liquid and then with Dawn (since I saw that Dawn was the cleaner-of-choice of rehabilitators who help birds after oil spills). The water turns gray after each washing, so something is coming off, but the bird still feels very oily and its still not preening. (Plus, each bath seems to freak it out way too much--I can see it breathing heavily for at least an hour after each washing.)

So, is there something else I should try? Or should I just be more aggressive during the bird's next bath? (By "aggressive," I just mean suds it more, rinse it more, use a toothbrush, wash it until the water is completely clear?) Or is there something that works better than Dawn? Any advice that you kind experts could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Hello

I am wondering if you managed to wash the oil from the pigeons? I found two on Sunday, I have given ttem 2 baths but the mess will not budge. Jodie
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Dobato Dobato is offline
Posted 24th November 2010, 10:17 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 4,445
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jodie View Post
Hello

I am wondering if you managed to wash the oil from the pigeons? I found two on Sunday, I have given ttem 2 baths but the mess will not budge. Jodie
Jodie, thanks for trying to help these little guys out. As a result of the resistant nature of what is coating them you will need an intermediary product, such as mineral oil as altgirl35 mentions. This will help soft and breakdown the heavy oil coating and then allow the Dawn to more easily remove it all. You can use baby oil, which is a light mineral oil, pour some into your palm, rub your hands together, pick one of them up and work the baby oil through their coated feathers, wait 5 minutes and then shampoo with the Dawn. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Karyn
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pdpbison pdpbison is offline
Posted 24th November 2010, 11:58 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Country: United States
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada - U.S.A.
Age: 60
Posts: 10,362
Yes...Mineral Oil or Baby Oil is a good bet...a few rounds of that over some days, and then try the Shampoo again...and have a good definitely "warm" place for them after the Bath/Shampoo ritual.


Any more, when I get in some Oil-Bird, usually is is a long accumulation of rancid Cooking Oils dripping out of Dumpsters where the Birds forrage under the Dumpster and over time are just totally saturated with a smelly waxy tacky build up...



Nothing I tried would clean this off, and, besides, the Birds HATED my efforts, so, anymore, I just have them in an observation cage a while till satified they are healthy, then let them run around, and after however many months, they have replaced the old ruined waxy Feathers, are flying wonderfully, smell good, and so on, and, I turn them loose then.
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Jodie Jodie is offline
Posted 25th November 2010, 02:22 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Country: Australia
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 16
Thank you for your reply. I will try the baby oil in the morning. If all else fails, I will keep them til the grow new feathers. I will keep you posted
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Jodie Jodie is offline
Posted 29th March 2011, 07:01 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Country: Australia
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 16
Thanks for all the info but, nothing worked. So I just waited for the 2 birds to grow new feathers. Each day they pulled out a few and each day I pulled out a few. When they first arrived in my care they were skinny and very very cold. They have now put on weight and when I touch them they are warm as toast.

One bird recovered quicker than the other. Early January he took a small flight from my balcony, landed on a factory roof next door to my house. He then flew around the building, he returned 10 minutes later, landing nicely in my bedroom. So for the next 4 weeks he would fly off and come back a few times each day but, always coming back home to sleep.

One night end of Janaury he did not return but, each morning (including today) he arries on my balcony waiting for his breakfast, he leaves after 20 minutes not to be seen til the next morning.

Yesterday he arrived with a smaller bird, the smaller bird had a pink beak, same markings as our bird(our bird is a male) I am thinking that the smaller bird is his baby! Our bird is a fine specimen, he feathers are beautiful and he looks very proud of himself!

The 2nd bird is still with me, he is almost ready to fly. He has jumped off the balcony and could only mange to flutter down 4 stories below to the factoy roof top. The roof top is enclosed by a high brick fence that goes well above the factory roof.

We tried to rescue him by climbing onto the factory roof but he fluttered away. to a spot were we could not get to. For the next two days we looked over the roof top and searched the back street but could not find him. Then we noticed a flock of pigeons across the road in a cement truck factory. We drove to the end of the drive and there he was. The other pigeons flew off but our bird could only run and flutter, so we were able to catch him again.
9 Days later he disapeared from the balcony again but, this time I did not see him go. When I came home from work I looked in the cement factry but this time I could not see him. I went back out later and what did I see? our pigeon walking up the road towards our back door, we call him the "littlest hobo". He dosn't like me at all, so he flew up to a window ledge but I managed to chatch him with a net.
His flying is getting better, so next time he leaves I am hoping he will be able to fly up instead of just fluttering down.

Last edited by Jodie; 29th March 2011 at 07:04 PM.
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Quazar Quazar is offline
Posted 29th March 2011, 09:41 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Country: SCOTLAND
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Posts: 2,144
Jodie, youve done well, thanks for the update......good to hear the fantastic news on these 2 birds.
The first one certainly has progressed well and knows you care and have a safe place for food so will bring his young to teach him where to look too.
The second one seems to be coming on well also.
He may well not like being "kept" and long for his freedom, but obviously, his return shows he knows he is safe & looked after.
I would however be very cautious of him getting out until he CAN actually fly properly.
As you have already discovered, he can easilly get outwith your reach.
When birds cannot fly as well as they should, they use a lot more energy trying to do it, which tires them out faster & leaves them in a very vulnerable situation.
Hawks and other predators that prey on Pigeons can spot things like this from a great distance.
Although you couldnt reach him, if they spotted him they would quite happilly pursue him, and would continue to do so untill so exhausted he couldnt escape.
Youve spent a lot of time and effort giving these birds a great chance to survive and it would be a shame if anything untoward were to happen to the second one at this stage.
Its always a risk, knowing if they are strong enough, but I would give him at least another couple of weeks and see how he is flying inside first.
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