Basic Steps to Saving the Life of a Pigeon or Dove - Pigeon-Talk
Go Back   Pigeon-Talk > Resources > Resource Information > Rescue & Rehab of Pigeons and Doves

Closed Thread
Thread Tools Display Modes
AZWhitefeather's Avatar
AZWhitefeather AZWhitefeather is offline
Posted 31st December 2004, 12:20 PM
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Mesa, AZ USA
Posts: 7,335

Basic Steps to Saving the Life of a Pigeon or Dove

It is vital to stabilize an ill or injured pigeon or dove as soon as possible after rescue.
Three basic steps should be followed.

A bird must be warmed gradually to a normal body temperature and be responsive (able to swallow). It is not unusual for a baby bird presented for rehabilitation to be very cold. (If a bird is unresponsive, please seek the assistance of an experienced rehabber or avian vet immediately.)

If head trauma is suspected, do not place them on heat.

Give the bird a quick, superficial examination. Unless there is a critical situation, e.g., (severe bleeding) all birds should be covered and placed on a heat source* (see below) for at least 20-30 minutes to bring the body temperature back to normal.

Allow the bird to stabilize in a quite, dark, warm area.
While the bird is warming, take the opportunity to prepare any other items you may need to care for the bird, e.g., International Rehydrating Solution (recipe noted below)


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 his dehydration.
All fluids should be warmed or at room temperature!

Description and degrees, of hydrated and dehydrated birds
A well hydrated bird will be very alert, have elastic skin, bright eyes, moist, plump membrane inside the mouth and well formed moist droppings.

A moderately dehydrated bird will be less than fully alert, have dry, flaky skin, dull eyes, non-formed droppings and have a sticky membrane in the mouth.

A severely dehydrated bird will be lethargic or unconscious, the skin will 'tent' when slightly pinched, have sunken eyes, dry or absent droppings and 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 mouth, using an eye dropper and putting drops along his beak every few minutes, making sure the fluids are room temperature or warmed slightly. Initially, a rehydrating solution should be administered. Plain water should not be given unless nothing else is available.

If the bird is not swallowing on his own or fully alert, he must be given fluids under the skin (sub-Q method).
WARNING!! This procedure should only be performed by an experienced rehabber or vet.

Please follow these simple, basic, yet most important steps.
The cells of the body simply don't work properly when dehydrated. Absolutely no digestive processes can take place if the gut CAN'T work. Absorption will not take place, food sits in the gut, undigested, and will eventually kill the bird.

* Heat source suggestions:
Towel lined heating pad, set on low
Towel lined 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.

* International Rehydrating Solution:
To a cup of warm water add a pinch of salt & sugar, mix well. Use this solution to rehydrate by mouth.

* Emergency rehydrating substitute:
Pedialyte, unflavored.

By following these basic steps you have done your best to stabilize your little feathered patient until further assistance is available.

A Pigeon's Dream

As we fly,
Let us be safe from the predators that share the sky.

If we become ill or injured in any way,
Let us find safety where we are welcome to stay.

Cynthia Boyce

Last edited by AZWhitefeather; 25th August 2008 at 07:00 AM..
Sponsored Links
AZWhitefeather's Avatar
AZWhitefeather AZWhitefeather is offline
Posted 21st January 2006, 06:31 AM
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Mesa, AZ USA
Posts: 7,335

Providing Heat to Orphaned Birds

In conjunction with the 'Basic Steps to Saving the Life of a Pigeon or Dove,
this thread contains 'heat providing tips' specifically focusing on orphaned birds.

* It is essential that orphaned birds be kept warm on a towel lined heating pad, set on low.

* Since baby birds have difficulty regulating their body temperature, wrapping them in a towel or keeping them in a warm room is not enough. They need a heat source.
(If no heating pad is available, a hot water bottle may be used or fill an old sock about 2/3 full of rice, microwave for a few seconds, making sure it isn't too hot & place it around the bird.

* Do not turn the heating pad temperature too high thinking this will warm the baby bird faster. Low setting is recommended. Birds need to be warmed gradually until their body temperature has been maintained.

* Do not put a baby bird in the sun to warm him. He will quickly become dehydrated.

* Never attempt to feed a baby bird that is cold or in any type of respiratory distress. Baby birds must be warmed before they can digest any food.

* Keeping a baby bird warm is the most important step in saving his life.
* Many birds that appear near death have been revived after 20-30 minutes on a heating pad.

I hope this information will be of help, especially during baby bird season.

A Pigeon's Dream

As we fly,
Let us be safe from the predators that share the sky.

If we become ill or injured in any way,
Let us find safety where we are welcome to stay.

Cynthia Boyce
Skyeking's Avatar
Skyeking Skyeking is offline
Posted 13th May 2011, 05:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Country: United States
Location: SE Coast Central Florida
Posts: 25,396

How to get a bird to drink the hydration fluid

Closed Thread

avian vet, baby bird, heating pad, injured pigeon, rehydrating solution
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Sitemap:1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:02 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.