Rescued Pigeon Exhibiting Distressed Behaviour - Pigeon-Talk
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Shaunee Shaunee is offline
Posted 26th July 2018, 07:33 PM
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 1

Rescued Pigeon Exhibiting Distressed Behaviour

Hey guys,

I've spent the last several weeks using your forum postings like scripture, and I come to you now in seek of some guidance.

On June 5th (today is July 26th), I found a baby pigeon, estimated to be roughly a week old. Its nest was much too high to attempt placing it back, so I had to make the decision to care for it. Initially it wouldn't eat or drink so I spent more than a week carrying it with me in a small hamster cage and having to open its beak gently to supply it with food. For anyone wondering, during this time I fed it a special soft mixture blend of chicken feed starter, raspberies, canary seeds, and water- blended into a paste. Eventually she started pecking and learned to feed herself and drink water when needed. We eventually figured she was a female even though we had already named her Chuck.

My initial plan was to rehabilitate Chuck back into her initial flock. When she first started to attempt flight I began taking her back to where the flock was roosted, and her sibling and parents were there. They did not seem interested in her and she wasn't interested in them. Over a few weeks I continued to take her back, and even if she does engage with another pigeon, she will fly back to me if I begin to leave, and if the other pigeons take off she will simply return to me instead of following them.

Chuck has seemed happy and content. She eats well, flies, forages, coos, and seems healthy.

The last two or three days however she has begun pulling her feathers out and having little outbursts of biting me. Now, we play sometimes and she lightly pecks at my fingers and stuff, but this is full on furious biting. There have been no changes in environment and since she has started this behaviour I make sure no one is loud or goes near her until she flies over to see them as to not stress her out.

She is pulling her feathers out so much that her fan feathers are starting to thin and the place looks like a bird exploded. It is mostly the smaller down feathers but there have been flight feathers pulled out as well. I've not noticed any blood or mites.

I've been keeping her with me as much as possible which seems to alleviate her stress and the picking stops, however, like I said, she bites me sometimes now.

When she isn't with me, I keep her in the bathroom where she is free to fly and move around. This has been a temporary fix, and now that I'm realizing that she won't rehabilitate, I've begun building her an 8x10x8 flight cage with a roost outside.

I feel like I need to say that there are NO bird rescues within ten hours of me that would even consider taking her. I live in a rural part of British Columbia, Canada. I am prepared to keep her. I'm also okay with continuing to encourage her rehabilitation into the wild.

As I sit here typing this, Chuck is contently sitting on my lap bedded down. I love her and want what will be best for her.

My question is- why the behaviour? is it stress? isolation? am I doing something wrong? what can I do to fix this? I'm even open to getting another bird (budgie maybe?) for her once the flight cage is made, haha.

Thanks in advance for any advice!
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bjknight93 bjknight93 is offline
Posted 26th July 2018, 09:17 PM
Join Date: Jul 2018
Country: United States
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 10

It sounds like Chuck is imprinted on humans and will be safest kept as a pet bird. Pigeons do very well as indoor pets, and large wire dog crates or cat cages make excellent cages for them. If you decide to keep Chuck outside, you will need to ensure your enclosure is predator proof...using ” hardware cloth or even better is ” hardware cloth. The enclosure needs to be dig-proof and rodent-chew-proof. If Chuck stays outside, she would definitely need another pigeon companion. They are very social birds and thrive when they have a friend of their own species.

As far as the feather-picking...I would wonder if Chuck has lice or mites. You can get Sevin Dust or Food-grade Diatomaceous Earth and then use a cotton ball to apply everywhere but the head, making sure to get under the wings adequately. You can also get commercial bird mite/love spray online or at the pet store. Scalex is a popular product here, but not sure what they have where you’re located.
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White Homers White Homers is offline
Posted 14th August 2018, 07:11 AM
Join Date: Sep 2016
Country: United States
Location: New York
Posts: 461
Are you sure he is picking out his feathers? This time of the year mine go through a molt getting new feathers ready for the winter. He may just be pulling out loose feathers that are ready to come out. If you can give him something to take a bath in a bowl or something. If he is molting he will be happy that he can take a bath. Use something that is not too smooth so he can get a little bit of a grip.
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White Homers White Homers is offline
Posted 14th August 2018, 07:13 AM
Join Date: Sep 2016
Country: United States
Location: New York
Posts: 461
Also it does look like a birds exploded lol
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distressed pigeon, feather picking, feather plucking, feral behavior, rescue

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