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WingingIt WingingIt is offline
Posted 13th August 2019, 02:17 AM
Join Date: Aug 2019
Country: Ireland
Location: Ireland
Posts: 4

Help! Cat Lady Minding a Wood Pigeon


Hello!

Sorry in advance if I am doing something wrong I know NOTHING about pigeons (or birds, really)!

I spotted a wood pigeon bumbling about on the road of my apartment complex the day before yesterday. He didn't look able to fly so I went back down with a towel (thanks Google) and after a few clumsy attempts caught him and brought him up to my apartment. I was worried he'd be massacred if left to his own devices since he wasn't able to fly.

Yesterday morning I took him to the vet, and in the afternoon they called me to say they'd checked him out and given him an antibiotic shot, and asked if I would be happy to take him back and mind him until he gets his strength back. I went and picked him up (he has a wound on his chest under his left wing - probably attacked by a cat or a fox) and moved him into a better box. I was just wondering if anyone here could help me with some questions I have!

I was wondering if you could tell me what size box I should use to mind him? How much space should he have to move around? At the moment he's in a hoover box that I found outside in the recycling and laid on its side. I poked holes in it and cut out little strips to make sure there's enough air getting in.

Is newspaper okay for the bottom? How often should I change it? And what should I be looking for with pigeon poop to know if he's healthy? I can't tell whether or not he's eating or drinking but he's certainly pooping! It's just white? Is it supposed to be?

I'm feeding him wild bird seed that I had for my bird feeders. The vet said I can give him cat food(?) as well so I've put a little in this morning to see if he likes it. Should I put the water and food beside each other or in separate ends of the box or does it matter?

Also yesterday I hadn't read about the whole straw sucking situation and had a much bigger, shallower water bowl in there - this morning he seemed to be sitting in it? Is that normal? Should I be worried? He had also pooped in it. Should he have water to lie in and different water to drink?

Thanks to anyone who has any advice!

ETA: When I took him to the vet they were super busy and couldn't fit me in for a consult; I explained the situation and what I had read online, told them he seemed alert and that if it was in any way fixable I was happy to take him back and to please not euthanise him unless they thought there was absolutely no hope for him. I know these vets (I have two indoor-only cats) so I trusted them to act in his best interests for anyone wondering why I left him there for the day!

Last edited by WingingIt; 13th August 2019 at 03:12 AM..
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Marina B Marina B is offline
Posted 13th August 2019, 07:08 AM
Join Date: May 2011
Country: South Africa
Location: Lamberts Bay
Posts: 2,170
Can you post a photo of him? He might still be too young to eat and drink by himself. The droppings of a pigeon that is eating, will be brown and firm with a white dot on top. If the droppings are bright green, then they are producing starvation droppings. Are you sure there is enough light in the box for him to see the food?
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WingingIt WingingIt is offline
Posted 13th August 2019, 08:13 AM
Join Date: Aug 2019
Country: Ireland
Location: Ireland
Posts: 4
Oh no now I'm really worried! I just checked on him and he was sitting in a pile of poop and it looks sort of green with black goo? I just fed him six peas just in case but he wasn't a fan of the whole experience. I think he can feel my fear (I'm so afraid of hurting him)!

Is this starvation poop?? What can I do for him? What am I doing wrong? Also he's all filthy now from standing in his poop - do I clean him? How do I do that?

I'm so worried!
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Marina B Marina B is offline
Posted 13th August 2019, 09:01 AM
Join Date: May 2011
Country: South Africa
Location: Lamberts Bay
Posts: 2,170
He is an adult, probably terrified of the whole experience. Did you tell the vet a cat was probably involved? When cats are involved, one needs to give antibiotics for a week to 10 days.

Don't you have better housing for him? A small cage will do well. Or if you can turn the box on its side and cover the front with a see through mesh. Put this up on a table, they feel safer when higher from the ground. You can also line the bottom with a couple of newspapers and put a brick inside. He will perch on the brick and the droppings will fall on the newspaper. Every morning you can just remove a layer, much easier to clean.

You will need to feed him more if he does not eat. You won't hurt him, it will get easier with practice.
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Marina B Marina B is offline
Posted 13th August 2019, 09:01 AM
Join Date: May 2011
Country: South Africa
Location: Lamberts Bay
Posts: 2,170
Don't worry about cleaning him now, this will just make him more terrified.
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WingingIt WingingIt is offline
Posted 13th August 2019, 09:12 AM
Join Date: Aug 2019
Country: Ireland
Location: Ireland
Posts: 4
They said the shot the gave him was a long-acting antibiotic so "he should be fine" but if he starts to look poorly I'll bring him in again. I'm going to try to find a bigger thing for him (and a brick). I should clarify that I don't know for sure he was attacked by a cat - he has a wound on his chest and the vet said it was likely that he was attacked by a fox or a cat, but that it a deep wound and that was good. Still looks quite sore to me but I know nothing..

I'll put him up higher and try to find a better box or form of housing for him. I don't have any cages unfortunately - I only put him in a box because I thought he was supposed to be somewhere dark and quiet and warm and it seemed like the best emergency solution...
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WingingIt WingingIt is offline
Posted 14th August 2019, 03:03 AM
Join Date: Aug 2019
Country: Ireland
Location: Ireland
Posts: 4
Update for today, he's got a bit more spirit in him today! Doesn't like being force fed peas as it turns out. I can't be sure he's eating the seed I've put in with him so the struggle continues until I can find a better way. POA for today is to find/make a bigger, better box/enclosure for him. He's alert and angry but his poop doesn't seem right (watery, greenish, black inky blobs) so will ring the vet just in case. Definitely going to need a LOT more newspaper!
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Marina B Marina B is offline
Posted 14th August 2019, 09:51 PM
Join Date: May 2011
Country: South Africa
Location: Lamberts Bay
Posts: 2,170
There might be something else wrong with him, and that's why he was attacked. You will know he is eating when the droppings become more bulky and brown. A sick pigeon, however, won't eat or eat very little. Is he drinking plenty of water? Ask the vet to check for canker in his throat.
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