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CO Int CO Int is offline
Posted 11th May 2011, 10:16 AM
Join Date: May 2011
Country: South Africa
Location: South Africa
Posts: 5

New Pigeon Owner


Hi everyone.

I was very glad to find this forum. I've been reading all day and have been learning loads.

I am not a new bird owner as I own an African Grey (12 years), two Cockatiels (4 years) a cheeky Ringneck (1 year) and up until about three months ago, I had a beautiful Triton Cockatoo which I miss with all my heart. My Cockatoo was a rescue and according to the vet who performed the autopsy, he died of a brain seizure that was caused by a bad diet for a long time (he suspects sunflower seed). We didn't know how old he was or where he came from but when I got him he already had impaired renal function and liver damage. I had him for three years before he died.

Anyway, he ties in with my new "babies". A friend of mine owns a big stable yard that has loads of fowl (geese, ducks and fantail pigeons). We noticed a pigeon about four months ago that was less active than the others (a flock of about 30) which regularly slept in the arena or was found pecking around the horses when none of his other family was around. He wasn't wild, but he wasn't used to being handled either and although we had tried to catch him in the past, he just flew up onto the roof. So we figured if he can still fly he's fine.

She contacted me last week to say that she had found Harry - as he's been dubbed, huddling in a corner with a wound on his wing. We have no idea how long he was there or how the wound happened. We also don't know how old he is. She had put him in a cage where she fed and cleaned him everyday for more than a week - but she's not really a bird person and asked whether I would take him.

As for the wound, it is already covered in new feathers - they are still in the sheath but about half an inch long and the wound is located at the top of his wing, where the wing joins the body. He definitely cannot fly, but he is using the wing and folding it into position, although it droops lower than the other wing. I don't know whether I should try and still put him on antibiotics - would you think it's still necessary?

I have a large avairy where my cockatoo used to play during the day, but since his death I didn't have the heart to put anything in his playpen. It's about 15 feet long, 9 feet wide and 6 feet high. I planted a tree in it (it's just branches) but it looks pretty. It's also covered at least half way on all sides to protect against the elements, but the front including the roof is open to allow for sunshine. I live in SA, where the climate is mild, although we are going into winter, but Harry seems strong so I think he might be able to go into the avairy now. If he can fly in future, I will take him back to be with his other family, but if he can't fly anymore, he'll stay with me for live.

In a bizzare twist, at the same time I got Harry, a woman found me that had handraised two white pigeons (now 8 months old) and was keeping them in a 3 x 3 feet cage. She realized they didn't have enough space and asked me if would take them. I took them thinking they might make good friends for Harry. They are really very cute. One is extremely cuddly and have loads of personality and the other one is on the nervous side, but is very chatty. I have no idea what sex any of them are and I don't really care, but I am worried about Harry being bullied. He did however, when he first met them, puff himself out up to his biggest and his tail came right up, bobbing his head now and then. Everytime one of them moves he goes back "into the pose", so I'm hoping he'll be ok. Because he can't fly and they can, I'm just worried that he won't be quick enough to get out of their way it they do try and boss him about.

So, I've set up nest boxes (I'm not expecting them to breed, but incase they want to use it as shelter) and have set up a nest box for Harry low enough for him to walk into. I have a lovely big shallow dish for them to bath in and two big dishes, one for food and the other for water. I've bought them a pelleted pigeon diet, but because I'm not sure what they will eat (Harry grew up on Horse food!) I have also bought corn, barley, safflower, millet, peas and a vitamin supplement which I have all mixed together. They do seem to like it. I also got some red pigeon grit which they are also eating without problems.

I really want to do right by them and would really appreciate any guidance to make sure they receive the best care. I will post pictures (hopefully I'll have a chance this weekend) soon. In the mean time, any help would be much appreciated!
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aviary, fantail pigeon, friends, injured

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