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anndor anndor is offline
Posted 12th August 2019, 05:46 PM
Join Date: Aug 2019
Country: United States
Location: Western NY
Posts: 4
Unhappy

Baby pigeon breathing heavily


Hi folks. I'm in Rochester, NY and on Friday my coworker found a baby pigeon in the parking garage at our work. It was running frantically in lopsided circles and its foot was bleeding fairly heavily. It left a pattern on the floor like a little kid using a Spirograph.

We think his parents were nearby but he's way too young to be out and about, we could find no nest near where we found him, and there was nowhere safe to just leave him where he wouldn't end up run over by a car.

From looking around posts and age comparisons, I think he's around 10-12 days old. Lots of the yellow fuzz feathers but a thick gathering of the pin feathers that have started to fluff out since I found him.

There is a vet that rehabs wildlife and specifically does accept feral pigeons about 20 minutes away from me that I was/am planning to bring him to. (Edit: I have not brought him yet because they were already closed on Friday, not open all weekend, and closed before I got out of work today)

But I've gotten attached and if he's otherwise healthy I'd kind of like to keep him. I went out and bought the Kaytee Exact baby formula and got a recommendation from a local bird store on the water ratio. He's been eating like a cow, pooping like a champ, fluttreing his wings, grooming himself, and scooting around the box I have him set up in temporarily. I have reptiles so I also have a night-time lower watt heat lamp above one end of the box to keep him warm (box has no lid to keep good airflow and prevent him overheating).

I'm worried, though, he might have aspirated food. Sometime yesterday he started breathing a little heavily, through his mouth. Like a full-bodied breathing all the way down to his tail (constantly making the tail-bob motion he previously only made before he pooped). Every once in a while he'll stretch his neck like he's trying to swallow down a bit of food, or kind of twitch his head around.

He has a bit of moisture around one of his nostrils.

No lethargy that seems unusual compared to Friday/Saturday. As soon as I touch him he starts flapping and pecking for food, standing up, etc. Every feeding so far today he's eaten like a horse.

Basically my question is, is the breathing unusual and I'm just being paranoid? I stupidly named him and now I'm attached, so if I don't *have* to turn him in to a rescue, I'd love to continue rearing him.

But if there's any chance it's a symptom of illness or aspiration or other issue requiring a professional vet, then I'll bring him in.

Right now I'm planning to bring him in the morning either way, because I don't want my own arrogance to kill him. But if I could somehow keep him I'd love to.

I've got a video I'm trying to upload to Youtube so I can share what he's doing, but does the description strike any immediate thoughts from anyone?

Last edited by anndor; 12th August 2019 at 05:47 PM.. Reason: Added clarification to why he's not yet at a wildlife rehab
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anndor anndor is offline
Posted 12th August 2019, 06:07 PM
Join Date: Aug 2019
Country: United States
Location: Western NY
Posts: 4
Won't let me edit the original post, so here are the videos:
https://captainanndor.tumblr.com/post/186968191171
https://captainanndor.tumblr.com/post/186968165841
https://captainanndor.tumblr.com/post/186968147546

YouTube wouldn't work from my phone but Tumblr would.
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Marina B Marina B is offline
Posted 13th August 2019, 07:59 AM
Join Date: May 2011
Country: South Africa
Location: Lamberts Bay
Posts: 2,325
A decent avian vet will be the best option now. That breathing is not normal. If he got aspirated, he will develop aspiration pneumonia and this will kill him. The vet will give antibiotics that you can mix in with the formula.

How are you feeding him? Do you use the cut-off syringe method with a rubber glove stretched over the end? On you tube there are lots of videos on how to feed baby pigeons. You will notice that they eat, then they will draw back the head and take a few breaths before continueing to eat. When they take the breaths, you need to level the syringe so that no food gets inhaled.

Plse let us know what the vet says, especially what type of antibiotics he subscribes and the amount. Also, no need to euthanize the little one. Sometimes vets just don't bother about baby pigeons. If he can't help you, we will try our best here.
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anndor anndor is offline
Posted 13th August 2019, 01:57 PM
Join Date: Aug 2019
Country: United States
Location: Western NY
Posts: 4
Thanks Marina!

I was using the cut off syringe with a glove finger over the tip. I just did not realize how far in his beak was going/how far forward his nostrils were, so I definitely think he inhaled a bit. He also never actually drew back, haha. He'd peck/eat and then just open his mouth and horf down like half the syringe in one gulp (i was using a very small one to avoid overfeeding). His breathing was much better and almost back to normal this morning, but I still brought him in.

The only vet that sees pigeons takes them in as rehab, so they didn't give me any recommendations, they just had me fill out the wildlife form and they admitted him. They said I can call to check up on progress and I will this afternoon just to remind them to do whatever is needed if he can be saved and I'll cover any costs that may play a role in "meh, not worth the effort".

If i can get any information on his care I'd update here. Given how hard it was to find a vet or rescue who cares about pigeons has pushed me to look into NYS wildlife rehabilitator licensing, so in the future I can do as much as possible for them myself. I passed the 497 question practice exam on the website with an 84%, so I should do well come April! And hopefully I can use this vet for required treatments without having to completely hand then over and then wonder forever.
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anndor anndor is offline
Posted 13th August 2019, 02:02 PM
Join Date: Aug 2019
Country: United States
Location: Western NY
Posts: 4
I just called the vet because I was worried and they confirmed he's doing well! No illness or other concerns and they're sending him off to one of the rehabilitators they work with!

So I'm guessing maybe he didn't aspirate but just had clogged nasal passages that cleared up? Or coughed up whatever he'd swallowed before it could cause problems?

Good news either way, and if the breathing issues return the rehabilitator will be able to help or get him back to the vet.

Thanks for confirming I did the right thing by bringing him in!
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Marina B Marina B is offline
Posted 13th August 2019, 11:59 PM
Join Date: May 2011
Country: South Africa
Location: Lamberts Bay
Posts: 2,325
I'm glad things worked out well. Would still go and check up on him.
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