Blind doves or pigeons (Nemo) - Pigeon-Talk
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 2nd August 2019, 04:55 PM
Join Date: Apr 2018
Country: Spain
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 226
Has anyone had any experience with blind birds and how they manage? Perhaps this might be a question for a different forum - if anyone thinks it might be better placed under a different topic, please let me know.

I have a baby dove (Eurasian collared dove, or tórtola), 2-3 weeks old. Her name is Felicity (ex-Nemo). If she makes it through the next few days and survives, at some point I will need to find her a home because she can't be released. Both of her eyes have been badly pecked and the damage is serious. Where I live, some people adopt birds and and live with them in their apartments (loose). I will ask Spain-based people the same question, and I'm interested in hearing from anyone here who has seen how these birds navigate flying or their lives when they're blind. Especially if they live in homes, and also if they are in aviaries with other birds (are they vulnerable to attack? Doves can be vicious.)

I'm hopeful that she will get at least a bit of sight back. For now, I don't know: it doesn't look optimistic. I just want her to survive the next few days. She's strong, and I have a feeling that she will make it. But it's delicate right now.
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Last edited by Hekie; 3rd August 2019 at 12:18 PM..
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Marina B Marina B is offline
Posted 3rd August 2019, 12:20 AM
Join Date: May 2011
Country: South Africa
Location: Lamberts Bay
Posts: 2,328
Can you post a better photo of the eyes? Do you have her on antibiotics?
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 3rd August 2019, 03:10 AM
Join Date: Apr 2018
Country: Spain
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 226
Hi MarinaB, yes she's on a number of treatments. I'm not going to take a pic of her eyes - I'm trying not to to bother her - but they're bad. Covered in dried blood when she arrived and the vet has some hope for one but it's not looking good. This isn't a question about whether she's blind or not (I'm doing what I can to avoid that she's completely blind and hope for the best) but assuming that she is, do people have experience with how blind birds navigate and adapt. Particularly if people have experience living with them.

Last edited by Hekie; 3rd August 2019 at 03:19 AM..
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Colombina Colombina is offline
Posted 3rd August 2019, 09:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2017
Country: Italy
Posts: 720
Hekie, I don't remember if I told you about him in the other threads but I have a blind pigeon, Geordi. I adopted him from my vet when he was a baby, he is blind from his birth.

So, I'm going to share with you my experience.

I have to hand feed him twice a day and to offer him water (I put the bowl against his chest: in this way he understands that I'm offering him water and, if thirsty, he drinks). He also tries to eat on his own: if you put a good amount of seeds against a surface (like a mirror) he is able to pick a few seeds and eat them on his own.
I have to help him to bathe (I put him in a bowl) then I have to dry him. Sometimes he baths and drinks on his own (for example, when you put him on a table and he finds the water bowl that you left there for him).

I need to be really careful with his diet because he doesn't digest some things (like grit or pickstone, etc) and vomits them.

He does not live in a cage. He walks a lot (you can find him around the apartment!) but often in circles (he has difficulties in going straight), he tries to fly but he just flies backwards so he often hits his tail against furniture, etc. He spends a lot of time on his sofa (when my cat Kira was still alive they spent a lot of time together, see the pic: Kira, Geordi and Goliabianca, my PMV pigeon).

He doesn't like to be alone, he loves staying in company (he really loves sitting on our legs!) and sleeping on pillows.

When I have to travel he always comes with me (sometimes I ask to my brother to care about some of my other birds like Caterina, the baby's mum, because she is really delicate).

Even if he is blind, he has a strong temperament (he is not shy, he has a great determination), he is a warrior! I think that he is a happy pigeon, all things considered.

To answer your question about living with other birds, well, it depends on many factors like the temperament of the others birds and the space that you have in your apartment. In Italy I have more space (the rooms are bigger than here) so usually Geordi can spend his time with my other birds, here I prefer to keep him in a separate room.
In any case, doves are different from pigeons, they are really territorial.

Anyway, I suggest you to look for a patient person ready for a lifetime commitment.
Btw, Nemo is really lovely and adorable, I really hope that she will feel better soon and that you will find a wonderful home for her.
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Last edited by Colombina; 3rd August 2019 at 01:11 PM..
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 3rd August 2019, 12:17 PM
Join Date: Apr 2018
Country: Spain
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 226

Blind doves or pigeons (Felicity)


I've changed her name, Nemo came with her and I don't like it.
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 4th August 2019, 03:23 AM
Join Date: Apr 2018
Country: Spain
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 226
Thanks for sharing your story, Colombina. I think you guessed that I didn't see it - my last comment looks very rude without knowing that!

I forgot that Geordi was blind. That's all good to know. I hadn't considered that food and water might be an issue for blind birds but of course it makes sense. Does Geordi have any other conditions which cause him the digestive issues (vomiting etc) that you mention? Or is tied to being blind?

This is all very helpful to know. Yes, doves are territorial and can be very aggressive with each other, it's one of the reasons I wonder about them living with other birds. They're much more aggressive than pigeons. You've given me a lot to think about, thank you.
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Colombina Colombina is offline
Posted 4th August 2019, 06:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2017
Country: Italy
Posts: 720
Yes, don't worry, I imagined you didn't see my post.

Geordi doesn't have any other condition, he is a healthy pigeon fortunately, I think he is just more delicate than others birds. I just have to avoid the "indigestible" stuff (for example, I give him cuttlebone or liquid calcium supplement instead of pickstone), I learned what is the best food to feed him and I found a good method to hand feed him. I also learned that he can't take a bath immediately after his lunch or dinner.

Anyway, if you have any other question, feel free to ask 😊.

Keep us updated about Felicity.
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 7th August 2019, 08:27 AM
Join Date: Apr 2018
Country: Spain
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 226
Thanks Colombina. I really hope that Felicity has a tiny bit of sight. We will go for our next visit on August 19 and the vet will examine her eyes then.

She is doing really well! I'm so happy about it. She sleeps a lot but regularly preens/cleans herself and is lovely. I may make another post about her because I want to know if I should socialise her or not. Normally I wouldn't, but I won't be able to release her. I attach a photo from last night. I need to weigh her - she's getting bigger.

I'm at the vet with another pigeon right now. It is the third one this week and honestly, I'm tired. The woman who found Felicity also hasn't paid me for the vet. I'm glad to have her, but very frustrated with this woman.

Anyway, let's see what is wrong with my new bird. Her name is Astrid.
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Colombina Colombina is offline
Posted 10th August 2019, 06:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2017
Country: Italy
Posts: 720
I'm glad to hear she is doing really well. Please let us know what the vet will say at the next visit.

I read your other threads, I'm going to answer here to them.

Generally, doves raised by humans become really friendly and sociable just living together with humans, it's not needed to do something special to socialize them. Surely the situation is different for a blind dove.

Geordi loves spending time with us (sometimes, I confess, I kept him on my bed at night sleeping on a pillow...), blind birds can't interact with other birds (Geordi doesn't have a wife). The other birds don't understand their behavior. As I said earlier you should look for a patient person ready for a lifetime commitment. They have special needs, they need someone who can spend time with them and stimulate them. They need a loving home (surely a sanctuary is not the good place for them). It's true that their other senses are sharpened (for example Geordi always moves his head listening to any noise, see the pic) but they live in darkness, this is why I triy to give him the best possible life, a life as normally as possible. He is confident, he is not shy, he is a real warrior, I think he is a happy pigeon all things considered.

He learned his name (as all birds), when you call him he starts to move his head then walks or turns in circles and answers (btw he "talks" a lot, he doesn't like silence). He recognizes the different members of our family. He doesn't like staying alone. Sometimes, when he is sitting on his sofa alone, he goes on the floor and comes to the room where we are.

He can't eat enough food on his own, I have to hand feed him twice a day.
As you are introducing Felicity to seeds, in my experience these are the two best options:

1) put a good amount of seeds against a surface (like a mirror). Geordi is able to eat a few seeds pecking at them against the mirror on the dresser;

2) fill a flower pot saucer (I use rectangular plastic flower pot saucers for my birds) with a large amount of seeds and put Felicity inside it. Geordi is able to eat a few seeds on his own inside it.

In any case, he is not independent with food, I have to hand feed him every day.

What about your other bird, Astrid?
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 11th August 2019, 02:06 PM
Join Date: Apr 2018
Country: Spain
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 226
Colombina, thank you so much as always for your helpful comments. I really appreciate it.

I am panicking a lot about Felicity to be honest. I have a terrible fear that I won't find someone to take care of her and have to do it. I think she's lovely and under other circumstances would happily keep her, but my lifestyle would be a huge problem and it would have a massive impact on my life. In the future I would love to have pet pigeons, but it would be a terrible burden now with my situation. I will try and focus on taking it day to day, because the stress is really unhealthy.

She is doing well. She is getting big already! I think I may have been very lucky today and found a home for both my kittens (together) without even really trying. I hope so, because that will give me more time to work with Felicity as well and see if she can learn to eat on her own. I will follow your suggestions. It's also so sweet that you sleep with Geordi sometimes. Felicity is right by my bed at night as well (but not on the pillow).

Astrid is doing fine and it is an easy situation to fix, so long as nothing goes wrong. She's a really big, solid baby! She will be on medication until our next vet visit on 21/8 and she has a cast on her foot. Hopefully at that visit the cast will be removed and she will be tested and won't need the antibiotics anymore (she has canker and coccidia, whatever that is in English). I think the only risk is that she is a bit like Sabrina and quite frightened, so I hope she doesn't lose any feathers.
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Ladygrey Ladygrey is offline
Posted 12th August 2019, 08:47 AM
Join Date: Dec 2016
Country: ************
Posts: 707
You can list him or her here on this site with your location in the title. You never know there maybe someone interested in taking her. Good luck.

Last edited by Ladygrey; 14th August 2019 at 04:45 AM..
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Colombina Colombina is offline
Posted 15th August 2019, 06:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2017
Country: Italy
Posts: 720
Have you tried to ask to your vet if he knows someone interested in adopting her (I adopted Geordi from my vet)? Any association which can help? Surely it will be a bit complicated find someone but, don't panic, with a little patience you will find the good person. I also have a friend who has a nearly blind pigeon.

In my experience, it's usually more complicated hand feed or give meds to doves than to pigeons, they really hate being handled for that! Maybe this behavioral tract of doves will help her to find a way to eat on her own. If she learns to eat on her own, it will be easier to find a home for her. Anyway, I'm glad to hear that she is doing well and getting bigger.

So, did you find a home for both kittens?

I'm glad to hear that Astrid is fine.

Lol, pigeons love pillows 😄.
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Friend John Friend John is offline
Posted 15th August 2019, 10:48 AM
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 266
I'm just spitballing here, but maybe a way to help the blind bird eat by itself would be to have in her cage a slightly bulging stripe that protrudes from the floor just a tiny bit and laying in a line, which would lead to where the food (and water) is. This way, in time, the bird would know to follow the bulging line straight to the food dish. If the food dish is always full and has some depth to it, it would help the bird to grab some seeds.

Imagine gluing one or two toothpicks together for width, and make the line as long as you need by joining as many toothpicks (or anything else) as needed at their edges, to look like this:

Nest---------Food

Just a thought.
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 19th August 2019, 05:56 PM
Join Date: Apr 2018
Country: Spain
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 226
Good ideas, Friend John. Thank you, and sorry to reply late. Felicity is sick right now so I'm focusing on getting her well, and then I'll see what she's capable of.

Colombina, Astrid is doing well thank you. I'm concerned about cross-contamination with both of them, but she's strong and good. We have a vet visit on Thursday when her cast will come off. I hope the tests will show that she's recovered from her illnesses and if so, I will release her as soon as it's safe.

Both kittens have a home (sort of together, but not 100% of the time) and they leave tomorrow. It's a really good situation and home for them. I always hate the first few days because I know how scared they'll be, but I know they'll be very happy. It's been the easiest adoption I've had.

And yes, I've asked the vet and other people about Felicity. I know it's not hopeless but it's not good either. For now, I'll focus on getting her well, and then I'll see what her quality of life can be like. I've heard different things about blind birds - some, like yours, have good lives. Others sit and don't really move. I suspect that will be related to the personality of the bird and the kind of care/stimulation they're given. I'll give my best effort, but if her quality of life isn't looking good, I'm going to consider euthanasia. It's not what I want at all, and she's such a fighter. But all options are open until I can see how she behaves once she's well.
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 20th August 2019, 02:13 PM
Join Date: Apr 2018
Country: Spain
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 226
I chose to euthanize Felicity today because of a sudden change in her situation. It's terrible.
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