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Cuinn Cuinn is offline
Posted 18th June 2019, 02:05 AM
Join Date: Jul 2017
Country: Australia
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 14
Question

Feral pigeon exhibiting periodic twisted neck symptom


Iíve a feral pigeon staying with me as of yesterday - unable to perch or fly and exhibiting intermittent neck twisting star gazing behaviour. I suspect the cause is viral and hoping it isnít paramyxovirus; as aside the neck twisting pigeon is not exhibiting any other pmv symptoms, that Iíve seen listed online. Most of the time the bird stands with head positioned correctly. Pigeon is eating and preening. At other times however the behaviour returns.

I tried to attach a movie clip from my phone but its an mp4 file (of pigeon exhibiting the behaviour) but wasnt able to attach that format on this site. And that is bearing in mind I could equally have attached clips of pigeon feeding or preening quite normally.

I live in Melbourne, Australia (where feral pigeons, being an introduced bird, are considered pests).

Advice/opinions welcome.
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Marina B Marina B is offline
Posted 18th June 2019, 09:44 AM
Join Date: May 2011
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It might be PMV. The symptoms gets worse when under a lot of stress. Good thing he is able to eat by himself. Keep him seperate from other birds for the next 6-8 weeks.

He might not be releasable once recovered, as the symptoms might just return.
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Cuinn Cuinn is offline
Posted 20th June 2019, 05:15 AM
Join Date: Jul 2017
Country: Australia
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Thanks for reply. Yes, I've noticed this re stress. Have been reading info online and telephoned bird vet today who thought ĎJackí would either improve or decline in next 2 weeks Ė if I take him to vet they will likely euthanize, being a feral bird. So remains a palliative care wait.

Currently periodic wry-neck is the only symptom, droppings appear normal, not watery. I donít have any other birds so no danger of cross infection, (every 1-2 years I just seem to come across a pigeon that needs help and my pigeon hotel is open again, until recuperated). No one has died yet so fingers crossed - this is the first sick, non-injury related, guest . . .
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Colombina Colombina is online now
Posted 20th June 2019, 07:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2017
Country: Italy
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Hi, you could give him a complete vitamin supplement (vitamins + trace elements + amino acids), it will help him to stay as strong as possible.
You could also look for birds probiotics and give him ACV water twice a week.

Try to avoid any situation of stress and to maintain the daily routine, any small change in the routine (like moving his box or replace a bowl with a new one) could be a source of stress.
We have three PMV pigeons, two of them recovered well and have a happy "pigeon life" but, just for example, one of them easily gets in panic..the third one is really sweet but unfortunately didn't recover in a proper way.

As he eats on his own, try to offer him a large variety of seeds and dry legumes (like small lentils, mung beans, etc) . A balanced diet is important.

Here you can read helpful information about PMV (maybe you read it before... )

https://www.pigeonrescue.co.uk/condi...ectinghead.htm

I hope Jack will recover soon, keep us updated.
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Marina B Marina B is offline
Posted 20th June 2019, 11:28 AM
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He won't die from PMV. In nature this disease is fatal, cause they are unable to eat seeds and starve to death. Sometimes paratyphoid also causes the same symptoms, but then he would look sick and not be eating.

I think it's time you start building an aviary for the unreleasable pigeons. If you do pigeon rescue, the changes are big you will end up with more pigeons.

I only cared for one PMV pigeon so far. Took her months before she was able to fly. Today she has a mate and living a good life in my aviary.
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Cuinn Cuinn is offline
Posted 6th July 2019, 03:45 AM
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Country: Australia
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Update


Turns out, Jack has a head tilt rather than wry neck.

He still has a really good appetite, is preening and pecking around and mostly standing upright with his head positioned how it should be doing what pigeons do, just with momentary bouts of "Jack Sparrowing" - he also still sleeps with his head resting upsidedown on a flat surface but appears relaxed and happy enough. (His symptoms are worse if stressed.)

Vet though Jack either
(a) collided with a hard surface and suffered brain trauma
(b) had meningitis from which he has since recovered or
(c) has a brain tumour that is pressing on a nerve.
None of which are treatable, making it academic.

So whilst there's no perfect ending with Jack regaining flight privileges and flying off, he is otherwise as he appears, strong, in good condition and vet assured me, not suffering from vertigo, disorientation or pain, (though may occasionally feel a tad confused). This afternoon Pigeon Jack managed a controlled vertical flight half a metre off the ground without tumbling. At the bird vets, he dropped like a stone!

So thought I'd post an update, that he's now acclimatising to domestic pigeon life.
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Cuinn Cuinn is offline
Posted 6th July 2019, 04:19 AM
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And thanks Colombina - at bird vet's I opted for a vitamin/mineral supplement via injection. Prior to that, I also focused on balanced diet, with a good combination of fresh ingredients along with pigeon mix. Also sprayed Jack for mites initially and did the two 24 hour worming treatments in water, 2 weeks apart. His health and strength have definitely improved. His head tilting isn't as bad either, but this could just be he is feeling less stressed and has enough food.

(The Tuesday I returned to work from a week's leave, he was outside our office windows, with an inverted head position and unable to fly, trapped below ground level in a concrete bunker. He was incredibly lucky - when I went outside to collect him, there was a newly dead possum; too late to help.)
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Colombina Colombina is online now
Posted 9th July 2019, 07:01 AM
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Country: Italy
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Thanks so much for the update.

Yes, Jack is incredibly lucky (I'm sorry for the possum), I'm so glad you found him. You are giving him a great help.

I'm glad to hear that his health and strength have improved and that he still has a good appetite. I hope he has not a brain tumor.

Try (as you are doing) to establish a comfortable environment and to create a daily routine, that will help him to control the stress. If you need any advice on how to organize a room for him feel free to ask.

Regularly give him all the supplements (like vitamins, probiotics, ACV water, etc) and leave him always available a source of calcium. My birds love pickstones/picking blocks. If you prefer, there are water soluble calcium supplements.

Please keep updated.
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Cuinn Cuinn is offline
Posted 13th July 2019, 12:11 AM
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Thanks Colombina Ė Jack is still doing well. Iím taking things at Jackís speed to earn his trust given Ďhead tiltí will be with him for life. I try to avoid using my hands when approaching except to give him seed, however today I picked him up briefly to place him on the window ledge so he could look out and watch. Am letting him out 2 hours a day. Often when I look at him it just seems like he should be able to fly, he looks good, but then he does the head turning, tilting, neurological mannerisms to remind me.

I donít like my prospects of finding someone with an aviary willing to take Jack so have been reading recommendations on this site and elsewhere re appropriate lodgings. (My Ďpigeon hotelí dog crate is fine for recovering birds, as he can stretch and flap, but long term accommodation should be larger.) Current choices are a larger dog crate or a parrot cage adapted for a pigeon. Downside of the parrot cage is the largest I can fit in the available space I have is both too tall and under the recommended size - the next size up is too deep (thereís skirting around the outside). So I may have no option but a larger dog crate or adapting a piece of furniture. Locally there doesnít appear to be anything to suit a pigeon in an apartment. Niche market, frustrating.

Have probiotics but will look into supplements as not convinced Jack's eating his greens - I've tried all sorts!
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Ladygrey Ladygrey is offline
Posted 13th July 2019, 07:57 AM
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This pigeon looks like a domestic homing pigeon, from seeing the larger eye and color, and head.

Pigeons do not eat much greens. At least mine do not..

As far as the cage goes, try searching for chinchilla cages, or even domestic dove cages, cocktail cages specifically online.

Large petmate dog crates have been used as well, and are fine if set up for a pigeon.

As far as him being put in with other pigeons, if he had pmv, they can shed the virus on occasion and transfer to others, so as a keeper I wouldn’t want him in my loft, but he deserves a nice home as you have done for him/her.

Very pretty bird.

Last edited by Ladygrey; 13th July 2019 at 07:59 AM..
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Cuinn Cuinn is offline
Posted 14th July 2019, 12:24 AM
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Oh, definitely not PMV according to vet. Out of the 3 diagnoses the avian vet gave on examination, collision with a hard surface was considered the most likely. (I initially thought PMV because its the only thing that came up on Dr Google when I searched, so assumed he had wry neck, but was puzzled as Jack had no other symptoms to support that diagnosis. Vet said Jack has a head tilt not wry neck.) Interesting what you say re domestic homing pigeon - no leg band so he might even be descended from a homer.

Today when I went to the kitchen Jack followed me down the hall and stood in kitchen doorway see what I was doing. Some days he gets a little off the ground and does some elegant turns on the spot, other days he is too uncoordinated to lift off. Today was an uncoordinated day, but he did come over and sit on my knee for a while. He seems to be settling in okay. I just hope I can offer sufficient free space - domestic life is a big adjustment and I need to juggle his free time with my dog.

Will continue looking at cages. The parrot ones I was looking at were similar to the large decorative wire one on this website, so more like indoor aviary. I have some wide picture ledges I can fasten to the inside. And thanks for info about greens - had me wondering what was up. He's very enthusiastic about the variety of seeds. Oh and Jack really likes the 40 min bird song recordings I take (using my phone) during dog walks in the botanic gardens and play back for him later - he fluffs up his feathers and preens and sometimes makes a deep throated warble and sits much closer. Now I just have to get my pigeon body language reading up to par.

Thanks everyone for your encouragement. Hopefully things will work out.
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Colombina Colombina is online now
Posted 14th July 2019, 07:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 2017
Country: Italy
Posts: 714
Even my birds don't eat fruits or vegetables...you could try to offer him small pieces of apple or some berries and see if he likes them...
You could add to his mixture of seeds and legumes (I'm glad to hear that he is very enthusiastic about it 😊 ) a mixture for canaries containing dehydrated fruits, my birds really love it!

If you are looking for supplements, a complete vitamin supplement similar to Oropharma Omni-vit (it contains vitamins + trace elements + amino acids) would be good.

https://www.versele-laga.com/en/orop...harma-omni-vit


Don't forget to leave him always available a source of calcium or to give him a water soluble calcium supplement. Also remember that vit D3 is needed to absorb the calcium he gets (in the wild, birds take it from direct sunlight).

You can also give him twice a week ACV water: ACV acidifies the contents in crop and discourages the multiplication of some bad bacteria; helps with digestion; etc.

I also monthly give to my birds a natural supplement containing garlic and other plants (like thyme, tanacetum vulgaris, echinacea purpurea, triganella faenum graecum) plus manganese and zinc: it protects the digestive system, helps to regulate the transit and provides a protection from parasitic infestation of coccidies.

He seems really curious and active, that's great. He is really cute and has really sweet eyes.

Keep us updated 😊.
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Ladygrey Ladygrey is offline
Posted 15th July 2019, 06:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuinn View Post
Oh, definitely not PMV according to vet. Out of the 3 diagnoses the avian vet gave on examination, collision with a hard surface was considered the most likely. (I initially thought PMV because its the only thing that came up on Dr Google when I searched, so assumed he had wry neck, but was puzzled as Jack had no other symptoms to support that diagnosis. Vet said Jack has a head tilt not wry neck.) Interesting what you say re domestic homing pigeon - no leg band so he might even be descended from a homer.

Today when I went to the kitchen Jack followed me down the hall and stood in kitchen doorway see what I was doing. Some days he gets a little off the ground and does some elegant turns on the spot, other days he is too uncoordinated to lift off. Today was an uncoordinated day, but he did come over and sit on my knee for a while. He seems to be settling in okay. I just hope I can offer sufficient free space - domestic life is a big adjustment and I need to juggle his free time with my dog.

Will continue looking at cages. The parrot ones I was looking at were similar to the large decorative wire one on this website, so more like indoor aviary. I have some wide picture ledges I can fasten to the inside. And thanks for info about greens - had me wondering what was up. He's very enthusiastic about the variety of seeds. Oh and Jack really likes the 40 min bird song recordings I take (using my phone) during dog walks in the botanic gardens and play back for him later - he fluffs up his feathers and preens and sometimes makes a deep throated warble and sits much closer. Now I just have to get my pigeon body language reading up to par.

Thanks everyone for your encouragement. Hopefully things will work out.
Not all people who have and breed homing pigeons band them. It is a homing pigeon.

Pmv can not be ruled out unless she tested for it and it was negative.
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