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Dyer1125 Dyer1125 is offline
Posted 27th July 2019, 07:27 AM
Join Date: Jun 2019
Country: Canada
Location: SW Ontario
Posts: 8

Flight problems


Hello to you all

Our pigeon has been exhibiting some unusual behaviors lately and I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on what is possibly going on. We are first time bird people, no real experience with birds of any kind, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

The story of her arrival is here: https://www.pigeons.biz/forums/f5/ou...er-117654.html

Our daily routine for the past 2 and 1/2 months goes like this: Let her out early morning for flying before we go to work, usually 2-3 flights of no more than 15-20 minute durations. Put out food and water for after the flights, then she just rests for most of the day until early evening. After we return home from work, then she goes for her flights again. Before the evening flights, I always take away any food that is left over, so I can 'hungry' trap her so I can get her back into her indoor cage.

Her diet consists of a seed mixture of 15% protein, to which we add a finch seed mixture that we have on hand for feeding the wild finches. A few weeks ago we started adding a multi-vitamin to her water(Ecotrition brand 'Vita-Sol' multi-vitamin).

We have been treating her for feather lice that we recently discovered on her with Diatomaceous Earth mixed in water and using a spray bottle to apply. This was on advice of the people who run the local feed store that does specialize in pigeons.

Yesterday, I let her out in the morning as I usually do for her flights, but she only went once for maybe 5 minutes, then went straight to rest mode, only drinking but no food. When we got home from work, she was still resting, but it looked like she had eaten, as the seed bowl was partially empty and seeds all around. She then started her routine of preening and wing stretching and flapping as she would normally do before going flying, but she only flew as far as our neighbors roof, sat there for a few minutes and returned. This happened a couple more times until finally she tried to get to our own house roof, but failed miserably, and returned awkwardly to her perching area. She then proceeded to act as she does when hungry and wants to eat. We tried trapping her several times to no success. During this time she was prancing around us, almost running past us to the side door of our house where we come out in the morning and return inside in the evening, almost as if she wanted to be let inside. She also doing short flights to the gazebo roof, back down, bar top, back down, this happened a number of times and finally to the top of the fence behind the bar, where she stayed put. It was during these landing periods we noticed that it looked like she was holding one of her wings lower than the other and the couple of dropping that she did while down were very runny with only a bit of solid material. As dark was setting in I got close enough to catch her by hand from on the fence with little resistance and get her into her indoor cage. She brooded for a little bit but eventually ate and drank and finally went to her shelf in the cage where she usually goes to sleep.

This morning I went through our routine of taking her outside in the pet carrier that we always use, all normal until we got outside to her usual release spot. I opened the carrier and let her out, and she did her first poop before she tried to fly. The dropping was the runniest that I have ever seen from her since she arrived. The flight to our roof top was a total fail, she never even made it half way up before coming back down. Then she started with the prancing/running stuff again at the side of the house.

The questions I guess I have are this: Is this normal behavior for a tired/exhausted pigeon or should I be looking into something more serious? Is the food we are giving her sufficient for her with the amount of flying she does? Could the lice treatment we are using upsetting something in her causing the problems? Because we are first-timers we are not sure what is going on.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all in advance.
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Ladygrey Ladygrey is offline
Posted 27th July 2019, 11:19 AM
Join Date: Dec 2016
Country: ************
Posts: 701
So your question is why does she not fly?, I definitely would get an exam at an avian vet.
I would also not let her loose outdoors , a lone pigeon can get hawked pretty easy.

Also diatomaceous earth does not work when wet, only dry. Use a bird lice feather powder. And repeat in two weeks.

Last edited by Ladygrey; 29th July 2019 at 05:36 AM..
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alby68 alby68 is offline
Posted 28th July 2019, 10:25 AM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Country: United States
Location: northern gulf coast - Fl
Posts: 191
its molting time of year when birds are stressed and often missing flight feathers, so it is a extreme effort to fly. also are you giving your birds free access to a good grit mixture? it is as important as feed.
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Dyer1125's Avatar
Dyer1125 Dyer1125 is offline
Posted 28th July 2019, 08:01 PM
Join Date: Jun 2019
Country: Canada
Location: SW Ontario
Posts: 8
thank you both for your replies.

Yes, we give here grit that has oyster shell and small gravel, both in her cage and with her food outside, as well as fresh water daily.

As for the molting, that is possible, as we made a discovery with her today. In the afternoon, she started playing in her water bowl. I got out the spray bottle that I have used before to wet her down and started spritzing her. Low and behold, when she started raising her wings to let me spray underneath them we saw that she only had 2 of the longest flight feathers on one side and 4 on the other side. This would explain the difficulty flying. How long does it normally take for these larger feathers to grow back? And how many feathers should we be expecting her to loose?
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Ladygrey Ladygrey is offline
Posted 29th July 2019, 05:54 AM
Join Date: Dec 2016
Country: ************
Posts: 701
Pigeons molt from mid July through December. I have not ever seen any of mine not be able to fly because of it, or be grounded.

Pigeons do like to bath and I use a new cat litter pan of good size and fill it full of water.. it esp good during molting times.


The thing I would be most worried about is her flying outdoors as a lone pigeon.
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alby68 alby68 is offline
Posted 29th July 2019, 03:53 PM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Country: United States
Location: northern gulf coast - Fl
Posts: 191
they drop feathers evenly on both sides, and tail, and will eventually drop them all, and have completely new feathers by this winter. each feather in turn, takes about 18 to 21 days to grow back in.
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