Injured and possibly sick feral, not used to birds but trying to help - Pigeon-Talk
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Katywin Katywin is offline
Posted 22nd December 2016, 11:53 PM
Join Date: Dec 2016
Country: Canada
Location: Calgary, AB
Posts: 5
Unhappy

Injured and possibly sick feral, not used to birds but trying to help


Location: Southern Alberta, Canada
Status: currently in a lined box in my unheated (but insulated) garage with a baggie of warmed grains for heat. Can't bring inside due to horde of indoor cats and a housemate who's deeply phobic of birds.
Injury: cluster of matted feathers on side of neck, closer to back than throat, about 3/4 inch in diameter. Its dark feathers make it difficult to tell whether it's matted with blood or something else. No fresh fluids or bleeding visible.
Appetite: no interest in food. Tried cooked frozen peas, popcorn, and shelled black oil sunflower seeds. Might be drinking water.
Poop: Day 1-very flat, mostly white drops with a dark forest green center. Seems like there's no solids to speak of.
Day 2-still no solids, paler green. Rather a lot of it.

I found a feral pigeon on my doorstep yesterday morning. It had clearly been there for a while, since there was a trail of droppings scattered around. When I opened the door, it just walked a small distance away instead of flying off. It appeared to have a wound of some kind on the side of its neck, which it scratched at a couple of times.

Hoping it just needed a rest, I set out some water with a bit of honey and salt. When I checked on it a couple of times throughout the day, it was still pacing, and it occasionally stretched its wings or head.

It was still hanging around at dusk, but its eyelids had started to droop and it was mostly unresponsive, though it could still stand. I put out a small newspaper lined box with a heated rice bag, and tucked it inside. I figured either it would recover overnight, or it would pass and I'd at least have it neatly contained. I left the water within reach, just in case.

Early this afternoon, I went outside to perform funeral rites, but it was still alive and somewhat alert when I looked in the box. The water had been spilled some, so I assume it at least attempted to drink. I figured that was a good sign, so I set out some food and let it be. Unfortunately, it didn't eat, or even leave the box as far as I could tell.

The weather took a turn for the worse tonight, so I brought the pigeon into my garage. I'm not sure how I can water it inside the box yet (I figure it'll spill the container?), but leaving it outside at -10C seems like a death sentence.

Now I'm at a loss. I'm not equipped to care for its injuries properly, and I have no idea how to handle birds. I haven't found anyone who cares for ferals in my area, and both my free time and funds are very limited. Is there anything else simple I can do to give this bird a fighting chance? I'm starting to suspect I've just prolonged the poor thing's suffering.
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Rosequartz's Avatar
Rosequartz Rosequartz is offline
Posted 23rd December 2016, 12:32 AM
Join Date: Jun 2016
Country: United Arab Emirates
Location: Abu Dhabi
Posts: 299
Thank you so much for rescuing that poor soul! Can you try posting a pic of your bird and it's poop? It can help us to get a clue of what your bird is facing. You can keep it in a shoe box having cloth and newspaper. And you mentioned the temperature to be -10 degree Celsius so I suppose you give it heat. You can give it heat by placing it on hot water bag or under a heat lamp or on a heating pad with regulated temperature.
As for the food,Defrost the corn and peas in warm water and feed them while still warm.Feed one pea or corn kernel at a time and wait for the pigeon to swallow it before you feed another.. Every few pieces stop and feel the crop. you should have no trouble feeling the peas and corn in the crop but they should move around easily when you press lightly with your finger. Feed three times, with a six hour gap between feeds, but make certain that the crop empties before you feed again. If it isn't emptying then put the pigeon on a warm heat pad and feed it some infant/ baby apple sauce.
You can give up to 50 peas per feed for an adult pigeon.
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Last edited by Rosequartz; 23rd December 2016 at 12:35 AM..
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Katywin Katywin is offline
Posted 23rd December 2016, 01:14 AM
Join Date: Dec 2016
Country: Canada
Location: Calgary, AB
Posts: 5
I appreciate the quick reply, Rosequartz! It's very late here, but I'll try to get some photos in the morning.

I am applying some heat. I have a hot water bottle under the box, and I'm running a space heater in the room. I also added a bunch of shredded newspaper for insulation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosequartz View Post
Feed one pea or corn kernel at a time and wait for the pigeon to swallow it before you feed another.. Every few pieces stop and feel the crop. you should have no trouble feeling the peas and corn in the crop but they should move around easily when you press lightly with your finger.
I appreciate the feeding instructions (I've never handled a bird before this one, but I can try!). I know it won't heal without proper nutrition. But I'm concerned that force-feeding my bird solid food might affect its neck injury. Is this process safe even for birds with neck/throat wounds?

Will update as soon as possible in the morning.

ETA: What should I do about giving it water? I'm very concerned about dehydration, but I don't want it to accidentally get soaked either, especially in cool temperatures. Should I risk putting an open dish of water in the box?

Last edited by Katywin; 23rd December 2016 at 01:26 AM.. Reason: last minute PS
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Rosequartz Rosequartz is offline
Posted 23rd December 2016, 01:24 AM
Join Date: Jun 2016
Country: United Arab Emirates
Location: Abu Dhabi
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You mentioned your bird had external throat/neck injury. Try giving him a few peas and check whether he is able to swallow it. If it not, you should go for liquid items. You can buy Kaytee exact hand rearing formula for parrots.
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cwebster cwebster is offline
Posted 23rd December 2016, 01:40 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
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Location: Central Coast, CA
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Thank you for helping the poor bird! How is he doing? His poop sounds like starvation poop. Am hoping peopke more expert will answer soon. Rosequartz suggestions have been good.
There are rescue organizations but you need to make totally cwrtain they help and dont just euthanize sick pigeons, such as:

http://calgarywildlife.org/
http://www.birdscalgary.com/2011/10/...ng-wild-birds/

Last edited by cwebster; 23rd December 2016 at 01:45 AM..
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Rosequartz Rosequartz is offline
Posted 23rd December 2016, 01:53 AM
Join Date: Jun 2016
Country: United Arab Emirates
Location: Abu Dhabi
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Thanks cwebster and as for water, you can give him ORS so that he won't feel tired. He can't drink on his own. You have to syringe feed him drop by drop to ensure that he doesn't aspirated it.
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Katywin Katywin is offline
Posted 23rd December 2016, 10:05 AM
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Country: Canada
Location: Calgary, AB
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Update: it seems like it made it through the night okay (it was shifting around and looking up when I removed the blanket from the top of its box).

Thank you for the links, cwebster! I avoided the calgarywildlife.org site in my earlier search since it's flagged on google as potentially hacked, but I just called them and they do take (and actually care for) pigeons. I'm going to drop my bird off with them ASAP today. I wish I had the skill set to take care of it myself, but it's undoubtedly better off with pros.

In the meantime, though, I'll keep it warm and try to coax a bit of ORS water into it. I'll try the peas next if I can get it to cooperate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosequartz View Post
you can give him ORS so that he won't feel tired. He can't drink on his own. You have to syringe feed him drop by drop to ensure that he doesn't aspirated it.
Thanks! What kind of syringe would be best? All I have on hand are short blunt-tipped syringes for medicating cats/dogs. Like this: https://goo.gl/images/Yrl4tF Would that work? If there a tutorial anywhere on the forum or online, I'd love a link.
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Jay3 Jay3 is offline
Posted 23rd December 2016, 03:57 PM
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Hope you got him to the place for help. For future though, better not to syringe water into a bird. They can aspirate easily. Instead, try gently dipping his beak into some tepid water, but not over the nostrils, and he may drink on his own which would be much better. Also, if feeding defrosted peas, they do contain some moisture which helps. To hand feed peas:

If you need to feed peas to a pigeon, hold the bird on your lap and against your body. This gives you more control. Reach from behind his head with one hand and grasp his beak on either side. Now use your free hand to open the beak, and put a pea in, then push it to the back of his throat and over his tongue. Let him close his beak and swallow. Then do another. It gets easier with practice, and the bird also gets more used to it, and won't fight as much. If you can't handle the bird, then use the sleeve cut off a t-shirt, slip it over his head and onto his body, with his head sticking out. This will stop him from being able to fight you so much. Just don't make it tight around his crop area. It helps if you have him facing your right side if you are right handed.
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Katywin Katywin is offline
Posted 23rd December 2016, 06:06 PM
Join Date: Dec 2016
Country: Canada
Location: Calgary, AB
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Final update! I couldn't figure out a safe way to hydrate (all the detailed instructions I could find called for catheters, etc.), so I decided to rush it to the centre.

It (probably indeed a "he", in hindsight, considering the showy plumage?) took the long highway drive pretty well, despite the delays from snowy roads. He was still conscious when I brought him in, so I'm hoping for the best. Wish him luck! The clinic workers seemed trustworthy and I saw a good-sized flock of pigeons on their property, so I have high hopes he's in good hands.

Thank you all so much for your advice. I would have never had the courage to handle a wild bird if I hadn't read the information on this forum. You're wonderful, compassionate folks and you gave me the tools to (hopefully) save a life.

And thanks for the last minute advice, Jay3. I was on a slushy highway when you posted that, but I appreciate the effort. I'll definitely keep your tips in mind for any future rescues. I've learned a ton from my mysterious guest.
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cwebster cwebster is offline
Posted 23rd December 2016, 06:46 PM
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Thank you for helping the bird. Glad you made it there and back safely too. Can you ask the rehab place to let you know how hes doing? goodnews is always welcomed here.
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Jay3 Jay3 is offline
Posted 23rd December 2016, 07:18 PM
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Sorry I found your post late. Thanks for helping him. That was very kind of you. I hope he does well.
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Katywin Katywin is offline
Posted 23rd December 2016, 07:35 PM
Join Date: Dec 2016
Country: Canada
Location: Calgary, AB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwebster View Post
Thank you for helping the bird. Glad you made it there and back safely too. Can you ask the rehab place to let you know how hes doing? goodnews is always welcomed here.
My pleasure, cwebster. It's been an illuminating experience.

The front desk asked for my contact details as I checked Mystery Bird in, but I was so frazzled from the drive I didn't think to ask for news about his condition.

I'll ring them up after Christmas to see how he's doing. Will post a final final update if I can get the info.

No problem on the belated response, Jay3! We're only human. Thanks for your kind wishes.
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Rosequartz Rosequartz is offline
Posted 24th December 2016, 08:34 AM
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Happy to hear the bird is alright and in a better place.
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