Ruth: baby pigeon, very hungry - Pigeon-Talk
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 19th April 2019, 12:16 PM
Join Date: Apr 2018
Country: Spain
Location: Barcelona
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Hi all,

I just found another baby bird, I'm guessing about four weeks old. She was sitting with ruffled up feathers in the middle of the flock I feed when I took the other pigeon I have out for a walk/to socialise. She didn't move and I caught her easily. I checked her mouth (not with a flashlight) and there were no signs of canker I could see but I just had a baby dove die with terrible canker a few days ago. I have not had a pigeon of mine with canker and I've had 7, which I add only to say that I know it's common but I've only seen it in the one dove I've had, none of the pigeons so farin my neighbourhood although I know it is common in Spain.

There is nothing obviously wrong, just her behaviour didn't look right. I put her in with a heating pad, water (w salt/sugar) and food (I know that's not recommended). She ate all the seeds and had a sleep. Afterwards - now - she seems much more alert. She has urinated but not poohed, so I am now wondering if starvation was the issue.

It is Easter weekend but I will try and get her to the only exotic vet open tomorrow (unfortunately my usual vet is away). But I wanted to ask whether it's possible that this is as "simple" as starvation and perhaps she is otherwise OK. Has anyone experienced that with a baby? We have a LOT of babies around, I've noticed - it being April, I guess. They are so cute.

One thing which worries me: my dove with canker, Stefania, died on Monday morning. It is now Friday afternoon where I am. I cleaned all of Stefania's things on Tuesday. I have put Ruth in the same cage as Stefania because I had no other options. I was already concerned that the canker may transmit to Gael (my other pigeon) so I've tried to avoid cross-contamination. Do you think there is a risk of a hard/plastic cage carrying the the virus three days later? I suspect no-one can really know and the advice will be to treat for canker anyway. I can only do that before Tuesday if I can get an emergency vet appointment for tomorrow, if that's possible. This always happens on a bank holiday or weekend, I swear!!!

Last edited by Hekie; 19th April 2019 at 12:19 PM..
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Jay3 Jay3 is offline
Posted 19th April 2019, 03:55 PM
Join Date: May 2008
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It could be anything. Can't really tell what from here. Could be canker, as it doesn't always show in the throat, could be another illness for which he needs medication, or could be not being able to find food. You will need to monitor him for a while and see how he does. If eating and drinking fine, and droppings look fine after he has eaten, and acting fine, then maybe not sick. If still not active or right, then something is wrong.
As far as the cage, canker isn't passed that way. It doesn't last long in the environment. It is passed from pigeon to pigeon when billing, parents feeding babies, or in the water or feed they share. Canker can be brought on by stress. When they are stressed, by another illness, or other things, the trich level goes up and causes canker.
If you google or look up articles on canker, you will learn more about what causes canker and how it is spread. Good to learn as much as you can about the common ailments of pigeons, and how to treat them.
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Last edited by Jay3; 19th April 2019 at 03:58 PM..
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 19th April 2019, 05:02 PM
Join Date: Apr 2018
Country: Spain
Location: Barcelona
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Thanks for your comment, jay3. Yes, have read a bit about canker already and there were indications it could survive in the environment and needed up to a week to dry out so I am concerned about food bowls/cage/my clothing. I've cleaned all of it. I realise that the risk is low and that direct transmission (or brought on by stress) is more likely. I haven't had much hands-in experience, just what I've read.

She is eating still and poohing now. The pooh is green so does seem to be starvation in part. She is sleeping quite a bit, but is alert otherwise and put up a good fight when I went to check for any injury (she's clear). I suspect she may just be young and vulnerable fresh out of the nest. I've left a message with the vet to see whether they can fit me in during their limited opening hours tomorrow. If I can't take her, I had an appointment scheduled for my baby bird who died for Tuesday with my regular vet, so assuming that she makes it OK until then, I'll be able to get her checked out.
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Ladygrey Ladygrey is offline
Posted 20th April 2019, 06:34 AM
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I’m not against feeding flocks of pigeons, but, you have to keep in mind, if they have a regular food source they can hatch more babies which ups the populations, and more birds means diseases can be more prevalent. But the food also means they can keep healthier too, so it is a balance. I’ve heard when pigeons have to go forage like if they were wild the population decreases and then so does disease by survival of the fittest.

The healthy pigeons in turn have babies that carry their health. People are never going to stop feeding them so really this means very little, but if people are aware maybe the birds can be not over fed , or just fed in winter months, so that the population is fed to a point but not overfed to the point of building the population too much. Example , one feeding a day and when it is gone in a few hours, no more is layed till the next day.
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 20th April 2019, 10:17 AM
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Hi Ladygrey, yes - aware of the pros and cons to feeding and I do it mindfully.

I took Ruth to the vet this morning and her prognosis is very good. I can't believe I hadn't properly registered this (still pretty new to pigeon rehabbing) but her tail has been fully pulled out. Hence not being able to fly/easy to catch yesterday. Though in saying that, it took me making a couple of comments to the vet about her age/surprising lack of a tail before she checked again and realised that it wasn't that she hadn't grown one, but that it was missing.

There's a minor leg wound, too; almost certainly a dog attack. She tested positive for canker as well, so I've got pain meds and metro, and basically she just needs somewhere safe to re-grow her tail in the next couple of months. All very good news! Poor little thing, though. Quite the start to life.
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 20th April 2019, 10:27 AM
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I meant to include a photo. This is Ruth <3
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Ladygrey Ladygrey is offline
Posted 20th April 2019, 11:13 AM
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Pigeons carry trichomonas , it lives with in the digest tract. Their immune systems most times keep it in line .
Fragile birds, sick bird, hurt birds can have this trich take over in their down state. Overpopulation has more fragile, sick, birds. The protozoan is passed in the saliva, seeds being pecked and tossed about from the saliva and another bird eats it and it goes on that way and at water sources that are frequented, as the trich does not live long out of its hosts . So this is why you see bad cases of canker in crowded flocks, crowded lofts, and of course the parent pigeons pass it to baby after baby squab. It’s a never ending cycle of free feeding, overpopulation, disease.
There is a city I think in Sweden that convinced The pigeon feeders to stop, they put out nesting sites and took the eggs up. The population decreased as well as diseases... but convincing “pigeon mothers” to not feed “their” babies will probably never work in most cities. This young pigeon looks by the picture to be pretty healthy, he will definitely benefit from domestic care.

Last edited by Ladygrey; 20th April 2019 at 11:17 AM..
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 24th April 2019, 07:51 AM
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Ruth is doing very well and is energetic when it comes to slapping at me with a tiny baby squeak when I pick her up to medicate/clean her cage etc haha. Just like Gael - I'm convinced that anger and annoyance will keep them alive!
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 24th April 2019, 07:52 AM
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I've just finished the course of pain relief, and will continue with the anti-canker stuff for a while as per the vet. She's spending time out on the terrace so is getting some sun. And she's very cute.
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Jay3 Jay3 is offline
Posted 24th April 2019, 10:46 AM
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They cannot pick up canker from the cage or environment (cage), as it doesn't live in the environment. What did the vet give you for a canker med. Hope you will give it for 7 to 10 days, then check for any symptoms before stopping the med. Sometimes can take longer.If being let out on the terrace, make sure it is in a cage. If not, she could take off, and wouldn't last long out there.
Very cute pigeon by the way. How is she eating? Drinking?
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 24th April 2019, 11:11 AM
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Hi Jay3,

The vet prescribed Flagyl (metro) for 20 days, 0.28ml every 12 hours. Liquid form. It may not be the same advice in each country so bear that in mind. I'm working only with exotic animal vets who frequently handle pigeons (and care about them; they are loving and ethical about treatment of pigeons).

The vet does poo and mouth tests - Ruth had no internal parasites, but tested positive for canker in her throat. The vet wants to see her again at the 20 day mark as we stop the meds. I'm sure she'll check again and verify that all is OK.

Yes, thank you - you mentioned about canker transmission before, as did someone else. Based on my reading, my only two risks are transmission by environment or my clothing and it sounds like both are low risk. I'm being very careful with feeding and water bowls (and of course, the paper in their cages/poop).

Both are doing wonderfully. I hope that Gael (with me since March 19) will go to a home soon. I just need to pick the best situation for him/her. Ruth (she is indeed very cute) is doing great. She ate like a champ when I first got her and the vet even commented that her crop was pleasantly full) and hasn't stopped since. She is a quiet eater compared to my others, thankfully since she's in the bedroom with me at nights and wakes up earlier than me on holiday &#x1f604;

She's never loose on the terrace. She and Gael are (separately) caged and I move them throughout the day continuously to get a sunny spot and some shade so they can pick. I like sunbathing, so does my cat and so do they. We're all enjoying a very nice April together in Barcelona.
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cwebster cwebster is offline
Posted 24th April 2019, 08:18 PM
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Very glad to hear that both Gael and Ruth are doing well. Good job!
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 25th April 2019, 12:09 AM
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Thank you, cwebster. I'm so glad they're doing well.
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 27th April 2019, 05:14 PM
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I just realised that Ruth feels very thin. I attach a photo. She is eating and pooping normally (coils and all). There is green to it but she's on meds and even my eats-like-a-horse pigeon has green.in his poop.

They're on a good quality pigeon mix and I give Ruth mostly Harrison's complete food with the finer pellets. There is nothing in her demeanour to indicate that anything is wrong - she is angry with me any time I pick her up, and always alert and interested in the world. Any thoughts? Her crop feels pretty empty to me but I'm never entirely sure what I'm feeling for. I know that when I first took her to the vet after she'd eaten a lot when I caught her, the vet commented that her crop was very full.

I'm going to try and get some peas into her or syringe feed her now, but interested in any thoughts. I'm at the point this week where I can't bring myself to go back to the vet yet again unless it's absolutely necessary (overload)!
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 28th April 2019, 05:26 AM
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She's definitely eating. When I out her in the window this morning and woke up a few hours later, there were seeds and pooh everywhere in her cage like other mornings. Maybe she's just thin for now with the canker and meds and healing? I did get a bit of food into her last night via syringe but she was very unhappy about it.

I'll keep a close eye on her. We'll be back to the vet on about 9/5 at the end of her med doses anyway, if not needed before.
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