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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Morning everyone.

Having a bit of a dilemma that could be either nothing or a disaster....

Background

I have two homers from my old loft - moved to an apartment in the city two years ago for school but couldn't part from the hen as she was one of my first birds - and of course I couldn't separate her from her hubby!

I wanted to try and raise a youngster by hand (first time here) so I can keep him/her as a domesticated pet and give my lovely older pair a "retirement" home in the loft of a friend as I *think*, based on how they act around other birds, they miss the flock life.
*EDIT* - By "act around other birds," I mean the way they seem to want to join in revels of the feral pigeons around my apartment. I have a very large private balcony where I give my birds' day-old seed to the wild birdies (including feral pigeons) HOWEVER my birds are never out of their cage when I take them out there (it's a parrot cage so nothing gets in either) as they've retired to indoor/non-flighters (hen is 10, male is 6 or so? Got him from an old friend so not 100% sure). They have not had any contact other than seeing one another, with me making sure no ferals doo-doo'd on the cage. They also have been indoor, as I've said, for at least two years and so to my knowledge wouldn't have picked up anything like a parasite.


On Thursday, Feb. 23rd the TWO eggs hatched within 20 minutes of one another despite being laid two days apart... And while pulling a still-incubating egg is something I've had to do before, I wasn't about to take away this unexpected little one's life once he/she hatched!

Anyway, I've a forever home (close friend who just lost her bird of 12 years) set up for the youngster who is 'least close' to me - I figure the bird will choose me, not the other way around - BUT there's a problem, and that's where this post comes in.

Squab issues
Around four days after hatching I noticed one of the squabs looking a bit smaller compared to the other. Not a big deal as I've seen this many times before and just kept an eye on mom and dad's feeding - evenly distriputed. However two days ago I started to 'teach' them how to be hand fed (anticipating taking the handrearing up around day 14-16 depending on each one's strength) and noticed the smaller squab had a small air sac in the crop even before I began; it's roughly a quarter to a third of its total crop size depending on the day.

I'm doing the "syringe with rubber glove nipple" method as I read this is the closest you can safely get to natural feeding, and I've had no experience in the direct syringe-into-crop method. I'm using Harrison's Neonate formula.

Little one's issue hasn't worsened since I started the handfeeding (about twice a day, and around 4 tblsp. of formula each time), but the little one is still looking a day or two younger than its sibling. I don't want to make the issue worse by trying to help, but I also don't want to ignore it and regret that decision in a few days or weeks.

THEN there's the mama hen's potential issue...

Feb 29th I noticed her droppings were VERY watery, dark green, and had no distinct shape or urate. I immediately added some garlic-tea (boiled one crushed clove in a tea ball) and ACV to the water, but she's still not producing ideal droppings. I also started adding cilantro as she seemed to like that this past summer (grew some and had added to the water per a post somewhere on here) in the hope the garlic ACV smell wouldn't deter her. She's drinking well, and eating a TON of grit, but the last day or so hasn't seemed interested in food other than to feed the squabs - and even then, she's been more puffed out than usual and making dad feed/sit on the squabs for most of the day and part of the night... And worst of all, her droppings looked a bit lighter this morning.. :(
*EDIT*But, she didn't show any of these symptoms until Feb. 29th, and has never, EVER in my 10 years having her shown symptoms like this. I did check her throat a bit ago for any canker signs and thankfully found it pink and clear. I haven't given them any 'medication' i.e. store-bought products since I moved them inside, but have given them a garlic-tea infusion once a week and ACV every weeks or two for good measure. I currently have no bird antibiotics on hand, but have some human amoxicillin in the freezer... but do NOT want to resort to that as I've read it could effect the squabs.



Sorry for the long-a#$ post, but figured you'd all want the full story (longtime listener, first time poster here!) Please let me know what you think, or if you need any more info/pics!
*EDIT* I decided to move the squabs out of the cage just in case mama is ill... until this afternoon (or someone has some advice on a better course of action!) to see if mama is doing any better, and to give her a break from the constant feeding.
 

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Thank you for adopting them. Can you post photos of the birds and droppings? If mom is eating ok she may be fine. Does she have grit? Also calciboost with calcium and vit d3 is important for egg laying females. We had two oops babies. One was a lot smaller and developed much more slowly but caught up after several weeks. Has mom ever been treated for coccidia? Pls post photos so people much more expert than me can offer suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for reply, and no thanks needed! Pigeons have a special place in my heart.

Unfortunately I've more bad news. Mom and dad both vomited after waking up and having a little breakfast. They do always have (red) grit and they were gorging on it even though they had plenty of seed - I noticed a bit of this behavior last night with the grit, although both were eating well. Dad keeps trying to eat, but he's thrown up three times already :( I've removed both the grit and food (left the ACV/garlic water mix). I wasn't sure if the yellow corn or lentils I added back to their mix two days ago was bad (I just had popcorn, flax, etc. - nothing too large. Also the corn would probably be the culprit b/c the lentils were from the human grocery)... But BOTH their droppings today are much lighter green like cocc. symptoms :_(.

Mom was last tested (neg.) in late 2014/early 2015, and when I received dad I was told he was clean but I didn't verify at the time.

I just cleaned/disinfected the cage and everything in it. I've also mopped, sanitized (ACV and some lemonjuice to keep smells down for them) and am currently washing any clothing/fabric that could've come into contact with the droppings, food, etc. in their room.

I want to shower and change before I go into the babies' room. Will post more once I've showered and fed them! Also I read steam sanitizing is the best way to kill everything (I think it was Feefo on these forums who had SUPER helpful tips/advice on raising lil' ones) so I'm doing that before breakfast time.

Below are mom/dad and their poops today. Will post the squabs' progress pictures and try to take some good ones of Mr./Mrs. gassy gullet after showering as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So feeding went well, both babies seem to be doing ok. *knock on wood*

My concern is how to prevent them from getting ill my apartment is quite small... and if it is cocc. I'm not sure if I there is anything I can administer to 10 day old squeakers without risking that harming them or worse... At least not that I'm aware of.

Also any tips on how to feed without letting the squabs "gulp" too much air, PLEASE let me know! Little black beak was the one I was concerned with, but I saw a big yawn and his/her crop diminished significantly and feeding went on without issue. As for the pink beak (waiting to see their personalities before I name them) he was VERY hungry and ended up gulping some air, though their asleep and he's still pretty puffed out (I was able to feed him around 15ml, which I'm hoping is enough - crop is squishy but not too tight, accounting for air in his).

Any advice on how to protect the young ones would be much appreciated! Also if their poop looks suspicious to anyone with a trained eye.

The feed store is about an hour and a half away and closed on Sundays, so tomorrow I'll head over there for some amprolium for the parents.

P.S. sorry about the gigantic pics, I hope they're more normal this time..
 

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Why were you hand feeding the babies? The parents do a much better job, and also pass on antibodies and such to make them grow healthy. Babies will be just as friendly just by handling and offering treats. In my loft, I offer treats to the parents in the nest box, and the babies will see this and they will come to me for the treats. They become very friendly without my hand feeding them.

It is stressful for the parents to be confined in a cage with the babies. In nature or a loft, they are able to get away from them. As you probably already know, just raising babies can be stressful for them. If they are eating less, drinking a lot of water, and vomiting, then my guess would be probably canker. Canker often doesn't show in the throat, especially with adults. Canker can easily be brought on by stress. Even you taking them and feeding them could cause some stress in the parents.
Because canker is so common, and brought on by stress, I would treat for that. Treat late at night when they aren't feeding the babies. That should give the med time to get into their system before morning when they feed. Metronidazole works really well. 50 mg once daily for an adult for 7 to 10 days. Fish Zole can often be bought in places that sell tropical fish. But you need to be sure that all it contains is the Metronidazole, and not any other drug. Some of it now contains a wormer. You can't use that one.
If the parents do have canker then it could be passed on to the babies. So I would watch them to be sure they aren't sick. If they need treatment, then they would get 25 mg once daily. I wouldn't use the garlic and ACV in the drinking water either. People normally use one thing at a time. Don't think the garlic is necessary. Just a few drops of ACV should be sufficient in their water. Also check the babies throats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
At first I was feeding the squabs to get them used to the tube-style feeding - I want them to be able to bond with humans and lessen the blow for when mom and dad leave :( (but to a good retirement!).

They are actually doing quite well. I decided to keep them separated as mom and dad are still only eating grit despite having ample seed. However I'm again worried for black beak b/c as he/she's learned to exhale any air I accidentally get in the crop (improving on that a ton!) he's having a REALLY tough time making poop and I'm very concerned! The food is at the correct temp (about 35C each round) and I did add TINY seeds as his parents had already been giving those when I removed them. He did poop a tiny bit after I gave him a drop of ACV with a little bit of greek yogurt in a syringe of mostly water BUT with the formula mixed in. What should I do if he's still having issues tomorrow am?!

For what it's worth, the cage door is normally wide open (although my bedroom is off-limits.. except for the babies now haha) and they did usually go up top on my moldings, but today the mama was notttt doing well at all when I got home. I looked at two stores (one actually a fish retailer) but neither had the single-chem. mix :/ Is there anything else you suggest? I'd rather do something small like that rather than the 4in1 type stuff the only feed store in the area has :/

Thanks for the advice!
 

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At first I was feeding the squabs to get them used to the tube-style feeding - I want them to be able to bond with humans and lessen the blow for when mom and dad leave :( (but to a good retirement!).

You don't have to hand feed them to have them bond with you. And once they are weaned, it won't matter that Mom and Dad leave. I don't mix seeds in my hand rearing formula. If his crop is running slow and the food is not going through, that could also be a sign of canker which would have been passed from the parents. Mix some baby food apple sauce with just a bit of warm water and use that for a feeding. That often will help the crop to work better and help things to move through. Then, add just a bit of the warmed apple sauce to the formula when you feed him.

As far as the Metronidazole, you can buy it online from pigeon supply places. The 4 in 1's won't work. They don't really work for anything as they don't have enough of any one drug in them to cure anything. They need something just for canker, and Metro works very well. If it is canker, and not treated, she will likely die. You need to treat ASAP. Google Metronidazole or Fish Zole and you will find places to get it. But if she is sick with canker, or the babies have it, then you don't have much time, so need to do something now. There is always going to an avian vet who knows what they are doing and getting the medicine.

They are actually doing quite well. I decided to keep them separated as mom and dad are still only eating grit despite having ample seed. However I'm again worried for black beak b/c as he/she's learned to exhale any air I accidentally get in the crop (improving on that a ton!) he's having a REALLY tough time making poop and I'm very concerned! The food is at the correct temp (about 35C each round) and I did add TINY seeds as his parents had already been giving those when I removed them. He did poop a tiny bit after I gave him a drop of ACV with a little bit of greek yogurt in a syringe of mostly water BUT with the formula mixed in. What should I do if he's still having issues tomorrow am?!

The babies need to be kept warm enough or they won't be able to digest the food. You can put a heating pad under them with a layer of towel on top of it, and set it on LOW only. This will help to keep them warm enough, as the parents are now not keeping them warm. A cold bird cannot digest food. Also they may have canker which would have been passed on from the parents.

You also need to feed the parents if they are not eating enough, or they will get weaker and die. Hand feed them the defrosted and warmed frozen peas. It's easy.


For what it's worth, the cage door is normally wide open (although my bedroom is off-limits.. except for the babies now haha) and they did usually go up top on my moldings, but today the mama was notttt doing well at all when I got home. I looked at two stores (one actually a fish retailer) but neither had the single-chem. mix :/ Is there anything else you suggest? I'd rather do something small like that rather than the 4in1 type stuff the only feed store in the area has :/

Get the Metronidazole. They birds are going to die if not treated. Can't be sure from here that it is canker, but probably is, and is very common.
As I said before, I would get them to a vet. You can bring in the Mom, and get enough medicine for both parents. If you sit back and do nothing, you are going to lose them. You don't have much time here if the parents are that sick that they aren't even eating. I would over night the med.


Thanks for the advice!
......................................................................
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the advice Jay3!!

Did have to overnight the Metronidazole as the only feed store in the metro area didn't have it - mom and dad are doing VERY well and today I noticed they are already courting again!

The squabs are also doing very well, with the larger one already weaning off the formula/successfully eating seed and drinking from a dish. I'm a tad concerned for the smaller one only b/c it isn't walking near as well as the larger one, though when I let their crops empty overnight the little one does walk and flap excitedly for morning feedings.

After feeding it stays seated for most of the day and doesn't get up to explore like the larger one does. I think it had a very slight case of splay leg so I used a rubber band to brace three days ago. The leg is not disfigured nor has it grown incorrectly, the little one just seems to lack the muscle strength to keep them together properly all the time. I've also been adding 1/16th tsp. of vitaminerals to the little one's formula thinking it was calcium issues but not seen any real difference (I have a UV a&b lamp on them during the day as well since MI weather has been cloudy the past few weeks).

Other than that, both have been steadily gaining about 10 grams (give or take) every day and eating/pooping normally. I know that nestmates can grow and learn at different rates, but they did both hatch the same day - unsure if my concern is unfounded or not!
 

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Post a pic of the baby with the bad leg. If it is splayed, then it needs to be taped in place or he will get worse over time, and will not be able to walk when he grows up. Now is the time to fix it before it hardens that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've been using really thick paper towel for bedding (including in their nest) so they definitely have grip in their bin, and they walk around in my room on Berber carpeting so there's good grip when they exercise.

Note that while I've a bandage on the legs that's normal stance for him/her when walking or sitting (I measured black beak's normal walking stance so the bandage wasn't pulling too much), they just slide sometimes when trying to walk. ALSO! I didn't give the squabs ANY medication as I was afraid to medicate them unnecessarily - Neither showed any symptoms having whatever their parents had. However, in addition to the Metronidazole I also ordered a 4 in 1 (canker, e-coli, paratyphoid and coccidiosis) to have on-hand in the event the former didn't show results, but it says not to administer to birds under 2 months.


P.S. FIO
 

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When the leg goes out because they don't have the strength in the leg to keep it in, that is what splayed leg is. A rubber band doesn't give enough support. Should be tape or band aids, or something that will keep it in better. They also need the calcium and vitamin D3 in order to give them enough calcium to strengthen their legs. Lack of calcium and D3, and slippery surfaces are what normally cause splayed legs.

They are adorable, but keep an eye on them. The feathers on their throat should be coming in. Lack of feathering on the face and throat is a symptom of canker in squabs.

4 in 1's aren't really much good. Not enough of any one drug in them to cure anything. You really do need to use a medication that is designed to treat one thing. When they put them all together like that, they just aren't strong enough, and you are also giving meds for things that they don't need and you aren't even treating them for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Jay3 - Thanks for the clarity, the many internet sources are confusing :eek:. Will a full bandage do? I only have a half (cut lengthwise) of a bandage on there now, and should it be below the knee? Or should I put it closer to the feet like just above where the digits spread out (her toes do point outward a bit more than the larger one). I fed them two hours ago and took the bandage off until tomorrow as the poor thing kept falling on her crop with her little legs sticking out behind kicking/trying to find grip :(. Also, I still have plenty of Metronidazole left - they're 18 days old now, do you think I should do the 25mg of it starting tomorrow morning? Normally squabs from this couple have better-developed neck/head feathers by now, something I did notice but didn't think much of.

**As of 6am (6 hours since I last checked on them) I'm seeing normal poop, but then some very watery urates with a string of feces in the center, wondering if maybe I'm adding too many minerals (for calcium & Vit. D) to the formula and so the salt is making the water-ness or if this is a symptom of something more troubling. Also watched the two squabs for ten minutes (asleep) - they were puffed up a bit (temp is about 75-80 in the crate) and noticed an occasional slight, quick head shake in both and some 'yawning' where they'd put their heads forward, yawn (looks like when they burp up air from a crop bubble) and then back to sleep like normal... Did also check both mouths and saw now signs of lesions/mucous/white canker growths, but I know they can get it in their throats and crops.**



Shayail - Nope, these two are just regular homers. I originally wanted a young Archangel or Dragoon, but finding showbirds in Michigan is... terrible :mad:
 

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I wish I had taken a picture of the baby I fixed with band aids, but I didn't. I took a band aid and put the telfa part on the leg, aiming the sticky part toward the other leg, and stuck them together, like a little tail. Then you do the same with another band aid, and instead of putting the sticky sides together, you stick them to the tail you made by the other band aid. You really do need to pull them in probably closer then what you think, or they will remain far apart when grown. I'll give you a link to a pic that was done with tape. Do it in the middle of the leg, not the bottom and not the top. You want to control the whole leg. It's much easier when done when they are very young and not trying to walk around. Some people Put them in a deep bowl or something with padding, like a nest, so the legs go down, and they can't get out and walk around. Yes, if he tries to walk around, he will probably fall, but it will take 2 weeks probably, maybe 3 to heal right, and you can't let him go without the tape, or he will remain handicapped when grown. You do need to make sure that they aren't too tight and cutting off the circulation, but with the band aids I didn't find that to be a problem, as the telfa part usually gives them enough room for circulation. With the band aids, my youngster was still able to move around some. Just takes practice.

The yawning like that and extending their neck, can also be a sign of canker. Did you look way down their throats, with a flashlight? I would put them both on 7 to 10 days of 30 mg Metronidazole, once daily.

Can you post a picture of the droppings.
 

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Here is a link with a pic of a bird who had his legs wrapped correctly with tape. If tape is used then you need first to put gauze or something on the leg so the tape doesn't stick to the skin when removed, and need to be careful that it isn't so tight that it interferes with the circulation. This birds legs turned out great.
This website has lots of great info. You should keep the link and read through it. Scroll down the page for pictures of Gonzo.

http://www.pigeonrescue.co.uk/legs.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I did check both throats - completely and totally clear, although I know they can have canker with no signs of growths. This is what I was concerned with but REALLY don't want to put them on anything in case it messes with their growth - from the pics of their feathers would you still recommend starting them on the Metro? Sorry to be so wishy-washy about it but I'm very nervous about giving them anything haha.

The funky looking poop is from when I last posted (the left one), and the regular one is from today (both have looked OK the past few days).

This is also black beak standing, and since I've taken the wrappings off she's been walking very well! Just not as frequently. She's also been drinking from the water dish and picking up seeds nicely, although I'm still formula feeding a bit in the morning and a decent amount before sleep. I've switched to Harrison's fledgling formula with about half of the bottle filled with seeds I've soaked for twenty minutes in hot water, and I'm wondering if the lack of seeds is what was causing the weird poops.
 

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Don't know why you ask about the legs or the Metro, as I have explained clearly what is needed, and you are just going to do what you think is best anyway, so good luck with them. Hope they do well under your care.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Don't know why you ask about the legs or the Metro, as I have explained clearly what is needed, and you are just going to do what you think is best anyway, so good luck with them. Hope they do well under your care.
I'm just nervous! I started the Metro on the 17th, and did re-band the small ones legs the way you mentioned (she's definitely walking much better with that method). I didn't mean to come off as doubting your wisdom; I know you're probably one of the best on here! Both are doing very well and I'll post an update in a week or two, assuming nothing negative shows up in the mean time! *knock on wood*
 

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Don't give me so much credit. I'm just one of many on here who try to help. People just make it very difficult when they ask for help, then do what they were doing to begin with. The people on here together can help others because we have had some of the same things to deal with, and all have different experience in different areas. Because we have dealt with these things, we can help others. You didn't keep the leg wrapped long enough. And the way it was wrapped, didn't hold it in enough with strong support. No, he doesn't like being wrapped, but all that matters is that later he has straight strong legs. If the leg is going out a little bit now, it will go out more later under more weight. The younger it is fixed, the easier, and the better it will be. Their feathering is not good, and can be from canker, which if the parents had, they will have. Or maybe from vitamin deficiency. They need vitamins, and they need calcium/D3 supplement. If the feathers still aren't coming in, or they are not eating as they should, or are drinking a lot of water, then I would do the Metro again. You need to be sure they get the right amount, or it won't work. It's hard sometimes from here, when I can't see or handle a bird. Just going by what the owner sees and reports is sometimes difficult.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Update!

So mom and dad acclimated well to the retirement loft and are living the good life with a friend's flock of old birds. :D

Hex (formerly 'black beak') has developed a nervous wing twitch and squeaks like I'm going to kill her 70% of the time my hands approach her if ten minutes has passed since she was last handled... But flies to my high-backed desk chair while I'm working and (tries - she's getting more accurate so the scratches on my shoulders can finally start healing) flies to my shoulder when I'm lounging or walking around my apartment. Big brother (name pending, although 'Curious George' would suit him well...) spends his time trying to coo while dragging his tail around every new corner of my apartment he manages to slip into, and basically making me keep the floors extra clean and anything potentially swallow-able well hidden (q-tips, milk bottle rings.. you name it, I've had to take it away for fear of him trying to swallow it)

Regarding their health:I used the Metro for 12 days, two longer than you recommended but it was on the 12th evening I noticed finally neither were yawning every hour and were no longer yawning/shaking their head in their sleep.

Hex will still give little yawns here and there while awake, usually after a handfeeding but not alway... is that something I should be concerned about? Also, she's not picking up food as well as her brother. She aims accurately, she just has trouble getting the seed from the tip of her beak to her throat. As a side note, in the picture her neck feathers look a little rough - it's because she has NO MANNERS when I formula feed her, and while I try to clean most of it off she only tolerates so much.

Big brother is coming along fine other than the fact he's still a tad patchy around the neck... should I be concerned still? I'm still giving them between 030-60mLs a day each of formula (vitamin enriched with about 1/8th tsp. of Antwern's VitaMineral) depending on how much they manage to eat by themselves.


P.S. Sorry for the late post - income tax final + publication date + both in the same two week span = awful!
 

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