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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So Hi all - I have a baby pigeon on my balcony. I came home from a trip to see him sitting there. He appears to be sitting on his legs awfully funny, and I think it's this 'splayed legs' problem.

the parents still come to feed him, although I'm guessing he's about 14 days old today. I know nothing of his health, other than his feet are too far out.

If I check him out - will the parents still come back to feed him? I work all day and don't want to make them shy away from feeding him. I do want to help him, though, if possible.

Any ideas? Can I still try this sponge thing? Does anyone have good photos of it, I see people talking about it but don't have great images of it.

Let me know! I've named "my" baby pigeon Nugget.
 

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Yes, you can handle him and the parents will not reject him, but you want to do this as quickly as possible and then just put him back. Instead of a sponge, I recommend tape, here is a link below with how to do this (it's for a chick, but the principle is the exact same, also, goes quicker if a second person holds and one tapes);

http://www.poultryhelp.com/spraddle.html

It's kind of how I more or less to it, but I use medical adhesive tape, about 1" wide , folded on itself so the middle section is tape against tape and not sticky, but before folding I tear the a small 1" strip, in the middle from each end that will be the piece to encircle the leg, so you end up with a sideways "L" look, where the short part of the L is the middle part folds over on itself and the longer part is the part the goes around the leg. With the part that goes around the leg, I take a small piece of tape about 5/8" long and stick it to the part that goes around, so there is no adhesive part on the leg, but just a small section at the end that can stick to hold it after I wrap it a round, this will allow the tape to rotate a bit if needed. You want the part around the leg with just enough room to turn, but snug with just a small gap. to ensure good circulation. I then take a 1" piece of tape and go around the hobble tape, right next to the leg, so the tape can not gap/unstick, so either the foot gets out, or comes apart. Should stay on at least a week perhaps 10 days. Bring him inside at 7 days and you can cut the hobble in the middle, see how he is standing (make sure it is not on a hard slippery surface, but on something like carpet to give grip) and decide whether to tape the two ends back together with the same spacing, or to add in 1" or so more tape so he can use his legs a bit more but still have support and check him again at 10 days.

Do you think you could post up a photo, here's how: http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/showpost.php?p=525049&postcount=15

Good luck with him,

Karyn
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Tried and failed :(

yeah I totally tried this, but his right leg was too splayed out and had too swollen joints, to even bind to the other. He was pretty fiesty too. If I had another person I probably could've done it, but handling an outdoor (dirty/bugs) bird who's flapping and trying to literally tape his feet together proved too difficult. He's still peeping, and being fed, but now he's shuffling around the balcony with one foot... and his wings appear to almost be feathered out now.

I feel terrible, but I just couldn't do it. And I really do mean that I'm pretty good with animals, usually. He was just too big/flappy to contain easily and bind his feet. :(
 

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wrap him in a towel, covering his wings & head and manoever it so that you can get access to his legs. As long as you keep his head & wings covered he should stay a bit calmer. The towell also stops him injuring himself if he does try to struggle.
 

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You have a few options, one is to find a rehabber in your area that knows what they are doing , who can try and take over the care of this bird, and I mean a rehabber, not a general Wildlife Center, as most Centers will just PTS this little guy (put to sleep), although there are some good ones that will try for pigeons. Another is you could just say you tried your best and let nature take its course. Then, there is the option I would prefer you to try and that is to bring this guy inside and try and get his legs corrected to where the would be of service to him. I say inside because we are approaching the time when he will be able to start to fly and if he leaves you balcony with bound legs, this will certainly be a death sentence for him, so he needs brought in. You can pick up a caged Mite & Lice spray at any large box pet store, here is one I suggest that will take care of any pest problems, you will not pick up bugs from them as the lice can not live off a bird.

http://www.petco.com/product/102342/8-in-1-Ultra-Care-Mite-And-Lice-Bird-Spray.aspx

There is time to still possibly correct this, but it needs to be done ASAP. Can you post up some photos? Here's a link you may find worthwhile reading:

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

Karyn
 

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Please try Quazars idea with the towel. That usually works wonders to help control the bird. If you have someone to help, of course, that would also be good, but I really think you could do it alone if you try the towel. Leaving it to "Let nature take its course will only result in leaving him in a state in which he will surely not last for long in the wild. Also, bringing him in would be necessary, as he couldn't survive out there with taped feet if he should fly away, which I'm sure he is close to doing. Do you have a cage or something that you could keep him in? If he is feathering out, then he must be close to where he could be weaned. He will soon be able to eat on his own, so actually, you could still work and get him fed as well. Anything would be better than leaving him outside to remain crippled in a world where only the fit survive. Even if he misses a few meals, he'll be okay. Could you possibly post a few pictures of him? Thanks for trying for him, and don't be intimidated by this. It really isn't all that hard. Please try again. And thanks for caring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
poor nugget

He's super sad - I think he might have cockroaches, too? super creepy. Does anyone know if the sprays get rid of those bugs? If I bring him inside, can I wash him somehow? I'd love for him to *NOT* bring bugs into the house. Any ideas would be appreciated.

Also I'm away next weekend, and in middle of November I have to be gone for several days. I have only ever had cats/dogs, and don't know anything about birds. Can birds be left alone for a few days? Or do they need new food every day - that's my problem currently. Can I leave him with some seed?

How do I wean him if he's not weaned?

If I keep him inside, is he still wild? I mean, can I just release him at a certain point and get him out and about? Or is he dependent on me from then on? That is, do I have a new pet pigeon?
 

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No. He can't have cockroaches. A bird spray from any pet shop will get rid of any bugs right away. If you can put him in a cage for now. Get some bird spray and spray him. Yes, they can be left alone if left with enough food and water for a couple of days. Or you could have someone feed him maybe? Weaning him isn't difficult. It is teaching him to eat on his own. Sometimes people do this by hand feeding frozen defrosted and warmed peas and corn. It isn't difficult once you get the hang of it.

Of course if you keep him inside he is still wild. He is a wild bird. The younger he is, the easier it is to tame him, but if he can be treated and his legs to be made straight again so he can walk, he could eventually be released back into a flock. We can explain that later on.
 

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He's super sad - I think he might have cockroaches, too?
LOL, sorry not meaning to offend you but I found this hillarious. (but at the same time understandable for anyone not knowing about pigeons)
They are definately not cockroaches.
They will probably be small feather mites or lice which actually cannot survive off the pigeons body.
Washing him probably wont get rid of them all as they tend to go back deep inside the feathers to hide.
The sprays do work, just cover the birds eyes & beak (head) with a cloth before praying, & make sure you also spray underneath the wings as this is where they tend to hide.
Also, as long as you adhere to general "pet hygene" and hand washing, contrary to a lot of belief they do not carry any diseases that can be transmitted to humans no matter how sick they may be. There is actually more chance of catching something off a dog or a cat.


Also I'm away next weekend, and in middle of November I have to be gone for several days. I have only ever had cats/dogs, and don't know anything about birds. Can birds be left alone for a few days? Or do they need new food every day - that's my problem currently. Can I leave him with some seed?
Unfortunately, being so young he will need to be cared for until he is eating & drinking proficiently on his own, and really should have fresh seeds & water every day.
Even if left with an ample amount of both, chances are he would be pooping all over it & in the water so this would need to be changed regularly.


How do I wean him if he's not weaned?
You can feed him warmed defrosted peas and corn, by poping them into his beak towards the back & he should swallow them. About 30 pops per feed.
If the bird wont sit to let you do as the video shows, you can wrap him in a towel with his head out. This stops him from possibly injuring himself while struggling, and generally calms them more.
Once he knows what they are, you can leave a few beside him & pretend peck & play around with them with your finger & he will get inquisative & try to peck them, eventually picking them up & eating by himself.
Once he has mastered this, you can then leave some seeds around also although they are harder for him to pick up & will take longer for him to get the hang of it.
As far as water goes, start him with some tepid water in a small ramekin style dish, guide & dip his beak into it (dont dip it in past his nostrils) and after a few attempts he should know what to do. (Must be tepid at first as he will be used to the temp of his parents beak & will not drink if it is cold)


If I keep him inside, is he still wild? I mean, can I just release him at a certain point and get him out and about? Or is he dependent on me from then on? That is, do I have a new pet pigeon?
You wont nessessarily have a pet pigeon unless you want to keep him & they do make incredibly good pets.
If however you decide to release him, you cant just let him go. he WILL need to be "acclimatised" & go through a soft release process.
Baby pigeons learn how to forage for food & how to react and avoid predators & generally survive in the feral world from watching and following around their parents when old enough.
At present he is not old enough to follow them around, and indeed with the leg problem they may just abandon him when he tries to do so, so he knows nothing about survival & would not really have any chance till he learns this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
more questions about the baby

So I've called a wildlife rehabilitator in the area, and hope he calls me back. I'm in LA so there aren't a lot of them.

Questions if they don't call me back:
How old can I start weaning him? Do I need to hand-feed him otherwise, other than peas? Like pigeon formula? Also how many times a day to feed him, just whenever he's hungry?

Is there any way to get his swollen right foot joints down? :\
 

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A picture would help to determine his age. If he is at an age where he can be weaned onto seeds, than no need to start with formula. Getting him used to eating on his own is easier with the defrosted peas and corn, as they are much easier to get into him, and also easier for him to pick up on his own once he learns. After feeding him a few times, they will usually learn to pick them up on their own. Seems to be easier for them to pick up than the seeds, as they are soft and a bit larger. Once they learn to do that, they will learn to pick up seeds fairly quickly. Until he is eating on his own, then feeding a few times a day would be good, but just make sure that his crop has emptied first. The crop is located just under the throat, and is like a little pillow that will fill up when you feed him. It'll get like a soft little pillow. When it is empty, it'll be flat again. Once he is eating well on his own, You can just leave seed with him as you would other birds. At this point, you can leave him alone for a couple of days if necessary, but always better to have someone to care for him.
 

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Here is a pic of two babies with very full crops.

 

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yeah I totally tried this, but his right leg was too splayed out and had too swollen joints, to even bind to the other. He was pretty fiesty too. If I had another person I probably could've done it, but handling an outdoor (dirty/bugs) bird who's flapping and trying to literally tape his feet together proved too difficult. He's still peeping, and being fed, but now he's shuffling around the balcony with one foot... and his wings appear to almost be feathered out now.

I feel terrible, but I just couldn't do it. And I really do mean that I'm pretty good with animals, usually. He was just too big/flappy to contain easily and bind his feet. :(
u need to catch him.. take him inside the house.. take a picture so we can see whats wrong with the leg exactly. once he starts flying around.. and fledges the nest he will most likely not live that long in the wild..
now if u get to him.. and we fix whats wrong.. then there still might be some chance.
if he is beyond the release. im sure there are people that would adopt him out or somethin.
i had a baby with simular needs.. leg wasnt splayed but broken.. long story she couldnt lay down.. stand still to even eat.. she was euthanized because she suffered a lot.. standing all day.. not being able to get comfortable.. jumping around.. omg when i jst think about it. At least she is resting in peace..
u could help that baby its not too late.
good luck.. keep us posted..
 

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So I've called a wildlife rehabilitator in the area, and hope he calls me back. I'm in LA so there aren't a lot of them.

Questions if they don't call me back:
How old can I start weaning him? Do I need to hand-feed him otherwise, other than peas? Like pigeon formula? Also how many times a day to feed him, just whenever he's hungry?

Is there any way to get his swollen right foot joints down? :\
wild life rehab wont call u back.. most dont care about pigeons.. they care about predatory birds.. goose. etc.
..
is u do take the baby. u can start weaing him with in a weak fro being in your house..
right now u could feed him 3 times a day with just cherious soaked in water.. if u have a surringe 40 cc would be ok per feed. or 4 times a day depends how hungry he is.. cooked rice.. baby food from wheat to anything.. really.

swelling hmmmm.. seems that the leg might be broken.. as if stepped on cause of that swelling. u should tape the leg in the right position before its completely healed. Usually Metacam would reduce inflamation and swelling as well as pain. if there is any way you can get to Metacam it would help a lot.

good luck and please keep us posted and a picture would speak 1000 words
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It's been a while - but I haven't replied to this. Sadly, the day I was going to bring him inside, we had an apartment inspection and he was missing off my balcony when I came home :( :( :( I think they took little Nugget.

Sigh. Next baby pigeon gets brought inside immediately. And de-mited. And taped up. :\
 
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