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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all - apologies for the weird nickname - have never used this site before but came across it when looking for information over the Internet on how to properly care for my new little friend, and the server wasn't letting me sign up, so I was starting to get a wee bit frustrated.

So anyway, yesterday I was walking through a park with my partner when a grey and white feral pigeon skydived into my path. At first he was pushing his body around with his head on the floor, and one wing dragging behind him. Some guys nearby who were watching the pigeons said that this little bugger was attacked by a magpie.

He couldn't fly, and was trying to find somewhere quiet to be alone. I watched him for a few minutes, and he seemed okay to walk, but definitely couldn't fly. One wing was always a bit lower than the other. I didn't want to leave him there as I know that he would be prey to feral cats or other birds as he was weaker, and possibly even some scumbag human who thought it might be fun to torture him as he couldn't fly.

It's coming into the winter months at the moment and it's freezing so my partner got a large box for a nearby shop and bought some newspaper and tea towels. We made airholes, popped him in and took him home. Checked on him last night but thought that the best thing to do was keep him warm and quiet and just leave him alone to get over the shock. I did leave him mashed up wholegrain cereal with milk and some sugar dissolved in water but he didn't touch it.

We left him in our wardrobe in our bedroom overnight, thinking that the carpeted floors might somehow help to insulate the box. I wrapped tea towels inside so he would have something to lean on and we just let him be. I live in Sydney (Parramatta to be exact) and the RSPCA over here are quick to euthanase all injured birds, as well as any vet. I did ring up them, as well as WIRES, and was told the same thing. As pigeon's are not native birds in Australia, they are not protected under Australian law. I am reluctant to take him to the vet for that reason, and I am a full-time University student so I definitely cannot afford expensive vet bills.

This morning, however, I got up early and checked on him. He is very perky and alert, which I hope is a good sign. He hadn't touched his food but when I put some breadcrumbs in the sugared water, he gulped it down - and had seconds - and then thirds. I want to give him food that will help him get better (nutritious etc). My partner and I are happy to look after him until he's ready to return to the wild. I will post some pictures with this post - he has walked around the box well with no problems or limps, although he is shivering a bit. I'm not sure if that is because he is scared or because he is genuinely cold. I don't have any hot water bottles etc, but I will fill a sock with rice and microwave it, re-heating every few hours or so to try and regulate his body temperature.

His poop is mainly white and quite large, with dark green colours in there. They should be able to be seen from the pictures. From what I have read it seems to be healthy.

His wings are sitting nicely on his back, and don't seem to be out of place, although yesterday I was sure one looked broken or fractured when he fell from the sky. I haven't touched him too much as I am thinking about taking him to the vet just so they can palpate his wing and see if it really is broken. I don't want to distress him until he's warm and getting stronger. If he needs a bandage, I will pay for that. I'm just not confident about bandaging his wing myself. I was speaking to a friend about it who says that one of her friends lives next door to a lady who cares for injured and sick birds and bats, so she has given me that friends number. It is 7am in the morning at the moment (I couldn't sleep as I was worried) and will try and ring her later to see if she can help out at all.

His chest is puffy and his head sits on it comfortably. A couple of his feathers are out of place (one by his left wing - the one I think is broken/fractured), and one of his tail feathers.

I have yet to properly inspect my new little friend, although he is eating and drinking ferociously, seems to be able to walk okay, is not bleeding from anywhere (although as I said, I haven't done a full-body inspection yet) and doesn't seem to be in major distress, apart from being frightened. He has pooped about 7 times since we brought him home yesterday late afternoon.

I will phone the vet later today to see what can be done, but if they are just going to tell me that they will euthanase him, then I won't take him there.

Any tips or advice would be great. Any antibiotics, creams, what food he should be eating, how often he should be eating them, how to check that his wing is broken, how to bandage his wing (if I have to), how to adequately care for him so as to ensure the best chance of a full recovery etc. I know that a broken wing can take over a month to heal. My partner and I have a UK holiday booked in under 3 weeks, so I am hoping that he will recover quickly, as it may be difficult to arrange for someone to look after him whilst we are away.

Just any help would be fabulous. Especially tips on how to handle him. He seems very gentle, just frightened. I want to check for wounds, bleeding, breaks, fractures etc. but I don't want to manhandle the little one too much as I know that that can be really distressing.

Thanks for all of your help! I will check this regularly for answers.

Michelle.
 

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Someone will be along soon to help you. Would you mind posting your location in Australia so that we can try to find you some help close by? This does not need to be your home address, but your city or state would be helpful. Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My location is Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia. Attached to this reply are 3 more pictures of my little pal. He is eating from a shallow dish. I am soaking the breadcrumbs in the water so that he gets some fluids as well, but if there is anything that I can be giving him to get some extra nutrients in him, please let me know.

I have to go to University this morning, but I will come home straight afterwards. My partner and I also have obligations to be out this evening, but I want to make sure that I am around to feed and check on him regularly. Whilst I am away today, I will leave him in my wardrobe (in the box, of course) with the door slightly open for air flow and a sock of heated rice for warmth.

I don't want to overfeed him too much too quickly, but he is eating well and can eat by himself without being hand-fed.

Just any tips and help would be naturally wonderful, particularly in regards to fixing his wing. Is a bandage completely necessary if he is keeping it in one place and not trying to fly? Will he be okay kept in the box for too long? He won't die of boredom or sadness or anything? I know that pigeons are somewhat semi-tame so I don't want him to get too attached to being fed and cared for regularly, and not be able to survive back in the wild when he gets better, but I don't want him to get bored. Will he eventually get used to such close human contact?

Also, how do I change his beddings? If he is around his own fecal matter for too long, I understand that it will probably cause infection or disease. Is the best trick just to keep buying new tea towels and placing new newspaper down? Once a day? Or more? Or less?

I live in a high-rise apartment 19 floors up, and can't check his flying abilities here. Any recommendations on where to check how his wing is recovering? I was thinking of taking him out to my local park in a couple of weeks to see how he goes. If he can't fly still, I will just take him home again for more rest.

Thanks again!
 

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Thank you for taking the bird in. If you have any seed feed, wild bird feed will do, to add to what you are already feeding, that would be a big help. Pigeons are not normally bread eaters.

It will need a source for warmth so if you have a heating pad, or hot water bottle use that with a towel between the bird and the heat source. make sure it has fresh clean water available. Quiet time is actually a good thing right now.

Hopefully, someone will be along soon to help you out.
 

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Someone will be along soon to help you. Would you mind posting your location in Australia so that we can try to find you some help close by? This does not need to be your home address, but your city or state would be helpful. Thank you!
Sorry, I missed your location in your first post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi Dave, thanks so much for your prompt reply. Have placed rice in a sock and heated it up, wrapping it in a tea towel also and I have placed that near the little one. Hopefully he will migrate that way when he feels the warmnth emanating off of it.

My housemate has said that he has a hot water bottle so I will place that by the side of the box, perhaps on the outside as insulation. I will go looking for bird seed when I leave. and ensure that he has clean, fresh water available throughout the day.

Just to clarify, my location is Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia. I live quite centrally and close to the large Westfield Shopping Centre.

Anyone to help would be great. Would you like me to PM you my private mobile number in case that person wants to get in direct contact with me throughout the day? I'm not sure how it works on this thing so if you PM me first I can just hit 'reply' with my details.

Thanks again, I've got a lot of faith in this little pigeon!

Michelle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi again, have just noticed the pigeon from behind. It looks like it has many feathers missing, and there is a pinky red bulb shape protruding from underneath the feathers. I don't know what this is.

The pigeon is becoming increasingly more lethargic. I am very worried at this stage. I have left fresh water and two sources of heat in the box. For now, I think that this is all that I can do.

If there is any help available, I think the little one needs someone with a bit more experience to help him, or at least have a look at him and show me what to do.

Michelle.
 

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Thank you for helping this bird.

Please follow the advice on this thread:

http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/f108/basic-steps-to-saving-the-life-of-a-pigeon-or-dove-8822.html

If his wings seem to be in the right place, then the wings are probably fine. If he doesn't have the strength to fly then he may just be weak due to hunger, illness or both.

I'm glad to hear he is eating. you can also give him frozen peas (thawed and drained) for now, or a wild bird mix or a pigeon seed.

Can you post a good close up picture of the lesion (red thing) under the feathers?

Others will be along with more to add.
 

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Hi Michelle,

Thank you for your kindness and caring.

It would be great if you can take the youngster to the woman that you mention who rehabs birds, to check for injuries and to splint his wing in place if it is indeed broken. If a broken wing is not properly aligned and fixed in place, it may heal incorrectly, and the bird will not be releasable.

It's hard to tell from the pictures, but he might have been attacked and might need antibiotics. Unlike mammals, the feathers on pigeons make it hard to tell if there is an injury and how deep it goes, even when you dig around. Yesterday for example, I brought a pigeon to a very experienced pigeon rehabber and it took her a long time and a lot of plucking of feathers to find a one inch gash (which required stiches) on the neck of the pigeon which I suspected had been attacked. He had no bleeding and not even a feather missing there. The only reason I knew he had been attacked was because he had a few feathers out of place on his wing - exactly like your pigeon. When the down feathers (the soft small feathers) are up on the surface, it can be a sign of a predator attack, and if a pigeon has been injured in the attack it will not make it unless antibiotics are given within a day or two.

You can line his box with newspaper, and considering it's probably a small box, can change it twice a day. I prefer using white paper towels - they are softer and let you keep track of the color of the poop - a useful tool. As almondman suggests you can give him seed, as bread is simply not nutritious enough for them. When you keep his box in his wardrobe, make sure he gets light during the day, or he won't be eating, as pigeons are inactive in the dark.

As for his flying ability, I think you'll know with time. Once he's feeling better, he will start to fly if he is able to. For now it's important to find out if the wing is broken or just injured, and if you can not find anyone who can do this, a vet trip will be well worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi everyone,

I have only Cephalexin Capsules BC on hand (each capsule contains cephalexin monohydrate equivalent to 500 mg cephalexin).

I have bought some Betadine Antibacterial ointment but have been advised by the vet over the phone that it may burn a lesion or wound so I am reluctant to use it. I also have Hydrozole Anti-Fungal Cream on hand but I do not know how useful that will be. I could not find wild bird seed but have bought canary/budgie seeds which say that they are packed with nutrients. I am going to keep him near me in the warmth of the sun whilst I do some work from home. That way I can keep an eye on him and ensure that he is eating regularly.

I couldn't go to Uni today as I am too worried about this pigeon's welfare. Unfortunately, the 'pigeon rehabilitator' that my friend recommended to me was no help at all when I phoned, and really wasn't interested.

I have been crying all morning because I don't know who to turn to, and can't bear to think that the pigeon is suffering. I have been on the phone to the vet and they have said that the consultation fees and treatment fees for bringing him in as a 'pet' are usually very steep, and I barely have enough money to get by myself as I am a full-time University student and a part-time worker, and all of my money goes to pay for my studies, rent, groceries, petrol etc.

Otherwise they have advised me that if I bring him in as a 'wild bird', the vet can palpate (feel) his wing for any breaks, and have a look at his wounds. If the vet does not think that he has much chance of surviving, or is not prepared to cover the costs of treatment and rehabilitation, that they will immediately euthanase him. In this instance, I cannot take him back as he is a 'wild bird' and they have a duty of care to keep him for euthanasion.

So I'm really torn. I'm not a vet and I don't know how to adequately care for this little bird. I am scared that if I touch him I will hurt him more but I don't want to just leave him in the dark to suffer and get even worse. But it would break my heart to just hand him over to a vet that doesn't seem to care and would rather euthanase him than spend time treating him. But then again on the same note, a vet is looking at the bird's best interest and if the bird simply cannot be rehabilitated then it can never be let back into the wild. I live in a high rise apartment that doesn't allow pets (I'm not even supposed to have him here now), so I cannot take him, and I don't know anyone who can.

If there is anyone in my area (Parramatta, NSW, Sydney, Australia) who can help me, I would appreciate that. I think that I may have to take him to the vets this afternoon but my heart is feeling so wrong about it.

:(
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Those are some close up pictures of his back, in more light. I think it's safe to say that he's definitely been attacked, and some guys yesterday said that they saw him get attacked by a magpie.

He's chowing down on the birdseed ferociously - can't stop eating it. He seems alert again but as you can see from the pictures, the feathers on his back are gone and it looks very pink, scaly and mangled.

I haven't really seen him walk and his wings are staying firmly by his side, he isn't trying to move them at all.
 

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Great - you have something. The Cephalexin is not ideal, but will have to do.

Here are dosage directions by our member Jaye, directly copied from another thread:
Dilute one pill in 10ml or water, then you end up with a 50mg/ml suspension.
So then give about .2ml or .2cc (same thing) twice a day, 8 hours minimum apart.

To make the suspension, you can also use maple syrup or honey instead of water.
And here is how to give it to him: You'll need a 1ml plastic syringe without the needle. Wrap the pigeon in a t-shirt or towel so that only his head and neck are sticking out. His legs should be stretched backwards towards the tail to prevent him from getting a grip and wiggling out of the towel. Once wrapped, place him on your lap (so that both your hands are free) with his beak facing forward and to the right. Hold open his beak with your left hand, coming in behind his head (provided you are right handed), at the same time stretching his neck straight up so that everything is in a straight line, no S curves in the neck. When you look into his throat you will see a little whole that closes and opens as he breathes - this is the opening of the trachea and if liquid goes down that hole - the pigeon will aspirate. So you must bypass this and go further back. With your right hand, very gently plunge the syringe down his throat at the very back past the trachea on his right side. You should feel no resistance with the syringe going down. If you do, don't force it - try again. I get it down to where about half the syringe is down his throat, before I release the medication. Don't pull it out before you have fully released the med. I also lightly grease the outside of the syringe with a bit of coconut or olive oil, to get it to go down easier.

It's great that he's eating. When he's in his box, make sure he knows where his water dish is by dipping his beak into it, without submerging the nostrils.
 

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It looks to me like the pigeon has feathers growing back in and so the injury may be old.
Just looking at the pictures, the wings seem to be in a normal position and often, if just given rest, the bird will on it's own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
My partner and I have agreed to pay the avian veterinary consultation fee of $120. The vet will see what he can do - if it is treatable then my partner and I will pay for antibiotics and a wing splint, and home it with us until it has recovered. If the vet says that the damage is irreparable, then we will have to pay for the euthanasia also. Otherwise it doesn't have a chance as it will be euthanized straight away. At least this way there is a possibility of it getting better and being able to be released. It is a non-native Australian bird and therefore apparently has no right to life. I am so appalled that this country does not have any rehoming/rehabilitation centres for common wood pigeons, or any non-native bird for that matter. I like this little guy a lot and am prepared to take the risk. It's only money, after all.

I'll let you all know how it goes. Wish us luck and pray for the little one.
 

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I've PMd your phone number to one of our members in Australia - hopefully she'll be able to advise you on available resources so that he can be helped without the possibility of euthanizing. He has a perfectly good chance of full recovery and his case is one where euthanizing is simply not justified in my opinion, but the vet may differ on this.

In the meantime, please start him on the antibiotic. If you don't feel comfortable with administering the medication via syringe than you can soak a pea sized bread ball with it and put it in his beak towards the back of his mouth. Then hold his beak closed for a second and he will swallow. This is very easy to do and there is no way you can aspirate him. Use more than one ball if you need to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I would really appreciate that! Thank you. Tell her to feel free to call at any time. I feel bad opening his mouth. How do I do that? Won't he just eat the bread balls anyway if I dip them into the antibiotic and put them on a tray for him?

I think I need help figuring out how to bandage his wing. He falls over to one side quite often (the left side - the side I suspected to be broken). He also leans his head down and his tail up in the air as if he is going to take flight, but then never does.

I don't want to have to take him to the vet if I don't have to, especially if there is a high chance that he will be euthanized, but I cannot bear that he will suffer.

So splinting the wing and getting the antibiotic measurements right, and also giving him water because he doesn't seem to be drinking - are my main concerns right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have diluted 250 mg of cephalexin monohydrate in a little bit of water and dipped about 5 small bread balls into this mixture. Bobbie (yes I have named it - a unisex name) happily ate them up. I will do this two to three times a day.

Bobbie is quite frightened but I took him out and inspected him properly. What a gentle little creature he is. He walked around the living room - not properly. Couldn't fly and kept falling over to one side but could move quite quickly. Went under the couch at one point but I coaxed him out with seeds.

His back is pink and scaly, but there are no open wounds or cuts. The pinkness is dry and scaly and looks like the feathers have just been taken away through a previous attack. His tail feathers are still in tact. His wing is most probably fractured but doesn't look out of place. Just to be sure I am going to research how to properly splint it up but any help here would be great. I am not sure whether to do one wing or both as I think that it will be good to keep them both still in order for them to heal. I don't want them to heal wrong as then he'll never be able to fly again and all of my hard work will be in vain! Is this okay to do? Or should I just bandage one wing?

Next thing for me to do is dip his beak in water to urge him to drink (I think I will mix a small amount of Gatorade powder) in there also to hydrate him faster and keep him on the antibiotics. How long should I keep him on the antibiotics for? And also, am I giving him the right amount? The white powder was in capsule form so I split apart the capsule and poured the powder into a small amount of water and stirred it around before dipping the bread balls in. I poured around 250 mg of it in the water, but obviously not all of the antibiotic-infused water was used when I dipped the bread in, so will he need more?

I have 7 antibiotic capsules left, and there are 500 mg to each capsule.

On his back around the pink scaly parts, there were little clear bugs. I know that he's feral so of course he will have parasites, but I'm itchy now too! Any tips on how to rid him of the little buggers? And also myself?

I can make arrangements for him to be adequately cared for whilst my partner and I are away - I have made some phone calls today. Hopefully my cousin can come and stay and as instead of paying bills, she can feed him and clean his box. This evening I think that my partner and I will invest in a cage for him, as it will be cleaner. Can I keep him on the balcony whilst he is healing in the cage? And what cage do you recommend?

Sorry for so many questions! I am going to postpone the vet visit for the next few days. If I see more improvements, I will cancel it altogether, and keep little Bobby with me until he is better. But I need to feel confident in what I am doing as I am definitely NOT a vet and therefore it is crucial that I am more knowledgable. I don't want to make him worse.
I have faith that he will get better and that I can let him back into the wild.

Just as a query - how old can common wood pigeon's live to? I assume Bobby is already an adult. I bought Betadine to keep him clean but the vet nurse said that this wasn't a good idea. Instead I may just wash him all over with a warm wet towel.

I think I'm going to pop to the pet store later and see what I can get. Any recommendations on what to get him for the long term? I have been feeling down today about the whole situation but I so badly don't want him euthanized. I'm going to at least give it my best shot.

Michelle.
 
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