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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I found a pure white racing pigeon a few days ago. She was obviously hurt and I captured her easily after one day (the full story is pretty amazing, actually, but I will post that another time) My problem is I traced the band on the bird through this forum. She was originally owned by a man in Central NY. He got rid of his flock and sold them to a man in Massachusetts, but kept no details on the person he sold them to. So, another pigeon talk contact tells me since I am in Albany NY, it is likely the poor thing is trying to go "home" to Central NY, but that "home" is no longer there. He advised I could try to re-home her. (We have two indoor exotic birds) I had her in a box for a few days, she is eating and drinking and other than a nasty gash that appears in her middle back (likely a hawk). She appears very healthy, but does not seem to be able to fly well. Yesterday, I purchased a rabbit hutch, grit, oyster shell and we placed her outside. She LOVES the outdoors. Her reaction was immediate. She is a little fearful of us, but when I handle her to check her cut, she calms and is quite docile.

We would like to keep her and avoid her returning to somewhere where she will have no home any may not run across people as bird friendly as we are.

Advice?

Does she need a sheltered corner in that hutch (it is open on four sides?

Also, ironically, we are moving to Mass. in about 50 days so I am wondering if it would be ok to let her exercise in a closed space but keep her from flying totally free so she does not "home" on our house/geography? I don't want to be cruel in any way to this bird. Will simply having her outside let her "home" or does she need to fly to do that?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks
 

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She is beautiful. I would suggest not to let her fly at all unless it is in an enclosed area. It is hard to rehome birds and might never work, she should probably never be let out again.

You may want to get her on some antibiotics from a vet. I have a lost white pigeon as well, but the shape of the head and beak on this one is different. I'm afraid she might be hiding some injuries from claws and needs medical attention. These birds can fly up to 60mph for hundreds of miles, so to be flightless like this she is actually in bad shape. Huge holes can hide under those dense feathers. (over 10000 feathers on each pigeon)
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Confused racing pigeon

Thank you philodice. Do you think it is OK to keep her outside or should I bring her in? She is in a safe strong hutch. Also, does she need nesting material for warmth -- straw, paper, soft towels? Also, she can fly but only short distances. The first day I found her she got away from me and managed to get to a low rooftop, but she does have a nasty gash between her back two wings that appears to be healing but is sensitive to touch, so I am going to see if I can get an antibiotic for her.



Thanks for responding!

She is beautiful. I would suggest not to let her fly at all unless it is in an enclosed area. It is hard to rehome birds and might never work, she should probably never be let out again.

You may want to get her on some antibiotics from a vet. I have a lost white pigeon as well, but the shape of the head and beak on this one is different. I'm afraid she might be hiding some injuries from claws and needs medical attention. These birds can fly up to 60mph for hundreds of miles, so to be flightless like this she is actually in bad shape. Huge holes can hide under those dense feathers. (over 10000 feathers on each pigeon)
 

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Thank you for caring for this needy bird.

You can keep her outside in an enclosure, but make sure she is dry from rain and protected from drafts of wind, and any openings to the outisde world larger then 1/4 inch need to be closed-due to predators, or use 1/4 inch hardware cloth to cover. The floor should be solid also. You can use papertowels to line her nest/cubby.

Yes, it would be good for her to get excercise inside a large room or aviary.

She will need an antibiotic like Clavamox or Augmenten.
 

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If you are not able to spend ALOT of time with her/him, I would think about getting her a mate, pigeons are very social, a mate can be another hen, but two males may not work...if your able to keep her in the house and interact with her/him alot then perhaps you won't need to, :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi! I am working on getting her another hen to buddy with. Another contact has id'd her as a hen based on her beak/waddle. I really can't have lots of pigeons where I live and will live. I may consider bringing her inside -- do they do OK if you clip their wings? I have two exotic birds so first order of business would be to find a vet that would check her for disease before I expose my other two birds.
 

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The rabbit hutch will do fine, but depending on the weather it is best that at least 2 sides are covered. Some European fanciers "weathered" their bird on an aviary during winter.

Because you are moving in 50 days, it is best not to rehome now. I have read somewhere that you can only rehome a homing pigeon 3 times (probably one of those scientific experiments). After that they get confused and they don't know where to go.

Unfortunately rehoming is risky. It is literally 50/50. If they return to you they are rehomed. If not, they are gone the same day you release them.

When I rehomed my birds ranging from couple of months old to 2 years old breeders, one of them disappeared the same day. It just took off somewhere. It is the one in my avatar. But she came back the next day. I found out that she was really smart bird--the smartest bird I have had thus far.

I do notice that those white homing pigeons have less homing ability than those racing pigeons. When I check our local animal shelter I see those white homers.

I have rehomed most birds I have. Only the unprepared sudden takeoff or escape caused them to disappear. I have written my rehoming/resettling process somewhere, but I don't remember which posts.

My rehoming/resettling method is simple.

First day I got the birds they are on some form of settling/training cage/crate which I put in front of my loft for one hour. I obviously watched them there. Then after one hour of them there, I put them on top of my loft roof for another 30 minutes. Then I put them inside the loft still on that training crate. I give them food and water inside the training crate and they spend the night there.

The next day I do the same thing, but I add another 1 hour of putting them on top of my house roof. My goal is for them to observe and memorize their new surroundings. Climbing a roof is dangerous though so be careful. Once they calmed down and start preening themselves, then I bring them inside. I feed and water them inside the crate.

On the third day I release them inside the loft. For the next seven days (one week) I just let them be. I always whistle before giving them food. The second week I try to "bond" with them by feeding them by hand half of their ration. Then I whistle and give them the rest of the food. The third week is trap training. I catch them one by one and put them on the trap before feed time. I locked them there to see the outside for 30 minutes. They can't escape because it is lock inside and out. During feed time, then I open the door, whistle and let them come inside. If they hesitate I just grab them from the inside and pull them in. It only takes them 3 days to learn trapping. Once they respond to food whistle and knows how to trap I feel they are ready, but within those third week ,I allow them to go in and out from the trap voluntarily. The fourth week is the release date. I pick late afternoon and to make sure there is no hawk or something that can scare them. If the weather is bad, then obviously I don't release them. I open the exit door from the trap. The birds are not yet feed. I stand near the trap and I just let the bird come and go. Most of the time, they go to the ground, then the loft roof. Remember the first day training where I already introduce them the loft roof? That will help them remember. After 30 minutes or so I just whistle and by then they will respond to the call and trap inside. I do this for the whole week increasing their freedom time outside to a total of 1 hour. The goal is not startle them and let them explore the area. If they suddenly takes off at this time most likely they are lost. They will go to my house roof. I just let them be. They are remembering the second day of training and still memorizing the whole area. Once they take off, make circle and land on the loft to me my resettling method is a success. That is my technique and I only lost one bird because I was stupid when I suddenly scared it with slamming screeching door.

Other methods will work. That is how I do it. And if you know me I always experiment and do crazy stuff.

rod
 

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Lizzy...It's critical that you check the bird over very thoroughly for puncture wounds. The advise you have been given about getting her on antibiotics is very good. There is a reason why she can't fly and an evaluation by a vet is in order ASAP.
She sure landed in the right place.
Pigeons are charming companions and very smart. I'm glad you are going to get her a mate because as Michelle said, Pigeons are very social. If you do bring them inside, it really isn't necessary to clip wings. Also, you can buy diapers for Pigeons.:)
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Rod, I am actually considering making her an inside bird or building a small aviary when we get to our new house. This is a hard decision. I have two exotic birds, so what's one more-- the downside is I know she is born to fly-- I can't get over how "burly" she is! Either way, she has a home with us now, and I am going to prevent her from escaping for now, since clearly she is confused and hurt. I'll keep everyone posted.

This will be easier since my husband has fallen in love with her too. He's a pushover for a good looking woman ;-)
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I looked her over very carefully yesterday -- I can't believe how thick and gorgeous her feathers are. She can fly a bit -- she made it to the top of our kitchen cabinets! I found nothing but the one wound, which is healing very nicely and seems less sensitive to touch. Now, I have to find a vet. Thanks so much for the advice.
 

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Beautiful bird - so glad she found such a wonderful family!

Once you're moved and settled in, you might consider building a small coop and flight pen outside. Pigeons really enjoy sunbathing (and showering in the rain). :) Unlike clipped parrots, pigeons don't have strong feet for climbing around. Flying is very beneficial to their respiratory health, so I would not recommend clipping her wings.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yes, something instinctively told me that wing clipping would not be good for her... I was comparing her to our exotics who do climb quite a bit b/c we considered using one of our spare cages at first, but I did not think it would be the best environment for her, since she is not a climber. TerriB your message makes perfect sense. Thanks!
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Confused Racing Pigeon Update

I am happy to report that Pearl's injuries are healed and she is flying well and seems content in her modified rabbit hutch. She comes into the garage or house for a quick fly each day for exercise (but man, is she getting difficult to catch!) She had a shower this morning and loved it. She's a keeper. We are going to bring her to Boston and arrange to get her a companion so that she will stay with us as an outdoor companion. She is starting to vocalize with us -- I have no idea what that means, but am going to consider it a good thing. Hopefully, she will be happy in retirement from her racing days. Thanks to all of you who helped and provided advice. :)
 

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Thank you for your update. I am glad you are enjoying your new friend.
Sounds like she is quite happy at your place.

Reti
 

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I am happy to report that Pearl's injuries are healed and she is flying well and seems content in her modified rabbit hutch. She comes into the garage or house for a quick fly each day for exercise (but man, is she getting difficult to catch!)...
Thanks for the update. So glad Pearl is doing well!

Regarding catching her, you might try teaching her to eat treats from your hand, then pair that with calling her name. Do that several times during her flight time, so it doesn't always mean end of the fun. :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Catching pearl

What would be a good treat? She eats so fast I can't tell what she likes best!

Thanks for the update. So glad Pearl is doing well!

Regarding catching her, you might try teaching her to eat treats from your hand, then pair that with calling her name. Do that several times during her flight time, so it doesn't always mean end of the fun. :)
 

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What would be a good treat? She eats so fast I can't tell what she likes best!
raw unsalted peanuts, safflower seed, or even greens cut in small peices with the scissors, but they need to try the peanuts and greens before they know they will like them....safflower always works with mine, esp if they are hungry ATM you give it.
 
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