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Hi all,

I'm rehabbing a bird (Greybird) who suffered pretty severe breaks to both wings but is healing in such a way that he may be releasable. On the advice of my vet (who has a lot of experience with pigeon rehab) I kept him in a dog kennel (about 3 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet; lxwxh) for 1 week post finding him, 3 weeks in a wing wrap (after she assessed that this might help), and then an additional 1 week out of the wrap so he could move his wing but not injure it. Then my vet assessed him - he could fly across the room but couldn't yet get any lift. My vet then advised me to let him out in my downstairs bathroom (which I'm not using and is clear of breakable or otherwise dangerous small objects) so he can begin to develop some additional mobility but still in a contained environment (if he seems after that to be on the way to getting good lift we're planning to try to get an outdoor aviary in which he can further rehab, but if at any point he turns out not to be releasable I'll adopt him as an indoor companion pigeon).

Greybird seems to be doing well out in the bathroom but it is difficult to see exactly what he is doing. On the first day he stayed on the ground, the second he got on the sink, and the third and fourth he's been on the higher up stacked bins next to the shower (there are two higher perches on which I haven't yet seen him: the weighted down covered bucket on top of the bins and then finally the top of the shower wall).

Yesterday it didn't look like he had been down to eat much of his food, and I started to worry that he might be trapped. I therefore put new food and water up on the bins right by him. He's definitely used those a lot, but now I'm worrying that by putting his food up there I've discouraged him from moving around and gaining mobility. So I'm wondering if I should try to take down that feeding station.

But I'm also a bit concerned about the logistics of taking down the top feeding station now, since reaching in and out seems to threaten to disturb him to the point of causing him to fall off the bins, and I'm afraid that trying to pick up the spilled seeds up there might cause him to lose his balance. Part of my concern about him falling is that much of the floor seems very hard. I put in "crash pads" of rags covered with towels in the shower and around the back of it, since I was concerned that he might be able to fall all the way from the top of the shower onto these surfaces. But I wonder if I should extend the crash pads to the other expose floor areas, since I think that these are just concrete covered by very thin (I think plastic) tiles. I'm not sure if he can do this but I'm wondering if Greybird might be retaining his knowledge that the floor is very hard and is perhaps hesitant to attempt to get down from his perch for fear of falling and getting injured (presumably represented with a slightly different set of concepts than those with which we'd represent it).

I'd be most grateful for any advice you might have about whether I should try to do something about the upper feeding station and / or floor, or more generally about might be best for a bird in Greybird's position.

Thanks so much,
Howard
 

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He should be contained in a cage for his own safety. You can take him out daily for exercise while you can supervise him. Birds have a way of getting into trouble or getting injured when left on their own too much. He can exercise the wings when let out of the cage daily. If he were to injure himself because of too much freedom when you aren't around, that won't help him. It just isn't safe to give him so much freedom. And it isn't really encouraging him to fly more. He will just pick a perching area and stay there.
You can cover things that you want to protect in the room you let him out in, and you wouldn't be having the problem you are having now, or having to pad floors.
He would get more exercise if kept in a cage, and let out to exercise for a couple of hours each day.
 
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