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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

About two months ago I took in a pigeon who had the PMV. The recovery has went really well and her neurological issues slowly and surely resolved themselves until they disappeared completely about two weeks ago. But I'm a bit stumped as to why she won't swallow any seed because she can pick it up absolutely fine. Food doesn't get much further than the tip of her beak and then gets dropped but I see no reason why she wouldn't be able to swallow on her own. There's nothing blocking her throat. It's as if she's forgotten how to eat. Now that she's in better health, she wants to be more independent and protests when I hand feed her. Quite frustrating for both of us. Anyone had similar experiences with their pmv birds? Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Have you checked within the bird's beak and throat which are normally pink, for any yellow or white substances?

What do you feed the bird?
Have you checked within the bird's beak and throat which are normally pink, for any yellow or white substances?

What do you feed the bird?
Thanks for the reply but this is why I don't know why she won't swallow anything because the inside of her beak is clean and pink. In fact, I treated her for canker when I got her just in case. If I put food inside her beak and push it down a bit she does swallow but on her own she only picks it up and then sort of rattles it around inside her beak and drops. Doesn't matter if it's tiny grains or something bigger. She was able to start picking up food on her own about two weeks ago but we still haven't mastered the swallowing part. I want to withdraw food for 24 hours and see if hunger will make her start swallowing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Put down a variety of seeds, all shapes and sizes. Use a deep bowl for this. Offer nice seeds like hemp and safflower.
Thanks, I feed her a pigeon mix that contains a variety of seeds and give her peanuts too. Nothing seems to do the trick. She doesn't have a problem with picking up seed anymore, only with the swallowing part.
 

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Maybe try feeding her defrosted green peas. Once she recognize this as food, she will try eating them. If a youngster (that's been handfed peas for a day or two) can master this technique, maybe she will too. Peas are easy for them to pick up and swallow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Maybe try feeding her defrosted green peas. Once she recognize this as food, she will try eating them. If a youngster (that's been handfed peas for a day or two) can master this technique, maybe she will too. Peas are easy for them to pick up and swallow.
Oh, she was an adult, albeit a young one, when I took her in and she knew what and how to eat. We actually don't have a problem with recognising food, she knows how to pick it up but for some bizarre reason she doesn't swallow anything. Nothing is blocking her throat, no canker growths or anything like that and she's been a normal pigeon for two weeks apart this problem. She had some sort of a respiratory illness or perhaps airsac mites but we managed to clear whatever it was. Can't be related to that, can it? Doesn't look like post pmv neurological malfunction. No head twisting and seed tossing like you see in pmv pigeons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Maybe try feeding her defrosted green peas. Once she recognize this as food, she will try eating them. If a youngster (that's been handfed peas for a day or two) can master this technique, maybe she will too. Peas are easy for them to pick up and swallow.
Another question I'd like to ask is about feather plucking. When she preens herself she pulls out down feathers and also tries to eat them but then again she tries to eat and peck at almost anything. These past days I've noticed that the volume of feathers she's losing has increased. Should I be worried? Don't remember my previous rescues shedding so much feathers. This coincides with her recovery and increased activity levels. She seems to be quite happy overall. Didn't know that pigeons could purr and vibrate like cats almost when they're content but mine certainly does.
 

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Maybe she is just moulting or lacking in nutrients. Do you feed her grit as well?

I know she is an adult, but might be easier for her to start eating peas (like a youngster). Although she won't recognize this as food, you will need to handfeed her the peas for a day or 2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Maybe she is just moulting or lacking in nutrients. Do you feed her grit as well?

I know she is an adult, but might be easier for her to start eating peas (like a youngster). Although she won't recognize this as food, you will need to handfeed her the peas for a day or 2.
She recognised peas as food right away but no luck with swallowing still. It doesn't get much further than the tip of her beak. Really strange. I have a mineral and vitamin powder but will get her grit as well.
 

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The point of using a small, deep dish is to fill it with seeds so that when the bird pecks at the seeds she literally can't miss getting some seeds in her beak. It is helpful for very young birds, and those which have central nervous system symptoms which make them uncoordinated during illness. I use small, deep ceramic ramekins like the bowl of fennel seeds pictured below. That little dish holds about 1.5 fluid ounces, and I'd fill it to within a half-inch of the top with mixed seeds for the bird.

Food Ingredient Cuisine Staple food Plant
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The point of using a small, deep dish is to fill it with seeds so that when the bird pecks at the seeds she literally can't miss getting some seeds in her beak. It is helpful for very young birds, and those which have central nervous system symptoms which make them uncoordinated during illness. I use small, deep ceramic ramekins like the bowl of fennel seeds pictured below. That little dish holds about 1.5 fluid ounces, and I'd fill it to within a half-inch of the top with mixed seeds for the bird.

Thanks for the helpful info but the depth doesn't seem to do the trick either and the seed size makes no difference too. She seems to be unable to transfer seeds to the back of the beak for the swallowing reflex to kick in so this is an unusual one. I think we may need to practice moving seeds inside the beak more, maybe not pushing food as far next time?
 

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Hi! Except for Goliabianca (my brother's PMV pigeon) all our PMV pigeons restarted to eat on their own.

I watched your video. Maybe she just needs time to recover all her cognitive skills. Be patient and give her time.
You could try to add to her mix a mixture for canary containing dehydrated fruits. Birds are attracted by colors. Usually they love it so much.
You could even try to put in a separate bowl from food a small piece of crumbled biscuit (something simple, without chocolate, marmalade, etc).
One of these "tasty food" could pique her curiosity...hopefully she could make an effort to find a way of swallowing them!

You could also leave available in a separate bowl from food cuttlebone (cut it in small pieces with scissors, discard the sharpened ones) or, even better, crumbled picking block (blocks are good sources of calcium and depending on what you buy they could contain many other ingredients like anise, clay, minerals, insoluble grit, etc). You could even leave available somewhere the whole block (some of my birds love pecking directly at it). Birds eat them according to their needs. If she feels that need she could make an effort to swallow some pieces of it.

If she starts to swallow something (canary mixture, biscuits, etc) little by little she will start to eat even seeds (maybe not all shapes and sizes but that would be a great progress in all cases).

Remember to feed her legumes like small lentils, mung beans, etc. They are very important for a balanced diet.
Btw years ago I read a study of an Italian biologist, Fosca De Vita (she speculates that symptoms similar to PMV could be originated by emotional stress on a shortage basis). She says that legumes like mung beans, lentils, peas and vetch are very important because they have a sort of "repairing effect".

Probably it's not your case but I have learned from my own experience that sometimes birds don't eat on their own for psychological/behavioral issues.

On September 2013 we rescued a broken wing adult pigeon, Apple.
She needed surgery, antibiotics and so on. Well, we had to hand feed her even after the treatment because she didn't eat on her own. We tried everything (sprinkling food on the floor, biscuit, not feeding her, etc etc) but nothing worked (sometimes she tried but unsuccessfully...even if she picked up food it felt from her beak like in your video).
In the following months we rescued and treated other birds and put them in the same room with Apple: Fabio (adult pigeon badly attacked by a predator, I think we rescued him in the first months of 2014. He needed surgery, antibiotics... In short a long treatment) and Nerone (youngster, the vet suspected that someone intentionally burned her, she had a necrotic area on her chest). Nerone started to eat something on her own but not enough so we had to integrate what she ate. Fabio did not eat.
On May/June 2014 we introduced Marshall, our first PMV pigeon (of course, he did not eat on his own). When he saw Apple it was love at first sight and suddenly Apple started to eat on her own... after 8/9 months of hand feeding! But there's more. Everybody started to eat!!! I called Marshall "the magic pigeon"!
I think Apple felt depressed because she didn't understand what was happening to her... Suddenly she couldn't fly... Maybe she also had babies when she had her incident, who knows...

Do you have other birds? If yes, at the end of quarantine period you could try to slowly introduce her to them (under supervision). She could meet her own Marshall.
Even if it's not something behavioral or psychological but related somehow to PMV the idea of starting a family could stimulate her to become independent from you and to find a way of eating on her own.

About feathers, you could try a supplement for moulting periods, they are rich in amino acids so they could help in situations of feathers problems (originated by a deficiency, nutritional imbalance). Just to get you an idea:


Feathers plucking could be originated even by stress and many other causes.

Be patient and keep us updated
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hi! Except for Goliabianca (my brother's PMV pigeon) all our PMV pigeons restarted to eat on their own.

I watched your video. Maybe she just needs time to recover all her cognitive skills. Be patient and give her time.
You could try to add to her mix a mixture for canary containing dehydrated fruits. Birds are attracted by colors. Usually they love it so much.
You could even try to put in a separate bowl from food a small piece of crumbled biscuit (something simple, without chocolate, marmalade, etc).
One of these "tasty food" could pique her curiosity...hopefully she could make an effort to find a way of swallowing them!

You could also leave available in a separate bowl from food cuttlebone (cut it in small pieces with scissors, discard the sharpened ones) or, even better, crumbled picking block (blocks are good sources of calcium and depending on what you buy they could contain many other ingredients like anise, clay, minerals, insoluble grit, etc). You could even leave available somewhere the whole block (some of my birds love pecking directly at it). Birds eat them according to their needs. If she feels that need she could make an effort to swallow some pieces of it.

If she starts to swallow something (canary mixture, biscuits, etc) little by little she will start to eat even seeds (maybe not all shapes and sizes but that would be a great progress in all cases).

Remember to feed her legumes like small lentils, mung beans, etc. They are very important for a balanced diet.
Btw years ago I read a study of an Italian biologist, Fosca De Vita (she speculates that symptoms similar to PMV could be originated by emotional stress on a shortage basis). She says that legumes like mung beans, lentils, peas and vetch are very important because they have a sort of "repairing effect".

Probably it's not your case but I have learned from my own experience that sometimes birds don't eat on their own for psychological/behavioral issues.

On September 2013 we rescued a broken wing adult pigeon, Apple.
She needed surgery, antibiotics and so on. Well, we had to hand feed her even after the treatment because she didn't eat on her own. We tried everything (sprinkling food on the floor, biscuit, not feeding her, etc etc) but nothing worked (sometimes she tried but unsuccessfully...even if she picked up food it felt from her beak like in your video).
In the following months we rescued and treated other birds and put them in the same room with Apple: Fabio (adult pigeon badly attacked by a predator, I think we rescued him in the first months of 2014. He needed surgery, antibiotics... In short a long treatment) and Nerone (youngster, the vet suspected that someone intentionally burned her, she had a necrotic area on her chest). Nerone started to eat something on her own but not enough so we had to integrate what she ate. Fabio did not eat.
On May/June 2014 we introduced Marshall, our first PMV pigeon (of course, he did not eat on his own). When he saw Apple it was love at first sight and suddenly Apple started to eat on her own... after 8/9 months of hand feeding! But there's more. Everybody started to eat!!! I called Marshall "the magic pigeon"!
I think Apple felt depressed because she didn't understand what was happening to her... Suddenly she couldn't fly... Maybe she also had babies when she had her incident, who knows...

Do you have other birds? If yes, at the end of quarantine period you could try to slowly introduce her to them (under supervision). She could meet her own Marshall.
Even if it's not something behavioral or psychological but related somehow to PMV the idea of starting a family could stimulate her to become independent from you and to find a way of eating on her own.

About feathers, you could try a supplement for moulting periods, they are rich in amino acids so they could help in situations of feathers problems (originated by a deficiency, nutritional imbalance). Just to get you an idea:


Feathers plucking could be originated even by stress and many other causes.

Be patient and keep us updated
Thank you very much for all this info! I truly appreciate it. I'm looking up crumbling blocks already (didn't know such things existed). The Apple's story and her recovery is really interesting and I do think that there is something else going on and that she could actually eat on her own if she wanted to. The reason why I think that is if I put food in her beak she swallows it without any problems. I don't even need to push it far, just far enough for her to grasp it. But when she forages on her own and I can see that she enjoys doing that, she just doesn't swallow anything. She was going at this unshelled sunflower seed a couple of days ago. My normal seed doesn't contain unshelled sunflower seeds so she was very intrigued by this new food item. But try as she might, she couldn't or refused to swallow it. This seems to be the case with all sorts of food, wouldn't even swallow peanuts that all pigeons seem to love so much. It's frustratring, for her more than for me because she's been ok for close to three weeks now and is turning into a self-determined pigeon who likes their boundaries respected. By ok I mean that she regained the fine motor control of her head and body and was able to pick up seed.

Some of her behaviour I've observed. She often vibrates and purrs almost like a cat. She does it when she pecks at seed and also when she sits on my shoulder and preens me. I've read that it can denote both happiness and nervousness. I take it in this case it could be happiness? She also pecks at random things, picks out pieces of cardboard and threads in my bags that are stringy and look like grass. Perhaps she's missing some minerals and nutrients? I have a mineral and vitamin powder that I give her a couple of times a week. Because I still hand feed her, we rely on peanuts quite a bit for the simple reason that they have more calories per gram so we can eat just twice a day and there's less stress on the bird. Of course I make sure to give her pigeon mix too to vary her diet.

She also has poor fitness. She only flies short distances or flaps her wings while standing on the spot and then pants. My previous rescues were hyperactive almost and were doing circuits around my room all the time and they didn't pant like this. She had a respiratory issue of some sort a while ago but we managed to sort it. Possibly just general weakness from the weeks of inactivity and the virus? I know that viruses can do a number on our physical condition. Thanks!
 

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No need to thank me!

I attach a few pics of pigeon blocks. You can easily crumble them using a knife.
Regarding me, I am used to crumble it little by little, I mean, I crumble a little bit of it and put it in a bowl (I discovered that it's better to use a ceramic or crock bowl instead of a plastic one because it protects more from humidity. Btw some blocks are directly sold in pot).
I gradually add new one (or replace it if dirty or humid).
I also leave available somewhere the whole block, I simply open one side of the carton package so the birds who are interested can directly peck at it.

Even Apple was able to swallow food without difficulties when we had to hand feed her. I didn't have to push it far or anything else.
Yes, I understand, it was quite stressful for all of us.... She was quite "rebel" (well, 8/9 months of hand feeding is a looong period).... I remember that we tried everything to help her "relaxing" , music included (and we discovered that she loves Vivaldi!).

Also Goliabianca (my brother's PMV pigeon, the one who unfortunately did not recover in a proper way) does not have any problems in swallowing seeds (we have to daily hand feed him).

Regarding your bird, in my opinion there are two options:

1) she just needs time to recover all her cognitive skills;

2) it's a psychological/behavioral issue like in Apple case.

At your place I would be patient and try everything: different kinds of foods (btw, my pigeons don't eat peanuts 😅) offered in different ways (bowls, plant pot saucers, sprinkled on the floor), picking blocks, etc.
I remember that with Apple we also tried to offer her a sort of "vegetable garden". We put some topsoil in a plant pot saucer and some seeds (I think salad). But it didn't work. We also put on the table some plants...
At your place I would try everything to stimulate her...
If one day you will rescue another pigeon, after treatment and quarantine I would try to put them together. Maybe she just needs to find her own Marshall...

Even some of my birds vibrate and purr especially one, Maria Adelaide. Sometimes I hear her before seeing her, she really seems a cat.
Yes, from what you said I think that surely in your case it denotes happiness.

If you want to try another vitamin supplement I suggest you this one:


It contains a wide range of vitamins, amino acids and trace elements. You can regularly add it to her drinking water according to directions for use.
One of my birds did not want to drink it because it looks yellow. Simply avoid to put it in a transparent bowl 😉.

As she has a feathers issue she could maybe suffer from a deficiency (but, as I said last time, feathers plucking could have many causes). In all cases she will surely benefit from a complete supplement.

Yes, lack of exercise and virus could be the reason of her poor fitness.
How is the weather like there? Very hot like here? If yes, I think that even excessive heating is not good for physical condition.
Anyway, give her time and see if with exercise her physical condition will improve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
No need to thank me!

I attach a few pics of pigeon blocks. You can easily crumble them using a knife.
Regarding me, I am used to crumble it little by little, I mean, I crumble a little bit of it and put it in a bowl (I discovered that it's better to use a ceramic or crock bowl instead of a plastic one because it protects more from humidity. Btw some blocks are directly sold in pot).
I gradually add new one (or replace it if dirty or humid).
I also leave available somewhere the whole block, I simply open one side of the carton package so the birds who are interested can directly peck at it.

Even Apple was able to swallow food without difficulties when we had to hand feed her. I didn't have to push it far or anything else.
Yes, I understand, it was quite stressful for all of us.... She was quite "rebel" (well, 8/9 months of hand feeding is a looong period).... I remember that we tried everything to help her "relaxing" , music included (and we discovered that she loves Vivaldi!).

Also Goliabianca (my brother's PMV pigeon, the one who unfortunately did not recover in a proper way) does not have any problems in swallowing seeds (we have to daily hand feed him).

Regarding your bird, in my opinion there are two options:

1) she just needs time to recover all her cognitive skills;

2) it's a psychological/behavioral issue like in Apple case.

At your place I would be patient and try everything: different kinds of foods (btw, my pigeons don't eat peanuts 😅) offered in different ways (bowls, plant pot saucers, sprinkled on the floor), picking blocks, etc.
I remember that with Apple we also tried to offer her a sort of "vegetable garden". We put some topsoil in a plant pot saucer and some seeds (I think salad). But it didn't work. We also put on the table some plants...
At your place I would try everything to stimulate her...
If one day you will rescue another pigeon, after treatment and quarantine I would try to put them together. Maybe she just needs to find her own Marshall...

Even some of my birds vibrate and purr especially one, Maria Adelaide. Sometimes I hear her before seeing her, she really seems a cat.
Yes, from what you said I think that surely in your case it denotes happiness.

If you want to try another vitamin supplement I suggest you this one:


It contains a wide range of vitamins, amino acids and trace elements. You can regularly add it to her drinking water according to directions for use.
One of my birds did not want to drink it because it looks yellow. Simply avoid to put it in a transparent bowl 😉.

As she has a feathers issue she could maybe suffer from a deficiency (but, as I said last time, feathers plucking could have many causes). In all cases she will surely benefit from a complete supplement.

Yes, lack of exercise and virus could be the reason of her poor fitness.
How is the weather like there? Very hot like here? If yes, I think that even excessive heating is not good for physical condition.
Anyway, give her time and see if with exercise her physical condition will improve.



Great info, thank you very much! Think we might be onto something here. Tried moistening her food so that it sticks better, feeding defrosted peas etc. like other members here suggested but the issue seems to be something else altogether. Even withdrew food for more than a day but no luck. :unsure: Think for now we'll just wait and let her heal. I bought her traditional oat biscuits yesterday but so far she hasn't shown a great deal of interest in them. The one benefit of hand feeding is that I can sneak in bits of veggies and fruits that she wouldn't normally eat. As to the supplementation, I've attached what I use below. You can moisten food with water or oil and then sprinkle some on top. I just dip a peanut in it and then feed it to her. But for my ferals outside I used olive oil to moisten seed first.

I wish I could get her a buddy but my neighbours aren't particularly good people and I'm having to hide Martha from prying eyes :cautious:

Her nails are getting a bit too long and have started to curl. Do you think they will stop growing or should I cut the very end of?

Thanks again!

Nose Bird Eye Beard Beak

Head Bird Eye Beak Human body

Tin Liquid Fluid Orange Aluminum can
 
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