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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I hope I am posting this in the correct place.

A couple of weeks ago I ended up taking in a badly injured feral pigeon, it has an injured wing, an injured leg, a couple of chest wounds and it looks like something tried to pluck it (I'm guessing a bird of prey caught it). When I got it couldn't walk and the wing was just hanging by its side, it was hard to do much with either injury because it needed the wing to balance when it tried to hop and I couldn't strap the leg really well because the dressings interfered with other wounds. Now it can walk slowly and with a limp and the wing is being held in a more normal-looking position although there is still damage under the wing.

I keep reptiles but I have no experience with birds so I am on a very steep learning curve so if I give details of what I am doing I'd be grateful if people could tell me what I am doing wrong or what I could do better for it to heal.

-- I am keeping it in a 4ft vivarium with a UVB light to keep it warm and give it UV as it can't go outside, I am giving it a hot water bottle (wrapped up so it is just warm) at night to keep it warm.

-- I am feeding it a mixture of seeds and some nuts (pine nuts, linseed, corn, lentils, peanuts, sunflower seeds without shells, pumpkin seeds, and some bird pellets) I am also offering it some greens like Kale, spinach, Romaine lettuce, and rocket. I am giving it an electrolyte mixture in its water and some calcium and grit in its seed.

-- It has a couple of nest areas in the vivarium with hay in so that it can make nests, it is using one in the day time and the other one at night at the moment.

-- I am using manuka honey on its wounds and am trying not to handle it too much although it seems fairly relaxed when I am doing maintenance in its house.

I thought I would just be giving it somewhere peaceful to die, and I know that things can change very quickly with birds but it is doing better now and I think I need advice on pigeon health now rather than pigeon emergency care.

Thanks for any help at all.
 

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Thank you for helping thepoor bird! We rescued an injured feral and it was the best thing we ever did. She was critically ill with a broken wing plus people were feeding her through a hole in her neck. She was nearly decapitated. A vet fixed her up and she became our dearest love. Where do you live so we can suggest vets or pigeon rescues? The bird will need pigeon mix and grit and a water dish. Is he eating and defecating ok? Pigeons are tough and recover very well. If you take the bird to anyone for help,please tell them it is your pet so they dont just euthanize him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi, thanks for your reply. I am glad that your bird survived despite her injuries.

I have got bird grit and a deep water dish (I read that pigeons need to be able to put their whole beak into water to drink) but I will order specific pigeon mix food on Amazon.
I have seen differing opinions about bird grit, I have been sprinkling a bit on his food because I read that too much can cause problems for them, but some people say he should have a bowl full in his enclosure all the time, what would you advise?
Will my bird be OK with the food I'm giving it until the pigeon mix arrives or should I change anything?

He is eating. He moves to the food by himself and is eating quite a lot each day, YES he is definitely defecating (the poo is dark green/brown and quite moist) I haven't seen any blood or parasites in it.

I have a wildlife rescue centre about 8 miles from me but I don't drive and they won't collect anything at the moment due to COVID. Only one of the vets near me answered the phone when I called and they made it fairly clear that they would euthanise him so I decided to try my best to save him on my own.

I will post a couple of photos soon but I don't want to stress him out too much.
 

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You can put the grit in a seperate bowl and he will help himself to it when needed. If he is unreleasable due to his injuries, a rescue centre might euthanize him. I'm sure they don't have the facilities to keep all the unreleasable pigeons.

Sound as if you have a new pet. In that case, rather invest in a large cage for housing him with flat perches so he can hop to the top for sleeping. The food will be fine until your pigeon mixture arrives.
 

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Hi, welcome to PT and thanks for helping him!

We rescued too some birds badly injured by predators and they survived despite their serious injuries. Pigeons are great fighters!

When we rescued Fabio (he was in a critical condition, probably he was attacked by a seagull, he needed surgery, antibiotics, pain med. We adopted him) my vet suggested me to apply even honey on his wounds. Honey is a natural antibiotic, it helps the healing process so you are doing right.
Just in case, pay attention to any bad smell coming from the wounds: if you notice it, it means that the wound is becoming infected. In that case, an oral antibiotic would be absolutely and urgently needed.

You could look for a complete vitamin supplement (vitamins, amino acids and trace elements), it will help him to get stronger. Just to get you an idea something similar to this one would be ok:


You can put it in his drinking water. At the beginning you can give the vitamin supplement for 5 consecutive days then you can give it regularly according to the directions for use.

It's a good sign that he is eating quite a lot on his own! You could start to add to his food even mung beans and split peas (the dried ones for humans that you can find at supermarket). Legumes are very important for a balanced diet, I always add them. I also add a mixture for canary containing dehydrated fruits, all my birds love it.

I'm used to buy pigeon picking blocks (see the pics) , they are good sources of calcium. Depending on what you buy they could contain ingredients like insoluble grit (the small stones which help to grind up the seeds), minerals, clay, anise, etc. You could crumble it and leave it always available in a separate bowl from food. Birds eat it according to their needs, personally I have never had problems with it. Some of my birds love pecking directly at it.

Please keep us updated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for all the advice, I have SO MUCH to learn about birds.

I keep reptiles so I did have some vitamins that are also suitable for birds but I have just ordered some omni-vit online.

I will keep an eye on the wounds and make sure that they aren't infected, I have been using honey because most of the wounds are where the pigeon can preen himself and I didn't want him to ingest anything that would harm him.

I will keep posting and asking questions until I have a better idea of what I am doing.
 

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You're welcome.
Feel free to ask all your questions, we will be glad to help you 😊.

Don't worry, as I said honey is ok so you are doing well in applying it 😊. Here I have never seen Manuka honey (in fact I used a different type of honey) but I read online that it has great properties.

Keep us updated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi, I have a stupid question (another one). The pigeon is starting to grow back feathers where she had them totally plucked out but will her damaged feathers fall out or will they always just look a bit wonky?
I'm sorry if this is a stupid question but this is my first bird and I am learning as I go.
 

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She will molt and lose the damaged feathers. Those will get replaced by new feathers. Might take some time before that happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Her Calcium/Vit D supplement and her proper pigeon food arrived today so tomorrow I will start the next phase of her recovery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
My pigeon is still doing OK, it is still eating, drinking, and pooping alright.

It seems to be getting a little more confrontational towards me when I go into the enclosure to clean up and give it food. It has pecked me and has started posturing at me with its wings slightly open if I get too close to it. I am trying not to interact with it too much because I don't want it to get tame if there is any chance at all of it going back to the wild.

I feel as if this increased aggression may be a good sign as it means that it has more energy to spare. When I watch it from a place where it can't see me it seems to be quite relaxed moving around and sitting on perches and low branches without any problems.

I want to take some photos but I don't want to stress it out too much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've just got back from work and looked in on him, he looked at me but carried on sitting on his little branch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
My pigeon still seems to be doing quite well.

The wound under his wing looks like it is healing up and is definitely more pink than red now.

At the moment he is sitting on top of the cardboard box he sleeps in and flapping his wings gently. I have put a couple of thick cork branches in its enclosure so that it can get up onto different levels without the risk of falling. The injured wing still hangs down but I hope it will be able to build up some strength if he can carry on flapping it and using it for balance when he jumps.

I have been using an infrared heat lamp to keep him warm but now it is getting warmer here during the day I wonder if he will still need it. I have a UVB light I can use instead, it isn't quite as hot but I read that UVB will be beneficial as he can't go outside. I'd welcome any advice about this matter (or anything else) :)

He makes a clicking noise with his beak if I get too close to him, I assume this is him threatening me as he usually follows it up by pecking me. 🥊🔪
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here are some pictures (not very good ones though) of my pigeon.

The first one shows the wound under his wing, it looks worse on the picture than it does in real life, the dark parts are dried blood which I haven't been able to totally wipe off her because the wound was in such an awkward place and was so deep I was worried that I would end up damaging him internally. The skin is nice and pink and the wound doesn't smell at all, the wing is stronger than it was but it still doesn't seem to have much strength

The last one was how he was a few days after he arrived. I haven't weighed him yet but he is certainly putting on weight, he didn't have much meat on him at all when he arrived but now he is starting to feel much better. He is also starting to get some iridescent green and purple feathers around his throat.

The chest wound she had was an open puncture wound but now it looks like it is just a scab waiting to fall off. I tried to take a photo of his stomach where his feathers had been plucked out, they are growing back nicely as are the feathers on his injured leg - unfortunately, he just kept putting his foot in the way so that was no good.
 

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Thanks for the update and for the pics. You're doing a great job with him 👍.

We have a broken wing pigeon, Apple. With time she has learned how to live with her disability. She has a wonderful "pigeon life" (btw she also has a fantastic husband 😁). Even if she can't fly she is able to do "small flights" (like from the floor to the table), she walks a lot and runs around home. Pigeons are very smart: when she wants to reach a place not easily accessible she studies a "map": once she wanted to go on a dresser so she jumped from the floor to the table, then from the table to the dresser.

Even if the wing doesn't seem to have much strength it's a good thing that it is stronger than it was.
Give him time, as time goes by there will be other improvements and progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you. I am trying to give him the best chance possible. He has got a low stool to sit on now and as time goes on I will gradually introduce ways for him to get up higher.
I also have a question - do female pigeons have green and purple neck feathers or is it just the boys? The only feral pigeons I have seen with iridescent feathers have been male, the ones doing the dancing and cooing around the girls.
 
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