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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello pigeon people!

First off, the essentials:

+ Found wild pigeon, unable to fly, obviously lame in right leg. Secured him gently yesterday, he was starving hungry (some lightly wet rolled oats, breadcrumbs, corn kernels and seeds picked out of muesli offered, will get better seed if he needs to stay a while). Haven't seen him drink but pre-wet the grain a bit just to check they didnt swell up and he's had 24hr access to a tupperware of water with a rock to stop it tipping.

+ I'm located in Sydney, Australia, and in my state handling/vet treatment/release of "introduced species" can be a bit contentious - wildlife rehabs round here only help native animals.

I've already had a dig through a decade of feral injured posts and some of the regular advice has been taken - secure pij, offer food and hydration, he's in a modified cat container with newspaper and bubblewrap underneath.

He's obviously had some damage to his right leg - pics below. From earlier posts it looks like its around the knee joint area, and while it seems to have blood supply (relatively pink, no damage to the lower joints and foot), he doesnt seem able to grip/perch with it and hobbles - and seemingly cannot jump to get liftoff.

When I first found him (huddled under a drainpipe after days of storms) I also thought his right wing might be hurt but since he's been with me he's moving and stretching it more. So I'm content that he might be able to fly in future.

My question is - what's the leg damage, and also how long do you think it has been? The area is swolen and red, but nothing is breaking the skin. The feathers in the area have come off, which makes me think the break is perhaps not brand new, in which case, should I just leave it alone instead of potentially undoing some healing? Is his general lapse in condition from being grounded/unable to find food?

I've made him a little donut nest as suggested in other posts - he settled into it at first but also seems intent to leave it/try perching on the edge. Is this the best way to make him comfortable while he rests up? Is there anything I should or shouldnt do to help rehab that leg? I let him peck in our sheltered courtyard in the sunshine while I clean his box, and he seems happy to preen and stretch and have a little shake in that time, and looks up at the sky speculatively, but the best flap so far only made it to the edge of a flowerpot.

I suspect the stronger he gets the less handleable he will be - he's already making little angry honks when I go to pick him up to change over the bedding/food/water. So I'm happy to let him choose when he feels strong enough to go, just wondering at what point that leg "should" be considered safe to go?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Pics attached here, for some reason main post would not let me attach. His setup, his standing posture (already I feel his leg is a bit less draggy than yesterday) and closeups of the injured area - good as I could get with an angry pigeon in one hand.
 

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Gday! Thanks for the tip about the Coles seed, I wasn't sure if parrot mix might be too tough for him.

Poops are frequent and greeny brown with solid white - I've done animal care before so I know it's not the weirdest of topics for health haha. You can kind of see them in the attached pic.

I'll have a look at his mouth shortly - trying to not handle or stress him out more than necessary but next time I need to move him out I'll take a look.

There's a vet a while away who I'd trust to see him and not automatically whisk him away for euthanasia, but when I spoke to them on the phone earlier they were very busy and didnt have appts space (I think covid situation making things even worse). Given that he seems stable, I might see how he goes before dragging him across the city for more stress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Checked in his his mouth and all seems a uniform clean (very pale?) Pink. His nose area seems a little dirty but that might be normal for outside pigeons, I'm not sure?

He still happily pecks at food on the ground while I change the paper in his box but the seems to rest/doze a lot - I'm guessing its hard work hopping around on one leg.

He has access to food and water at all times but I'm not sure I've seen him drink at all - he's quite shy and only eats when he thinks I can't see him/he can't see me. I figure the shyness is good for a wild bird but is there anything I should look out for if he's not drinking enough? After pecking around he sort of makes a motion that I assume is something to do with settling his crop, it kind of looks like if he was trying to crick his neck - I've not looked after pigeons before and can't say I've ever noticed this motion in wild ones, so I hope it's not some kind of discomfort.

He is preening the area where he's lost some primary feathers a lot so I hope that means they're growing back!

Pic for cuteness of his angry little face after I checked in his mouth.
 

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If he is eating, he will drink as well. They usually drink after eating. Can you post a photo of his droppings? The rotating motion of the neck can be adjusting the crop, but if he keeps on doing that it can be a sign of something more serious. I've seen this in a dove that had canker/yeast. Stopped doing that after treatment.

They like to perch on something. You can put a brick inside for him.
 

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Hi, thanks so much for helping him.

Very pale mouth mucosa could be a sign of anemia and low blood pressure. Anemia could have different causes like a bleeding (external or internal), anticoagulant rat poison (just to be sure: have you ever noticed any rat poison around the city ? It looks like colored grains) iron deficiency, etc.

Here is a link about anemia in birds:


Here is a good link about visible indicators of health in the head and throat (you can read info even about nose cere):


I would add to his drinking water a complete vitamin supplement (vitamins, amino acids and trace elements) containing iron and B-complex (also vitamin K, if possible). You can also add to his mixture dried lentils, they are a good source of iron. Btw, legumes are very important for a balanced diet: you can add even dried mung beans and split peas.

I'm watching the pics from my phone so I can't see them very well. It seems that there is a bruise.
You could try to put on his leg a cream for treatment of hematoma/ecchymoses/bruises.
You can apply it twice a day for some days (I'm used to decide how many days on a case-by-case basis) and see if there is any improvement. If you don't have one on hand you can ask to a pharmacist to suggest you a good product.

Is he able to grip your fingers with his toes? Some years ago my vet explained me a "test" which helps to understand if a leg/foot is broken. I'm going to explain you it:

- take the bird into your hands and gently turn him upside down;

- put your finger in the centre of the sole of the foot and exert a light pressure;

- if the bird closes his foot and grips your finger everything is ok.

If the bird is too scared maybe he will not close the foot at the first time so try the test again.

Keep us updated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi, thanks so much for helping him.

Very pale mouth mucosa could be a sign of anemia and low blood pressure. Anemia could have different causes like a bleeding (external or internal), anticoagulant rat poison (just to be sure: have you ever noticed any rat poison around the city ? It looks like colored grains) iron deficiency, etc.

Here is a link about anemia in birds:


Here is a good link about visible indicators of health in the head and throat (you can read info even about nose cere):


I would add to his drinking water a complete vitamin supplement (vitamins, amino acids and trace elements) containing iron and B-complex (also vitamin K, if possible). You can also add to his mixture dried lentils, they are a good source of iron. Btw, legumes are very important for a balanced diet: you can add even dried mung beans and split peas.

I'm watching the pics from my phone so I can't see them very well. It seems that there is a bruise.
You could try to put on his leg a cream for treatment of hematoma/ecchymoses/bruises.
You can apply it twice a day for some days (I'm used to decide how many days on a case-by-case basis) and see if there is any improvement. If you don't have one on hand you can ask to a pharmacist to suggest you a good product.

Is he able to grip your fingers with his toes? Some years ago my vet explained me a "test" which helps to understand if a leg/foot is broken. I'm going to explain you it:

- take the bird into your hands and gently turn him upside down;

- put your finger in the centre of the sole of the foot and exert a light pressure;

- if the bird closes his foot and grips your finger everything is ok.

If the bird is too scared maybe he will not close the foot at the first time so try the test again.

Keep us updated.
When I checked him a few days ago, he couldn't/wouldnt grip with that foot. I've noticed a bit of movement in his back claw when he's hopping around so I'm hoping time will give him some more perching power.

I've got him on a commercial seed mix and I've noticed his droppings have gone from flat and dark greeny to much more brown and ball like, like other pigeon keepers have posted, so I'm hoping that means he's been getting more nutrients into him. I've offered lentils with the seed but he mostly pecks around them.

Now that I've had him around a little longer, I notice on the same side as the bad leg, hes missing some tail and wing feathers - a few primaries and a bunch of secondaries. Last time I looked under his wing it did look like there were dark spots where they were starting to grow back from the skin - I assume this takes a few weeks. All of this added together though, I'm now wondering rather than a car (the road I found him on is major, I think they'd be travelling at speeds that would have been much more catastrophic) he might have had a close brush with something grabbing him? There's definitely several dogs in the neighbourhood - he had no open wounds or blood on him, just the limp and general exhaustion (and he was so thin around his breastbone I was worried he would fall and hurt it) so maybe it was a few days before I found him but the hampering of movement was stopping him from getting to food or safety.

Either way, he's eating like a champ now and despite angrily honking at me when I pick him up to clean out his container, has a fairly stress free and sheltered place to rest up and regrow what he needs to be a wild pigeon. (He has made it clear he would not like to be a pet.)

A fun upside is that the local spotted doves have heard about all the spilled birdseed that appears after I clean out his house, and have been showing up to tidy it up for me, so it looks like I've made some new friends.
 

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Thanks for the update!

Yes, agree, missing feathers could be a sign of predator attack. I often saw that over the years. Even recently we rescued a pigeon, Lucrezia, with a broken hanging leg (the vet put a bandage), broken wing and missing feathers... But she had also visible tooth marks.
After removing the bandage she did on her own a sort of physical therapy and she improved. Hopefully he will do the same.

Glad to hear that he is eating well and that his poops are improving 👍! Lol, pigeons are very exigent with lentils.. Mine hate and don't eat the dark green and the orange ones 😅!

Congrats on your new friends 😁!

Keep us updated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, today was apparently the day! Yesterday now I knew he was stable and doing well (pink mouth, white cere, bright and interested), I handled him a bit more, flexed the leg looking for the acute injuries. I noticed after that he was putting it down a bit more under him, instead of dragging out to the side, and then this morning noticed while he was out (I let him peck around the enclosed yard, flex his wings and get some sunshine while I clean out the paper from overnight) that he was successfully lying down with it folded below him, and when I moved him back and forth even gripping with it a little.

And then this afternoon, when I got him out to refill the seed etc before the evening.... Put him on the ground and he just flew up my 6 ft fence like there had never been anything wrong! He sat there for a little while, looked around, hopped up onto the neighbours roof, seemed to get his and took off with good lift, straight over our yard and off in the direction I'd found him!

I'll leave out seed for a few more days, as I saw him checking it out on the ground from the fence, in case he comes back, and I'll keep an eye out for him in the local area - if he can fly that well, I assume he's fine (not like I could have caught him) but if he ends up in a pickle again I'll hopefully find him nearby.

Thanks for all your help everyone, I'm sure he just needed that little extra support for him to turn the corner and get healing up and now he's gone back to his pals. Pics of his sunbathing and my last pic of him once he left the yard :')
 
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