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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Two little neighbor kids brought me an injured pigeon this afternoon. I made it a soft pillow nest in a cardboard box and brought it immediately to my vet. We have 13 house pets of 6 different species, so they knew my family would care for it. :) It was very clear it had a broken wing, and I wanted to get it as much help as possible. The wing was limp and hanging off the pigeon's left shoulder and there was a dark wound in the middle of the outside surface of the wing -- impact point or bite, I'm not sure.

When our vet (the wonderful Dr. Amanda Poepke at Advanced Care Pet Hospital, Sartell, MN) examined the pigeon and lifted the left wing, we all gasped. The fracture was an open one, and it appeared to have been around 3 days old, as the bone ends sticking out were starting to dry and die, and there were heaps of maggots around the bone and wounds.

Dr. Poepke asked me what I would like to do, and I said that if there was a chance that it could be saved I would want to. I said if it was in obvious need for euthanasia, I would understand, but if by chance the wing could be amputated that we would be willing to care for it and keep it as a pet for its lifespan. She said it was possible it might live, depending on if it was able to eat and drink. She offered to keep the pigeon overnight in a warm space, clean the wound, and give the pigeon food and water so we could decide what to do tomorrow.

I'm hoping I didn't choose wrong by asking her to try to save it versus putting it down. I trust that she would have let me know if it was no use and the fact that she gave me the choice of pursuing treatment must mean that the pigeon might have a chance. S/he seemed plump and had clear eyes. S/he pooped a sickly yellow-green when I first took her from the kids (and wow, am I glad that the kids and I washed our hands thoroughly now that I how how maggoty s/he was!!!) but the poop was wet and normal seeming other than the color.

My other question besides "was it ethical to try to rescue her, and would it be ethical to keep her as a pet if she survives amputation" is this: does anyone have insight on whether she could be housed in a basement coop with two very small (Serama breed) bantam chickens? They weigh 14 and 15 ounces each and as such I don't think they'd be any threat to the pigeon, if they could tolerate each other. (The chickens were rescues from a place that confiscated them from where they were bred in a garage in a dog pen, so they've never been outside and only go out when we walk them occasionally on their harnesses & leashes. They have free roam in the house time for 4 hours a day wearing diapers.)

It would be really great if we could safely put the pigeon in with our two little hens.

Thanks for any insight,

Jennifer in St. Cloud, MN
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
***UPDATE!*** Dr. Poepke called not long ago with some good news. The pigeon is eating and drinking quite well and accepted antibiotics without issue. The wound cleaned up nicely and the maggots and dead skin are gone. They will re-evaluate tomorrow but at this point things are looking good for amputation surgery tomorrow afternoon. Then they will keep him/her overnight again for observation and if all goes well it can come home with us for its new life as a cared-for pet. (My amazing vet is only charging $100 for the two overnight stays, treatment, and amputation surgery.)

Will update again tomorrow.
 

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You did the right thing rescuing the bird. Are you sure the wing needs amputationor would it heal with antibiotics and surgery? Our first pigeon Phoebe was a critically injured feral who was going to be euthanized because our local wildlife rescue just euthanizes pigeons. She had a severely broken wing and was nearly decapitated by a fan. Her head was just hanging. It took me two days to catch her and get her to a vet who sewed her up and gave her antibiotics and pain meds. She recovered nicely and was our dearest love for eight years. She was a very happy loving member of our family. Please let us know how the pigeon does. I wish the birds wing could be saved but he or she will still be nonreleasable but would malpke a great pet. They seem to know you have helped and appreciate it. Palomacy has rescued pigeons with half a beak missing and some missing a wing. They need TLC but live happy lives.
 

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If the wing is that bad and hanging that low, and with bones drying and maggots, then it does need to come off. It would only get in her way later anyway. I have 2 pigeons that have had their wing removed, and another that someone had cut half of it off, probably for dog training. They do very well in my loft, as it is set up for handicapped birds to be able to get around. You did the right thing, and your vet is amazing. Wish she was my bird vet.
But keeping a pigeon in with chicken, even small bantams, is a bad idea. Chickens, any chickens will pick on a pigeon, and she won't be able to fly away. She really needs to be housed separately from the chickens. And pigeons are flock birds and unhappy alone. He would need a couple of hours a day out of cage time for exercise and socialization. Maybe later a companion pigeon would be possible. They can live and be happy without a wing, but if left alone all the time, then there really is no quality of life, so no reason to have saved him. You don't sound as though he would be left alone all the time anyway. Just remember that he was feral, and it may take time for him to get used to being a pet. Learning that he cannot fly anymore will be hard enough on him. He won't understand and will try to fly until he learns. You did a good thing. Please let us know how it goes when you get him home. We will want to know.
 

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You have taken the best decision to rescue her/him and to adopt her/him :) !

On September 2013 I found too a broken wing pigeon, my lovely Apple. She was very bad, she had a bad injury and a beginning of gangrene. I took her to my vet: as amputation was not necessarily needed I decided for surgery. You can see in the picture Apple with her bandage. She had to take antibiotics for a long period and Metacam for pain. I had to handfeed her for a long period too.

You have to see her now :) ! She has become again "independent": she can do "small flights"; she jumps, just for example, from the floor to the table. She got married with Marshall and they are really happy together (you can see them in the picture: they are like Romeo and Juliet!). They are members of our family! I meet them walking around my apartment :) and they say "hello"...They ask also my help to prepare their nest!

I have too some amputated pigeons (toes) and one missing one feet: they all have a really happy life too and are members of the family!!

As it's possible please let us know something!

Even if amputation will be necessary needed, she/he can be a happy pigeon! Thanks for helping her/him :) !
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Surgery about to start!

Hello everyone and thank you so much for the replies and encouragement. I was feeling last night like I did the wrong thing for this little pidgey by choosing to try to help it get healthy and live a pampered life versus euthanasia to end its suffering. I was thinking to myself that a wild animal deserves to be able to fly and live free and if it can't it should be euthanized. But knowing that the little bird had already survived for three days with such an awful injury told me that it must want to live.

I have checked in by phone twice today (first thing in the morning and again over lunch) and both times the vet staff assured me that little bird (who my 18 year old daughter has started referring to as "Mystic"!) is awake, eating, standing unassisted, and seems curious and friendly. So the surgery is a go!

I have my fingers crossed, as this will be my veterinarian's first wing amputation. I'm really nervous!

Thank you for the info about housing Mystic with our two indoor Seramas. I checked out Backyard Chickens and there were differing opinions. It seems that with Mystic's injury it would not be a good idea at all. Chickens are such little beasts sometimes! My two girls are quite sweet and don't fight with each other or us, but I don't want to take any chances that they'd get some bloodlust or that the animalistic part of their brain that pecks at wounds or injured chickens would kick in, even if we waited until long after healing to put them together. Perhaps I'll let them visit each other through their cage wire for a couple of months and if there's absolutely zero sign of aggression I can let them have some free roam time together. (We already have to stagger free roam time between the two chickens and our four ferrets anyway, so what's one more rotation to the schedule?)

Fortunately my husband is home all day due to disability from major anxiety and PTSD, so he's always around to socialize with Mystic. And I definitely believe in getting friends for those species who need them, so I will 100% keep my eye open for a potential adoptable pigeon for a companion for Mystic.

Of course that's all assuming s/he pulls through surgery tonight!

I'll go after work and take pics of Mystic with dressings on so everyone can see. He/she looks a lot like the pigeon on the right of your photos, Columbina, but perhaps is a male because I think Mystic's head is rounder. I wonder if the vet will be able to determine sex during surgery? And potential age range? Her/his eyes are all black, I believe, instead of the typical feral pigeon's red and black rings.

Back with more info later tonight...everyone send healthy thoughts in the direction of central MN!

Jennifer
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
She/he made it through surgery

Whew. I went by the vet clinic and waited until Mystic was awake from anesthesia. He looks awful, but my vet said he did great during surgery. Hisr eyes are closed here because he was still waking up and was quite disoriented. He has a soft yellow ring around his black pupil; not sure if that helps determine if he is a feral rock pigeon or perhaps another type.

There was no portion of the wing that could be salvaged at all, unfortunately, not even a little stump. Dr. Poepke had some trouble with closing because there was muscle damage due to the maggot infestation of the wounds. She closed it by stretching the tissue as much as she dared, but she will want us to watch for signs of pressure ulceration from the bone as the pigeon heals.

If all goes well overnight, Mystic comes home with us tomorrow! I was surprised that there is no bandages over his surgical area. Dr. Poepke said if there had been a stump or if she'd been able to create a flap of muscle that she would bandage that, but since it's just a long incision it is better to remain open and viewable.

Poor little bird has quite a bit of scraping and gouging along his beak that I hadn't noticed yesterday. I am beyond amazed that he had lived with such a major injury for so long! I am truly hoping that he pulls through and is a happy and healthy pigeon with a long life ahead of him.

I've attached the three pictures I was able to take before he needed to get back to rest and hydrate. I will update tomorrow!
 

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Lovely bird! Thank you so much for rescuing Mystic! Hope Mystic is totally healed soon. Rescued pigeons are the best I think. :)
 

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That's too bad they couldn't leave a stump as it helps with balance. He's cute. I hope he heals soon and is back to feeling better. Prayers for him being sent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Forgot to mention...

Reading Jay's reply, Dr. Poepke cut the other, healthy wing's feathers (I know there's a term but it's late and I can't think of it) almost halfway up, for two reasons: to keep Mystic from trying to fly and injuring himself accidentally, and also to help a little bit with balance while he learns to reorient himself to having only one wing. :( Poor little sweetheart. Life's going to be rough for a couple of weeks.
 

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It's tough to watch them when they try to fly, and can't figure out what is wrong. Watch him if he is up on anything, that he doesn't try to fly off. Because they will, and will hit the ground like a brick. He will have to do that to learn, but just make sure that it isn't a very high place. He'll adjust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Excellent point

Thank you, Jay3! We'll start with him on low pillows and progress to no higher than the coffee table. I feel so bad for him but hopeful that he'll adjust well to being a flightless but loved pigeon!
 

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Thanks for the update and for the photos! Mystic is so pretty and lovely!

I'm sorry for the wing but I'm really really happy to know he made it through surgery :) I hope too he heals soon! We all have our fingers crossed (even Apple and Marshall and the others member of the gang: you can see Geordi with his toes crossed)! Of course, we all pray for him.

Don't worry, I'm sure he will be a happy pigeon. All my disabled pigeons (Geordi is a totally blind pigeon) are really happy pigeons, you have to see them! You can see their joy and love for life.

Of course, Jay3 is right. Mystic needs time to learn and understand his new "status". Also my broken wing pigeon, Apple, needed it. At the beginning she really didn't understand what was wrong, she "helicopter" and "helicopter"...
So, don't worry if at the beginning you will see him a little bit worried and "disoriented" about his new "status", that's normal. Step by step he will learns.

Now my Apple knows what she can do: she knows she can do "small flights" and jumps. She walks and run a lot all around my apartment (sometimes I think she is training for the next Olympic Game :) ).You will see, pigeons are really intelligent: when Apple wants to go somewhere, she thinks about and studies the best way to go there. She does a mental map :) !

Waiting for your update! I really hope Mystic comes home with you tomorrow!

Ps: have you prepared him a welcome home party :) ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
My heart is broken.

I got a message from Dr. Poepke when she came in this morning. I was finally able to reach her to talk and she was very sad to tell me that a tech found Mystic passed away in his cage this morning. She was actually very surprised, as she said Mystic was eating, drinking, and moving around well when she left the clinic last night at 8 p.m.

She assumes the stress of the surgery and anesthesia just proved too much for his damaged little body. She felt so bad. They very kindly are waiving the cost of the boarding, feed, and surgery, and also paying to have him cremated.

My husband and I are both so sad over Mystic's death. I feel at least he had a warm place to be, a full belly, and painkillers when he passed, though.

Thank you to everyone for your input. If anyone knows of any pigeons who need a home in the metropolitan or central MN area please keep me in mind. We have an open spot and open hearts.

Jennifer
 

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I'm really really sorry for Mystic. I know it's a big souffrance, I lost too some birds and my heart broke.

You tried to save him. You and your family gave him all your love and all your help. He spent his last moments loved and cared. That's important.

Your doctor is a fantastic person because she did all her best to save a pigeon and felt so bad for him.

A big hug from all us.
 

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Oh Jennifer, I'm so sorry. Poor little guy. All just too much for him. So sad. Thanks for trying so hard for him. RIP Mystic. At least he's out of pain now.
 

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Jennifer, am very sad to hear Mystic didnt make it. At lesst he was loved and comfortable, as others have said. Hope other pigeons come your way soon. There are some listed on craigslist...I check ads so I can flag inappropriate ads.
https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/search/sss?query=pigeons&sort=pricedsc&srchType=A
I dont know if any of these are near you...if you rescue some say listed for cheap, you may be saving their lives. Animal shelters also sometimes have pigeons needing homes.
Also Rescue Me has pigeons at times.
http://bird.rescueme.org/Minnesota
http://www.adoptapet-directory.com/BIRDS/US/MN/NAME/1
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Still feeling so bad for Mystic. I do a bit of volunteering with a couple of different rescue groups here in my area and let them know I'd be interested in future rescues. I did check other rescue groups today and will be looking at a pigeon who's housed at a Humane Society that's about an hour away this weekend. Also got in touch with this Craigslist poster: https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/ank/grd/d/pigeons-rollers-bandits/6238323862.html

and explained that I'm looking for injured or otherwise pet-ready pigeons. They wrote back and said that homers and rollers are meant to fly, but that they've been working with a few Oriental Frills who are really quite homebodies. They like walking more than flying and seem people-friendly. They developed their own color through breeding these frills, apparently -- kind of a reddish rosy salmon color? I've attached three pics they sent me of four young birds they have available. They're willing to sell me a couple for $25. So my husband and I might be heading over that way tomorrow to meet the little guys! They are just lovely. And not being disabled they might be able to eventually be let out for flight/free roam time when our two Seramas are, because they could easily fly away from any confrontations that the chickens might want to instigate. Of course if they show any signs of aggression I'll just split up their free roam time so they aren't out at the same time ever again.

After the mounds of research I've done over the past few days, and how much I love animals, and have had a particular affinity for pigeons, seagulls, and crows all my life, I'm afraid I might now become a crazy pigeon lady... :)
 

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They're very cute, but I wouldn't free fly them ever. They don't really have much homing ability, so if they were to go too far, ( like around the block), they are likely to get lost. If a hawk were to go after them, they would scatter and fly far. They would most likely get lost. Better to make an outside aviary where they can go out for exercise, sunshine, and fresh air, in a safe place. Could even set up a bath for them out there, as they do love to bathe. Try not to get 2 males, as even if young, when they grow up, they will probably fight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I wouldn't free fly them ever
Hey Jay3! I probably worded that wrong -- I meant free roam/flight inside my house, not outside. :) I definitely would not do that! Thank you very much for the heads up on males versus females. Is there a good way to tell one from the other (assuming the pigeon owners don't already have them visually identified)?
 
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