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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Several weeks ago, I found a pigeon huddled next to my house that had both wing and leg injuries. It appeared to have been in a fight with another animal (guessing) and many of its feathers on one of its wings were missing or hanging by a chunck of torn flesh, including the outer longest ones. Needless to say, the bird was unable to fly. Also, one of its legs was fine, but the other leg was badly injured and looked dark and shriveled up -like a dead twig- and it was initially using it like a peg leg. I easily picked up the bird up without any trouble because it seemed to be very weak and/or in a state of shock. I washed its injuries in lukewarm tub water, kept it safely caged and well fed & watered.

Fast forward to today, I have been successfully rehabilitating the bird and its injured wing seems to be growing new feathers and healing nicely. However, i know it will still be some time before the replacement feathers are long and strong enough for it to fly again. The pigeon is now much more lively and seems quite healthy. However the lame leg appears to have begun growing inside of its body, underneath the skin. Perhaps it was from sitting on it for awhile, I'm not really sure. But the bird still frequently tries to use it, out of habit. When it does, it looks as if someone has their leg is caught inside their cloths and is trying to "find the hole" to stick the leg out of.

Has anyone ever seen this kind of thing before? I'm wondering if this is a natural process of the bird's body "reconsuming" its badly damaged leg. Surgery for this pigeon would not only be expensive, but it might prove fatal due to infection. And there is no guaranteed that what is left of its leg could ever be viable after extraction from under the skin.

Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Update: I probably should have checked before posting, but upon close examination, it seems that the leg is not actually "ingrown"at all. I put the bird on its back and carefully examined its missing leg. Moving aside all the feathers, it turns out that he actually has a "nub" there. The bottom part of his leg and foot (knee and below) must have dryed up and fallen off since it was black with no circulation.

Sorry for the false alarm about its leg appearing to be ingrown. It just looked that way because the nub was so short and all you could see was short soft feathers covering it until I dug down and brushed them aside. I guess this little guy is a peg-leg without the peg!

I'll wait for another month or two and see if he is able to fly then. I'll also probably end up keeping a daily source of food for him even after I try to "soft release" him.

Cheers
 

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I don't think releasing the bird is a good option. I have a one footed roller and he does well inside but I can tell that it would be difficult if he had to try and perch on phone wires or compete for food or even try to get a drink of water. I've had to make modifications for him.
 

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Errr, not to hijack, but this has to do with this. What if the pigeon has one leg, a 'foot' but only one toe? Should that be released? He has difficulty perching and taking off. His foot has reformed itself to suit him, and I can't tell what that toe used to be, because it has moved to, so he walks on its side. The toe is sideways.

Also. Good job with the pigeon! Sounds like a great recovery! I wonder what happened to him? I also wouldn't release him, because just picture it like this: you lost your leg in a war. You now have to go about your life, with no crutches, just you, and your leg, difficult, isn't it?
 

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Errr, not to hijack, but this has to do with this. What if the pigeon has one leg, a 'foot' but only one toe? Should that be released? He has difficulty perching and taking off. His foot has reformed itself to suit him, and I can't tell what that toe used to be, because it has moved to, so he walks on its side. The toe is sideways.

Also. Good job with the pigeon! Sounds like a great recovery! I wonder what happened to him? I also wouldn't release him, because just picture it like this: you lost your leg in a war. You now have to go about your life, with no crutches, just you, and your leg, difficult, isn't it?

I would not release a bird that has difficulty perching.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
How many vet's opinions have you gotten?

How long has it been?

Is it possible that you could post some pictures?
No, I haven't consulted any vets. I just wanted to spare her life and I think if I hadn't rescued her, she would never have made it.

Here are some pics of her (or him?) to show what she looks like. Does anyone know what type of pigeon this is? A common street pigeon?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6743745381/in/photostream

This shows her mending wing with new feathers forming on the outer part. Some inner feathers are peaking out from under older ones, some of which are emerging from little shoots or tubes which have grown back after having been ripped off:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6743749687/in/photostream

This shows the nub that is left where her leg once was. It's hard to see because it is so short and she was nervous and pulling it close to her body:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6743755251/in/photostream

I don't think releasing the bird is a good option. I have a one footed roller and he does well inside but I can tell that it would be difficult if he had to try and perch on phone wires or compete for food or even try to get a drink of water. I've had to make modifications for him.
That's why I had planned to provide daily food, water, and an outside shelter box for her to come back to as a safety net. Right now when she gets tired of standing on one foot, she sits. So I assumed if she found it difficult to perch, she would find flat surfaces to sit - under shrubs on the ground or flat ledges. My real worry was about her ability to scoot away quickly enough from any ground predators.

So I guess the real question is, should I cage this wild pigeon for the rest of her natural life to help protect her? Or should I give her a chance to regain healthy robust flight again outside, in her native area, while providing a safe place to return for shelter, food, and drink - but also risk that she may not survive and thrive. Tough call. My wife and I originally thought about releasing her to a local bird or wildlife sanctuary, but from what I've read from folks on this forum, I've started to rethink that idea..

Also. Good job with the pigeon! Sounds like a great recovery! I wonder what happened to him? I also wouldn't release him, because just picture it like this: you lost your leg in a war. You now have to go about your life, with no crutches, just you, and your leg, difficult, isn't it?
Thanks! Good analogy. I wonder if it would be closer to describe her as a war vet amputee in a wheelchair, or better yet, a car? She would still have her wings to whiz her around from point to point in total freedom when not on the ground.
 

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No, I haven't consulted any vets. I just wanted to spare her life and I think if I hadn't rescued her, she would never have made it.

Here are some pics of her (or him?) to show what she looks like. Does anyone know what type of pigeon this is? A common street pigeon?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6743745381/in/photostream

This shows her mending wing with new feathers forming on the outer part. Some inner feathers are peaking out from under older ones, some of which are emerging from little shoots or tubes which have grown back after having been ripped off:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6743749687/in/photostream

This shows the nub that is left where her leg once was. It's hard to see because it is so short and she was nervous and pulling it close to her body:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6743755251/in/photostream


That's why I had planned to provide daily food, water, and an outside shelter box for her to come back to as a safety net. Right now when she gets tired of standing on one foot, she sits. So I assumed if she found it difficult to perch, she would find flat surfaces to sit - under shrubs on the ground or flat ledges. My real worry was about her ability to scoot away quickly enough from any ground predators.

So I guess the real question is, should I cage this wild pigeon for the rest of her natural life to help protect her? Or should I give her a chance to regain healthy robust flight again outside, in her native area, while providing a safe place to return for shelter, food, and drink - but also risk that she may not survive and thrive. Tough call. My wife and I originally thought about releasing her to a local bird or wildlife sanctuary, but from what I've read from folks on this forum, I've started to rethink that idea..


Thanks! Good analogy. I wonder if it would be closer to describe her as a war vet amputee in a wheelchair, or better yet, a car? She would still have her wings to whiz her around from point to point in total freedom when not on the ground.

She looks beautiful. I'm going to say a racer mix or a feral, but do know I mostly know more about ringneck dove and diamond dove show colors/conformation.

Honestly, there is nothing "mean" about keeping her in the house. Often pigeons are much happier being spoiled and a nice home with consistent food and no winter. This bird would be picked off by predators very quickly since she will be slowed down by the loss of her leg. You need to understand that if you release her she has a very low chance of surviving. (Even if you put out food and water. That doesn't change that the predators are always hungry.)
So long as she has a nice rabbit cage or similar and gets to play loose in the house for a few hours a day she will be very happy.
 

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There are pigeons out there with only one leg. How long they survive is another thing. Pigeons are flock birds, and don't last long without belonging to a flock. Your bird would go where the flock goes, and many times it would be someplace very hard for the bird to perch with the others. They do land to eat, and with only one leg, this bird would have a hard time competing for food. He would be at a distinct disadvantage. Also harder for the bird to make fast take offs when he has only the one leg. How can you be sure that he will even be able to fly again, and fly well enough to evade predators? Often an injured wing just doesn't work properly when healed from an injury. So much to think about.
So yes, there are one legged birds out there, but their life and survival are a lot harder than a physically fit bird. And I'm sure, a lot shorter. Unfortunately.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So long as she has a nice rabbit cage or similar and gets to play loose in the house for a few hours a day she will be very happy.
Thanks for your compliment and thoughts. My issue is that I also have 2 dogs and 3 cats. I could try to lock them in a room during her "play time" but I also have 3 kids and it would only take one mistake to fatally mix dogs+cats together with a legged bird.

Pigeons are flock birds, and don't last long without belonging to a flock. Your bird would go where the flock goes, and many times it would be someplace very hard for the bird to perch with the others. They do land to eat, and with only one leg, this bird would have a hard time competing for food. He would be at a distinct disadvantage. Also harder for the bird to make fast take offs when he has only the one leg. How can you be sure that he will even be able to fly again, and fly well enough to evade predators
Thanks for your comments. I hadn't thought about the strong flock mentality of this bird. I just assumed she would quickly realise she could no longer hang with the gang and adapt as needed. I wasn't planning to release her unless she could fly well again.

Yes, so much to think about! For now, she is safely healing in her cage in our home and will be for some time. (Actually, he "cage" is a large well ventilated nylon pet kennel.)
 

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Thanks for your comments. I hadn't thought about the strong flock mentality of this bird. I just assumed she would quickly realise she could no longer hang with the gang and adapt as needed. I wasn't planning to release her unless she could fly well again.

Yes, so much to think about! For now, she is safely healing in her cage in our home and will be for some time. (Actually, he "cage" is a large well ventilated nylon pet kennel.)[/QUOTE]


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They can't adapt as needed. To be safe, they have to live in a flock if living in the wild. More eyes to watch for predators. Without that, one lone pigeon would never be safe, and instinctively your bird knows that. He wouldn't be happy being alone out there, and he wouldn't be safe.
 

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Thanks for your compliment and thoughts. My issue is that I also have 2 dogs and 3 cats. I could try to lock them in a room during her "play time" but I also have 3 kids and it would only take one mistake to fatally mix dogs+cats together with a legged bird.


Thanks for your comments. I hadn't thought about the strong flock mentality of this bird. I just assumed she would quickly realise she could no longer hang with the gang and adapt as needed. I wasn't planning to release her unless she could fly well again.

Yes, so much to think about! For now, she is safely healing in her cage in our home and will be for some time. (Actually, he "cage" is a large well ventilated nylon pet kennel.)
I have two cats, a dog, and two parrots (parrots and pigeons don't mix.) We do ok. No accidents. Sometimes my doves have playtime in the bathroom while I read my text books and do homework if I don't think people will have sense with the doors. Other times, they just get to play in a bedroom or in the family room where there are doors I can close off. All else fails, see if you can find a local pigeon hobbyist willing to take in a disabled bird to their loft. They might even be able to pair your bird up with a mate. :)
 

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wow that poor pigeon must have went thry hell.. to have limbs missing. poor baby. wish him all the best
 
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