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Injured baby pigeon

1657 Views 21 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  AZWhitefeather
I've got a young pigeon that was being attacked by a crow. Judging by the guide, I'd say he's roughly 11 days old. There are two peck marks that bled a little on him; one between his wings and one on his cere. I have a 15 ml bottle of clavamox that I picked up at the vet. Body weight seems good, and he's warm to the touch. Right now I have a heating pad under half of the box he's in, but I'm not sure if he needs it, since he does seem pretty warm. Its around 75 degrees outside today, so I doubt he was chilled. Once he's had a chance to relax a bit, I plan on giving him some rehydrating solution and then seeing if he'll accept the Kaytee formula I bought.

My two questions are this: What is an appropriate dosage of antibiotics, and what is the standard amount of respirations a baby pigeon should have a minute? It seems like he's breathing pretty fast and hard. If I can find the cable for it, I'll be able to upload pictures of him. I may have a rehabber who will take him; I've used the guy before and he's really nice and laid back. Right now I'm just concerned with stabilizing the little dude.

Edited to add: Well, dangit. He's got blood coming from somewhere on his chest or belly, but I can't find a wound. He's also got a significantly broken left leg--it feels like the break is in the knee joint. There's also a bruise forming on his belly--I'm concerned about internal bleeding. He's alert, and tries to wiggle way.
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Hi Reddog...............Thank you so much for saving this little bird. Sounds like you've got your hands full and that he has more injuries than you originally thought.

I am not the experienced, but I think you are on the right track so far. It is important that he be kept warm and calm, and in a safe place. Put the heating pad under him on the lowest setting with a towell between him and the pad.

I am going to private message other more experienced members to bring attention to your situation. I am sure they will be able to give you the correct advice in how to proceed in treating him.

Thank you again for rescuing this bird. By the way..............Welcome to our forum!!!
Thanks for the reply, and the welcome. I'm extremely concerned that he's in shock; he's breathing at roughly 90 times a minute. The blood was from the broken leg, and its still oozing slowly. I really don't want to mess with the injured leg more than I have to, especially if he is in shock, but I'm worried that the blood loss, minimal as it may seem, could be why he looks to be in shock. I'd love to give him fluids, but I'm not set up to do so subcutaneously. He does have a source of heat. I'm also wondering if he sustained damage to his lungs/air sacs, since his injuries seem consistent with a fall.
Hi Reddog.........I have sent out private messages to 5 different experienced members. Hopefully, one of them will be on line shortly.

In my opinion if he is in shock.......first thing would be to keep him warm and then attempt to stop the bleeding. Can you wrap the wound on the leg........just enough to stop the bleeding, but not to cause any additional injury.

As far as giving him fluid/rehydration..........do you have a small syringe. YOu could try to give him 1CC of AVC water directly into his mouth and see if he is able to handle it and if he can swallow on his own.

I hope our experienced member come on quickly..........I know they will know exactly what you should do.

Good luck and God Bless both you and the little bird.
The bird is probably in great pain and frightened wondering what is going to happen next.
Pigeons have a much higher temperature than we do and so he should feel hot.
Do you have a scale that you can weigh the bird on...like a kitchen scale?
Is the clavamox already mixed?
If you haven't already done so, would you please click on the following link and take a look at the basic life saving steps.
It's vital that they are followed.

I read that page, and he appears to be well-hydrated. Eyes are bright, both poops he had looked perfect, skin is elastic. The heating pad is underneath paper towels and a box, set on low. He is quite warm to the touch, almost hot. I made up some rehydrating solution from the directions, but really didn't want to take it. He seemed much more concerned with breathing, and kept shaking the fluid out of his mouth.

The clavamox is not mixed up yet, because I was unsure of the proper dosage for pigeons and whether or not it would need extra dilution.
Don't give the baby fluids just yet if he's hydrated.
The heating pad should half under him so he can get away from the heat if he gets too hot.
Can you weigh him?
Where are you located?
Is the rehabber you mentioned available.
I left the rehabber a message a little while ago, but he wasn't there. The bird weighs 152 grams. I'm in the Chicago 'burbs, but pretty south. I'm not sure if the baby can move away from the heat at all; he's completely unable to use the left leg. How can I tell if the bird is overheated? Could that be why he's breathing so fast? He's been breathing like this since I found him.
I have a friend, Beth in the area and I have ut a call into her. She knows of a terrific vet tec that does Pigeon rehab and perhaps he can talk this one.
Put your hand on top of where the pigeon is sitting. If it's too hot for your hand, then it's too hot for the baby.
I'm not sure why exactly, the baby is breathing hard. It could be frightened, in pain or due to injury or all those things or others.
I'll go look up the clavamox dosage.
Dosage instructions from the resource section


Dose - up to 50 mgs per kilo BID if injection or up to 125mgs per kilo TID (three times daily) orally- up to 3 weeks. Dose and dosing interval determined by infection site, severity and organism involved.

Used to treat severe or deep puncture wounds, and helps greatly in preventing the spread of necrotic tissue. Is also effective against gut E.coli.
It is not recommended that this drug be given orally in the case of critically ill patients as absorption from the GI tract is unreliable, however many people do not have access or knowledge to give by injection so orally is the only option and better than nothing.

This drug has a much broader spectrum than Baytril and therefore will treat a much greater range of ailments. Can be used in conjunction with Trim Sulphas. Refrigerate oral suspension and discard after 10 days or if liquid becomes dark. Avoid concurrent use with tetracycline, erythromycin and chloramphenicol.
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I have a contact for you and she is expecting your call. She has 2 rescued baby Pigeons in the car with her right now about the same age as the one in your care. The baby will be safe with her.
Valerie 847-809-2418

Good luck
This is a link to a post member Pidgey made about respiration rates:


Often, heavy breathing can be the result of a fall or injury which may have occurred if he fell out of a nest or was taken out by a crow and possibly dropped. That could also account for the bruising you are seeing on his stomach. If you have the heating pad on low and a folded towel between the baby and the pad, I doubt it is from over-heating.

Try using a damp cotton ball and gently move the feathers around on his breast to see if you can find the wound there that is bleeding. You can use either Peroxide or Betadine at a ratio of 1 part medicine to 9 parts water to cleanse the wounds.

Wishing you the best in caring for this baby. Keep a close eye on the stomach area because an air bubble may form at the place of impact if he did fall and injure an air sac.
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I have a contact for you and she is expecting your call.

She has 2 rescued baby Pigeons in the car with her right now about the same age as the one in your care. The baby will be safe with her.
Valerie 847-809-2418

Good luck
That's great Charis. :)

You're like the energizer bunny for pigeon rescue resources. :p :p

Please let us know how things go, Reddog.

Thank you for the contact!

I called and spoke with Valerie, and I was also able to get a hold of the rehabber I normally use. They do take pigeons, and since the earliest the bird would be seen is 9:00 tomorrow either way, I'm just going to drive the bird down to the rehabber tomorrow morning. That saves her some running around, since she strikes me as pretty busy.

As for tonight, should I hold off on doing anything like trying to medicate or feed the baby, unless he starts to breathe normally? The bleeding was from the broken leg, but I don't see any bone fragments poking out. He's pooped a few more times, and it looked normal. When I found him earlier, his crop was partially full still.
I would start him on the antibiotics but don't feed him until his crop is empty. You can pass the antibiotics on to the rehabber. I'm sure it will be appreciated.
Um, my math skills are horrendous. I tried calculating out how much I should give him and ended up with a dosage of 2mL undiluted, and I KNOW that's incorrent.

Total, there is 62.5 mg per mL once its mixed with water. So in 15 mL, there is 937.5 mg of medication.

The bird weighs 150 grams. The dosage is 125 mg per kilo, so that should end up being .125 mg per gram? So then he should get 150 X .125 mg, which is 18.75 mg of dosage. If 1 mL has 62.5 mg, then he should get 18.75/62.5? Is that right? It ends up as .3 mL. Does that sound like a corrent dosage?
That sure does sound right.
Well, the baby is with a rehabber now. He was in much better shape this morning, and was actively begging for me to feed him. The rehabber thinks that he'll always limp, but he should be releasable.
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