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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I'm situated in Liverpool, England, and could use a little advice.

Today marks the fourth day of a friendship between myself and a found feral pigeon. S/he's a juvenile, I think, although am hesitant to claim certainty due to inexperience - I'd say she's a little over a month old. (can post pictures as of tomorrow, if anybody would be interesting in taking a peep.)

I've been browsing this forum for a few days, and have found it incredibly helpful. I've named the pij Ananke, after the primordial Greek goddess of destiny, due to her timely entrance into my life. She was shy initially, and spent most of the time craving dark places, reluctant to interact. I put this down to a healthy caution of predators. She was discovered beneath thick foliage, which may explain her preference for low-light.
She's warming up to me now, and for the past two days has been comfortable perching on my hand/ arm. She can fly a little, but not much. Just enough to get from one perch to another. Flight lasts no more than a second, and then gravity proves its existence.
She's currently lying snugly by my side, head tucked into the crook of my arm. :eek:

I noticed, however, that her stance is a little awkward. As though one wing is taking more body weight than the other, so that one side of her beautiful body is pushed forward somewhat. This isn't always, but often enough to cause concern. I recall reading here that "pigeons are masters of disguise, and if symptoms are being expressed, the ailment has probably been afflicting them for rather a long time." (Paraphrased; nor can I recall the poster, but it certainly struck a chord.)
She was underweight and dehydrated when I took her in (she was initially found by my partner, thus exact details of her discovery are currently hazy) and so saw food and water as top priority. She's eating wild bird seed, which she loves. I've tried her with finely chopped greens, apple and carrots also, but she's less into them. She wasn't drinking on her own at first, so I took to dipping her beak in water every few hours. Her first drink took inches out of her cup, and put a shine back into her eyes. She got the hang of it, recognising her cup as her cup the morning after our first night together.
She pecks really well, but I think she has trouble with softer, less rounded objects. I've been reluctant to force-feed, as i: her appetite is healthy; my only concern is the consistent banality of seeds.
and ii: she was shook up enough when we first met, and the thought of tormenting her with unnecessary stress was most unappealing.

1st night: she seemed to have trouble breathing. It was rhythmic, but passed noisily through her lungs, as though she had a cold. This worried me at first, but after stroking her chest for about twenty minutes, it stopped, and hasn't been a problem since.
She was not at all confident on her feet - this is getting better, also, and she stands much more firmly now. I think perhaps she was just weakened when we first met. Warmth, rest, food and attention seems to be doing the trick.
Her personality is beginning to shine through, and she's absolutely lovely. A dignified and intelligent creature.

My main worry now is her stance. She flaps quite powerfully, and expresses no signs of pain when I touch her, but each time I see her sitting awkwardly, my heart becomes more perturbed.

My current financial situation isn't exactly great, so high-quality veterinary care isn't really an option. As my novella probably suggests, also, an attachment has been formed, and the notion of losing her is one I'm pretty reluctant to act upon. Rationally, of course, it may be the wisest thing to do. But reason plays a small role in love.
I'm wondering, I guess, if somebody could assist in a diagnosis, and let me know if there's any way her ailment could be safely remedied by my own hands. Hesitant to wrap the wing in case it isn't broken, and the problem dwells in her chest.

Thanks in advance,
Alisha. :)
 

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There could be a number of issues, a respiratory infection/cold, may be one issue-from your description.

If she is holding one wing differently from the other, that could be an old injury, or disease. Gently run your fingers around the normal wing (shoulder, around joints) then the one that hangs different, and see if you notice any difference.

I'm glad you are seeing a noticeable difference, which warmth and food usually helps with.

However, if the bird was starved and her keel/breast bone is sharp or somewhat sharp, that would make her weak and not able to fly. If she isn't eating enough you may need to force feed. Also, how many poops is she doing a day, and what so they look like?

Here is a great UK link with resources/rescue centers and illnesses and how to hand feed a baby bird or a starved bird.

Thank you for helping this creature.

http://www.pigeonrescue.co.uk/

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I'm grateful for your quick response, Skyeking.
Her breastbone is quite sharp - I noted this but neglected to mention it.
She's pooping a lot. Several an hour through the day, though I've not counted it up certainly. They're relatively thick; about 70% solid, 30% water - the consistency is, well, consistent. As is the colour, which is mostly mid-brown with the odd speck of white.
My partner cared for her on the first night and subsequent day she was found - she refused to eat, and didn't poop at all until about 45 mins after I took her in. Her eyes were a little dull, she had minimal strength, but she was very much awake and aware. I assume you're right in thinking she was starved.
I've left her with food constantly so that she can eat whenever she feels like it. She does so often, sometimes very hungrily, other times as though she's simply bored and looking for something to amuse her. I suppose she's eating a medium sized hand full of seeds a day. (Realising that I need to be more attentive in order to be specific. Lots of her pecking is an attempt to eat, and I notice that she gets frustrated when she's chasing seeds around the plate at times.)

A cold was my first conclusion. I think that's clearing up of its own accord. She has a lot more energy the past two days, and is becoming more and more curious, active and involved.
Her wings feel similar, but my inspection was quite brief. I noticed no prominent differences, but will give her another look when she wakes. She's sleeping in a regular, comfy-looking position right now. Edit: the wing hangs awkwardly only when she's sitting, and about 50% of the time, it looks fine.

Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, and for the links.
It's appreciated. :)
 

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Can you please post pics at rest and when foraging. Also is she eating the seeds or tossing them? She must be eating something to be passing poop. Posture is important so need to see those pics and if you are able, a short video would also help. Would like to see her blink rate and her eyes. Also pics of her droppings. Thanks
 

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Thank you for helping the feral bird! Agree that starvation and possibly a healed wing injury may be going on. If you keep taking care of her she should recover nicely. Our first pet pigeon, Phoebe, was a seriously injured feral who is now our sweetheart. Am looking forward to pictures if you can post them.
 

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Thank you for your response and for your good care of this bird.

Since you say her keel bone is very sharp, you should hand/force feed her because she needs to gain that weight back. PLEASE check the link I posted earlier, on hand feeding baby pigeons. You can easily feed peas as prescribed (thawed, drained and warmed) and it is least stressful on an older bird. Allow her to continue to eat seed during the day preferably from a small deep spill proof bowl , as well as keeping a small bowl of water with her.
 

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Exact Hand Feeding Formula is the best for making pigeon gain weight. Frozen peas has little nutritive value and if the bird is sick, the peas may not be able to pass from crop into gissard, remain in crop and block it. It happened many times to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)

Exact Hand Feeding Formula
is the best for making pigeon gain weight. Frozen peas has little nutritive value
and if the bird is sick, the peas may not be able to pass from crop into gissard, remain in crop and block it.
It happened many times to me.
Yes...I wouldn't want to risk blocking her crop.
I read somewhere that the protein-based, body-building supplements for humans are a good alternative to a formula.
Do you have an opinion on this? I'm sure that a pij-specific formula would be better, but I do have a good supply
of the human version already.
Thanks for your advice, Andreis. :)



Since you say her keel bone is very sharp, you should hand/force feed her because she needs to gain that weight back.
PLEASE check the link I posted earlier, on hand feeding baby pigeons. You can easily feed peas as prescribed (thawed,
drained and warmed) and it is least stressful on an older bird. Allow her to continue to eat seed during the day preferably
from a small deep spill proof bowl , as well as keeping a small bowl of water with her.
It's still a little sharp, but much less so than it was. I force-fed her some warm peas on our first night together, and also
make sure there's some to hand all of the time - Ananke doesn't appreciate them much, but does swallow them after a little coaxing
- I'll definitely make this a more regular process, and consult the link beforehand to ensure I'm doing it right. I've followed instructions
found elsewhere, but it never hurts to be sure.
Whilst browsing, I've found nothing concerning fat balls.
I have a few, but not sure whether they'd be appropriate for her. Are they not particularly good for pijjies?
Ah, super helpful advice! Her water's held in quite a deep, small vessel, whereas I've kept her food on a flat surface.
Your way would make it easier to document how much she's actually eating. Thank you. :)

Can you please post pics at rest and when foraging. Also is she eating the seeds or tossing them?
She must be eating something to be passing poop. Posture is important so need to see those pics and if you are able,
a short video would also help. Would like to see her blink rate and her eyes. Also pics of her droppings. Thanks
Hi CBL. :)
She's eating a lot of them, and also tossing a lot of them.
She's definitely digesting a decent amount, although I'm not sure if it's enough to stabilise her weight as quickly as I'd like.
I always make sure there's more than enough for her to play with, potentially soil, and actually eat.
She likes her food to be scattered around so that she can 'discover' it, but there's always a full plate right front of her, too.
I think it's important to keep her mentally stimulated, but it does make it slightly more chaotic,
and difficult to ascertain how much is reaching her belly. Poop count is pretty impressive, though!

Resting (awkwardly): She seems to slide into this position when she's tired - like a slump of some kind.
Occasionally, she adjusts herself into a more symmetrical position, and seconds later, slumps again.
Sometimes, though not often, I think it affects her breathing, as one side of her breast rises and falls
more prominently than the other. Concerned that the position puts strain on her lungs.

I don't have one of her foraging, but have an image of her perched 'normally' on my hand.

My partner's taken her for the morning, as I have some things to accomplish and I don't like to leave her alone,
so will get the other shots/ video asap.
Blink rate is something I hadn't thought to consider.
Her eyes have changed from dull and slightly glazed to bright and wide over the time we've been together.

Thanks lots for your interest!



Agree that starvation and possibly a healed wing injury may be going on.
If you keep taking care of her she should recover nicely. Our first pet pigeon, Phoebe,
was a seriously injured feral who is now our sweetheart. Am looking forward to pictures if you can post them.
A healed wing injury? That's something of a relief.
I do feel very hopeful about her recovery. She seems to be quite a resilient little beastie. :)
Phoebe sounds wonderful! Thank you, cwebster; you've eased my mind a bit.
 

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Do as skyeking says, and supplement her with the warmed defrosted peas. Let her eat on her own during the day, and give her the peas at night to fill her up. If she is pooping that much, then she is probably eating enough. Please don't give her any supplements for humans, as if there is milk or milk products, then these aren't good for the bird. And those supplements are usually full of vitamins and such that are good for people, but not the right amounts for a pigeon. Peas won't be a problem for her to digest, and actually are easy to digest. If a bird has problems passing them, then they already are having crop problems.
She doesn't need bird formula at this age, and to feed her that is more stressful, and more difficult for you. She is eating on her own and can take the solid food. If she were sick and having trouble digesting food, then the formula would be preferred, but this is not the case. She will gain the weight in time.
As far as holding the wing oddly in that pic, mine do that at times when just loafing around, like after a bath or laying in the sun. A front on pic of how she holds the wing when standing, and a picture from above maybe? Cute little thing isn't she?
 

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Forgot---- To feed the warmed peas, hold her on your lap and against your body. Come from behind her head and clasp her beak on either side. Open the beak and put in a pea, then push it to the back of her throat and over the tongue. Now release the beak and let her swallow. Not sure how much she is eating, so I would start with maybe 20 peas at first. An adult pigeon who isn't eating would get 50 to 60 a couple of times a day. Or broken up into smaller feedings, more often. A young bird, a bit less per feeding. If she already has a lot of food in her crop then you don't want to stuff her. If she is eating enough on her own, then she will gain weigh eventually anyway. Youngsters tend to be thinner, but they catch up.
 
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