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Hi everyone,

I hope this is the right forum thread to post in. I'm really really anxious.

I have a baby pigeon who I estimate to be around 2 weeks old. He was found on the sidewalk and the person couldn't find the parents' nest so searched for a carer. I took him in a few days ago and he has been doing really well.

A few months ago I was quite traumatised after I had a pigeon die in my hands. I thought the cause was aspiration, but after talking to other carers and a vet, it turns out it was instead something neurological. Even though I know it wasn't aspiration, I have since then noticed that I am extremely anxious about causing aspiration.

I took the baby pigeon to a vet for a check up, and I told her I have been using the syringe and glove method for feeding which mimics how the parents feed their babies. I asked her if that was a safe method, or if I should be using a crop needle as that bypasses the windpipe entirely. She told me to continue using the syringe/glove method as it is very easy to kill with a crop needle, and to only use a crop needle if absolutely necessary. (I have lots of experience with crop needles and I know they can be dangerous if used incorrectly, but I was surprised to hear this as she sounded very serious about it).

I have continued with the syringe/glove method and I am so scared that he is going to inhale some of the formula. He is extremely active and wanting to feed. You'd think he was starving to death, it's crazy how food-driven he is! I'm nervous that through this excitement, with all the chirping and flapping about, he is going to inhale some of the formula. How big is this risk?

I was only wondering what are some small/mild signs to look for that may indicate he has inhaled some of the formula and needs to get to a vet? I am scared that I'm not going to notice the signs and that he will pass away during the night while I'm asleep. I have read online about laboured breathing, coughing and sneezing, poor feeding response, etc. and he hasn't shown signs of any of these. I just feel that I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if he passes away due to aspiration because I was ignorant about some of the smaller signs.

This is the method I have been using, except I hold the syringe horizontally so that it does not flow down faster than he can swallow. If there are any safer methods at all, please tell me what they are/link a video so that I can decide what would be best for this little one. I'm scared of making a mistake and causing an innocent baby pigeon his life. :(

It sucks because I never used to be this scared about it until that pigeon died in my hands. I think it was more traumatising than I realised... and it's frustrating because I want to be able to help pigeons without feeling so scared! :(

Please help with whatever advice you have... thank you so much in advance.
 
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