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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi - I live on a farm in Colorado and I've had about a half dozen feral pigeons roosting in my barn over the last few years. In the last week I've found three pigeons that are "not right". The first one was very lethargic, but could fly when I saw it. When my farm hand saw it he dispatched it as it looked ill and was easily caught.

The second one was hanging around my chicken coop. I observed it late one afternoon walking around and looking, for lack of a better word, fluffed up. I thought it was odd that it was walking around rather than flying but really I didn't think much more about it. The next morning it was still walking unsteadily around the coop. I was a bit concerned that it might have an avian disease that could be passed to the chickens so I caught it and took it to the vet (where I think it was euthanized). It was unable to fly and would spread it's wings and then fall forward on its breastbone. It could walk though I noted that on one foot the backward facing toe was curled up, I don't know if this was a defect or related to the other behavior. I herded it into a bucket and it seemed exhausted by the 10-20 foot walk prior to the bucket.

Finally I found a third one later that afternoon that seemed unable to fly. This bird looked considerably healthier so I left it alone and in the morning it was gone. Then today I saw a bird with the same peculiar 'fluffed' look that the first two sicker looking birds displayed. This one was perched up off the ground but not as high as would be usual in the barn. I did not disturb it, but it really did not look well.

So, does anybody know what might be taking down these birds? I'm primarily concerned that whatever the problem is not be passed to my domestic birds, however if there is anything I can do to help the pigeons I'd be happy to do it.

It is possible that they might pick up poison since this is a farming area, though they would not find it on my property and I don't know what the their range is like. I can't think of anything in the immediate environment that would be harmful to them (in this way).
 

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Hi Staje and welcome. I'm so very sorry that you have ill pigeons at your place. While it is possible that they have ingested something toxic, it is equally possible that they are suffering from one or more common pigeon illnesses.

In a very general statement, I will say that it is unlikely that your chickens will catch anything from the pigeons, but I guess it's possible.

A couple of the common illnesses that can result in the symptoms you describe are paratyphoid (salmonellosis) or paramyxovirus (PMV). Since PMV is a virus, there is little you can do to treat it, but there are great treatments available for salmonellosis. It's always best to know for sure what it wrong and treat accordingly.

Is there anyway you could get some poop samples in for a fecal or to take in one of the ill birds for a vet exam? Are you anywhere near the vet school in Ft. Collins?

Terry
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for the information Terry. I don't know if I'll get a chance to capture another one. Yesterday i counted six that seemed to be doing fine and then the one in the afternoon that was all puffed up. This morning it is snowing and I didn't see anything unusual. I'll keep my open when I go out to feed in the afternoon.
 

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Hi Staje: welcome to the Pigeon-talk and I live in Colorado as well and wonder if you are from the NorthEast section because they have a lot of wheat and corn and growing things and right about this time they might be putting seeds in the ground and they might be doing bird abatement--toxic stuff--that makes birds go crazy and off balance--I hate it for them---but it does happen---because they want to keep the birds from eating the crops---do it in other states as well---I read about all the dead starlings (neat birds) and the dead morning doves a few years back---sorry for this kind of news for I love all birdies but this is the reality of the situation... Your chickens won't catch anything from the pigeons---but the pigeons can catch things from the chickens--one is new castle disease and some other bad ones...I live in Denver and the Colorado State Vet School is world known and it is in Ft. Collins like TAWhatey said--hope you don't see anymore of these sick pigeons--makes me feel sad....c.hert
 

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.....next time ....if the opportunity arises for you or your farm hand to catch one...perhaps do not, um...'dispatch'...it..... or take it to a place where they'll just put it down.... next time. Those pigeons' conditions could very well have been curable.

...bring it in, put it on warmth, and post back here so we can help the bird.
 

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On a farm with chickens and a barn, it could be salmonella. There are probably mice around. Too bad.
 
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