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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will try to explain the story up to this point, and then ask my questions below. If you do not wish to read the story scroll down until you see 'AND NOW FOR THE QUESTIONS'. I don't wish to waste anyone's time.

To begin my brother found the pigeon on a walk home from the bus-stop. We have two pet-exotic birds and he recognized that something was not right with this bird. He called my mother and I, and we came via car with our extra travel cage and a set of gloves. I was able to pick the pigeon up without much of a struggle and we took it to a vet across the street whom did not handle birds.

It had a green-band on its leg, so using some iphone internet I was able to learn about what that all means and contacted the pigeon club in DE that this bird belonged to. The secretary of said club gave our number to the pigeons owner, whom called us and told us that he had released the pigeon from White marsh MD (north of us) about six days earlier. So the pigeon had been fending for itself for almost a week. He asked us to take care of it. So we are.

We started out with just crushed corn bits for food and added sugar in her water, then after a few days, tried to release her (we learned it was a girl, and that she's a trainee, which is why she doesn't have a tracker on her) but it was like she was trying to walk home (in the completely wrong direction I might add).

We tried to release her again after a few more days, but she still wouldn't try to fly home. This time our neighbor (whom happens to breed exotic birds) was outside, and came over to take a look at her.

Her wings we're fine, but when she moved the feathers out of the way we were able to see the poor girl's bone protruding out. She was skin and bones and we were a lot more sympathetic now.

So we called the owner after picking her up again, and learned he works the graveyard shift which is why he couldn't come to pick her up. When he called back we found out he and his father had lost several pigeons on this flight and one had made it home the day before but was in a similar condition as to the girl we have now.

That when we found out that the corn we were giving her wasn't really enough and we needed something more 'fatty', so we have a quail sort of food-stuff now that the owner said would be more appropriate. We also got her some flex-seed and she appears to be loving it.

Its been about three days since we started her on this new food and every night I let her loose in our bathroom (we lack a garage) and she tires to fly. She gets a bit off the ground, but doesn't really get all that air-born.

We're going to keep her for a while long because the last thing we want is for her to make it half-way-home only to become exhausted again.

AND NOW FOR THE QUESTIONS

Today I noticed that she was sneezing a little bit, and did some more research on the internet. She has a sort of 'snoring' or 'purring' sound she makes every now and then that just started today, but I can't tell if this is a sign of a respiratory infection or a happy pigeon noise.

Every time I pick her up she makes a 'grunting' sound. What does this mean? Just a disgruntled pigeon or is it a bad sign?

She sits with her neck all the way tucked in, so it looks like she's just got a head and a body, with her feathers fluffed out a bit, but we assumed that was a restful position. We figured she was still tired (plus the cage is sadly to small for her, but its the only thing we have) but now I'm starting to wonder if its a symptom of a sickness.

Her appetite is good (but she's a messy eater and likes to dig through the food for her favorite stuff), when she's out she walks around fairly well, and she drinks plenty of water.

We change the papers in the cage one a day if able, and at least once every-other day if we're not able. (My brother and I are full-time seniors in college with part-time jobs).

So a summary of my questions are as follows:

What should I look for if this pigeon is sick/healthy?

Do pigeons make noises normally?

Are we feeding her enough? How will we know when she's ready to fly home?

Is there anything else we should be doing that we aren't?

Thank you for reading all of this, and I hope someone replies with some tips whenever they have the chance.
 

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She needs a good pigeon mix seed to help her gain some strength.

If her keel bone is still sticking out, she is not eating enough and you will have to hand feed, she is in a weakened state, and that may be the reason why she cannot fly.

You can easily hand feed her frozen peas (that have been defrosted, drained and warmed) gently open beak insert pea and allow her to close beak and repeat about 20 times per meal. A healthy pigeon will eat a tablespoon of seed per meal, but she needs much more to catch up and gain weight.

Make sure she is in a carrier inside away from any drafts of air. She needs to be kept warm.

Could you please post a video of her making the noises? That may help determine what exactly is going on. They will on occasion grunt at you if you come near and that may be normal, but that is different from an actual raspy noise they make when breathing or if they have an open beak while breathing. Keep an eye on the sneezing, an occasional sneeze is fine.

What does the poop look like?


For now you can add a drop of organic apple cider vinegar to the drinking water to help get PH where it needs to be to control bad bacteria.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you!

Thank you for getting back to me. I will post a video of the sounds as soon as possible, but it might not be until later tonight. I will block off the air-vents that are closest to her current location to prevent a draft.

Hopefully it wont have to come to feeding her pees, but we have them if it comes down to that.

Again, thank you very much! Expect an update soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Video of Pigeon

Of course the second the camera came out and I got near she tried to hide it, but you can really hear the 'snoring' if you will at 00:02 seconds.

Thanks to the video I am sure that she is breathing with her beak open, and I also got a shot of her poop in the video as well. I included a picture of her outside of the cage as well.

I uploaded the video to youtube, and the URL is directly below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sjLXQ1i6BY&feature=youtu.be

Once again, please reply when you have time. We just want to know what to do in order to make her better. Thanks for your time.

~Iris Steth
 

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I can't really hear anything on the video except a clicking noise,

As mentioned above:

1. Hand feed to get her weight back on
2. Keep bird out of drafts, but supply proper ventilation
4. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, a drop in the drinking water daily
5. It would be best if you can seek out a rehabber or avian vet that has treated pigeons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Need help finding a vet

The pigeon defiantly has a upper respiratory infection of some kind.

She is open-mouth breathing, raspy voice, and tail-bobbing with each breath.

Since yesterday she hasn't been eating as much, or drinking as much, we're guessing it is due to her difficulties breathing.

We called the owner, who just told us to put lemon juice in the water to help sooth the throat.

The other man we had as a contact (unrelated to owner, but local pigeon owner) basically told us 'if it dies, it dies.'

The owner still claims he cant come down to pick up the bird, and we do not know where he lives.

In maryland pigeons are considered a 'wild animal' even if they are domesticated enough to be used as racing/homing pigeons.

Because of this, none of the local veterinary clinics with avian units can look at her as they lack the appropriate licenses.

We are willing to pay the money for the medication and the vet visit, and are willing to distribute medicine into the water if need be, we just don't know what sort of infection she has. We don't know what sort of medicine she needs, and we don't know what dose she should even be getting.

I've called the wildlife rescue organization of the area, but no one has gotten back to me. They have plastered all over their website and mentioned in their recorded messages that they have no room for domesticated pets/farm animals.

Technically she falls somewhere in between wild and domesticated, so I fear they wont take her either.

I know how time-sensitive a respiratory infection can be in birds, so I really could use any advice you might have to offer.

Skyeking:

We don't have organic apple cider vinegar, and we're getting inorganic wouldn't be good for her. Is there anything else we could use instead (like the lemon juice?)

She's out of the drafts and has good ventilation now and we're going to try hand-feeding her later today if she doesn't start eating on her own again.

You were able to see her poop in the video I posted below, how did it look? Or how is it supposed to look?
 

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Great of you to be looking after this bird. I am not sure what medication she would need. An avian vet may, but will probably have to do some sort of culture. The owner may not reimburse you for this......different owners have different attitudes towards thier birds.
The apple cider vinegar may help. You should be able to get this in a regular food store (and it is cheaper than most medications!). If not you can find it you can use the nonorganic but the organic Apple cider vinegar (with lots of debris in the bottle) is the best.
A good seed mix is best. YOu may also get some grit (you can use cockateil grit from teh pet store though it is smaller than ideal). Fresh water available at all time. If you can take her outside (IN the cage and under supervision!!) for a half hour or so (avoid overheating)to get some sun that may help her to feel better too.
Pet shops sometimes sell some bird antibiotics too but without knowing what is wrong it may be better to skip these. I am having trouble with the video (at work right now). Did not see much. Poops should be relatively firm with lots of white and brown.....not watery or overly green (though food can effect them a bit too). Hopefully others will chime in with more information. If you get her well again you may consider offering the owner to let you keep her........she is probalby in better care!
 

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The pigeon is a domestic kept pet, not wild, pigeons that are feral are just that feral not considerd wild there are no true wild pigeons in the USA only relatives of domestics , This homing pigeon is about as purebreed as you can get. as long as it is considerd a pet and pay the bill it can be treated just like any other pet bird at an avian vet. Im not sure who you got your info from but it is wrong. he/she needs a name and a responsible owner that will pay for service and that is it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Improved video sound quality

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZQK96rSNZE&feature=youtu.be

That link is to another video of the pigeon, but with better sound quality of the noises she has been making.

I know its an upper respiratory infection, but the first time I filmed her she did her best to hide it, and the camera didn't pick up the sound. This video was taken yesterday a few hours later, when she was let loose in our bathroom to stretch her legs/eat off the ground (we make sure its clean in there, but don't use chemicals that would harm her).

She's never left alone in the bathroom, and she's never in there for more then a half hour - forty five minutes.

In terms of the vets saying she was a wild bird: I may not have made it clear enough that she was a racing pigeon, and had a band. Even with that however, I know now that they wouldn't take her as they do not have an area to quarantine her. She's been outside and is obviously sick and could contaminate the other birds.

We're still doing everything we can to get her help. I don't have class on Mondays, so I've been calling every number I can find.
 

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There are Pigeon Supply company's......it may be worth ordering one of thier products of Upper Repiratory Infections and trying it. Foy's in one such company. Here is a link to the page of another company listing some of thier products. Of course an avian vet is the first/best choice but these products can work well if you get the right one and treat for the recommended time. http://www.siegelpigeons.com/catalog-respiratory.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just an update

For now the Pigeon has a tentative vet appointment tomorrow at 5:30. The veterinary clinic is two hours away, and my mom isn't very pleased with the notion of going so far out of our way, but I think I can convince her.

The pigeon is still breathing hevily, but for the first time ever I caught her laying down on her stomach. Every other time I've seen her she's been on one leg, two legs, or perching on her food bowel.

I read that sick birds do this (which she is) but it also might be a sign that she's finally comfortable with her surroundings (I hope this is the case).

Either way I know she's conserving more energy this way.

Other notes: Her crop has been full every time we've checked, so she's definitely eating enough. We're going to try and make sure she drinks some water before we go to bed tonight and again first thing in the morning.

I'm at school all day tomorrow, so I hope nothing changes while I'm gone.

The reason I said tentative appointment is because as the vet mentioned, its possible this is significantly worse then we realized and she might not make it to the appointment tomorrow. (I REALLY hope this isn't the case).

I'll keep everyone posted, but I'd appreciate more information/advice if you have any.
 

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If she is eating then she should make it. pigeons usually take water after they eat and it is quick so it is easy to miss, they gulp or suck their water from a dish so it needs to be deep enough for them to put most of their beak in to suck up the water. The vet will probably precribe some medication. be sure to listen and even wright things down as it is hard to remember information later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
After the vet appointment

We got her looked at and the vet confirmed that she had an upper respiratory infection. He gave us some antibacterial medicine to try on her and it goes directly into her water bowl.

It looks a little scant to me, so I may have to find a skinnier bowl to put it in but beyond that she now has a fighting chance.

So long as we caught it in time and she actually drinks her water, we should see improvement within a week.

In all the visit plus the meds only cost me about sixty dollars and a few hours of time. Plus a huge IOU to my mom for driving me there and back.

I'll keep you all posted in the days ahead, but I feel a lot better now knowing that she has the medicine in her water.
 

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I give you a lot of credit for helping this bird and to your mom for taking you to the veterinarian. (That is also a very fair price from the vet but stil 60 out of your pocket for a bird that is not yours). The vet should have indicated how much (volume) of water to dissolve the antibacterial in. BTW, if it does not work I would try the link I sent above and order one of the other pigeon medications for upper respiratory infections. You may consider keeping this bird (with permission from the owner) when she is well.........I think you saved her life and it would be a shame to just release her or to return her to an unknown fate. It is very good of you to see the value of a life and to help! Your Mom, I am sure, is proud.
 
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