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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

I need some advice on how I can help this pigeon. I had him for two days now, he can't pick up seeds and I've been giving him thawed peas. I'm looking how else I can get some food inside him. I'm scared to use syringe feeding and prefer to find some other methods.

Brief story:
I have my second rescued pigeon in two weeks time, it's been very stressful for me but I'm fully intended to help this little guy.
I've been observing this young (several months old?) pigeon for a few months now, he was always the last to leave the feeding spot and usually would sit on his own away from other pigeons. Few days ago it was raining pretty bad and he was soaked and couldn't fly. I tried to catch him and he tried to fly away and crash landed on the ground (from the 3-storey building). I found him on the ground, he seemed fine, no injuries.

Next day I took him to the bird hospital (unofficially) for some advice. I've been told he possibly has PVM and he will be put down immediately if I'd to leave him there. We decided that I can give it a try for few days and see if he is getting better. The lady who looked at him said he is very underweight and needs to be hand fed. She advised to get a NutriBird mix (for parrots) and grind it with some rice flour and feed him via tube. I did find nutribird mix and rice flour but couldn't find syringe with tube anywhere (just a normal one for pet feeding)., so I opted-out for syringe feeding for now.
I've been feeding him thawed peas. I fed him small amounts of peas 3 times yesterday (between 5pm-10pm) and noticed that droppings became more solid. I fed him again today with around 20-30 peas.

So his current symptoms are:
  • Can't pick up seeds: he tries very hard and I see he is very hungry but most of the seeds are just tossed around. If he catches one then his head is shaking pretty hard.
  • He can walk, stands normally (doesn't shake), he can fly-jump on the box I put for him. He probably could fly more but I have nowhere to test him.
  • When I pick him up, his head can twist backwards, but he seems pretty alert and follows my hand when I feed him peas.
  • He is drinking himself.
  • His droppings are watery with slim green worm-like inside.


Questions I have:
1. I live in Netherlands and it's been very difficult for me to find medical products for pigeons (we are in lockdown now so online shopping is the only option). I'd like to show him to a vet but I doubt they will look at him, even if I'm prepared to pay. So my first question (long shot), if there is anyone in Netherlands (Amsterdam area) who could help or give some advice? I want to get him some medicines to eliminate possible diseases he might have but again it's difficult to find a source where I can get this stuff and most of it seems to be designed for a large pigeon populations and cost a lot of money.

2. Is it ok if I feed him just peas? I am not sure when he will be eating himself and I'd like to feed him balanced diet. Can I hand feed him seeds (put in his throat)? Or can i make some kind of mix with nutribird, rice flour and shape it into a pea-looking ball and give it him the same way as peas?

3. Can this not be PVM? He's been hanging with this flock for months now and I didn't notice any other birds behaving oddly. What else can be the reason of him not being able to pick up seeds? I thought he might be just weak from the cold weather we had and just needs time to recover.

Long post but I hope someone can help me. I really don't want to put him down and I am ready to do whatever it takes to keep him alive!


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You can crush the nutribird into powder, mix with a small amount of water and mix till you get the consistency of clay. Then form small balls and feed this to him in addition to the peas. I've found that if one only feed the balls, they drink a lot of water. So feeding peas as well will help with moisture. To the nutribird powder, you can add some vitamins esp vit B. This will help with the neurological issues.

The droppings sound like PMV droppings. It's a good sign he is trying to eat by himself. A really sick pigeon won't try to eat. You can put his seeds in a deep dish, he will make a mess but hopefully figure out a way to eat by himself.

Can you post a video of him? Some diseases like salmonella can cause the same symptoms, lack of certain vitamins as well.
 

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If you are on FB, plse join Palomacy Help Group for pigeon and dove rescue. They have so much members, and someone might be able to suggest a avian vet nearby.

Have you checked inside his beak and back of the throat for canker? One of the symptoms will be cheesy yellow growths. This can also affect his eating.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Marina, thanks again for your quick reply!

It's now a beginning of a third night the pigeon is with me.

I've been giving him peas for today along with him (hopefully) picking some seeds. I have the nutribird ready to try along with some vitamin B for pigeons (a whole complex of vitamins), which should be delivered tomorrow.

I looked at his throat earlier but I'm still trying to figure out how not to harm him when handling his beak, I'll inspect more tomorrow. The lady in the bird hospital has also looked at his throat and didn't say anything (not sure if she was checking for canker).

His dropping are still green slimy in a pool of transparent liquid, but seem a little bigger compared to the first day.

I've been looking at salmonella symptoms and they are indeed similar. I also tried to look for some medicines I could order to treat it but I can't find anything (some sites do not deliver bird medicines to Netherlands due to law). I'll need to look more at options. Do you think it is ok to get some medicine (mixable with water) even without a certain diagnosis? It says that it can be used as a treatment and preventative measure against some diseases (including salmonella).

I also spent some hours doing research for avian vets which has been a failure for now, unfortunately.

Here is the video of him trying to eat (it's hard to catch him eating as he's very cautious so I caught him when he was picking seeds I left on the floor. I have a proper deep dish placed in his 'spot') :


Thanks for your help!
 

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You can put the seeds in a deep dish for him, it will be easier for him to pick up.

When getting fed peas, the droppings will be greenish and not look like proper pigeon droppings. It's difficult to say what exactly is wrong. The problem with putting meds in the water is that you have no control over the amount he gets in. It will also destroy the good gut bacteria. The best meds for salmonella is baytril (enrofloxacin). Longterm use of this can cause a yeast infection.

Is there any way you can get a salmonella testing kit? Try a site for pigeon supplies and meds. I've only recently discovered one can get these testing kits.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I appreciate your reply, Marina. You are a really good support!

It's the end of day 3 he is with me. Pigeon's condition remains the same:

  • He still cannot pick seeds due to his head shaking (although I saw him grabbing and swallowing few).
  • I feed him thawed peas and mix of nutribird mix (for adult bird) + mashed sunflower seeds + a dash of egg meal and rice flour. I make little pea sized balls by mixing with warm water and feed him using the same technique as for peas (open his mouth and put it on the back of his throat). He actually enjoys it a lot and stays still when I feed him and even tries to peck the food when I'm holding it near him. Tomorrow I will be adding grinded pigeon seed mix into the mash. I feed him several times a day - around 4-5 times (I'm aiming for ~20 peas and ~10 mix balls). I will increase the dosage from tomorrow.
  • His droppings are same: long thin green inside and mostly transparent liquid around.
  • I added a vitamin complex into his water today (he drinks himself).
  • He's been acting pretty normal - he sees his flock form the window and is very alert; he follows my hand when I feed him; he sleeps standing on one feet or by laying down. He doesn't attempt to fly though.
  • I cannot find any salmonella testing kits online in Netherlands, unfortunately. I might get is shipped from somewhere else but it may take weeks, not sure it's a good idea.

I've ordered some "anti-bacterial" mix for pigeons which help with salmonella and similar diseases, and is 'close to the antibiotics" but are made from herbs. I hope it arrives quickly.

I am going to continue with feeding him more and observing his condition. If it worsens then I have a back-up plan to reach out to some 'bird' vets around (however I doubt they accept pigeons but I'll try my best!).

Photo of him sleeping in his 'amazon-boxed' house:

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Here are the products I bought for him:

1. (Hasn't arrived yet)
Ecocure is an intestinal stabilizer based on oregano and natural organic acids. This product prevents intestinal dysfunction, is extremely useful in bacterial intestinal infections (E. coli, Salmonella ...) and improves the quality of drinking water.


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2. Supplementary food-vitamins (have been adding this for 1 day).
Liquid
Brewer's yeast, sodium chloride, amino acids, vitamins.
Nutritional Additives: Vitamin A, Vitamin D3, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin K3, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin PP, Biotin, Choline Chloride, D-Pantothenic Acid, L-Lysine, L-Threonine, L -tryptophan, DL-methionine, preservatives.



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3. It's more of a preventative medicine (but I hope it will also help with the existing symptoms). Translation from the Dutch web-site:
We have developed a new remedy that helps against Salmonella, E-colli, streptococci, trichomads and various fungi. After several years of not having heard much about it, our birds again suffer from various types of negative bacteria. Under social pressure, fewer and fewer types of antibiotics are allowed to be used, which means that these bacteria are less likely to be controlled. So there are more and also find their way back to our birds. Fungi will increasingly affect our bird stocks in the coming years. They are often almost invisible, strike quickly and are very difficult to combat. The best way to prevent fungi from hitting fungi is therefore. Once you have them in your stock, there is almost no way to control them. Anti-Bacteria We started developing a product on a natural basis. An agent that works effectively, does not cause resistance and is easy to use. After many studies, this has resulted in a unique blend of extra concentrated naturally defined aromas, including Oregano, Butyric Acid, Cinnamon Oil and Diallyl Disulfide (sulfur compounds). Anti-Bacteria contains the following feed materials: Yucca schidigera, Lauric acid, Monopropylene glycol, Mono and Allicine. These ingredients are known for their strong inhibitory effect on bacteria and fungi. For optimal intestinal health, increasing resistance and suppressing bacteria and fungi, we therefore recommend: Anti-Bacteria! Anti-Bacteria is packed in 50ML bottles with dosing dropper, so that dosing can be done very simply and without product loss. You use 1ML Anti-Bacteria in 1 liter of drinking water, so very economical in use. Packaging 50ML, with handy dosing dropper.


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Sounds good, he will definitely benefit from that. You can buy a digital scale to weigh him regularly. That way you will know if he is getting enough food.

Pigeons like to perch. You can put a brick inside his box. A mirror will also keep him company. If this upsets him, then rather remove it.

His neurological symptoms might get worse. My pigeon that had PMV, had horrible seizures by week 6, but started recovering after that.

Thanks for what you are doing for him.
 

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It seems everyone jumps to PMV conclusions on this website, but Salmonella/paratyphoid is way more common than PMV, and the symptoms are pretty similar. Enrofloxacin or Baytril for 5-7 days. Sometimes its needed for several weeks or months depending on how long the symptoms persist, and there are some posts on pigeonbiz that discuss this further. I hope things improve for you and your bird, but I would treat for the more common disease if I had to choose without a test. Additionally a probiotic at around 7 days would help the bird produce good bacteria taken out by the Baytril. Take care.
 

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Making their gut acidic helps keep Salmonella/Paratyphoid at bay, but that's preventative not really treatment. 2-3 days per week we use apple cider vinegar, approximately 1/3 cup for 2 gallons of water. We also periodically treat their water with probiotic for helping produce good gut bacteria. As for treatment for Salmonella/Paratyphoid, baytril or enrofloxacin is the best I know of. What you ordered above looks like it might help. You may need to run that longer than 2 weeks or mix it a little stronger than they show on the container in order to jump start the treatment of this sick bird. I don't think there is a natural remedy for salmonella however. I don't know if food grade diatomaceous earth will do anything for salmonella, but it helps with other internal and external bugs. Salmonella/Paratyphoid will affect the birds neurological system you mentioned the bird has, but I'm guessing you knew that. Once cleared up, vaccines will help paratyphoid, similar to covid vaccines, but they will not help to cure the bird. I guess you just need to keep the bird hydrated, warm and quiet and hope for the best without meds. Has the bird been wormed? Sometimes that can give some watery or runny stool too, but that won't cause the neurological issues. They can always have a couple things going on too. Wish you the best on this challenge!
 
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