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Pigeon won't fly or eat help!

1769 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  John_D
Hello, Very happy to have found this website. If I am posting to the wrong place, or this has already been answered else where, kindly direct me. We have a pair of pigeons that returns every year to make their nest in our palm tree. When I came home on Thursday night. I found a pigeon sitting in my yard, with 2 of my cats closing in for the kill. I shooed them away and walked up to it. I very easily picked it up and saw that it had a small wound under one wing. We tried to release it and even though it flaps it's wings very well, it can't fly.
I work at a veterinary hospital (although we don't treat birds) Our vet gave me some oral antibiotics. It looks like a full grown pigeon. It does have some very small yellow feather sticking out here and there on it's head. It's eyes seem to be a light brown. not sure if this means it is a juvenile?
It flaps like crazy, but when it tries to fly our of my hand. it crashes usually on it's head or chest. I have seen it drink water on its own, but it shown no interest in bird seed. I have tried putting some down in my closed palm. It will nibble at it, but doesn't seem to be getting any of it. I have also tried making a soup our of A/D (a veterinary diet for debilitated animals) and offering it in the bulb of an eye dropper. Again, no interest. It walks all over the yard, seems alert, preens itself, but it is going on it's 3rd day with no food. I can feel it's breast bone, not sure if that mean s it emaciated. I can rehab a dog or cat easily...birds I know zero about. I have tried to give it food with syringe, but i can't get it to open it's mouth, and I'm afraid I will hurt it.
It also has zero fear of my dogs and cats. Not a good trait in a wild animal! I open the cage door, and it immediately climbs out onto my hand. Is there any chance that if I do get this bird to fly and eat, that I will be able to release it?
Any advise would be greatly appreciated! I am in Porterville, California
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You have yourself a baby that hasn't learned to eat on it's own and so you will need to hand feed it.
The easiest thing to feed at this point would be defrosted corn and peas. Defrost about 2 tablespoons under warm water. Once they are defrosted all the way through and no longer cold, open the bird's break gently and individually pop the pieces at the back of the throat and the bird will swallow. You will need to do this every time the crop empties. The crop is located below the throat and fill out like a balloon when it has food in it.
You should be able to get the bird to drink water by gently nudging the tip of the beak in a deep dish of water. I do this by carefully pushing the beak forward from the back of the head. It also helps to splash the water a bit with your fingers to get the bird's interest.
You are right to be concerned because this bird won't be able to go much longer.
Thanks, I'll give it a try! I'm a bit desperate at this point!
How many times per day should I be feeding it?
Every time the CROP EMPTIES. Please don't add food to a crop that already has food in it.
As a GENERAL guide, you will feed 3-4 times per day.
Have a look at this 'sticky' in the Resource Section and see if anyone is close
to you:


The original poster has not been back since July 2009.

The baby evidently grew up, as indicated by this thread:

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