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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello everyone here at Pigeon Talk. First I want to thank you all for being an exceedingly helpful resource for someone trying to help a pigeon out. Secondly I have a few concerns / questions about a pigeon that I have rescued.

Two days ago I saw a pigeon milling around on the ground near my barns. This is unusual because we normally don't have a pigeon problem on our facility. I took a closer look and found that he had a racing band on one leg. This lead me to surmise that he was a racing pigeon that was blown off course, or became tired, and was resting at my facility. Since we have chickens I assumed that he would eat some of their food and be on his way.

The next day he was found on a rooftop surveying the area and then inside one of my barns. I sent one of my employees to try to catch him with a net, so we could help possibly get him home, but that failed and he flew away.

Today we found him again in the barn nestled up in some hay looking rather puffy and laid back. I managed to snag him by hand as he flew past me, lucky grab. Upon further inspection the leg band was an RFID tag and no other info was around his legs or on his wings. We put him in a medium chicken transport cage for the time being, kept him in the barn, and offered layer mash (which is all we had for birds) and water. After a few hours of chores I checked on him and noticed that his feces were watery and dark green with a light green swirl and his urates were watery as well. This lead me to do some research. I found that either he could be sick and in need of some antibiotics, of which I only have for horses and cattle, or he was starving. I read some advice threads on this board and they recommended feeding some warmed up frozen peas. Being that pretty much my entire life I have worked on a farm, force feeding was nothing new and went off without a hitch. I erred on the side of caution and only fed about 6-8 peas or so. He gobbled them down without much of a problem. While feeding I didn't see any noticeable canker sores but I wasn't super thorough. I also dipped his beak in some water and he sucked down his fill. His keel is rather pronounced and he isn't meaty. Then again, I don't know what a pigeon is supposed to feel like so I'm shooting in the dark here. I managed to weigh him and it averaged out to 307-300 grams. Again, I don't know what he should weigh. His eyes are bright and respond to light, his breathing isn't labored or short (as far as I can tell), his feathers are exceedingly soft and well groomed, he isn't disheveled, his vent is clean with no signs of mites, and he does want to run away when given the chance.

Right now I have him inside my house in a warm room with some parakeet feed, I know it isn't that great but it's all I could get on short notice, some thawed peas, and a tray of water. He just sits all bunched up and scared / uncomfortable looking. He can fly and does try to escape when you go to pick him up but once in hand for a bit he settles down.

Basically I want to know if I'm helping the little guy. Knowing how many peas to feed a day, how to check to see if he is improving, and that sort of stuff would be beyond helpful. I know that sometimes pigeons are culled when / if they return late or are sick. While I do understand that from a farming perspective, I wouldn't want a bird that could be helped by me to be killed because I didn't do something. Also I don't know how to identify pigeon breeds / morphs? any help would be helpful. Thanks in advance. Images are attached.

P.S. Location is North Jersey
 

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Yes, thanks for helping him. That is a little homing pigeon. The droppings are starvation droppings, so it has been a while since he has eaten. Poor thing. You can start him on about 30 defrosted and warmed peas 3 times a day. Just make sure the crop is emptying well before feeding him again. If you can feel the crop you can tell if it has gone down flat. If not, then you can also tell by him having many droppings. If he starts eating a lot of seed, then you may not have to feed him. You would start with about 30 per feeding, but then in a couple of days if he is doing okay, then you could go to about 50 peas twice daily. You may find that in a couple of days he may start eating on his own. Keep a small dish of water with him all the time, along with the seed. Maybe you can pick up a dove mix. Even a wild bird feed for now with mixed seeds in it. Not a lot of sunflower seeds in it, but some are okay. You don't need to wear gloves when you handle him. You won't catch anything from him. Just use good hand washing before and after feeding him. Please let us know how he does. Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Hello everyone. Thanks for your help. The pigeon is pecking at his feed and drinking water. Last night he defecated 3 times or so, most of them were watery but one was more firm. I have attached pictures. I will keep force feeding him peas for a few days to be sure he gets the food needed. The feed I purchased as a stop gap seems pretty awful, just a load of millet and very few wheat seeds. I have 16% layer pellets on hand for the chickens and my local feed store stocks that much more readily than pigeon food. Would those be okay for feeding? As for the wild bird mix, what should I be looking for in the formulation? Low sunflower content, as stated above, I've been reading that they like safflower, wheat, and some millet. Should anything else be in the mix?

As for the gloves, I know it looks silly. However with 'wild' fowl that possibly are sick I don't take chances. I know that they carry salmonella and one who is sick may have an abundance of that microbe. This along with the possibility of E. coli drove me to the gloves. Call me a nervous Nancy but I've been in the hospital with salmonellosis before and it wasn't fun. Once I know he is healthy and happy then I can go to basic hand washing.

Again, thanks for the help and I'll keep y'all updated.

Edit: While feeding this morning I noticed that his vent was dirty from the loose stool. I cleaned that with warm water and some towels. I figured that would help prevent him from possibly pasting up and becoming more ill. Afterwards I was holding him and scratching his neck to try to comfort him. I was rewarded with a decently formed dropping on my leg. Still green on color but much more firm. Along with this he was much more active in trying to wiggle away and flap around. He seems to be on the mend. I really do appreciate all your wonderful help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Okay, this will probably be the last update in this thread. Instead of asking dumb questions here, I will ask them in the appropriate forum sections! :p Pierre ... the Pea eating Pigeon ... (I know that's a groaner.) is feeling much much better. I went out today to my local bird store and picked up some love bird mix. The nice people there said that it was probably the closest that they had to dove / pigeon mix. It looks nice and varied with some safflower, peas, barley, oats, wheat, millet, and other things. Upon returning home we were greeted with his old seed thrown all over the cage, water spilled everywhere, and a very active bird. Upon cleaning we found a nicely formed stool, of which I have attached a picture. We cleaned the cage, put new paper down and fed him his 30 peas for the evening. He seems to like his new grain and loves to splash about in his water, to the point of making a serious mess. He is bright, alert, active, not hunched up, and very wiggly when you try to hold him.

Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, I thank everyone here for all the information and help provided during this stressful time. I think that Pierre thanks you as well.

Finally I would just like your guy's opinion on releasing him to fly back to his previous loft. Do you think that would be a wise decision? Would he, most likely, be welcomed home or just euthanized? Would he even go home since he has been hanging around the farm for five days or so? My wife and I have room in our home and hearts for keeping him as a pet but I still feel a little guilty, I guess that's the best way to describe the feeling, for wanting to keep him and give him a home. Do you guys have any input?

Thanks again, everyone.
 

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This forum section is fine to post in. Easier actually if you just post in the same thread so that people can look back to see where it all started. Down the road if you have a new problem, you can then start another thread on it.

The green in the droppings now is different, and looks like it is because of the peas you are feeding him. Looking better and better. He was probably just starving out there and dehydrated. you came along and saved his life.
No, as far as releasing him and letting him go back home. If he likely got lost once, then it is likely he would get lost again and never make it home. The info on his band should help you find his owner, and he can be called to come and get his bird or make arrangements for someone to pick him up if he wants him back. Maybe we can help if you post the numbers on the band. If the owner tells you to release him and let him continue home on his own, then he doesn't care enough about his bird. He knows he may never make it back, so I would not send him back to such an owner. In that case I would keep the bird. There are both good pigeon keepers and bad. If you ask him, he may just let you keep the bird, and say that he doesn't want it. Let him know that if he doesn't want it back that you would be willing to keep him.

You don't want to overfeed with the peas, so you would feed depending on how much he is eating on his own.
The mix you picked up doesn't sound too bad, you can add to it safflower seed, but not too much as it is very high in fat, some split peas and lentils that you buy in the market.
He certainly is a handsome fellow, isn't he?
 
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