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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I've recently found and taken in what we suspect to be a King Pigeon. He was walking around near our house and when we took him to animal control he said he was a homing pigeon and that he'd likely find his way home if we provided some food and shelter. We set him up near an abandoned house across the way with food, water, and shelter and then later when I went out to check on him he was in our driveway! He had no band so we couldn't find his owner if he had one and he was walking in circles, having trouble flying, and turning his head upside down which after some research indicated he might have PMV.
So after researching on this site and others about his low chance of survival alone, we've decided to take him in. We've built him a aviary outdoors that is 8'x4'x4' and have taken him to the Odd Pet Vet in MA where we're from. The vet examined him and said that he is very healthy physically and that his behavior is an indicator of PMV. However his inability to fly and head twisting could be from a head injury or possibly an ear infection. The vet gave us some anti-inflammatory/pain meds (meloxicam[?]) and some antibiotics (trimethoprimsulfa[?] TMS) in case it was either head trauma or an infection.
It is looking increasingly likely that he does have PMV and the vet said at the visit that if it is we could either put him down or try supporting him through the virus and that PMV birds will often be able to eat and drink and live normally.
So my question is this, would you advise against trying to support him through it and keeping him after? I don't want him to suffer but I have become quite attached and I really would like to keep him.
Also the vet told us that if he does have PMV his droppings will be contagious even after he recovers so we will not likely be able to get him a mate. Will he be okay on his own? If so how can I keep him happy and entertained and not lonely w/o a mate? I should mention that bringing him inside to be around people all the time is not an option but I can dedicate time to talk and interact with him.
Sorry for the really long post, I hope you guys can give me some advice because I'm a newbie at taking care of pigeons and I want the best for the little guy.
 

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Thank you for taking in this needy bird.

If this is a king pigeon, it is not a homing pigeon.

Is the bird eating well?

The bird will make a wonderful pet with supportive care including calcium/D3, we have many here who have kept these birds as pets. They do shed the virus and after time they are not contagious anymore. They may have some lingering effects of virus when stressed, but they can be minimum and come on only during period of stress.
If this bird does have PMV then the antibiotics are not doing him good and may only be stressing the bird more and causing recurring neurological issues.

Here is a wonderful link on PMV the TRUTH, written by a member who has successfully rescued and rehabbed many:
http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/f107/pigeon-paramyxovirus-aka-pmv-ppmv-pmv1-pigeon-12250.html

Calcium/D3 is an extremely important mineral/vitamin for birds with neurological issues. There are some others, please read link.

I also suggest you get some good avian probiotics or even a good plain fat and sugar free yogurt with cultures to give bird. It will do the bird a world of good as good gut bacteria is quickly depleted upon stress, and these things will rebuild good gut bacteria.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much for your advice I've been stressing over whether or not we could provide the guy a good home and getting advice specific to my situation is a huge relief.
He seems to be eating well from what I've noticed. I have seen him eating the pigeon seed mix I've given him and I haven't seen him drink in front of me since the first day we found him, but I'm pretty sure he is drinking as well because he obviously would not have made it around a week without water. Yesterday I did notice some green diarrhea like droppings, it wasn't completely watery though there was some solid pieces. Today when I checked there didn't seem to be anymore but I'm keeping an eye on it. I'm hoping it was just from the initial stress of us having to feed him medications and not something more serious. I don't want to just stop giving him the antibiotics all together on the assumption that he might have PMV, but the vet does have an email he gave us to send a video of the bird if he starts to seem worse. I'll most likely email him and double check first before dropping the meds altogether. As for the other medication would it be a good idea to continue with that in case it is head trauma?
As for the yogurt how would I feed it to him or give it to him to make sure he eats it? He's not super comfortable with being handled or having people too close and I don't want to cause him any excess stress. I've read that you can put certain meds/supplements into their water, would I be able to do that with some avian probiotics?
As for him being comfortable with us, I can only assume this will increase gradually over time right?
And lastly, a little off topic but I'd appreciate some advice on aviary layout and materials because I want the set up to be nice for him and any other pigeons I might rescue after he hopefully recovers. What kind of shelving or perching structures should the inside of the aviary have? Right now its just kind of a large box with a small wood box in the shady corner filled with hay for nesting. Also I'm concerned about keeping him warm and protected from the cold winds and snow during New England winter, what kind of extra precautions might I need to take? Finally, I read that drainage rock is a good material for the floor and is easier to clean, if not what would you recommend for the floor?
Once again thank you so, so, so much. I'm glad I finally decided to make a post about this to get advice.
 

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As Sky has mentioned, when he is over the virus, he will not be contagious, so will then be able to have a companion. He would not be able to live in the wild as he is a domestic bird.
Where in Ma are you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm relieved to hear this because I've read that they get lonely if they live alone and I don't want to keep him all alone if he would be better off somewhere where he can live with other pigeons. I live about 40 min south of Boston. One of my concerns was actually keeping him warm in the winter, any advice?
 

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If you have him outside, I hope it is protected, so nothing can get in. A predator will grab him, especially at night.
As far as giving him the yogurt, you will have to hold him and put some in his beak and let him swallow it. Sometimes you will have to hold him to help him whether he likes it or not. He will get used to it.
A small shed like enclosure, with an attached aviary that can be closed up at night. The aviary would have to be made with hardware cloth, 1/2 inch. That way nothing can get through it. Hardware cloth would need to be used for the aviary floor, to keep things from digging under. Rats, raccoons, skunks, and many more will kill your birds. The shed should have a wood floor, and when I built mine, I even put hardware cloth under the floor. In bad weather they can go inside the shed, and you can put in a window that they can go through to get outside into the aviary. A nest box inside the shed, and flat perches or shelves to roost on. We have a section on here with many different lofts, which you can look at to get some idea. It's always fun to see what others do, and we can take some of their ideas and put them together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
We followed what directions we could find online for the aviary, so its got the 1/2" wire covering the spots that are open to the out side and we have it on the base of the structure as well. It was a quick job done over a weekend because we wanted to give him a larger space to live in because we had to keep him in a cat carrier over night until he had a home. We will likely add on to improve it when we have the time (and the money) but for now he is safe from predators and not cramped in a small cage. Like I said its basically a large box right now, 8'x4'x4'. I will have to section off the side where we put his nesting area and put in a way for him to get into the wired off area and expand it when I can. Also I live in Brockton.
Thank you for all the advice.
 

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Well that sounds very nice. He's lucky you found him. You aren't all that far from me. If you would like, I can send you some probios. Just a pinch in his drinking water would be a help for his gut bacteria. If you want me to, just PM me your address. Let me know. You can use the yogurt as Sky has mentioned, or even use human probiotics, or pigeon supplies have it online. Up to you.
 

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Ah thanks for the offer but I'm all good. I'm probably going to buy some for him and use yogurt in the mean time. Thanks for all the advice on the aviary!
I have had the best results using cultured yogurt. Just smear a little inside beak, he may flick some off as pigeons do that a lot, but he will get some of it. You can repeat using it.

Please post a picture of your rescue bird and the new "home" when you can. Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Bitter Sweet End

Well, I have some good news and some bad news.
It looks like he did not have PMV after all, he improved tremendously on the antibiotics and pain meds. His head turning stopped almost completely and he started flying better and more often. Sadly this is what lead to him escaping while we were cleaning his cage this past Sunday. He circled around a bit and then landed on a house behind ours. We tried to get him to come back but he wouldn't come down. The only time he would fly was when he was startled by another bird flying overhead. He looked like he was trying to fly off but was too scared because of the height. I took my eyes off of him for 5 mins and he was gone. I searched but couldn't find him and can only pray that he made his way back to his original home. I did make a post to a lost pet group for Massachusetts and hopefully someone else takes him in or finds him.
There weren't any feathers or something that suggested he got attacked by a hawk, but I know his white color will make him a target unfortunately.
Overall I was wondering if you think he might find his way back on his own at some point? Or if he might be on his way to where ever he originally came from now that he's fully healed? If I make a lost pigeon post on this site, where should I post it?
Thank you for all your help either way, because of you I was able to nurse him back to health and give him a higher chance of survival on his own.
 

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Our pigeon Blue got out of his cage and shed recently and took off for two days. Finally after being chased twice by Hawks he flew back into the shed and wanted back in his cage. He was not tame as we only had him a few months. I left food and water out and he would show up at dawn and dusk. I played pigeon nesting noises from my iPad from the Cornell website to locate him at those times. My heart nearly stopped when he almost went in the shed the second day but a hawk landed on the roof right next to him, and he took off with the hawk in pursuit. And I crawled through bushes all around for hours and talked to neighbors and walked and drove all around but found no feathers. Fortunately he evaded the hawk and came back two hours later at dusk. This time he was really hungry and thirsty and tired and just flew into the shed, and is back safe in his home again. My heart goes out to you. I hope your bird shows up. Am glad you posted here. Hope someone finds him soon. Please post photos in your neighborhood such as on telephone poles and maybe under lost and found on Craigslist. Hope he turns up. I don't know how Blue managed to stay safe as I thought he was just a dumb domestic pigeon but he amazed me and I have a lot more respect for him now. Plus I think he believes more now there is no place like home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I am worried that he hadn't spent enough time with us to come back, as we only had him for about a month after we took him in. Like I said before, he did look like he wanted to fly back but he seemed confused about where he was. Hopefully that is a good sign. I briefly looked in the woods by the park that is right behind our house, but I wasn't able to do a good search because it's not the safest area.
I am hoping he comes back, but if he took off to return to his original home I just hope he stays safe along the way. Finding no feathers was a relief to me, even if there was no sign of him.
 

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Would let his previous owner know he is loose and to keep an eye out for him. Hope he shows up. Blue flew near early at dawn and also at dusk. I could tell it was him because he was obviously a pigeon and we have doves but few wild pigeons here. When I played pigeon noises he moved around in the trees and I could tell it was him. Would try playing pigeon nesting calls from the Cornell website...just google "Cornell pigeon nesting calls." It is free. You can play it from your iPad or phone or whatever...I just walked around and played them for several minutes and he would appear. Would not play it longer than that because I think it attracts Hawks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
We rescued him off of our street, we never found an owner so unfortunately I don't know where he originally came from. We were thinking that now that he has healed and could fly he might have gone back to where ever he escaped from originally.
We did try some pigeon noises when he was on the roof and he was definitely looking for the source, I'll have to try that again.
 
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