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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there,

I recently bought a 10 lb. bag of Standlee "certified noxious weed free" barley and wheat straw bedding (usually bought for chickens, I think) from a feed store. I am aware of the dangers of mold in straw. One of my pigeons has a very sensitive respiratory system, and I change out the bedding almost every day, and this straw does not make him sneeze.

There are little pieces of chopped up wheat grains, as this is wheat straw, and my pigeon has rooted out all of these and eaten them. They are the same type of wheat grains you find in pigeon seed mixes, only I am concerned that as this is bedding material and possibly not food quality, it may not be safe for pigeon consumption.

Can anyone tell me whether you have used a product like this, and whether you think it is safe? This company is also a feed company that sells straw and grass feeds.

Thank you!!!

-Katie
 

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Don't see why it would hurt him. Do you think pigeon mixes are food grade? They collect the seed, separate it from the stalks and mix it in with other seeds. My straw has some seed stalks in it and has never been a problem. You should see what they eat in the wild.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hey, thanks for the reply. Yes, that sounds reasonable. I'm a huge worrywart, with this pigeon especially because he had a really tough beginning with multiple surgeries. I'm so thankful for this site and all the experienced owners. (Every once in a while I notice feral pigeons huddled together in rainy 20 degree whether, or eating garbage, and then I remember... there's probably not much in my pigeons' domestic life that amounts to danger or hardship.)
 

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What kind of surgeries did the poor little one need?
Do you have pics you can post? What's his name, and how did you come to have him?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well... long story less long: Helly was a racing pigeon with a broken leg who showed up in the entryway of the hotel I worked at. He was a few months old, had banded legs and was waiting to be fed. On the third morning after he showed up, he was still there, so I caught him and contacted the racing union on the bands. I was hoping to arrange bringing him to his owner and handing him off, but they couldn't care less and told me not to worry so much, "it's just a pigeon". I was pretty angry about this and I left work in the middle of the day with Helly in a cardboard box to see what our options were.

I shopped him around to several vet clinics, and they all said that he would have to be euthanized because his leg was broken. I knew nothing about birds but it was obvious that he was very young, friendly to people, hungry, and not ready to die. He underwent "avian orthopedic surgery" at Tufts (still paying off THAT loan), and a few weeks later had to have his trachea scraped and a canulla implanted in his side for a few days because of an unidentified resp. problem that caused a lot of mucus (and has since not resurfaced, thank god).

He had a little cast and a pin in his leg and a ton of medication, but has healed up, has been fed up, and more or less lives like a king with me. I recently adopted a little female named Speckled Jodi as Helly has been showing some very loud and obnoxious signs of wanting a mate, as well as spending like 12 hours a day making nests. She is still in "quarantine" in a separate cage, but soon she will probably move into the double flight cage with Helly.

My family and co-workers think I'm crazy.
 

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Oh wow, the poor thing has been through a lot. Real nice keeper he had, huh? Some are like that, but not all, thank goodness. I'm surprised Tufts couldn't identify the respiratory problem. They can usually find everything and do anything. Of course it will cost you your first born. How long have you had him?
When you introduce them, better if you do it in 2 separate cages that are beside each other. Wait till they both show signs of wanting to be together, then let them out together in a neutral place. Just putting her into his cage isn't usually a good idea. A pigeon comes to think of their cage as their territory, and even if they like the female, putting her into his territory could cause him to attack her, weird as that sounds. And she also would have no way of getting away from him.
Is she also a homer? Do you know other keepers?
 

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I thought you were familiar, so I went back and looked. You adopted that little female who was being picked on in that aviary. That was so kind of you. Now I remember! So have you had her since Dec? They only have to be quarantined for a month.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes, they ran tons of tests at Tufts and his at the avian vet as well, but all came back negative. If he sounds at all congested now I run the shower hot and the steam does the trick, and there has been no return of serious breathing difficulty.

The two pigeons are in separate cages across from each other. The new pigeon is a really unique looking brown and white bird which sustained some kind of wing injury while feral, and can fly a little, but not well. (The wing was never seen to and has a restricted range of motion.) Though she spent 4 years in a rescue sanctuary with daily contact with people, she's still very skittish. I have had her 3 months and she is becoming less frightened of me. She likes being given warm baths, so long as there are no bright lights or sudden movements. I realize that she will bond most strongly with another pigeon rather than me.

Both pigeons already have a strong bond and spend time together, though Helly (the male) is not ready to let any other living creature into his cage. They cannot interact in a common space yet because the female is being medicated for worms, so they take turns out of the cage with flight harness/ diapers and a lot of cleaning in between. They get anxious if they lose sight of each other. She has definitely tried to get into his cage a few times and obviously likes him very much.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah, I am very, very tired of dealing with 2 large pigeon cages and can't wait until they can live in the same cage. However, she's been on 2 different types of meds for digestive tract parasites, and they've worked somewhat, but she's not in the clear yet... just going back and forth to the vet dropping off pigeon poop after each round of meds. Preparing for round three.
 

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Are you sure she was a feral? Doesn't sound like feral colors. Sounds like things are going well with them though. I usually let them out together and wait till they both decide to go into the same cage. Then I still watch just to be sure everything is alright. Males can be like that though. It's funny.
What meds is she on and for what parasites?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, the operator of the pigeon sanctuary said she was feral, and she certainly is terrified of people, but she's not your typical Boston Common pigeon. The closest thing I've seen on Google is a recessive red roller pigeon- she has that shape and those colors. And I just noticed last week she's beginning to grow feathers on her feet. My vet tech friend pointed out that it's possible she had picked them out while at the sanctuary. Very weird.
 

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She may be a domestic that got lost, so was assumed to be feral. Poor thing. Do you have a good avian vet? What is she taking the meds for?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yes, I love our vet- she actually had a pet pigeon when she was a kid, and I think knows how very different fowl are from tropical pet birds. Speckled Jodi (the pigeon) has capillaria and coccidia.
 

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Nice to have a vet you love. Hope she is better soon. Let us know how it goes with them. If you feel like posting pictures, we love pictures here.
 

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Aww they are both so lucky to have you as their keeper, what a kind person you are to take such care of them. I hope the pairing goes well eventually because it's lovely seeing a pair together going about their daily 'chores' carrying little pieces of card or whatever to make themselves comfy - just adorable.
One of my girls is a rescued feral and she really liked my male right from the off, she also tried repeatedly to get into his cage, while he ignored her. Letting them out together didn't work because he was still territorial but letting her out with him still in his cage soon changed all that. Once she was on the roof of his cage and making advances to him he couldnt resist, soon started dancing at her and I knew we'd cracked it. They are currently sitting on dummy eggs and she treats him like a prince, preening and fussing over him. He's a very lucky lil fellow indeed.
 

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I know. It's so nice when you get 2 together who are alone and unhappy, and together they are complete. It feels good just watching them. I have enjoyed that myself with some of our rescues. You did a good thing taking her in.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks! I absolutely cannot wait... I even have the dummy eggs ready. I will feel so much better when I'm away at work knowing that they're together in the same space. I hope to post some pictures soon, because though my male is a very bright and shiny rock pigeon, I'm curious about what breed the female is.
 

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Your little hen may well be a mix.
Yes it will be good that they have each other.
What are their names?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Helly is the male, and I've had him since 2015. My vet tech bird-fancier friend who accompanied me to the pigeon rescue place to pick out a female named her Speckled Jodi.
 

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Where did you get the name Helly?
 
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