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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi there,
I am new to this forum and you are my last hope since I live in Lima/Peru and there is no such thing here as a wildlife protection society. Ten days ago I rescued what I think is a "teenage" feral pigeon (grey) from almost being run over on a very busy street of Lima. He acted very strangely, not flying, just walking and continuously turning its head. The car did not hit it but when it ran over, the poor thing lost his balance from the wind tunnel created by the car and fell onto its front.

Long story short he has been living in my heated bathroom every since. He is however hardly flying, only very little to get up onto the tub for example and does not walk fast. My biggest concern is, that he is not eating/drinking on his own and he easily falls onto its front. I found a way on how to feed it by hand - initially forcing his beak open but now almost 10 days in, he sort of gets it and eats in spurts out of my hand but he has real issues to get food into his mouth peeking repeatedly at food and not getting it in without my help. He gets very agitated and fluffs himself up and makes little shrill noises. He also drinks very little. I fed it three times a day with peas, corn, carrot, blueberries, bread balls and small dog pellets and he poops like a trooper. Most of the time however he sits in a corner with its feet tucked under. PLEASE help. What might be wrong with him? Neurological issues? Will he be able to be released? :confused:

Thank you very much for any advice you can give me -
Nathalie
 

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Thank you Nathalie for rescuing this little guy. Yes, it does sound to be neurological, but hard to say exactly why. He may have head trauma from hitting something, or even a car hitting him but not enough to kill him. He could have Salmonella which is a disease that can cause this type of thing. Or could be PMV, which is a virus that will cause neurological symptoms. No way for knowing for sure without tests. Salmonella would require a drug like Baytril to be given for 3 weeks. If PMV, then there is no medication for it once they have it as it is a virus which has to run its course. That can take weeks also. But they do need supportive care, like keeping him safe and hand feeding until he is able to feed himself again. With Salmonella he would be releasable when well again. With PMV releasing isn't a good idea, because even after the virus has passed, in times of stress the symptoms can come back on him. Doesn't mean that he has the virus again, but if the symptoms do return for a while, then he wouldn't be safe out there, as he wouldn't be able to take care of himself, and a hawk or other predator could easily catch him. Without testing, impossible to know for sure what is the trouble. Does he spin in circles? Fly backwards? Can you describe how he turns his head?
Can you post a picture of him?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Dear Jay, once again thank you so much for replying! It is impossible to get this little guy tested in Peru. He does not fly backwards or spin in circles, in fact he hardly flies at all but his wings are strong when flapping them. He turned his head almost backwards when I picked him up ten days ago. It is not as prominent anymore but now he has taken to sitting on his feet, sort of like roosting and he falls forward very easily when I do not pay attention when putting him down. Sometimes he is very tame and then again very agitated half-way through the feeds. I looked up Baytril and it seems that this is something that I might be able to get in Peru but as an injectable.
1) Is it recommendable to give it to this little guy in a trial?
2) How quickly could he show improvements?
3) If he has salmonella, would this be an issue he could pass onto humans and other animals?
4) If it is head trauma, have you seen birds recover enough for release?
THANK YOU for your help!!
Nathalie

PS- Will try to get him to hold still for a photo.
 

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Dear Jay, once again thank you so much for replying! It is impossible to get this little guy tested in Peru. He does not fly backwards or spin in circles, in fact he hardly flies at all but his wings are strong when flapping them. He turned his head almost backwards when I picked him up ten days ago.

They can turn their heads back. That isn't odd.
It is not as prominent anymore but now he has taken to sitting on his feet,

That is how they lay down, which they do.

sort of like roosting and he falls forward very easily when I do not pay attention when putting him down.

That is normal also. If you just put him down, and don't let him get his feet under himself, then he will fall forward. You need to let him get his feet under himself first.


Sometimes he is very tame and then again very agitated half-way through the feeds. I looked up Baytril and it seems that this is something that I might be able to get in Peru but as an injectable.
Would wait on antibiotics for now till you are sure he needs them.

1) Is it recommendable to give it to this little guy in a trial?

It isn't great to give any meds to birds if they don't need them. That's why it's better to be able to find out what is wrong and what they need first. Wait and watch him and see if there is actually something wrong with him. So far, he sounds normal.

2) How quickly could he show improvements?

That would depend on what is wrong. Hard to know.

3) If he has salmonella, would this be an issue he could pass onto humans and other animals?

Not really. As with handling any animal, there should be good hand washing before and after handling though.

4) If it is head trauma, have you seen birds recover enough for release?
THANK YOU for your help!!

Pigeons are pretty hardy, and doesn't really sound as though there is much wrong here. I would wait and take a closer look at what is going on for a while.
Nathalie

PS- Will try to get him to hold still for a photo.
Is this the same bird you are trying to wean? Would be easier having it all in one thread. That way it would make more sense with the other questions you are asking.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Dear Jay,

thank you again for all of your detailed answers. It is super helpful. It is not the same bird that I am trying to wean :). Today he seems very "sluggish" but eats a fair bit when I feed him by hand, meaning helping him to get and keep the peas and small dog biscuits in his beak. He drinks very little though and I tried to get him to fly but had no success. He strongly flaps his wings but we have no take-off at all. Just slow walking around and a tiny little bit of pecking at some seeds that I left out for him. His poop seems ok though. I have taken two pics of him but do seem to be too stupid to attach them - the system is asking me for an URL...do not have that. :-(. Kindly yours, Nath
 

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I would watch him and wait on any meds for now. He should be getting vitamins and calcium/D3 in his drinking water as well. Since he isn't yet drinking, then mix them into his food. You don't need to try to get him to fly. He will when he is ready.
If you can, try to get him interested in pecking at seed. Peck at it to show him. If that doesn't work then feeding him frozen peas that have been defrosted and warmed under warm running water may help. He will learn to see these as food, and should eventually start picking them up himself. Sometimes they seem easier to pick up than seed for some, as they are soft. Try giving him about 30 peas, 3 times a day, but make sure the crop empties before feeding him again. After a while, give him the warmed peas in the morning when he is hungry, and see if being hungry will spur him on to pick them up himself. Give him a couple of hours, and if he doesn't eat, then feed him. Eventually he will learn. Here is how to feed them.

If you need to feed peas to a pigeon, hold the bird on your lap and against your body. This gives you more control. Reach from behind his head with one hand and grasp his beak on either side. Now use your free hand to open the beak, and put a pea in, then push it to the back of his throat and over his tongue. Let him close his beak and swallow. Then do another. It gets easier with practice, and the bird also gets more used to it, and won't fight as much. If you can't handle the bird, then use the sleeve cut off a t-shirt, slip it over his head and onto his body, with his head sticking out. This will stop him from being able to fight you so much. Just don't make it tight around his crop area. It helps if you have him facing your right side if you are right handed.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
still not eating on his own

Dear Jay,
my other birdy is getting more and more "sluggish", resting a lot on his feet and today he was sitting with one wing hanging down one side. He still does not eat on his own, although I leave peas and seeds and water out for him. But when I feed him he eats very well. Also can you give me advice on what to do about the calcium/vitamins. In Lima they have no such thing pre-made for birds and I do not dare just giving him human stuff. THANK YOU for all your advice. Really you are a GOD send.:)
 

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Doesn't anyone in Lima own a parrot or anything? If so where do they buy things? Can you google for bird vitamins online that you could send for.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi Jay,
I found parrot food and a friend of mine will bring me bird vitamins next week from the US :D. Are there any bird vitamins that you can recommend?
Also I had a closer look at the bird and have noticed that he is missing lots of feathers on his breast bone - I can basically see a big patch of his skin. Is that normal? My baby bird does not have that. The big bird is still very sluggish but has started to fly up at least a little bit. I hope that this is a good sign. He does not eat on his own, but gobbles down everything I give him by hand, especially small dog biscuits and peas.
Kind regards from Lima,
Nath
 

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Parrot food may not be right for him. He isn't a parrot. We were talking about vitamins. What is in the parrot food? It's designed for the needs of parrots. Is there no dove mix around?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi Jay - no pigeon feed to be found in this place. Pigeons are seen as a pests here :-(. To show you how bad it is: I could hardly find a vet who was willing to euthanize a poor pigeon who had been awfully injured by a truck. Only after much begging and crying did one vet finally agree to inject the poor suffering birdy I was a terrible experience. Anyway, enough of this.
Is there any "receipe" you could give me to make feed up myself? After looking at what is in commercial pigeon feed I saw the following ingredients: barley, quinoa, split peas, lentils, brown rice. Anything else and in what proportions?
 

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Can't give you proportions, sorry. They don't feed wild birds there either? Songbirds?
People do keep different kinds of doves. What do they feed their pet doves?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hi Jay - the vet said: these birds eat anything...they are omnivores. :confused:
Anyhow, I will scour the internet. There have to be pigeon food recipes out there. Right now Chirpy gets a few peas in and still his mush mix.
Can you recommend a good bird multi - vitamin?
 

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Your vet knows nothing about pigeons. They are seed eaters mostly, will eat some berries in the winter, and some greens.
I don't know what you have there for vitamins. I like Winsmore.
Here is a link to the seed I use. Go through it and it will show you different mixes and what goes into them, to give you an idea.
http://www.fmbrown.com/catalogs_2013/PigeonCatalog090513.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yep I agree about this stupid vet. NOT going there anymore. THANK YOU for the link and vit recommendations. That's great.
Other question- I noticed that on the lower side of the breast the pigeon is missing many feathers :eek: - you can see the pink skin through. Is that normal?
 

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You are probably seeing the brood patch, which is used to keep the eggs and babies warm when they sit on them.
 
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