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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Found a young pigeon in grants pass oregon it was just sitting on sidewalk so I picked it up and brought it home. Fed him wheat bread soaked in water and after couple of days took him to vet as he still couldn't stand alone. Vet checked him out and thought he had head trauma otherwise was in pretty good shape, nothing broken. He said he was scrawny and it might take month or more to get better if he ever did. So now its been over a week and he has graduated to pigeon food and drinking on his own but he still cannot stand up by himself. He is using his legs more as I work with him to show him how to use them but if you let go of him he falls over. Thought about making a sling he could fit in that would make his legs be in the right position and he might build up some muscle in them. Any suggestions on why he can't stand up or on how to make a sling that would allow him to still use his wings. I named him Patrick and I think he is pretty young and maybe tried to fly and got hit by car or ran into window. If he has head trauma can he get better and learn to use legs. Also thought maybe in the nest he was crowded and didn't use his legs as he likes to keep them straight out behind him. Any thoughts on Patrick would be appreciated.
 

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Did the vet do a gram stain for bacteria?
Another thought is that his problem may in part be nutritional.
You said he is eating pigeon food...is that actually a pigeon seed mix or wild bird seed or other?
 

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I never think slings are a great idea, but if you post a pic of the legs we can better ascertain what the problem might be....it sounds like it may be correctible if there isn't permanent neurological damage....
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks for feedback

No vet didnot do a bacteria stain test, I think thats what you called it, he did look at his legs and moved them around to see if they were ok and checked to see if he felt pain in his feet by pinching his toe. He does have feeling in them. I have noticed he favors one more than the other and it might be a little weaker than the other one. When I put him in his playpen, thats where we keep him, I prop him up with towel but when I check on him later he has moved and lays with his legs out to side of body, looks weird seeing a bird lay that way but he seems comfortable. He does not sit with his legs under him unless I put his legs under him and then prop him up on both sides so he doesn't fall over. When I feed him I put his legs under him and he uses them but will fall over. After a while he will squat down like his legs are tired. Thought a sling might work to get him to use his legs correctly and build some muscle. I will take a pic of his legs tomorrow and post to show what they look like. Thank you for your reply. I know nothing about pigeons but would like to help him get functional if possible. I got pigeon food at the pet mart it has a variety of seeds in it and said it was for pigeons.
 

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I think the baby could use calcium and vitamins and an in clinic poop check for bacteria.
Does the vet you took him to normally treat birds?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes vet treats birds

The vet I took him to was recommended by another vet as the one to go to for birds. He is also the vet at a wildlife rehabilitation facility here. Why would bacteria make him not stand up and how would he get bacteria? He is definitly favoring one leg over the other, it is more noticable now than before. He doesn't seem to have much grip like for perching, also better with the one leg than the other. I don't know if thats because he has never been on a perch or some other reason. Also after I get him to stand for a while, still have to hold him up, his legs seem to get tired and he squats down. Is that normal for pigeons? Everything else seems to be coming along well, I am starting to think he was born handicaped and not much can be done for him not standing up. He wants to fly and can but I don't let him as he can't land. Can he live ok without standing or walking, doesn't seem like much of a life for a bird. I guess I will take him back to the vet and have him look at him again now that he is stronger and gained some weight. The vet also has him taking an anti-inflamatory medicine once a day for 14 days. I feel bad for him, and want to do what I can to help him. I take him outside during the day so he gets some sun and he seems very interested in everything going on outside, other birds, etc.
 

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I definitely think this baby needs some supplements, especially calcium and vitamin D, that may help to give him strength. Also, if this is a young bird he needs probiotics to maintain good gut bacteria. That will aid in assimilation of the nutrients ALSO AND crowd out bad bacteria. A drop of organic apple cider vinegar in his water would also be VERY beneficial. Young birds are low on good gut bacteria and stress depletes what little they have, allowing bad bacteria to take hold. This may make a big difference in his health.
 

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The vet I took him to was recommended by another vet as the one to go to for birds. He is also the vet at a wildlife rehabilitation facility here.

You can't always tell, just by examining a bird, if it's sick or not. The only way to know for sure is to do some diagnostics. In this case, checking the fecal mater for an over growth of bad bacteria is on my opinion, in order.


Why would bacteria make him not stand up and how would he get bacteria?

Bacteria can affect different parts of the body. Baby pigeons can inherit illness via the mother or through feeding.

He is definitly favoring one leg over the other, it is more noticable now than before. He doesn't seem to have much grip like for perching, also better with the one leg than the other. I don't know if thats because he has never been on a perch or some other reason. Also after I get him to stand for a while, still have to hold him up, his legs seem to get tired and he squats down. Is that normal for pigeons?

It depends upon how old he is but I agree with Treesa that his condition may be due to lack of calcium, d3 and other nutrients. He also needs protein.


Everything else seems to be coming along well, I am starting to think he was born handicaped and not much can be done for him not standing up.

While it's possible he was hatched handicapped, it's unlikely. His condition may be fixable but the window to do so is a short one.


He wants to fly and can but I don't let him as he can't land. Can he live ok without standing or walking, doesn't seem like much of a life for a bird.

No...that doesn't seem like mush of a life especially for a bird that has a 20 year life span.


I guess I will take him back to the vet and have him look at him again now that he is stronger and gained some weight. The vet also has him taking an anti-inflamatory medicine once a day for 14 days.

You might suggest the vet call Dr Sheaffer at the Portland Audubon wildlife care center for a consult. She has a lot of experience with pigeons.



I feel bad for him, and want to do what I can to help him. I take him outside during the day so he gets some sun and he seems very interested in everything going on outside, other birds, etc.
You can start the pigeon on calcium and vitamin d3 for one. You can get oyster shell from a pet store and give him a pinch every day. For vitamin d3, he can get that from direct contact in the sun...at least 15 minutes a day. Birds absorb vitamin d3 through their feathers. They need d3 to process the calcium.
To the seed you are feeding, you can add dried peas, lentils to increase the protein content.
 

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I just read another post you made, that the pigeon's leg sticks out to the side. Tressa suggested that it could be splay leg and I agree. The leg out to the side is a classic symptom. It's usually fixable if done while the bird is still growing.
Nothing to grip, while in the nest and/or lack of calcium are a contributing factor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
baby pigeon can't stand up

Here are some pics of the young pigeon I found. He is much better now but he can't stand up alone he falls over and has no balance. He favors one leg over the other, left over right, and it seems a little bigger. He lays with his legs to the side. If I hold him up with his legs hanging down he pedals both of the like he is running. Don't know if he was born with a problem or if he injured his legs. He doesn't seem to be hurt except for not standing up. Leg Bird Hand Claw Foot
 

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I think it is possible it could be neurological from either genetics or a physical injury or even a virus. other issues like splay leg when he was in the nest could be possible too and it was not fixed soon enough. I would give supportive care. Im not sure what meds should be given for secondary issues because he seems healthy otherwise.. perhaps you can get a fecal sample tested to see if he is harboring parasites and or what his bacteria count may be..
 

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I think it's rickets.
This from the Mereck's Veterinary Manual.

A deficiency of either calcium or phosphorus in the diet of young growing birds results in abnormal bone development even when the diet contains adequate vitamin D3. This condition, rickets, can also be caused by a dietary deficiency of vitamin D3 ( Vitamin D3 Deficiency), which is necessary for absorption of calcium. A deficiency of either calcium or phosphorus results in lack of normal skeletal calcification. Rickets is seen mainly in growing birds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks to everyone that has given me feedback on my little friend that can't stand up. When I took him to the vet when I first found him he showed me his feathers and said the bird had a stress line in his feathers. I asked what that was and he said it was from poor nutrition at some point in his life. I think the nest he came from was inside an awning on a building and he would have not gotten any sunlight while in the nest and probably crowded also. So maybe a lack of sunlight and poor nutrition is the cause of his problem. I have been working with him trying to get him to balance himself and to take steps. I do take him outside a few times a day so he is getting good sunlight now. I will get some calcium and get him more protein in his diet. Do you think it will help him to stand him up and try to get him to balance himself, I don't want to make things worse by doing that. I don't think he has ever walked as when I stand him up lean him forward so he has to take a step he doesn't seem to know what to do but instinctivly his feet do step forward but he steps on his own feet. This website has been such a help to me as I know nothing about pigeons and their problems. So I appreciate everyones input. I didn't know about gut bacteria in young pigeons so I will have the vet give him the test for that. Also if he has rickets can it be fixed?
 

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I wouldn't try to exercise him until you get some calcium and vitamins into him, as well as more protein. You can get bird supplements that contain calcium and vitamin d3. If you are going with the sunshine method, he will need 15 minutes of direct sunlight each day.
Yes...rickets are treatable.
 

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you also could make him a nest out of a towel.. or make a few to change out.. roll a towel and connect the ends with tape or tie and make a doghnut shape and see if he can sit in that..or a large deep bowl lined with a towel big enough for him to sit in and keep his legs under him to rest them.
 

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Here is what I have done

I have 2 babies about the same age that didn't stand up, when previously they did.

I went ahead and allowed the parents to continue to feed them, but supplemented them with calcium vitamin D3 and the rest.

I would take them and force them to stand for short periods of time , until they would stand up by themselves. When they started standing for longer periods and were quite comfortable standing... I forced them to walk, first just a few steps, then more steps, until i did not have to coax them and they were walking on their own.

You should see them now, you can't even tell they needed rehab on learning to stand and walk, and they are normal pigeons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Young pigeon can't stand

Ok I got my little guy some calcium and vitamin supplements and have started him on those. I have been standing him up a few minutes at a time and he is a little better. I do roll a towel around him to get him to put his legs under him but when I go check on him he has always moved and is laying with his legs to side. I am going to give him a little time for the calcium and vitamins to start working and then I will work with him more on standing and trying to walk. I have hopes that he will become a normal bird soon and can be set free or at least do what pigeons do best. Thanks for all the advice it is much appreciated.:)
 

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Baby pigeon suddenly can't stand up.

My hen laid 2 eggs, one baby came out larger a bit than his nestmate. They were doing fine, Than I noticed that the smaller one trying to stand up but he ended just pushing his body around. Feathers are coming in almost covering his body minus the head. After looking at the legs, I see no physical damage. They curl in a bit. All I done so far is massage his legs, hoping to keep the blood flowing there. He is being fed, but his sibling is much bigger & healthy. Do you think he was step on by his parents? ( I use word "him", since his to young to tell) Thank You Ed:D
 

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I think that whenever you put him in the donut towel you should bandage his legs from the ankle to the knee, with a tape but not the sticky side on the skin. That way he will feel what the correct position is like and it will become the comfortable position which he will favour.

This is a pic of my pigeon who was kept all the time ( 3 months) because of very bad splayed legs.

 
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