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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone observed young birds that do not develop feathers under wings and cannot fly? I have 3 from 2 different sets of parents and wondering if it is genetic, nutritional, or disease based. The first died at 2 months of age. Need advice.
 

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I would assume it's nutritional. We get in the occasional misdeveloped baby from wild pigeons (though not specifically what you describe), and they usually do fine once they're fed a nutritionally complete formula. Or they die soon after they come in because we got them too late. If the feathers are the only issue, they wouldn't die from that though. There must be something else going on.

What are the parents fed? I don't know what an appropriate diet is for them, but someone else should be able to give you tips.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I would assume it's nutritional. We get in the occasional misdeveloped baby from wild pigeons (though not specifically what you describe), and they usually do fine once they're fed a nutritionally complete formula. Or they die soon after they come in because we got them too late. If the feathers are the only issue, they wouldn't die from that though. There must be something else going on.

What are the parents fed? I don't know what an appropriate diet is for them, but someone else should be able to give you tips.
Thanks so much for the quick response. The parents are fed a racing pigeon mix to which I add a 15% protein laying hen pellet at 5-10%. At the time of weaning, the total lack of feather development is very apparent under the wings, and weanlings retain the yellow head down until 6-12 weeks of age. The ceres above the beak remains fleshy and does not turn white. At first I figured it was genetic but now I have a squab from a totally unrelated pair with the same condition. All have been from single hatches, and tended to be splay legged. The first set of parents that have weaned 2 consecutive abnormal squeakers previously had 4 normal birds.
 

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Splayed legs is usually from lack of nesting materials, which they need to be able to keep their legs under them properly with the weight of the parents pushing down on them, combined with the parents not receiving enough calcium and vitamin D3 to pass on to the babies. You need healthy parents to get healthy babies. They should be getting vitamins and minerals. And they need D3 or sunshine to be able to absorb any calcium they get.
 

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The splayed leg can be corrected. And the sooner you find it, the easier it is to treat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The splayed leg can be corrected. And the sooner you find it, the easier it is to treat.
To correct the splayed legs, at 10 days of age I secured a rubber band between the permanent band on the right leg with a temporary band on the left. That helped, but provided too much stretch, so at 15 days, I replaced the band with yarn and shortened the distance, and that is much better. I will remove soon and see what happens?
 

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The yarn probably isn't going to pull it in enough, as it does stretch some. You can tape them, but have to wrap legs first so tape doesn't stick to the leg. I have used band aids. I put one around one leg, so the telfa pad is around the leg, then stick the 2 sticky ends together like a tail, going toward the other leg. Then do the same on the other leg, only stick the sticky ends to the tail made from the other band aid. You need to pull it in close, where the legs would be normally. If you leave them going outward even a little, they will be worse when healed. The bird will never be able to walk well, and as they grow up the legs don't support them well.
 

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Here is how another member did it. He used vet wrap or non-stick bandage so it wouldn't stick to the birds legs upon removal. Then covered that with duct tape to make it stronger and stop it from being able to stretch. Worked out well actually. I have done this also. Adding the tape between the legs gives it more stability.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The yarn probably isn't going to pull it in enough, as it does stretch some. You can tape them, but have to wrap legs first so tape doesn't stick to the leg. I have used band aids. I put one around one leg, so the telfa pad is around the leg, then stick the 2 sticky ends together like a tail, going toward the other leg. Then do the same on the other leg, only stick the sticky ends to the tail made from the other band aid. You need to pull it in close, where the legs would be normally. If you leave them going outward even a little, they will be worse when healed. The bird will never be able to walk well, and as they grow up the legs don't support them well.
I like your idea with the band aids; I will try that as it would provide more stability than the yarn. The photo helps a lot to show the proper spacing. Thanks for the advice.
 

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You keep trying till you find what works for you. You can also wrap another band aid around the 2 that are joined between the legs if you want for more stability.
I tried different things, but the band aids worked the best I think. How old are they now? Once they are up and walking around it is a bit more difficult, but they may still be able to walk a little.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The squab is 20 days and is definitely doing better and walking around (with the tie). Shortly after I banded at 6 days, its legs were totally splayed outward, and at times toward the rear. Legs were useless and it had to use its wings to move. Never seen anything like this! Wish I could figure out how to send photos as I took several before and after banding. Kinda new at this stuff.
 

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Just be sure to pull them in where they should be. If you allow them to go out, even a little more than they would normally be, they will be more so later on. Be sure to add a bit of calcium and D3 to his diet. Or calcium and time in the sunshine for the D3.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Just be sure to pull them in where they should be. If you allow them to go out, even a little more than they would normally be, they will be more so later on. Be sure to add a bit of calcium and D3 to his diet. Or calcium and time in the sunshine for the D3.
OK will pull in closer. I have been shortening the distance between legs every few days, but I guess I need to just bring them in now. Squabs don't get any direct sunshine, but I make them drink the adult's water once a day to which I add liquid vitamins, including D.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Anormal squabs

This is a photo of a 2 month old squab that did not develop feathers under its wings and cannot fly. I have had 3 of these from different sets of parents. Has anyone seen anything like this, and how to prevent it?
 

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That's really interesting, and I've never seen anything like it. He seems to have all his flight feathers, he should be able to fly pretty well. Are there any other symptoms? Do you have any birds that have been through their first molt? Any change?

Giardia can cause feather loss in that spot, but I think that's caused by plucking. Vitamin A deficiency can cause abnormal feather development.

If any more died, you should try to get a necropsy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yes this one, and its full sibling that died at 2 mo of age had all flight and tail feathers but can barely get off the ground and need to perch on low perches. Other symptoms include retaining yellow head fuzz until about 6 of age, a tendency to be splay-legged, and do not wean off well; the cock bird continued to feed one of these for 6-7 wk, although it could also eat and drink in its own. They also sound like a squeaker til 2 mo of age, so they are very immature. They are smart enough to train them through my traps but they crash land onto the floor. I need to cull but am trying to figure out the cause. Do not appear to have gone through a first molt yet. I began adding a vitamin supplement (includes A) to the drinking water as a possible prophylactic. Will see if the Vet School at UGA can do a necropsy. Thanks for your response.
 

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It does seem nutritional. As was mentioned, vitamin A deficiency can affect the feathering, and calcium/D3 deficiency will cause splayed legs and weak muscles (not being able to fly). You should give them a good vitamin a couple times a week. If the parents don't get the right things then the babies are hatched not having them.
Do they get a good vitamin and cal/D3?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I add a concentrated liquid vitamin supplement to their drinking water, and both vitamin A and D3 are listed on the ingredients. However, I just started this addition about 2 wk ago, when it dawned on me that it may not be genetic but nutritional. Since then, 2 more eggs have hatched and I will band the chicks today (6 days old), so I am anxious to see if it makes a difference, which should show up as they start to feather out. I have been raising pigeons off and on since the early 1960s, from fancy breeds to homers, and I have never had this issue, and I would assume that the quality of pigeon feed has improved? Maybe not!
 

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They weren't given the vitamins when these latest eggs were laid. It can also make a difference to the chick if the parents are deficient when the eggs are first developing. So it could take time to see results. A seed based diet doesn't give them the vitamins and minerals they need. They need a good vitamin supplement and calcium/D3.
 
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