***Never put liquids directly into the mouth of a wild bird,this includes parrot hand-feeding formula! Birds airway is directly at the back of their tongue and it is very easy to aspirate (put it into their lungs) and kill them***
Pigeons and doves DO NOT OPEN THEIR MOUTHS TO BE FED! THEY REQUIRE SPECIAL METHODS OF FEEDING. A squeaking, wing flapping, nuzzling baby can be fed formula with the glove method instructional video provided at the bottom of this page. Emergency "pea popping" is a temporary and good emergency feeding/ hydrating method also viewed below.
Can't stress this part enough: ALL OTHER SITUATIONS THAT REQUIRE FORMULA FEEDING REQUIRE A TUBE TO BE PASSED DOWN THEIR THROAT BYPASSING THEIR AIRWAY DEPOSITING FOOD DIRECTLY INTO THEIR CROP. Professional experience and tools highly recommended! It is NEVER ok to put even small amounts of formula into their mouth
There are many money based sports involving pigeons. The most common is pigeon racing. These birds are taken very far away from home, and forced to race back as fast as possible. The ones that make it there the fastest, win their owner money. It is very common for these birds to get sick, injured, exhausted, chased off course by hawks on the way, and not make it back home. You can locate the racers information by contacting the American Racing Pigeon Union here: http://www.pigeon.org/carelostbird.htm Be aware they they often do not want losing birds back, (may cull them if they are given back) and may prefer it if you keep the bird as a pet if you are interested. This is not always the case, as they may want to use an injured racing bird as a captive breeder (which is not a good life for a bird and promotes the cycle of exploiting their lives for money gain), but is a common situation that arises when trying to get the birds back to racers, so be aware, and make your own decisions on what you think is best for the birds' life. You have a choice in it's fate right now.
Does the bird have a band on its leg?
Wild Pigeons Vs. Domestic
People have kept and bred pigeons for their own uses for centuries. As above mentioned racing birds used for sport is just one example of a domestic breed of pigeon that is completely reliant on people for survival. Dove releases are another common practice that usually results in the death/ injury of many domestic birds. Their white coloring is an instant target to predators such as hawks. They have no idea how to survive on their own so if able to avoid predators, they will often succumb to starvation, or illness leaving them weak and grounded. Others such as fancy breeds are used in show competitions that judge them on their appearance and win money for certain traits Many domestic breeds have disadvantages making it difficult to fly, even more so survive long in the "wild". Fancy head crests like the jacobin make it hard to see, or the king pigeon which is bred for it's high volume of meat and weight, making it too heavy to fly well. All of these animals have been domesticated and rely solely on humans for survival. ALL DOMESTIC BIRDS THAT COME IN FOR TREATMENT NEED A HOME, See adoption tab above for information about owning these beautiful birds as pets.
Wild Rock Doves Wild Eurasian Collared Dove
Basic Life Saving Steps
It is vital to stabilize an ill or injured pigeon or dove as soon as possible after rescue. Three basic steps should be followed. HEAT, ISOLATION & HYDRATION
HEAT: A bird must be warmed gradually to a normal body temperature and be responsive (able to swallow). It is not unusual for a baby bird presented for rehabilitation to be very cold. (If a bird is unresponsive, please seek the assistance of an experienced rehabber or avian vet immediately.)
Give the bird a quick, superficial examination. Unless there is a critical situation, e.g., (severe bleeding) all birds should be covered and placed on a heat source* (see below) for at least 20-30 minutes to bring the body temperature back to normal.
If head trauma is suspected, do not place the bird on heat.
ISOLATION: Allow the bird to stabilize in a quite, dark, warm area. While the bird is warming, take the opportunity to prepare any other items you may need to care for the bird, e.g., International Rehydrating Solution (recipe noted below)
A 'COLD' BIRD SHOULD NEVER BE GIVEN FLUID OR FOOD, PERIOD!!
HYDRATION: Fluids should be given after, and ONLY AFTER, the bird has been warmed, examined for any injuries & a determination is made as to the severity of his dehydration. All fluids should be warmed or at room temperature!
Description and degrees, of hydrated and dehydrated birds A well hydrated bird will be very alert, have elastic skin, bright eyes, moist, plump membrane inside the mouth and well formed moist droppings.
A moderately dehydrated bird will be less than fully alert, have dry, flaky skin, dull eyes, non-formed droppings and have a sticky membrane in the mouth.
A severely dehydrated bird will be lethargic or unconscious, the skin will 'tent' when slightly pinched, have sunken eyes, dry or absent droppings and have dry membrane in the mouth.
Depending on the cause and degree of dehydration, reversing this condition can take up to 24 hours. If the bird is alert, he may be rehydrated by mouth, using an eye dropper and putting drops along the side opening of his beak (not forcing his beak open) every few minutes, making sure the fluids are room temperature or warmed slightly. Initially, a rehydrating solution should be administered. Plain water should not be given unless nothing else is available.
If the bird is not swallowing on his own or fully alert, he must be given fluids under the skin (sub-Q method). WARNING!! This procedure should only be performed by an experienced rehabber or vet.
Please follow these simple, basic, yet most important steps. The cells of the body simply don't work properly when dehydrated. Absolutely no digestive processes can take place if the gut CAN'T work. Absorption will not take place, food sits in the gut, undigested, and will eventually kill the bird.
* Heat source suggestions: Towel lined heating pad, set on low Towel lined hot water bottle Low wattage lamp, directing the light into the cage.
* Emergency heat source substitute: Fill an old sock about 2/3 full of rice. Microwave the sock for a few seconds. Making sure it isn't too hot, place it around the bird.
* International Rehydrating Solution: To a cup of warm water add a pinch of salt & sugar, mix well. Use this solution to rehydrate by mouth.
By following these basic steps you have done your best to stabilize your little feathered patient until further assistance is available.
Feeding Never force a baby birds mouth open to put food or water Baby pigeons put their beaks inside their parent's mouth to feed. So the way to feed them when they are squeaking for food can be seen here below. Make sure that there is no food in the crop. New food, put in on top of old food, will make it go sour and can stop the crop from functioning leading to the death of the baby. The baby will guzzle quite quick. You need to be very careful on the amount that you allow it to eat. If the crop gets too full, it will stretch out and stop working properly. No Food Left On Baby! Any formula left on the baby will harden like cement and prevent the baby from being able to regulate their body heat properly. Never soak the baby or get them wet. Always keep warm, dry, and clean.
ALTERNATIVS TO FORMULA! ("Popping Defrosted Peas") video below http://www.pigeonrescue.co.uk/peasandcorn.htm
COMMON PIGEON ILLNESSES
PARATHYPHOID (Salmonella) Paratyphoid can be caused by un-sanitary conditions and the contamination of feed by rodents. Symptoms of Paratyphoid: Loss of condition and weight. Green slimy droppings. Swelling of the leg and wing joints. Limping Loss of balance Wing boils Twisted neck One eye blindness (seldom)
PARAMYXOVIRUS (PMV) Once a pigeon has Paramyxovirus, there is very little you can do. The virus needs to run it's course. Very contagious to other birds, keep in quarantine. Antibiotics are recommended to prevent secondary bacterial infections caused by viral cell destruction. Full supportive care will be needed including tube feedings Symptoms of Paramyxovirus: Loss of weight Watery green slimy droppings. Twisting of neck/ head and seed flinging
CANKER (Trichomoniasis) A yellow cheesy substance, generally seen in the mouth, however 10% of Canker is external, while 90% is internal. Breaks out at any age, also in youngsters still in the nest. It is caused by a flagellate, living on the mucous membranes of the throat and the crop. Symptoms of Canker: Loss of appetite Increased thirst Problem digesting swollen throat
COCCI (Coccidiosis) Coccidiosis is a parasitic disease of the intestinal tract of animals caused by coccidian protozoa. The disease spreads from one animal to another by contact with infected feces or ingestion of infected tissue Symptoms of Cocci: Symptoms of Coccidiosis include little or no desire to eat or drink. Pigeons with Coccidiosis will remain puffed up on perches, and they lack any desire to move, often closing their eyes. Droppings are usually very loose, greenish in color, and may become very watery. Weight loss is another symptom, and death can occur in young birds.
ORNITHOSIS Symptoms of Ornithosis: Lack of condition Nasal secretions Decreased desire to fly Scratching the head and beak Swollen eye lids & wet eyes. Sneezing, rattling and coughing Discolored wattles Slime in the throat
Candida Regurgitation, anorexia, and delayed crop emptying may be present with a candida infection of the crop. Some birds develop a swollen or bloated mucus-filled crop. White plaques may be present in the mouth if oral candida is present