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August Abbott, CAS
August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7621
Experience:  Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
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I recently rescued a very young pigeon (I thabout 9-11 days

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I recently rescued a very young pigeon (I thabout 9-11 days okd) who had taken quite a tumble and was looking lika shock had set in and a broken leg or foot plus a sprained (?) wing.
I set him up w/fresh water 3xs a day, a heat lamp, clean towels. . Heating pad set to lowest setting. I started by feeding a
product called CRITICAL CARE by OxBow. It was not well recieved but lucky for us seeds and grains are.
The injured foor or leg has been injured some how again. We have been together now for about two weeks, and to me it seems I have a new friend for ever.Should I splint the foot? What can I do to help his gimpy wing?
Any advice you may have for me will be very appricated.
Thank you for your time and advice
Megan (and my new pegion friend) mr.sniggley.
Hi Megan, I own an avian rescue & rehab in N. California. It would appear you have owned birds before or have some education in that regard because you're doing a good job with the 'brooder' you set up as his intensive care unit in your home.

I'm going to give you a guideline I hand out to everyone who has a wild rescue like this. Certainly there will be areas in this guideline you've already done and already know, but bear with me since it's wiser to repeat info than to make assumptions and skip what might be vital.

Let's start with the feeding: A good general feed would be about equal parts of cracked corn; split hard peas (or fresh peas out of pods); sorghum and wheat. Many keepers prefer the wheat be held to about 10-15% of this mix rather than an equal amount.

What we don't want happening is dying from malnutrition which happens in a huge majority of cases where rescuers trust too much in pet store product promises. Whenever you purchase anything in a pet store, no matter what, remind yourself that there are NO 'truth in advertising' laws like there are with humans and the sellers have ulterior motives for getting you to buy their stuff. $$$$ is a disgusting motivator often put ahead of a life. And the product you have is for mammals, an entirely different digestive system and needs than a bird. While some mammal foods can cross that line (fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes [except for peanuts], etc), you'll want to follow the species feeding guideline.


Take a look at the ingredients in Critical Care and you'll find zinc. Just one of the many highly toxic substances for birds.

Here is a guideline from CA State University at Bakersfield

This is a temporary guideline and feeding regimen until you can either get professional formula for your bird or find a rehabilitator. This formula will not sustain your bird long-term.
Mix 4 tsp. water and 1 tsp. sugar - OR
2 tsp. water and 1 tsp. white Karo syrup - OR
2 egg yolks and 2 oz. boiled and cooled Coca Cola.
Fill the dropper/syringe, gently put it down the bird's throat (past the entrance to the air pipe or trachea), pumping it in.
Don't make a mess with this on the bird since once dry, this mixture is awfully hard to remove without harming the bird.
Your foster bird will need meat:

* A veterinarian prescribed dogfood (canned),
* dry puppy kibbles (have to be soaked in water),
* boiled chicken, strained beef baby food,
* hard boiled chicken egg yolk,
* live insects such as flies and mealworms that you are absolutely sure were never exposed to pesticides or other poisons.
* high protein dry baby cereal ,
* wheat germ,
* corn or oat meal ground finely in a blender.
MEAT and GRAIN proportions are generally:
SEED EATER BIRDS - 1 part MEAT to 4 parts GRAIN
You cannot even begin to consider doing this foster care without a veterinarian monitoring your care, helping with food and supplements and gauging the progression of the baby bird.
Even the most experienced professional caregivers work with veterinarians during the baby rehab.
You will also need a gram scale and have to get daily weights on the baby. Not an ounce scale, a GRAM scale. Since 1 ounce has 28 GRAMS in it and loss of even a few grams could be indicative of a failure to thrive, you need to be aware of this. Also, depending on the bird, it may not weigh but a couple of ounces.
On a purely ounce scale the bird may pass away before any weight loss is registered.


Now, as for the injuries or what appears to be injuries, this could be symptomatic of nutritional complications . Again, keep reminding yourself that this is an avian and applying deductions based on mammal knowledge doesn't always work.

We can't fix a toxicity by splinting a leg; we can't fix a broken wing by changing nutrition. What we can do is get an xray. That's going to be absolutely necessary in this case.

Your bird might be young, but it's possible it's 12 years old too. All avians hide their age really well, although let's continue to approach this from the aspect of it being young


Here are two options for the medical care: First, love him enough to bring him to a rescue center and at the same time sign up to be a volunteer there. That way you'll remain in his life AND become qualified to be a 'rescue foster home'. That means you might be able to take him home with you (if he needs special care throughout the day/night) and all of his food, meds and vet visits are covered by the agency rescuing.

Second, you could do all of this on your own. While it's illegal to 'own' any wildlife, including pigeons, IF the bird was hatched in captivity by 'a friend of yours who breeds pigeons' you can likely own it.

But the expense of ongoing care, including the necessary Xrays right now, will be out of your pocket.

Owning a bird is very costly. Since your pigeon won't be flying free and foraging he'll need special food for life. You can't feed him wild bird food without health problems developing as the result of his getting only about 5-10% of the activity he'd get if wild.


Now, to close, if you want to incorporate moist heat into his brooder box, add a rice sock. Take any thick, soft sock (cotton) fill 3/4 full of raw, white rice, knot the end and microwave it 2 minutes.

Shake it around afterward to distribute the heat and tuck into the material underneath, but to the side of your bird.

It lasts about 2 hours.


Feel free to check back anytime for anything I can help with. It's my pleasure to work with you on this. You have a big heart!


August Abbott, CAS and other Bird Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Megan,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Mr.Siggly. How is everything going?

S. August Abbott, CAS