If one wing is droopy, it is very likely broken. Pull out the other wing and observe how it snaps into place. Then pull out the droopy one; if it does not snap back close to the body, it is probably fractured.
1. Look closely at and under wing for open wounds, bones sticking through the skin, swelling and bruising.
2. Active bleeding needs to be stopped immediately. Apply light pressure (heavy pressure prevents clotting) until bleeding stops.
3. Simple fractures can usually be splinted by wrapping a piece of masking tape halfway up wing. Wing should sit in place at side of body, with tip over back like the other wing.
4. For complicated fractures, stabilize wing to prevent movement and reduce pain by taping both wing tips together over the birds back until a vet can see the bird.
5. If there is a lot of swelling or open wounds, do not restrict with tape. Sometimes swelling has to go down for a couple days before splinting.
6. Put bird on Baytril if compound fracture (bone through skin) or a lot of swelling or bruising.
Feather can be greasy from oil, often French fries or barbequed food that birds shake around and splatter themselves. A greasy bird cannot fluff out its feathers and keep itself warm, and flight can be greatly compromised. When stable, usually at least 24 hours after admission if healthy, bathe bird using Dawn dish soap. Make a diluted mixture and work into feathers using warm water. Avoid drafts and chilly air while bird is wet. Rinse thoroughly and dry with blow dryer on low or put back into heated container. Sometimes more than one bath is needed to get rid of all the grease (space a few days apart).
Birds caught in glue traps will be extremely stressed. It is very important to let them stabilize before working on the glue stuck in their feathers. Use canola oil to neutralize the glue, then give a Dawn bath to clean out the canola oil.
It is recommended to use something citrusy. One lady blended shaved lemon rinds with water and got the gum out. Try not to cut the feathers so the bird will not have to be held until they grow back.
All birds should be checked for mites and lice upon intake. These parasites can drain health and strength from the birds by biting them for their blood; sick and weak birds are particularly susceptible. Also, mites can quickly migrate to other birds and are also happy to exist in furnishings and take itchy nibbles off people.
Mites commonly come in 3 types:
a. Teeny black specks that move quickly and are frequently found on small babies and in old nesting materials.
b. Oval-shaped brownish creatures often found on pigeons and love to bite people too!
c. Black fly look-alikes that are rather flat and hide in pigeons’ feathers; these can transmit pox by biting one bird then flying to the next.
d. Feather lice are long, thin, brownish and move slowly. Commonly found on the undersides of pigeons’ wing and tail feathers, they stay on the feathers and do not bite, but can cause little hole specks on the feathers.
1. Adult and older adolescent birds can be carefully sprayed with mite and lice spray. Avoid the eyes. Pull out the wings and spread the tail underneath to get the parasites hidden there. Work some of the spray into thick feather areas. The black fly mites can hide well. Spray pigeons outdoors when possible so mite can fly off instead of going on other birds. Do not spray on bare skin.
2. Babies need to be treated carefully. Do not get spray on bare skin as it is a toxin. Spray tissue or cotton balls and rub on feathers only or wrap the body gently in the tissue for a few minutes, leaving the head out. Or put small babies on white tissue and the mites will migrate to the paper. Change tissue frequently until mites are gone.
Give us a call to speak with an experienced rehabber.