Thursday, 26 January 2012

Rescued Pigeon in Oil

26th January 2012 - This is Lesa dove, posing for her portrait on Jose's table, and below with Jose, her flightless friend. Lesa, is one of the first doves in the garden in the mornings, and she flies straight to be with Jose- and eat her food!
Sat 21st Jan. 12 - I came home about 3.30pm in the afternoon, and a few doves were still around. There was one white dove, desperately trying to pick up grain and obviously with paramyxo. I caught her, and put her in the hospital run for nursing care. I hope she'll be like Flash and totally recover. I've named her Lola and will ring her, before I release her, if she recovers.
I forgot to say in the previous blog about Flash, that the very next day after he died there was another sparrowhawk attack. I was coming out of my kitchen door into the garden and there on the lawn was the hawk covering a white dove! I dropped what I was holding and ran out, while the hawk flew off either with the dove in it's talons or chasing the dove, I can't remember it was too quick. I ran out of the garden gate into the yard, where the hawk had the dove down again on the gravel. I ran up, and both flew off, the dove escaping this time, but leaving ruby drops on gravel. I did wonder if it survived but didn't see any doves with injuries until about a week later when a white dove turned up in the garden with feathers missing from it's back - maybe it was that dove, maybe not, but I haven't seen the hawk around here again, thank goodness. I was glad I'd saved that dove, but still so sad I couldn't save Flash. I forgot to say I did cry for him, and kissed his poor little dead head. He still smelled sweet, like all the doves do - it's because they are grain eaters.
Mon 23rd January 2012 - Some of you will remember Hugo, the jackdaw my husband brought home from the farm last year. Well, today, he brought home another bird who had suffered the same fate, in the same place. I couldn’t recognise what kind of bird it was at first it was so covered in oil. My husband has now asked the guy who has the car repair workshop there to not leave pans of oil uncovered in the evenings and weekends, and he has agreed to be more careful. This bird could possibly have been there, in the oil, since Friday night.It's a pigeon - probably a fairly young one. It was smothered in oil, and also has bare sore patches on its back. I have given it several washes over the course of the afternoon, but feel I can't keep washing it! I will have to do it over the next few days - if it survives. It was brought to me at 12.30 lunchtime and its now past 4pm, so I'm hoping it will.

Pigeon after his first few washes, very weak and feeble

I am calling him Olly – can’t call him Oily, and I hope he won’t be oily for ever! He has been warmed up, and when I felt he was thoroughly warm I held him and dipped his beak in water, and he had a little drink.It’s important not to give rescue birds water or food until they are warmed up – apparently if they eat when cold it can kill them. I allowed Olly to walk around on the kitchen floor and he started pecking at a tiny piece of hard pasta he discovered so I offered food – normal dove food plus peanuts, whole and chopped – and he ate a little.

Poor oily bedraggled Olly

Olly day 2 – I got up early and thank heavens he was still alive, I’d had a bad night worrying about him. I held him and gave him a drink, then three ‘baths’ – one after the other – the used water is still very brown and oily. After his baths, I dried him off a little with a hairdryer on a low setting then put him back in the carrying box near the aga to dry off, with food and water.

I was in a dilemma as I was due to go to my daughter’s to look after the baby while she took my grandson swimming. I decided to take Olly with me as he had not taken a drink without me holding him and dipping his beak in water. I found a big shallow flat bottomed cardboard box and lined it with newspaper. He came with me in the car in the carrying box, with a covered hot water bottle (I use the hard round microwave discs that I had from my little dog – they are excellent) and after my daughter had left, I smuggled Olly into the house! If you know my daughter, as some of my blog readers do, then please don’t tell her I was looking after a scruffy oily pigeon at the same time as I was looking after her lovely pink clean baby! While the baby slept, Olly had 5 more washes, then he went in the big box. Part of it was draped with a towel, and he crept under it and slept for a while – then the baby woke up! I had my hands full with one or the other! Olly was taken out to the car again before my daughter and grandson came back, and she was none the wiser!

Olly at my daughter's house - still oily

Back at home, I gave Olly 2 more washes – that’s 10 in all today (and approx 16 so far!) and more than enough for him, and me! It is stressful for him but he bears it well, scrambling about in the water trying to escape. He has a fighting spirit which is good! The last couple of washes the water seemed cleaner, but Olly still smells of oil and looks oily! I don’t really know what to do. Websites about the cleaning of oily birds recommend Dawn, but that is a product from the USA and I doubt if I’ll be able to get any. There is a big American community around here, and a couple of shops stock products from the USA so I will try them tomorrow. At the moment I am using Fairy Liquid. He tries to preen, and that is worrying as he will be ingesting oil.

Back home, near the aga

Still oily after 16 baths!

The worst sore place on Olly’s back doesn’t seem to be infected or getting any worse which is one good thing. Another good thing is that he has been eating this afternoon. He likes peanuts and can eat them if they are not too big. I tried peanuts in skins (brown) and peanuts without (white) and he seems to prefer the white ones. Peanuts are highly nutritious so I am pleased he likes them! He still won’t drink unless I hold him, and dip his beak in water – so I offer him a drink once every hour, and of course there is water in his box playpen. He’ll stay in there all evening, and go in the carrying box to keep him confined for the night.
It’s difficult to say exactly how old Olly is – between 30-40 days, I reckon. He can fly a bit – he flew from the draining board to the floor, but doesn’t fly around. This may be due to the effects of the oil. He doesn’t seem to have ingested the oil, or much oil, thankfully. His first poops were very green – possibly due to what he may have eaten before he fell in the oil or more likely due to starvation. I read a very interesting thread on a pigeon forum about pigeon poop, and Olly’s first poops were exactly like the bright green ‘artist’s paint’ described by one or two knowledgeable pigeon keepers. Olly probably was starving, as he may have spent the whole weekend in the oil pan – I can’t bear to think about it. Thank God he was rescued in time! His poops now are getting more normal looking – brown with a white dollop on top. Sorry if all this is TMI for you! But here’s a link to the thread if you’d like to know more I also found a thread on how to clean pigeons covered in oil on the same forum – You have to scroll down past the ads on these forum threads to read the posts. I hope they won't mind me putting the links here - I wouldn't have thought so, as anything that might help someone else save a bird's life is always worthwhile, I think.

Olly struggles to get out of the towel

Day 3, Olly is looking cleaner, fluffier and admires his reflection in the aga

Wed – Day 3 – I got up early again but Olly was fine, so I don’t think I will need to get up specially early for him again. I held him and he had a drink of water. About an hour after that, he drank on his own for the first time! I was quite elated! He ate a few peanuts too. Later in the morning I washed him again – that's 18 washes in total! – and the water was virtually clean, so I probably won’t be washing him again. His feathers still look a little oily and he smells of oil, but washing him stresses him, and if nothing is coming off, then it seems pointless. I couldn’t get hold of the Dawn detergent, unfortunately. If I had, I would’ve been tempted to try it to see if it removed any more oil.
I bought some Skin-eze cream for his sore places from the petshop – it says it is suitable for birds and is a known brand (Johnsons) so I will try it – if he will stay still long enough to be anointed.
Olly is timid and doesn’t come out of his box much, unless I take him out. I have to do this as he only seems to eat when I bring him out. Then he eats a peanut or two, and goes back in. I put the cream on his back and he tolerated me doing that.
This evening he was a little more adventurous and jumped to the top of the carrying box, and later to the seat of the chair, where he was hidden by the tablecloth. I put him back in the box at 8.15pm so he was confined for the night, which I felt would be safer. I didn’t want something happening in the night, and him walking or flying into the aga.
Day 4 – I had to be out all day and so did hubbie, so bit of a dilemma. I decided the best thing to do was to keep Jose shut in the hutch all day, and take away her wire cage, which gives her a safe ‘outdoor’ but when I am out, for Olly’s use. While I was sorting things out before I left, Olly flew into the sitting room, off the kitchen, and onto the curtain rail – so he CAN fly! I caught him and I left him in the kitchen, in the cage, on the floor, pushed up against the wall with the carrying box inside it (without the grille of course) and of course with plenty of choice of food, and two little dishes of water. I don’t know what he did all day, but there was a poop on the top of the carrying box so he must’ve jumped up there at some point. It was a boring day for him but I couldn’t leave him loose.
I’ve been reading up on ‘soft release’ of pigeons and how I get on with this will all be in the next blog. I intend to ring Olly tomorrow, and I’ve had an email saying the collapsible dog crate I bought him will be delivered (cost £28.99 total from ebay – Peteurope). He has, of course, totally dried out now, and is a very dark colour pigeon, but not yet fully feathered.
To be cont.


Lesa said...

Hooray! I am jubilant for you! You have saved Olly! How wonderful!

Thanks so much for the update of my namesake Lesa. I'm still thrilled about that. I'm going to copy her photo and put her on my desktop. I see that Lesa and I have a similar characteristic...we're both foodies!

I'm in the US and wondered if I could send you some Dawn detergent? I don't know how the mail service will feel about that, so I can check if you're interested. Also, friends are coming from the UK next month and they might be able to bring some back...maybe not...again worrying about customs. But I'd be willing to try to get some to you. Let me know and I'll send you my email address.

Thank you so much for telling us about Olly and sharing information about how we can go about rescuing a bird if the need arises. So far I've only raised orphaned babies and ones who have been injured and will never fly again.

Faith said...

Hi Lesa, I am glad you like Lesa Dove - not terribly good pics of her so will try to get some more for next blog. I am sure it would be ok to send Dawn through the mail/customs but the stuff would be terribly heavy and cost a fortune to post. Also Olly is ok - at his age he is due a moult fairly soon, so hopefully any oily feathers left will go and he'll grow nice new ones. So don't worry about the Dawn though I appreciate the kind thought.

Fennie said...

Fascinating and a definite success. You must be very pleased. Will Olly join your doves, do you think?

Faith said...

Yes, he will join the flock Fennie, eventually I hope. There are plenty of pigeons with the doves.

hopeinparis said...

Great story about Olly! I'll bet he makes it. What a job to keep washing him, but it was right you did.
Will look forward to hearing about his progress. Thank you for posting!

Yan21 said...

Thatt's wonderful Faith. Lucky Olly to have found you!! Hope he continues to improve. Looking forward to next installments!

CAMILLA said...

Sweet Olly seems to be doing well with all your love and care for him Faith, looking at the last pic he seems to be looking more fluffier and not so oily. Please keep us up to date on how he is getting on Faith, good to hear Olly will be joining your lovely Doves later too.


CAMILLA said...

Sweet Olly seems to be doing well with all your love and care for him Faith, looking at the last pic he seems to be looking more fluffier and not so oily. Please keep us up to date on how he is getting on Faith, good to hear Olly will be joining your lovely Doves later too.