Sunday 6th Sept 15 – I had to get up at 5.30am as I needed to do a car boot (rubbish clearance basically). The birds reluctantly got up early – I had to create a false dawn for the homies by putting lights on. Pan of course is now a properly fledged young bird so has to go out on the roof, but I wanted to leave the hutch open for a refuge for him. This meant that I either left Tink shut up somewhere .... but where? The conservatory gets way too hot.... or take her with me, so I did! She was very good and attracted much attention!
Blacktail had spent the night in the house and I hand fed her and attended her eyes before I put her out. Her eyes were very bad again, full of pus but I still hoped to build up her strength and cure her eyes eventually..... that was then, and this is what happened. I got back from the car boot, and saw her sitting on the cottage roof – apart from the others who sit on what I call the dove roof. She was hunched up and obviously poorly. She didn’t come down when I fed the flock, and I had to pop out again for a while. Later, when I crossed the bridge to the island, there were white feathers everywhere and red gore and I knew immediately that poor BT had had a close encounter with a hawk. There was no body, and the hawk had no doubt carried her off. I hope it was quick ..... poor fragile little thing, rest in peace. I felt and still feel very sorrowful, but thankful it wasn’t my little Pan. I wish I’d kept BT in now..... but she never wanted to be in. When I told hubbie, he said well let’s hope that has satisfied the hawk.....but it hadn’t. Mr. Strong, who is a favourite white dove, always comes very late in the afternoon/early evening. He had a mate I called Frances, and something obviously happened to her because she stopped coming and he soon teamed up with a white female I call Blackie. Currently they are coming at different times, so maybe have a nest. Well Blackie had been and gone, and I always pop out a few times about 6pm or later just to see if Mr. Strong is there. When he and a few straggling pigeons flew down, suddenly there was a swift brown swoop of the hawk, and the pigeons flew off in a panic – meaning Mr. S didn’t get any supper at all – but I saw the birds fly one way and the hawk over the river, so at least I know he got away.
Monday 7.9.15 – I saw Tink eyeing up the shallow dish of water on the raised bed, and soon she stepped in for her first bath! The young pigeons usually do take a bath not long after fledging – and of course Tink is at fledging age, though she can’t fly and probably won’t be able to for some while yet.
I let her stand in the sun for a little while, but then she seemed to be shivering so I got a cloth to wrap my baby bunting in, and brought her in to the very warm conservatory to dry off. The feathers on her back are now starting to fill in and she is catching Pan up in looks if not yet in size. As she flapped about in the conservatory I noticed some grazes under her wing – maybe an attack from another older pigeon? – and treated it with Veterinus gel.
It could’ve been Pan who did it – maybe.... – they don’t seem to be getting on very well at the moment, which is fairly usual for siblings – although some of them get on very well, staying closer to each other for much longer. The trouble with Tink and Pan is that they are not equal in ability.
Tink in the conservatory
Tues. 8.9.15 – I can’t really call the babies the babies any longer!!! They are six weeks old today, or roughly 42 days old, and of course Pan has been properly flying for about a week now. It seems amazing that Tink and Pan have got this far whereas poor Selfie who was ‘properly’ brought up and had two healthy parents and little intervention from me died at 38 days old, and never flew.
Tink and Pan 6 weeks old
The roofers continue with the work but it is not affecting the flock very much.
Wed.9.9.15 – I deliberately caught Florence at the morning feed – mainly because I wanted to take photos to show you how her eyes have improved but also because she had feathery bits stuck round her beak and I wanted to remove them. She didn’t want the photos taken, and struggled, but was rewarded with peanuts afterwards, and then I did her eyes with the homeopathic remedy from healingsun (ebay) one last time.
So this is how they were - 24th Aug
and this is approx 16 days later - 9th Sept - after several treatments
The pigeons in the raised bed - see Tink? Yes she's relaxing on the warm brick
Thurs 10.9.15 – Pan now has the routine of a normal fledged bird – nearly! He makes a loud fuss, so is the first of the homies to be got up in the morning. He is now resisting hand feeding, which of course is good and natural, but I try and stuff a couple of peanuts down him to keep him going, as he isn’t terribly good at picking up grain, and certainly can’t pick up big pieces. Then I take him outside and he flies straight off to the roof to be with the others. I really need to ring him as soon I won’t recognise him from any other ordinary pigeon. He takes his looks from his mother, Cissie, and really she is very average! So I don’t hand feed him during the day, but this afternoon caught him at about 5pm and brought him in for the night. He was hungry and flapping for food then! All the homies come in about that time now, and stay in their crates in the conservatory til about 7.30pm when I put them to bed in the spare room. I will continue trying to bring Pan in at night, but I know that one day he will just fly off with the others – and hopefully be strong enough to get back the next day. I have no idea where they roost.
Tink is still only like a 3-4 week old – still with the baby down on her head and body – and she spends her time in the nestbox of the hutch, or supervised in the garden with me. She is happy to be hand-fed and I am hoping that she will eventually catch up and be like Pan.
Pan spends time in the nestbox with Tink – usually because I put him there in the afternoons for a rest! – but he is free to go out. I put the grille up so the young birds, but especially Tink, can see out but don’t get a direct confrontation with any other bird – but the hutch is open so Pan go leave if he wants to. I can only do this when I am at home. Otherwise Tink is shut in the hutch for safety, and Pan tends to hide in the bottom of the box that Chino stands in if he needs a refuge. Very sensible! I ringed him today and was lucky to find one of my older smaller rings – it is the same colour, pale pink, as mummy Cissie, and he is very similar to her, but it doesn’t matter as I can’t possibly get them confused for more than an instant, as she can’t fly and he can!
Sat. 12.9.15 – I noticed that Tink’s anus was a bit distended last night and this morning it is worse – red and slightly bleeding. She still seems to have food in her crop which should’ve gone through her system by now. I am concerned that she has had a prolapse and am in tears about her, poor delicate angel thing. I did a bit of research, and gave her a warm bath, dried her gently with the hairdryer and have applied some of my special gel but I feel that unless she can pass faeces soon she will die. My vet, though lovely, is not an avian vet and to be honest I can’t afford to spend a fortune on a little under-developed pigeon who probably hasn’t got a chance anyway. I am keeping her warm in the conservatory, with a hot water bottle under the towels she is standing on, and am hoping for the best, but fearing the worst.
Tink's distended anus - feeling poorly...
A bit later – it got too hot in the conservatory so I carried her out in the box she was in to the hutch, and just as I was about to pick her up, she pooped! Not much, but something is better than nothing! Also, when I cleaned up her night box I would say there was the normal amount of poop in there from the night time. I went out and came back at lunchtime, and gave her some water in a little shot glass mixed with a tiny bit of prune juice!!! I already had it, so I thought I might as well try it. I don’t think it will harm her, and may get things moving!
Pan came into the kitchen to find me, screaming for food! I hand-fed him a bit and then put the small pieces he can pick up himself on the garden table. All the time he wants me to feed him, I will do so, as I don’t want him getting under-weight and skinny and worn out!
In the mid afternoon when I was checking Tink and had picked her up in my hands, suddenly a whoosh of watery creamy stuff came out all over my T shirt and jeans – this does mean things are moving through her but it is not ‘normal’ and her crop is still full. I haven’t fed her at all today and she has been listless and hasn’t wanted to pick up tiny grains herself or be out of the nestbox. Surprisingly she can fly a little bit and has done so today. I pray she survives but pigeons can go downhill so quickly – be standing and looking fairly ok one minute and dead the next, literally.
Tink was put to bed at the usual time. She and Pan have been separated at night for quite a while now as they were ‘getting’ at each other. I gave her the hard microwave pet pad, underneath the towels of her bed, so she’s got a warm spot if she needs it. I don’t check the birds once I have put them to bed, unless I was to hear something unusual, so I can only hope she will be with us in the morning. Love you, baby Tink.
Sunday 13th Sept 15 – Tink was alive and seemed reasonably ok, but hardly a poop of any kind in the night box. I gave water but no food. I had to go out earlier and when I came back laden with food shopping at about 11.30pm, I went straight to see her in the hutch, and found to my horror that her crop had ruptured. What I had thought before was a graze under her wing, through scratching or rubbing against something, was in fact the start of the rupture, and now it was so bad the old undigested grains were coming out of the hole!
|Squab pigeon with ruptured crop|
Truly horrible and very distressing. I had hubby returning plus his daughter, her husband and two kiddies coming for lunch, but I just dumped the shopping down and attended to Tink. I took her into the conservatory, put her on a towel and gently eased all or most of the grains out of the hole – this sounds horrific I know but at least in some way it must have eased her. There were about 40 grains/peanuts and some had swelled to double their size..... no wonder she had ruptured.
Below, a peanut that had swelled up inside Tink, with a normal one below to show the difference
I don’t know when this started or why.....but the grains had that ‘beginning to ferment’ smell.....poor little Tink. Afterwards I washed the wound and applied my Veterinus gel. I have never really encountered this before, except when I had the pigeon Patience, that had been attacked by the hawk, but I have read about it, and I read up some more. Birds DO survive this, and I only hope Tink will, but she really is a tiny little poor scrap of a thing for her age.
Tink alone, and with Pan
Monday 14th Sept 15 – Tink survived the night, and today seems a bit perkier. There were some more normal looking poops in the night box, though not yet right of course. I have been giving her prune juice in water, soft balls of Kaytee mix and defrosted and slightly warmed frozen peas. Despite the ruptured crop she must eat or she definitely WILL die! I offer her drinks many times a day to keep her hydrated. When the day warmed up a bit and it stopped raining, she was at the front of the nestbox near the grille, so I got her out onto the raised bed, and she seemed to have some interest in being outside. It could be worse! I am of course guilty for perhaps having over-fed her in the first place and not noticing how bad it was getting, and I feel terrible about it, but I am doing all I can now to help her.
Tuesday 15th Sept 15 – Tink is alive but seems poorlier. I am keeping her warm and giving her little drinks. She ate her breakfast ok but I am keeping her in the house as it’s wet and dreary in the garden.
Tink comes into the conservatory first in the afternoons, and then the 3 adult homies, and then I hope that I can either catch Pan or that he will come in on his own – which he did tonight, running into the kitchen. Tink was settled in her box, and Pan is usually in his at the other end of the table, but when I went back into the room a bit later, I saw that he was standing protectively over Tink, and I was touched.
It’s quite a few days since they have been together, and today is their seven week ‘birthday’. I hope Tink was comforted by having her sibling with her for a while, but I didn’t put them to bed together, just in case. Will little fragile Tink still be with us in the morning.....and if she is, what kind of a life is she having? I carried her around the garden in my old fleece-lined hood when the sun started to shine this afternoon. She does get sleepy, but she also still has some sort of interest in life.
Wed. 16.9.15 – Tink was no longer alive when I went to her this morning – though at first I thought she was, as she was in exactly the same position as I left her, with eyes partly open. She had just passed away easily..... I hope. I brought her out and stroked her on my lap. And showed her to Pan, who cocked his head enquiringly.
I couldn’t be shocked or sad, it was inevitable. And partly my fault which I have on my conscience. Rest in Peace sweet brave little thing.
The 3 homies were in the garden til me and granddaughter had to leave to take her to gymnastics and then I had to shut them up in the hutch/run. But later how I wished I had put them in the conservatory before we left as the afternoon got progressively more gloomy with heavy rain. I was held up in the traffic and drove home inch by inch, worrying especially about Pan. Would he stand in the rain and be soaked? Would the flock fly away because it was so gloomy and leave him alone; prey to the sparrowhawk? I knew that Cissie in the hutch and Cloud in the run would be safe, and both able to keep in the dry – though it was two hours past their normal feeding time. And I assumed that Chino would be sensible and stay in her hidey-hole under the hutch.... .but after losing Tink, I didn’t want to lose Pan too. But thankfully he had the sense to perch under the hutch, near Chino, and while not dry wasn’t soaked through. I scooped him up and brought him into the house first!
17.9.15 – There has been a pretty little pigeon that came to my attention a couple of days ago. Obviously got the same eye infection, and looks small and poorly. Yesterday I made an unsuccessful attempt to catch her. All through yesterday’s driving rain she sat hunched on the roof, and I was out most of the day so didn’t suppose she got much food, she didn’t come down when I fed the others when I got back. At bedtime she moved to the porch, and was partially out of the rain, which also thankfully didn’t continue all night. This morning she came down with the others, and I grabbed her! A very sorry little state, with one eye closed and the other very nearly so.
Her body was sodden, but still a little warmth remained. You mustn’t feed birds if they are not warm as it is bad for them, so first I wrapped her in a tea-towel and wiped her eyes, then dried her with the hairdryer before feeding her some peanuts. Then I treated her eyes with the homeopathic eye remedy – I have already ordered more! This was before 8am. I then put her with food and water in Cissie’s crate – poor Cissie always has to give up her crate, but the day was looking fair and she just had to go straight outside. I kept Cloud in – in the crate next door – to give the new little one (who I am calling Tinkerbell in memory of Tink) some pigeony companionship. The sun was out and the conservatory warmed up quickly, thus drying Tinkerbell’s feathers. She helped herself to some more food and seemed much better, and at 10am I released her back to the roof with the others. I wouldn’t have done this if it had been pouring like yesterday, or if no other birds had been about. I hope to be able to catch her again if her eyes need it. If I hadn’t caught her today I doubt if she would’ve made it – she was so wet, and her eyes so glued up.....she only came down in desperation to try to eat, and was just hopefully pecking the ground probably only half-seeing the others doing so, just to try to get some food. It’s pathetic to see a pigeon like that – I have to help! And I did manage to catch her for more food and eye drops later.
Friday 18th Sept 15 – Not raining yet thank goodness though it is forecast. Tinkerbell spent the night alone on one of the local roofs, totally exposed to the elements and to the early morning hawk – but survived and made her way back to the pigeons roof here. I made a failed attempt to catch her, and then I left her as she was picking about in the path and any food she gets is better than me frightening her and getting none. But later she was on the low roof near the cottage with her back to me, so I quietly got the steps and the net and managed to catch her – maybe she wanted to be caught! Being tangled and dragged in the net is not very nice, but I gave her a good feed (but not too large bearing in mind what happened to Tink) and examined her eyes. They were SO much better than yesterday and that’s with only two eye treatments. I really recommend these drops from Healingsun on ebay, they have proved extremely effective – Euphrasia Homeopathic Eye Drops (for dogs, cats, rabbits, horses and birds).
Obviously I wiped them and did them again, and back she went onto the roof. Even if it rains now and I can’t get her again, I am satisfied that her eyes have improved and she’s had enough food for today. I also caught a little young brown pigeon and treated her eyes too.
Below, photos of my beautiful Mr. Strong, and the little brown one is the last picture.
I have now had my brown flightless pigeon, Chino, for a year. She is just as grumpy and nearly as scared as when she arrived, but very pretty. Well Chino, if it wasn’t for me you wouldn’t be alive!
Mummy Cissie, left, and big 'boy' - her baby, Pan
6.30pm – All the homies were quiet in the conservatory, and I was sitting alone typing on the laptop when I thought I could hear rustling. We suffer sometimes with mice and even the occasional rat so I pricked up my ears and listened but it seemed to stop......until it happened again.....eventually there was a noise I couldn’t ignore and I went into the kitchen to investigate. To my amazement, there was Tinkerbell flapping near the little window in the pantry! She must somehow have sneaked in when I had the door open! I can’t remember what time I shut it but the homies were in by half four so she may easily have been in for a couple of hours, hiding! I was touched that she had realised that the kitchen was the place where I have fed her, and treated her eyes and that she probably came in looking for food and a safe haven. I gave her a quick hand feed, and some water, did her eyes, then made a home for the night in the small crate in the conservatory that Blacktail had used. So lucky hubby is away this evening! Unfortunately the eye drops have totally run out – so in preparation for the morning, I put a very small amount of cooled boiled water in the bottle and swished it around so that any of the remedy on the sides would be incorporated into the water – that will be better than nothing, til my new bottle arrives. By 8.45pm it was wild outside, with hard pelting rain - thank you Lord of the Birds for sending fragile little Tinkerbell in to be looked after and dry!
Weekend 19th/20th Sept – Well, the weekend was dry and passed without incident. Tinkerbell was released again on Saturday lunchtime and seemed to be coping – as was the little brown one, also with bad eyes (but not as bad).
Monday 21st Sept - The weather turned very wet in the afternoon, and when Tinkerbell came down I was unable to catch her, and she only managed to eat a couple of pieces of food. I wished then that I had kept her in. It is so difficult to make these sort of decisions because she can fly and doesn't want to be confined.
Tuesday 22nd Sept 15 - Pan is 8 weeks old today. Happy Birthday Pan! He is big, bright and beautiful - and the tamest pidgie I have ever had. He still thinks of me as 'parent' and flies to me, landing on my back, arm or head. He can feed himself of course, but still likes me to feed him too.
It started raining at 4am and rained heavily and continuously from then on. Tinkerbell failed to come back to the garden, and I felt low, wishing I'd kept her in. Why on earth did I release her? so seemingly underweight and with poorly eyes..... I felt like another death was on my conscience. The little brown one was there, but no Tinkerbell. The day had a couple of dry spells but then got worse, raining and gloomy so I decided to bring the homies in early about 3pm. I'd got Cloud and Cissie in, and had gone back to get Chino when I realised I'd left the lid off the grain bin and as I went to put it back, I saw a pathetic little bedraggled figure of a pigeon standing there...... near the cottage door, and looking near to death's door......Tinkerbell! Speaking softly, and making the clicking sound I make to my homies and pigeons I am communicating with (with my tongue on the roof of my mouth) I crouched down and picked her up - she made no resistance. Tears came into my eyes - the Lord sent you back, I said to her, tucking her into my cardigan for warmth. First of all, I gave her a little drink of water with vitamin drops in it, then I took these quick photos of her for you to see - one eye was nearly closed and the other completely gummed up.
How had she managed to get back, the poor little darling. I then wrapped her in a cloth and carried her while I got out the hairdryer - obviously blow drying her very gently and with my hand in the stream of warm air to make sure it was not too hot. After that, I gave her a few grains, but not too many at first. Then wrapped her up in the cloth inside my cardigan again while I heated the microwave bottle. I set up a warm box for her, with cloths on top of the bottle and left her there for a while - giving her more food and water later. I am so so thankful that somehow she managed to get back and I can look after her. I wondered if she had gone away at all but was in fact hiding somewhere in the garden....but if she'd been in the coal hole she would've surely have been drier, and really she was absolutely saturated. I pray she lives.....
To be cont...