Pigeons are sweet gentle birds, having strong wing muscles making them swift fliers. Pigeons are in fact, the perfect birds to be kept as pets.
On a personal note, they are one of my favorite pets. Being very sociable birds, they are very intelligent, and among the few birds to pass the self-recognition test -” mirror test.”
Being very sociable they are mostly found in a flock of 30 to 40, these birds are very susceptible to a large variety of diseases. It is seen that they often met an untimely death.
Why are my pigeons dying?
One of the major reasons for the deaths of your pigeons can be diseases. Pigeons are vulnerable to a variety of diseases that can lead to their deaths.
Pigeons sometimes act as carriers of many diseases as they are zoonotic creatures, this disease can be the reason for the deaths of your pigeons.
Your pigeon can also die because of their age, as pigeons grow in age their body becomes weak. There is a sharp decline in the immune strength, digestive system, sensory systems and this can cause untimely death in the pigeons.
How to recognize a sick pigeon
It is very important to recognize a sick pigeon, as it can save the bird’s life. Some of the signs and symptoms that can help you to identify a sick bird are:
- Showing Dizziness
Dizziness is one of the most common signs of disease in pigeons and other birds as well. Your pigeons may feel sleepy and stay still for a longer duration w\ithout moving a bit.
Related Read: Do pigeons feel cold?
Dizziness is easily observable and an action taken within time can help you prevent the disease from spreading into other birds as well, plus it also helps in the quick recovery of the bird.
- Change in the discharge of the bird
The discharge of pigeons can help you in identifying if the bird is sick. The discharge can get wet, smell quite bad, and can change in color due to an underlying disease or discomfort.
You can check the feces of your birds regularly, any variation from regular discharge is an indication of birds’ bad health
- Weakness in body
Pigeons and other birds may experience weakness in case of sickness. Generally, body weakness is the first symptom that appears in viral or bacterial infection in a bird.
The pigeon may walk slowly, can fall several times, and may experience difficulty in eating and drinking. Pigeons may sleep for longer durations while experiencing weakness due to sickness.
- Inactive behavior
Pigeons generally are very active as compared to other birds. A significant change in the behavior of a pigeon can be because of some underlying illness. Generally, pigeons became very inactive when they suffer from a disease or sickness.
- The dramatic change in feather appearance
There is a drastic change in the feathers of the pigeon when going through sickness. Some of the major complications are dull feathers, excessive falling of feathers, change in the shape of feathers.
In some cases, they may develop bald spots and rashes over their head.
- Feet abnormalities
Pigeons may develop foot abnormalities like shifting of feet, unequal nail growth, swelling in feet and joints. These abnormalities are a clear indication of a sick pigeon.
- Difficulty in seeing
One of the most common signs of a disease is that the pigeons may become partially blind. The eyes of pigeons are damaged very easily in case of a fever or rise in body temperature.
- Breathing issues
In the case of a disease, pigeons can suffer from breathing issues and snoring sounds as well. This is a clear indication of respiratory disease.
It is advised to take a medical assistant if you notice issues in breathing as it may be due to serious respiratory disease and can be fatal for the bird.
- Loss of appetite
One of the major signs of a disease in a pigeon is the loss of its appetite. And apart from this, you may notice some kind of discharge from the mouth.
In some cases, the crop region swells and the pigeon may vomit as well.
How can I help my sick pigeon?
The first is to warm the bird, then rehydrate the bird, and only after that offer it some food. If the bird is unable to drink water or eat food by itself, do not force the bird to drink or to eat as it will traumatize the bird.
It is extremely important to stabilize and to give warmth to the bird in the first place, after doing so other steps must be followed.
How do you know when a pigeon is dying? | signs a pigeon is dying
- The first and foremost sign of a dying pigeon is that it isolates itself from the pack.
- Often the sick or dying pigeon will sit in the dark and silent spaces.
- Its interaction with the flock becomes the bare minimum.
- The activity levels fall drastically and there is a share change in the energy level of a dying bird.
- The frequency of cooing decreases and they make very little sound.
- Apart from these, their appetite decreases a lot and body become weak.
- I will recommend you to be extra sensitive with these birds as they can also transmit the diseases to other birds.
How long does it take for a pigeon to die?
A wild pigeon can live up to 10 years of age, the approx life span of a pigeon is about 6 years but they generally end up living up to 10 or 11 years.
Pigeons in spite of their lifespan are very vulnerable to an untimely death as they are very easy preys and can meet with an accident, or are vulnerable to a number of diseases.
An accident faced bird may or may not survive the incident based on the quantum of the injury.
Though internal injuries may not be visible on the outer and seem curable by the bird owner, in many cases will spread in a day causing the life of the bird.
Sometimes pigeons might have survived other animal attack like eagles, cats, etc, in that case, they may have an impact based internal injury or poisoning from teeth or beak, which will cause their death in a couple of days
A diseased or a sick pigeon in worst cases of predictable death can survive even up to a month if taken proper care of. Miracles do happen with love and proper care.
Many of my pigeons have been brought back to life even after a month of personal care.
How do you save a dying pigeon?
Immediate care should be given to a sick or injured pigeon to save its life. After rescuing the bird you should follow these basic steps to save a dying pigeon-
- Warm the bird
It is very important to warm the bird gradually to make it comfortable. Try to give comfort so the bird becomes responsive.
In most cases baby birds can become cold easily, it is extremely crucial to give them warmth and also try to feed them. If they are not responding and having difficulty in drinking, immediate expert vet help should be taken.
In case of a head injury, heat should not be given to birds. If there is no serious injury it is advised to keep all birds near a heat source for 15 to 30 minutes to bring the bird at normal temperature
- Isolate the bird
After giving warmth to the bird, it is very crucial to stabilize the bird by keeping it in a warm, quiet, dark isolated area.
- Hydrate the bird.
It is crucial to hydrate the bird after bringing it to a normal temperature. It is extremely important to hydrate the bird only after it has been warmed, and brought to a normal temperature.
You can not give fluid to a cold bird in any situation, Period!
I recommend you bring the fluid to normal temperature before giving it to the bird.
Common Pigeon Injuries
Birds are very prone to injuries; from sitting on trees, experiencing bad weather conditions to attacks by predators they generally go through a lot. It is very likely that these birds can get injured.
This is one of the most common injuries in pigeons. These birds can easily break their wings in fights, a crash, a close encounter with a predator. Sometimes, these birds can fall off from nests and trees in storms causing their arms to break.
Pigeons with a broken wing can not fly properly making them more vulnerable to predators. Their movement also stops and so it becomes very hard for them to find and eat food.
A proper Medical assistant can help in repairing the wings, but in serious injuries, the bird may remain handicapped forever.
A Pellet Gun Wound
A shot of a pellet gun can also injure a pigeon leading to a wound, sometimes it causes a slight hole in the pigeon as well.
These wounds make the bird susceptible to many infections, the bird should be examined by a vet for possible infections. It is also advised to give antibiotics to the bird to stop the bacterial growth in the wound.
Foot injuries are very common in pigeons and other birds. The reason for this, well I will say slippers are the invention of humans, birds don’t have shoes and slippers for protection.
It is very common to see a pigeon with mangled feet, sometimes this can be the result of tangling in a fishing wire, loose strings, or fences.
These injuries are very dangerous for the birds as they can bring about many infections and can cause a lot of pain to the bird.
How do you take care of an injured pigeon?
It is very likely that birds get injured. If you find an injured pigeon, these steps can help you to take care of the birds.
- The first step is to put the bird in a secluded box and try to keep them quiet.
- The bird may be shocked due to the injury, and place the bird in a cool and dark place so the bird feels relaxed and cool.
- If there is a minor injury, the bird will recover slowly.
- If you observe a serious injury give some first aid and further medical assistance should be taken.
- It is important to feed a healthy and nutritious diet to the bird for quick recovery.
Do pigeons mourn their dead?
No, pigeons and other birds generally do not mourn their dead.
I used to think that after a bird’s death the other birds gather and make sounds to mourn their dead.
In reality, they do not make a sound to mourn their dead but they try to get some response from the bird by making sounds. Sometimes the bird makes sounds in a panic to know the reason for the threat.
Related Read: What Do You Do With A Dead Bird?
Is it ok to bury a dead pigeon?
It is completely fine to bury a dead pigeon if the area is completely secluded. If it is a pet bird it can be buried in the backyard of your garden or somewhere else.
Do not bury a dead pigeon or a bird in an open area as it can bring about many predators like cats, dogs, raccoons. It can make the predators sick from the carcass.
Is it okay to keep pigeons at home?
Yes, pigeons make fine pets and can be kept at home. There is no danger from other pets like dogs and cats if they are kept in a safe place.
What to feed and How do you feed an injured or sick pigeon?
Frozen peas that are thawed in warm water are the perfect food for an injured or a sick pigeon. It is important to first warm and then hydrate the bird before feeding it anything.
Where do birds go to die?
Birds like other animals die normally in their nests, sometimes they are killed by their predators. They also die due to a sickness in the nests and pet birds die in the farms where they live.
If they are aware of their upcoming death, they usually prefer to find a hidden or a not so accessible place. It is their common instinct to not get eaten up by predators and to not affect other fellow living species even after death.
The death of a pet bird can make you feel bad. It is very important to take care of your pet birds and to treat them properly.
Birds are vulnerable to many diseases, injuries, and infections that can be the reason for their deaths. If you find an injured or a sick bird; or a dying bird it is very important to comfort it in a proper way.
I hope this guide will help you and your pet bird in a critical situation.