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Georgie wasn’t impressed that Elmo is stealing all her broody glory so she laid some eggs to compete. We now have two moody, broody little pigeons.

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Ps. We moved Georgie’s nest out of the cat igloo bed so she can have easier access to food and water in her cage.


Elmo is happily (and moodily) sitting on his fake eggs.

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Georgie laid two eggs in March (on the 24th and 26th) and after the second egg she had post egg-laying paralysis in her legs which she’s had in the past. Usually, after a few days Georgie is better, however, this time I was worried that she was struggling with the condition so I decided to take her to the vets for a check up. Since Georgie gets terribly car sick I thought it best to take her to the vets in our town, Tunbridge Wells, instead of driving 40 minutes to the avian vet in Maidstone.

I took Georgie to the vets I work for, Culverden Veterinary Group, and she made an impression. She didn’t peck anyone, even when a bright light was shone in her eyes! Amazing!! Here’s their Twitter tweet about Georgie girl:

https://twitter.com/CulverdenVets

“Georgie the pigeon visited TW with her owner recently. We hope her leg’s on the mend!”

https://twitter.com/CulverdenVets/status/319919270681264128/photo/1

Georgie is fine now, after the care from the vets, but she did throw up in the car even with only a 5 minute drive. Poor girl. I don’t think she’ll ever feel good in the car.


There are a few words used by pigeon lovers on the net that makes us smile and tut at the same time when we see it posted: “Oops” babies! :)

These words announce the discovery of baby pigeons that have slipped our birth-control vigilance. We smile because we are delighted to see little babies but tut because we know we should have checked more carefully but somehow we slacked and missed those eggs. Sometimes, pigeons will go to great lengths to hide their eggs from us so the babies remain hidden for a long time (Dora hid under a hutch: Dora’s first babies).

Now why on Earth would I be writing about “oops” babies?! … Have you guessed yet? :)

Dora’s aviary was having a major clean. A hutch was lifted and underneath we discovered these little critters:

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Baby field mice

Ok, so they’re not pigeons but they are sooo adorable! 8 little field mice and 1 big fat mamma mouse! Next to the nest is a big pile of peanuts. After our shock and a quick photo, we placed the hutch back to leave the family in peace. We’ll check on them later when they are old enough to fend from themselves: then the fun begins! Catching them all up and releasing them. I’m not sure if the mother mouse can get out of the aviary since the wire is quite small, however, mice are quite capable of squeezing through small spaces so she may be coming and going easily. Whatever the case, she’s obviously finding life with the pigeons a breeze: plenty of food and bedding around and no predators!

In other news, Teresa (a disabled pigeon) is still not using her legs properly and we have been unsuccessful in finding a cause (read: News about pigeons in Dora’s aviary). I put her back in Dora’s aviary to see how she would cope, and the male pigeons swamped her – cooing and dancing on and around her, making it impossible for her to escape from their unwanted attentions. They stood on her wings and basically penned her down. I quickly removed her and knew that she would not be able to live in the aviary in her condition. So I set up a smaller pen outside and gave her two other white pigeons for company and they are all getting along fine. No fights or unwanted behaviour.

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Teresa (left) and a friend

The other two white pigeons are youngsters that were orphaned and ill, but are now fine and growing up beautifully.

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Teresa (left) and co in their outside pen

Birdie pigeon is looking much better now that her feathers have grown back:

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Birdie girl

And Tux and Burko have decided that they want to nest in the hanging basket instead of the hutch I provided:

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Burko (left) and Tux (right)

Dora and her mate, Pidge, are doing very well. Dora’s sitting on a fake egg and being very demanding. As soon as she sees me (from across the field) she’ll cling to the aviary wire to let me know that she’s expecting me to come over with peanuts. Woe betide me if I come empty-handed!!

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Dora and Pidge

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Dora's aviary


On the 29th Dec 2010 (in Egg free at last) I wrote: “George has in fact filled out very nicely in the past month. She feels really chunky and solid, which I’m very happy about since she has always been a bit too slight and thin. I hope she doesn’t loose her “pregnancy” weight!”

Boy do I regret saying that. Georgie stopped eating on that day and for days refused to eat her seed. So I tried popping some peanuts down her throat, however, she simply vomited them up later. :(

Not wanting to cause her to become even more ill, I decided not to force-feed her anymore. Sometimes, giving food can cause more problems. A vet visit was scheduled, and Georgie lost all that lovely weight she had gained.

Basically, Georgie stopped eating for about 4 days. On the fifth she wolfed down some granary bread and had a go at her seed – but not in her cage! She refused to eat from the seed bowl if it was in her cage – so we put it on the sofa and she had a field day – swishing seed left and right and making an awful mess.

An important message regarding ill birds: Since birds are very good at hiding any illness you often won’t notice anything until it has progressed quite far. So if you suspect anything is wrong with your bird, contact your avian vet immediately, otherwise it may be too late.

Sometimes I forget this. Georgie was acting normal and looking fine except for the simple fact that she wasn’t eating. And when she did start eating, she wouldn’t eat when in her cage. It got very frustrating.

However, after the visit to the avian vet we felt better about Georgie. In fact, on that day Georgie had eaten a lot of seed from her bowl in her cage, but vomited it all up on the journey to the vet due to car sickness. It was nice to see that Georgie had eaten, but upsetting that it had to come all out.

The vet said that Geogie most likely had an eye infection when she was a baby due to mycoplasma bacteria which scarred her eyes (the cloudiness) and distorted her pupils (it’s so nice to finally have an explanation for Georgie’s eye condition). This bacteria is laying dormant in her body until her immune system is compromised, such as when she’s using a lot of energy to produce and lay eggs. So the mycoplasma took the opportunity to attack Georgie’s system which made her lose her appetite. She’s on antibiotics and we also bought some vitamin and mineral supplements to give her on top of the calcium and vitamin D that she already receives (to boost her health).

At the moment Georgie is eating well but she’s still thinner than she should be and feels very light. We’re keeping a close eye if anything changes. I cannot bare to think of what would happen if the worst happened. Georgie has become such an integral part of my family and heart.

It’s always scary when your animal becomes ill. It can be hard to know what to do and when to act, however, a good vet that you can trust is really the best, as well as support and advice from good people in the pigeon rescue field!

Today Georgie was annoying Elmo and Richard so much because she kept walking over to Elmo’s side on the sofa to get some peanuts, however, she wasn’t swallowing any – just pecking at them and throwing them about. It seems they were all the wrong size for her liking! In the end, Richard popped a few into her mouth and she seemed grateful to be given a helping hand. She’d never have come to a decision on her own. (I guess this means I have to go search for smaller sized peanuts.)

Here’s the mess Georgie made on the sofa on the day she decided to eat again:

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Elmo was given a bit of wire from Richard’s arduino set and what did he do? He promptly took it to his nest. Uh oh. Does this mean that Elmo’s going broody again? Check out the video:

I’m not sure I can handle Elmo being broody again. The first time (in July) was an utter shock and we were transfixed in his nesting behaviour, but Elmo was very demanding and kept chasing me to remove me from the area where his precious (fake) eggs were, since I’m the competition and all.

I think we won’t encourage his nest building behaviour. … But he’s adorable when he does it. … I’ll let you know what we decide. :)

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Off with the wire!

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What an adorable couple! :)

Elmo’s broody saga: Elmo is broody!!, Moody Broody Elmo, Broody day three and Eggless Elmo.


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Pet Pigeon Book

The Pet Pigeon Book is a notebook I bought to fill with all the relevant information about Georgie and Elmo.

It contains the following:

  • dates when we received Elmo and Georgie
  • their hatch-day details
  • their weights each month
  • the dates when Georgie laid her eggs
  • vet details
  • health records
  • any medication details
  • holiday notes
  • pigeon sitter details

As time goes by I add things to Georgie’s and Elmo’s individual pages.

We also have a few laminated sheets with instructions for the pet sitters on how to care for Elmo and Georgie – all the quirks and special things they need to consider. Many people have never cared for an indoor pigeon before so we have to make sure that they know what to expect.

I think it is always a good idea to record little things as well as the big things. You never know when you might need the information.

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Georgie's front page

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Elmo's front page


Remember Dora’s skyscraper nest? Well, Dora laid a few eggs in it but unfortunately they fell out and cracked on the floor. :(

The nest was just too high and flat – the eggs didn’t stand a chance. After this incident, Dora and Pidge have modified the nest to make it more egg friendly (they reduced the amount of straw and made a dip in the nest to nestle the eggs). I check the aviary for eggs every day and replace any with fake ones, but so far no eggs in the nest. I’m sure Dora will be laying a pair again soon.

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And remember headless Elmo? Sometimes we look over and see Elmo in this position – his head tucked under his body, in-between his legs. He’s all quiet and waiting patiently for us to notice, and we don’t know for how long he’s been in that position waiting. Once we’ve noticed and placed our hands near him, Elmo will start cooing and wiggling his wings in happiness – still with his head tucked away.

I sometimes fear that Elmo will fall asleep on his head and suffocate himself, so I gently tease his head out from under him. Then, if he’s in a generous mood, he’ll let me stroke him without pecking me.

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Monday mornings are always busy for me at work – coming in after a 2 day break to find the Intensive Care Unit busting at the seams with casualties from the weekend. It takes us a few hours to reassess and sort out the new arrivals and older patients – but first I always have the need to go see Dora, Pidge and the other resident pigeons. I need to know that they are ok.

So I go to say good morning and to also check for any eggs (which, if found, I’ll replace with fake ones) and upon seeing Dora and Pidge I burst out laughing.

This is what I see:

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:D

It seems that Dora and her mate, Pidge, have been a bit too eager and ambitious in their nest building! :)

What darlings! Pigeons always seem to do something new to make me laugh and smile – this little skyscraper nest being such a gem. I can just see Pidge’s determination and dedication as he picks up another piece of straw and takes it to the ever growing pile. Dora must be thinking, “Are the eggs going to stay on top of this?”

I must admit I’d be very worried for their babies if I did let them raise a pair. I’d be too afraid that they’d fall off the nest – seeing as it is so high and a bit unstable. Surely Dora and Pidge must realise that the eggs and babies would be the safest in the basket – not balanced on top?!

Oh well, I just have to let them pretend that they know what they’re doing. :)

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Elmo wasn’t too happy with us on the weekend because we took his nest and eggs away. I know, “How can you be so cruel?!” is what you’re all saying, but we had to because Elmo was becoming far too protective and territorial. After a day of sulking Elmo is back to his normal self – although we did find him trying to nest on some peanuts today! Poor boy. I guess after 10 years of being childless his parental needs have really come to surface.

Here’s a very sweet video of Elmo building his nest:

And here’s a not so sweet Elmo attacking me when I peeked into the bedroom nesting area:

Ok, I admit it, I loved the attention from him but it did get a bit ridiculous with Elmo trying to chase me away from every spot I was in. Here he’s peering past Richard’s computer to see if he can get to me at my desk:

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Note the pale pillow in the background which was my barrier on the sofa to protect me from Elmo, however, Elmo simply jumped onto the backrest of the sofa and marched right over to my side and attacked me! I just couldn’t win with him!

While we are happy to have Elmo back to his normal self, we do miss seeing his very loyal and dedicated behaviour towards the fake eggs.

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I have to say that although we’ve only had Elmo for two years we thought we’d seen everything – but this broody behaviour of his really surprised us!!