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How to stop a pigeon from laying eggs

As a proud owner of a female pigeon there is one subject that crops up nearly every month, and that is the subject of egg laying. More specifically, how to stop a pigeon from continuous egg laying. As any person who owns a female pigeon will know, pigeons are prolific egg layers. They don’t need to be mated in order to lay eggs. They just need to feel it is the right time and that they have the right mate and nesting area (although the latter isn’t always the case – many of us have seen photos of pigeons who have laid an egg on the exposed floor!). The right mate can indeed be human. Many pigeons will bond with one human in the household and will court and try to start a family with that human. This behaviour may amuse us, but it is serious business for the pigeon. They want to have babies and will go through all the feelings, hormone changes, and behaviours associated with breeding and nesting. A lack of result, e.g. no babies, may be frustrating or even sorrowful for the pigeon.

So what should we do about this? Do we find a pigeon mate for the pigeon and let them breed? (This won’t solve the problem of chronic egg laying but may help the pigeon psychologically.) But what will happen to the babies? Considering the breeding efficiency of pigeons, you may soon be overrun with their offspring.

In general, feral pigeons can breed throughout the year, as long as there is enough food and shelter for them to do so. Some pigeons take a break during the winter months, some don’t. Feral pigeons will lay two eggs at a time. They incubate for about 18 days, then the squabs will be fed by both parents until they are ready to leave the nest when they are 30 days old. By this time the parents may have already produced another clutch of eggs (at around day 20), and the cycle continues.

So after considering a pigeons breeding efficiency your pet pigeon could be laying 24 eggs a year! (at least!) All this takes a lot of time and energy, and the female pigeon will need to be well fed and have access to calcium and vitamin D for egg production and laying (calcium is taken from the body to create the egg shell). Too many eggs without enough calcium will cause egg-binding or deformed eggs (see photo below for a smaller sized egg my pigeon once laid).

P1100176Left: normal sized pigeon egg. Right: deformed smaller pigeon egg

Chronic egg-laying can cause a number of serious health problems for birds, and can ultimately lead to the death of the female if left untreated.

“Chronic egg-laying in the pet bird poses a significant threat to the health and behavioral well being of many pet birds. When a hen lays repeated clutches or larger than normal clutch size without regard to the presence of a normal mate or confined breeding season, a myriad of secondary problems can follow. Ultimately, functional exhaustion of the reproductive tract poses risk of metabolic and physiological drain on the bird, particularly on calcium and energy stores. All of these ultimately predispose the hen to egg binding, dystocia, yolk coelomitis, oviductal impaction, oviductal torsion, cloacal prolapse and osteoporosis.” Ask an Expert: Chronic egg laying by Dr. Brian Speer, DVM

“Chronic egg laying will deplete calcium, thus causing myriad health problems. One of which is the condition known as hypocalcaemia – With calcium at a low level, the uterine muscles are unable to contract and push the egg out resulting in egg binding. Hypocalcaemia can also cause seizure-like activity and brittle bones, which can be easily fractured. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to prevent excessive egg laying. The first step in treating chronic egg laying is to put your bird on a complete diet. A bird that is on a balanced diet is in little danger of the health problems associated with chronic egg laying.” From: http://www.avianweb.com/egglaying.html

The following article has good advice about egg-binding:

“Calcium is used by the body to not only form the shell of the developing egg and maintain strong bones, but is also crucial in the proper functioning of the muscles. While it does take a large amount of calcium to form an egg shell, the hen also needs calcium for the muscle action needed to expel the egg.

“Vitamin d3 is crucial in the absorption of calcium. Without it, all that good calcium we offer our birds passes right through the body without being absorbed. In outdoor flights, our birds are able to produce d3 via a chemical reaction to sunlight. In indoor flights, they are unable to do this. Sunlight through a window is not sufficient. The ultraviolet light needed does not pass through window glass. Full spectrum lights can help but some studies have shown that the ultraviolet is only at sufficient levels at less than one foot from the light source. For inside birds, a d3 supplement is almost always helpful.” Egg Binding by Carol Heesen

The solution

In order to help reduce the strain egg development and laying causes the female pigeon, it is probably a good idea to discourage egg laying altogether. There are different thoughts on this and some methods may work for your pigeon, while for others it may not. It is up to you to ensure that your pigeon is healthy physically and mentally. Please read the following recommendations:

All about reducing the laying of eggs by the racing pigeon

Diet

Seed availability in the wild is generally only high during breeding season, so an abundance of seeds in the diet is a stimulus to breed.

• Providing a good quality, balanced diet with restricted seed will not only help to reduce laying, but provide better nutrition to keep her healthy and better prepared to lay eggs and fight disease.

Day Length

In the wild, birds generally breed in spring and summer, a time of increasing day length.

• By covering the loft or the windows in the evening at about 6pm, the hormones that stimulate laying will be reduced. As well as reducing mating/egg laying behavior, this will help to ensure a good night rest for your pigeons, which is very important.

Presence of a mate

Pigeons do not need to mate in order to lay eggs. They do usually need to think that they have a partner. A lot of the individual attention the pigeon fanciers will give to the pigeons can be interpreted by them as partner stimulation, and as such it needs to be minimized to the strict minimum.

• We recommend that you don’t cuddle or stroke your pigeons below the neck.

• Training basic obedience and trick training is a great way to interact with your pigeons in a healthier manner.

Nesting Site

Pigeons are more likely to lay eggs if they have a nest. This may be a nest or box, newspaper or material at the bottom of a cage.

• Do NOT provide any nesting material for a pigeon if you don’t want her to lay.

Presence of eggs

• If your pigeons does lay eggs, leave them in the cage for the normal incubation period – approximately 3 weeks for most strain.

• The presence of eggs in a cage stimulates hormones in your bird which decreases the chances of more eggs.

(From: All about reducing the laying of eggs by the racing pigeon)

More information on discouraging egg laying in birds: Egg laying in birds

10 things you can do at home to stop your bird from laying eggs

1. Put your bird to bed early, by 5 or 6:00 p.m. A long day length is one of the most important environmental cues triggering egg laying in birds. By allowing your bird to stay up late, you are mimicking the long days of spring/summer, making your bird think it is time to breed. An early bedtime will help to turn off her breeding hormones. Note that she will need complete darkness and quiet for this to be effective (covering the cage while the radio or TV is on is not adequate!).

2. Keep your bird away from dark, enclosed spaces. Most parrots are cavity nesters, which means that instead of building a nest out in the open they look for dark, enclosed spaces in which to lay their eggs. In order to stop your bird from laying eggs it is essential that she is kept away from such areas. Nest boxes should be promptly removed. Birds can be ingenious when looking for a nesting site (under a couch, behind the microwave, even in the dryer!), so it is important that she is under close supervision when out of the cage.

3. Keep your bird away from other birds to which she is bonded. Having a mate is a strong stimulus for your bird to lay. This mate may be a member of the opposite sex, another female bird, or even a bird of a different species. Separating your bird from the other birds in your household will help turn off her hormones.

4. Discourage breeding behavior in your bird. Some birds will display breeding behaviors with their favorite person, such as vent-rubbing, tail lifting, or regurgitating food. Discourage these behaviors by putting your bird back in her cage for a “time out” whenever she displays them. Don’t pet your bird on her back or under her tail, as this can be sexually stimulating.

5. Remove your bird’s “love-toys”. Some single birds will display mating behaviors with objects in their environment, such as food cups, toys, perches, or mirrors. Mating behaviors include regurgitating food, vent rubbing, and tail lifting. If your bird engages in these behaviors with an inanimate object, that object should be permanently removed from her environment.

6. Rearrange the cage interior and change the cage location. Your bird is more likely to lay eggs in a cage that hasn’t changed in a while. Putting your bird in a different cage and/or changing the cage location can help discourage laying. Changing the arrangement or types of toys, dishes, and perches in the cage can also be very helpful.

7. Give your bird optimal nutrition and provide full spectrum light. Producing and laying eggs robs your bird of the vitamins, proteins, and calcium she needs to stay healthy. It is especially crucial during the breeding season that she is on a complete and balanced diet, which in most cases will be a pelleted diet. A seed diet supplemented with vitamins is not adequate. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a pelleted diet for your bird. Full spectrum sunlight is necessary for your bird’s calcium metabolism, and can be provided by unfiltered sunlight or by a full spectrum flourescent bulb.

8. Avoid removing the eggs which your bird has already laid. Sometimes the easiest way to turn off the egg-laying cycle is to allow your bird to sit on her eggs. If your bird lays a few eggs and then sits on them, leave the eggs in the cage for 21 days or until she loses interest. If however she does not stop at 3 – 4 eggs and continues laying, this strategy may not work, and you should call your avian veterinarian for further suggestions.

9. Ask your veterinarian about hormone injections. In certain cases of excessive egg-laying, your veterinarian may recommend hormone injections in addition to the above environmental and dietary changes. Hormone injections are relatively safe and can help reduce egg-laying in some birds. The effectiveness of hormone injections varies from bird to bird and can not be accurately predicted beforehand.

10. When in doubt, ask your avian veterinarian. If you have questions or concerns regarding your bird’s health, or if the above changes do not stop your bird from laying, please give your avian veterinarian a call.

Author: Hilary S. Stern, DVM

From: http://www.forthebirdsdvm.com/pages/discouraging-breeding-behavior-in-pet-birds


I discovered a useful and insightful website by Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) about the genetic welfare problems of companion animals: http://www.ufaw.org.uk/geneticwelfareproblems.php

UFAW is a charity dedicated to promoting and developing improvements in the welfare of all animals, mainly through scientific and eductional activity.

The website is an information resource for prospective breeders and pet owners, and highlights which breeds of domestic animals have genetic welfare problems. Included in their list is a selection of fancy pigeon breeds: http://www.ufaw.org.uk/PIGEONS.php

The two main issues with fancy pigeons they write about is Abnormal Feathers and Rolling and Tumbling behaviour.

The website is worth a read to understand the problems these fancy pigeon breeds have and what are the welfare implications. You will find information on the clinical and pathological effects of the condition, the intensity and duration of welfare impact, number of animals affected, diagnosis, genetics, how to determine if an animal is a carrier, as well as methods and prospects for elimination of the problem.

Abnormal Feathers

Breed examples: Bokhara Trumpeter, Dresden Trumpeter, English Fantail, English Pouter, English Trumpeter, Ghent Cropper, Hungarian Giant House, Indian Fantail, Jacobin, Lahore Pigeon, Old Dutch Capuchine, Old German Cropper, Reversewing Pouter, Saxon Fairy Swallow, Tiger Swallow, Trumpeter

Condition: Abnormal Feathers

Related terms: feathered feet, hoods, fantails

Outline: Various breeds of pigeons have been selected for a range of plumage abnormalities: abnormalities of feather size, position and number. Examples include: a hood or mane of feathers covering the head and eyes, feathered legs and feet (“muffs” or “leggings”), and fantails. These variously compromise capacities for locomotion (walking, perching and flight), for mating and rearing young, for feeding and probably also for maintaining thermal comfort. The effects these have on the birds’ quality of life is difficult to assess but it seems likely that they are negative.” (From: http://www.ufaw.org.uk/ABNORMALFEATHERS.php)

The extreme feathering on some pigeon breeds interferes with their normal behaviour. Fantails, for example, have tail feathers that are held constantly fanned out which severely affect the aerodynamics of the pigeon, compromising their ability to fly and escape predators. Breeds with hoods or manes are often unable to raise their own young, which have to be fostered by pigeons with normal plumage. Long leg and feet feathers interfere with normal walking, perching and flying (by acting as aerial brakes during flight). Abnormal feathering can also become more easily soiled and lead to disease and parasites if the pigeon is unable to keep its feathers clean.

The below photo is of a rescued Indian Fantail who has broken tail feathers from improper housing. He was rehomed but has difficulty preening and often his tail and leg feathers have to be washed by hand to keep them clean.

P1020948

Indian Fantail

The below photo is of a fancy pigeon with extra long leg feathers which restrict his movement and perching abilities, as well as being easily soiled. Another problem with such feathering is the danger of them becoming damaged or broken, which can lead to bleeding if a blood feather is broken.

P1010037

Notice the long white feathers on this pigeon's feet.

.

Rolling and Tumbling

Breed: Roller and Tumbler Pigeons – For example: Armenian Tumbler, Australian Performing Tumbler, Berlin Short-Faced Tumbler, English Long-Faced Tumbler, English Short-Faced Tumbler, Iranian Highflying Tumbler, Komorner Tumbler, Parlor Roller, Parlor Tumbler, Syrian Coop Tumbler, West of England Tumbler

Condition: Rolling and tumbling

Related terms: backward somersaulting, rolldowns

Outline: The roller and tumbler breeds of pigeon have been selected for tumbling behaviour in flight, to the extent that some tumblers can no longer fly but, instead, tumble as soon as they intend to take wing. (This abnormal behaviour is exploited in competitions in which owners of these pigeons compete to find whose bird covers the most ground by tumbling over it.) The consequences to the birds are difficult to assess but are clearly adverse when they lead to injuries due to hitting the ground or tumbling over it.” (From: http://www.ufaw.org.uk/ROLLINGTUMBLINGPIGEONS.php)

 

More videos of this behaviour and activity: Video Friday: Rollers and Tumblers

Besides the obvious welfare issues of injuries caused by tumbling and rolling behaviour (e.g. from collisions with the ground or objects), it is also disturbing their natural desire to fly normally, especially as a flight response to danger, thus possibly being a cause for fear-related stress and distress.

Below is a photo of Turk, who we believe to be a tumbler pigeon, possibly a Turkish Takla. I have witnessed him do backflips in the air when he tries to fly down from a perch to the ground in the aviary where he lives. Each time his behaviour indicates that the backflips are not voluntary and seem to inconvenience him. He always hesitates each time he wants to fly down. An indication of a lack of desire to fly because of how the backflips make him feel? This may be my subjective point of view but as pointed out on the website, it may be a source of frustration if the pigeon is unable to control the tumbling behaviour.

Turk

Turk, the Turkish Takla pigeon


A few weeks ago I posted two articles about feral pigeons in my area from the local papers (see: Local pigeon news). I felt I had to reply to the articles from a pro-pigeon perspective, and they published my views in the “letters” section. I wonder if anyone will bother to attack my views or if someone will agree with them. I’ll keep an eye out.

But first, I found the original “pigeon and hawk” article online, so here it is. Simply click on the photos to zoom in (keep clicking!).

Pigeon article1

Pigeon article2

http://www.yourtunbridgewells.co.uk/

And my letter in response to the article:

My letter

And my comment on the pigeons under the railway bridge article:

Although I do not reside in the Sherwood area, I know of the bridge mentioned in the article (“Councillor vows he will clip the wings of pigeon problem”). The design of the bridge is an ideal nesting spot for feral pigeons and without proper netting they will continue to use the space.

My concern regarding the article is that Mr Backhouse says he’s pushing for the railway authority to “re-house” the pigeons. I’m doubtful any pest control company will actually re-home these pigeons, rather, they would most likely kill any babies they find. Besides being cruel this is totally unnecessary since there is a local wildlife rescue centre (Folly Wildlife Rescue in Eridge Green) that would take in any feral pigeons and pigeon babies found for rehabilitation and re-homing.

R Poole


There have been two articles about feral pigeons in my area. One about the problem of pigeons breeding under a railway bridge, and another about using a hawk to scare pigeons away from a certain area in town.

I know the bridge mentioned in the first article, I’ve been under it and have seen the pigeon population that breeds there. Since the design of the bridge is perfect for pigeons – with ledges and nooks and crannies – pigeons naturally choose to roost and nest under them.

Since these types of bridges normally have a busy road under them I always fear for the baby pigeons that might accidentally fall from their nest. I would personally like to see the bridge netted off to prevent pigeons from nesting there (purely to stop baby pigeons from falling to their death), however, it would need to be done properly so that the pigeons could not get through and become stuck.

What I’m worried about is what will happen to the existing baby pigeons under the bridge. Will they be “rehomed” as the councillor is suggesting or will they simply be killed by the pest control company? I will be contacting the relevant people about this matter.

Councillor vows he will clip the wings of pigeon problem

Friday, March 11, 2011, 08:00

By Helen Kitchener (helen.kitchener@courier.co.uk)

It has been a slimy, unpleasant problem for more than 15 years – but now a Sherwood councillor has pledged to tackle the scourge of pigeon droppings from Sandhurst Road railway bridge once and for all.

For several years councillors and residents have lobbied Network Rail, which owns the bridge, to clean it up and move the pigeons which roost there but to no avail.

Recently elected councillor Bob Backhouse, who lives round the corner from the bridge, said it was high time the disgusting mess was tackled. But Mr Backhouse was quick to point out he was “not declaring war on pigeons”.

“This is one of those issues which sounds trivial but when you go out knocking on doors people want it sorted,” said Mr Backhouse. “Just the other day I heard from a woman who was pushing a double buggy and one of the pigeons dumped on her. It’s happened to me when I was walking into town and I had to turn round and go home to wash my hair.”

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council employs a contractor to spray the area around the bridge with antiseptic on a regular basis.

“I’ve been assured by the borough council there’s a file about four inches thick on it,” said Mr Backhouse. “The council has really tried but has come up against a brick wall with Network Rail. I understand they have much more important things to sort out but they seem to have quite a cavalier attitude.”

Mr Backhouse is pushing for the railway authority to rehouse the animals and put up netting after they had bred to stop them returning.

“It’s one of those things that if we get it done it will make a lot of folk happy,” he added.

Network Rail refused to comment.

(From: http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/news/Councillor-vows-clip-wings-pigeon-problem/article-3317091-detail/article.html)

Sandhurst Road railway bridge:

sandhurst-road-pigeon-bridge2

(Photo from: http://kevinlynes.wordpress.com/2009/03/28/sandhurst-road-railway-bridge-a-real-bird-puller/)

The second article is about the fact that some traders are fed up with the local feral pigeons and the mess they leave. They take the usual ignorant stance that pigeons are dirty and a health hazard and therefore need to go (please see my post: Feral pigeons and disease). I understand that their droppings can damage buildings, etc., however, without barring off the nesting sites and ridding the place of waste food, the pigeons will stay in the area. A few hours in the week of a hawk flying about won’t deter them.

While I applaud the traders efforts to find a humane solution to their so-called pigeon problem, it is flawed and will most likely be ineffective. My worry is that once they’ve realised that their hawk plan isn’t working they’ll turn to inhumane actions.

As far as I can tell from the original article, the hawk isn’t trained to catch the pigeons, only to fly about and scare them off by its presence.

Hawk hired to scare away Tunbridge Wells pigeons

Page last updated at 16:40 GMT, Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The hawk in the Pantiles

The hawk’s profile while in flight scares away the pigeons
Kent traders have employed a bird of prey to scare away pigeons they said are damaging historic buildings.

Several businesses on the Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells have joined forces to pay for the hire of the Harris hawk.

Richard Simm, chair of the Association of Pantiles Traders said the pigeons are destroying buildings, and putting off tourists.

Simm has tried playing sounds of the pigeons’ predators through speakers, but with no effect.

He said he is hoping that the landlords or the Traders Association will be able to help with funding for the bird.

“The hawk is quite an expensive way of dealing with the pigeons, but it is done in a humane way.”

(From: http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/kent/hi/people_and_places/nature/newsid_9425000/9425811.stm)


Yesterday I wrote that we were expecting Georgie to lay an egg any minute now, and lo and behold, she did!

The whole day George was restless. She didn’t want to nest in her guinea-pig nest, nor even in the pink and white fleece! For some reason Georgie was rejecting them. I didn’t know what she wanted and nothing I did seemed to please her. Georgie kept moving about without settling.

In the end we found that she’d laid the egg on the floor. She didn’t seem interested in it at all. Poor dear.

P1050273

We left the egg in Georgie’s cage today when we left for work and returned to find her incubating it. Hooray! (By the way, Georgie’s eggs are never fertile.) We now await the appearance of the second egg, which should happen tomorrow.

P1050275

This is a video of Georgie laying an egg earlier this year:

Georgie has had an 8 month break since the last time she laid eggs, which I think is good because as you can imagine, egg production and laying takes a lot of energy and calcium. It can take its toll if birds lay eggs continuously, a condition called “chronic egg-laying”. I’m happy that George made the decision to not lay eggs for a while, thus giving herself a break. Now, however, an egg has appeared and who knows if she’ll continue to lay eggs every month from now on. I hope she doesn’t.

Chronic egg-laying can cause a number of serious health problems for birds, and can ultimately lead to the death of the female if left untreated.

“Chronic egg-laying in the pet bird poses a significant threat to the health and behavioral well being of many pet birds. When a hen lays repeated clutches or larger than normal clutch size without regard to the presence of a normal mate or confined breeding season, a myriad of secondary problems can follow. Ultimately, functional exhaustion of the reproductive tract poses risk of metabolic and physiological drain on the bird, particularly on calcium and energy stores. All of these ultimately predispose the hen to egg binding, dystocia, yolk coelomitis, oviductal impaction, oviductal torsion, cloacal prolapse and osteoporosis.” Ask an Expert: Chronic egg laying by Dr. Brian Speer, DVM.

This article – Chronic Egg Laying from AvianWeb – has some good advice on how to combat chronic egg-laying (mainly aimed at parrot species). Please go to the article to see the full explanation of the points below.

Things you can do to discourage / stop your bird from laying eggs:

  • Do not remove eggs which she has already laid.
  • Remove possible nesting sites and nest-making material.
  • Mimic “Shorter Days”.
  • Limit food access.
  • One vet recommended turning day into night.
  • Discourage breeding behavior in your bird.
  • Rearrange the cage interior and change the cage location.
  • Give your bird optimal nutrition.
  • Provide full spectrum light.
  • If necessary, separate from “mate”.
  • Ask your veterinarian about hormone injections.

The following article has good advice about egg-binding (one of the problems of chronic egg laying):

“Calcium is used by the body to not only form the shell of the developing egg and maintain strong bones, but is also crucial in the proper functioning of the muscles. While it does take a large amount of calcium to form an egg shell, the hen also needs calcium for the muscle action needed to expel the egg.

“Vitamin d3 is crucial in the absorption of calcium. Without it, all that good calcium we offer our birds passes right through the body without being absorbed. In outdoor flights, our birds are able to produce d3 via a chemical reaction to sunlight. In indoor flights, they are unable to do this. Sunlight through a window is not sufficient. The ultraviolet light needed does not pass through window glass. Full spectrum lights can help but some studies have shown that the ultraviolet is only at sufficient levels at less than one foot from the light source. For inside birds, a d3 supplement is almost always helpful.” Egg Binding by Carol Heesen


There are currently around 318 species of pigeons and doves in the world. Many are threatened with extinction and already many species are extinct. 

There are two websites I would like to highlight.

The first is called The Sixth Extinction, a website about the current biodiversity crisis, which is an educational site highlighting the plight of many species and aiming to bring this to the attention of the public. With more people aware of the problem then maybe more people will help (in ways explained in: Stop Extinction! How Can You Help?). The site also contains lists of globally extinct animals (and the list of birds: Globally Extinct: Birds).

It is so scary and very sad how quickly animals are disappearing – many without anyone even knowning anything about them – they are gone before discovery! Awareness of the problem is the first step, with Action a quick second.

The second website is called Columbidae Conservation, a UK based charity working towards the conservation of pigeons and doves, as well as their habitat, around the world.

The site contains news about conservation efforts, as well as publications on scientific studies (e.g. ecological, behavioural) about different pigeon species.

The following map from the website shows the distribution of pigeons and doves (click on the maps to make them bigger):

And the distribution of extinct and vulnerable species:

More about the above maps at: http://www.columbidae.org.uk/Columbidae%20Conservation%20index.html

I found various sites that have lists of extinct pigeons, however, none seemed to have the same amount of species, so please don’t treat the following list as gospel – it’s just what I’ve put together from the various sites:

Extinct pigeon and dove species

  1. Bonin Wood Pigeon Columba versicolor
  2. Dodo Raphus cucullatus
  3. Huahine Cuckoo-dove Macropygia arevarevauupa
  4. Liverpool Pigeon Caloenas maculata
  5. Mauritius Blue Pigeon Alectroenas nitidissima
  6. Norfolk Island Ground-dove Gallicolumba norfolciensis
  7. Passenger Pigeon Ectopistes migratorius
  8. Red-moustached Fruit-dove Ptilinopus mercierii
  9. Réunion Pigeon Columba duboisi
  10. Rodrigues Pigeon Alectroenas rodericana
  11. Rodrigues Solitaire Pezophaps solitaria
  12. Ryukyu Pigeon Columba jouyi
  13. Solomon Island Crowned Pigeon Microgoura meeki
  14. St. Helena Dove Dysmoropelia dekarchiskos
  15. Tanna Ground-dove Gallicolumba ferruginea
  16. Thick-billed Ground Dove Gallicolumba salamonis

Subspecies

  1. Lord Howe White-throated Pigeon Columba vitiensis godmanae
  2. Madeiran Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus maderensis
  3. Norfolk Island Pigeon Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae spadicea

Two days ago I posted Goddess of the Sun in which I wrote about Georgie being out in the garden, having a good time soaking up the rays of the sun. Well, after I had posted that I noticed that Georgie was closing her left eye a lot. We checked her eye to see if she had anything stuck in it but we found nothing. Instead we noticed that her eye looked very dry. Her right eye was normal looking.

Georgie’s left eye is the one that is quite cloudy, as seen in this photo:

P1020258

All day on Sunday Georgie kept closing her eye and first thing Monday I got some eye drops for her, which we applied (too early to say if it has helped).

I think that maybe her day out in the sun caused her eye to dry up so when I take her out next time I’ll put a drop on her eye and see if that helps. If it doesn’t then a trip to the vet will be in order.

When things like this happen I feel very sorry for George because she cannot tell me in words what’s wrong. She relies on us to take care of her and understand what she needs, and when she’s having a bad day or has health problems it can be hard to interpret her needs. It can be hard to do the right thing because on the one hand you don’t want to over-react and take your animal to the vet for tests and injections, but on the other hand, if you are slow to react you can make things worst. I guess all you can do is trust your instincts to know what action to take in bad situations.

When Georgie became eggbound last year (Georgie eggbound) it was tough to sit back and wait for her to respond to the treatment she had to help her expel the egg. Although I had sought veterinary advice and done what was needed, I still felt very powerless and as if I hadn’t done enough to help her. I now can see that we had done everything right in helping her in that situation, which gives me confidence to respond if it ever happens again, but I think there’ll always a part of me that fears the worst.

Ok, gotta stop this train of thought now.

I love my pigeon and my pigeon loves me! :)


Pigeons have a bad rep. I’m not entirely sure why since they have been domesticated for thousands of years and have been utilised as messangers, raised for food, and kept as pets and for show. So why the ‘flying rat’ and ‘dirty’ image that many people view them as? (Editors note: rats are also given the same bad, if not worst, image as pigeons, however, I feel this is equally unjustified.)

I guess it is just a matter of prejudice. While white doves are considered a symbol of peace, innocence and loyalty, feral pigeons are considered dirty and diseased. Strange since doves and pigeons are actually the same species. Maybe it is only a colour difference that makes someone like or dislike a pigeon?

Pigeons are also often labeled as pests. Humans are quick to call a species a pest if they interfere with agriculture, livestock or our dwellings. How arrogant of us to do so when we are the ones encroaching on their territory and they are simply taking advantage of what we leave around for them. Anyway, I don’t want to rant and rave about this subject. I could get a bit hot under the collar. :)

The reason I’m bringing this up is to say that although pigeons are not generally thought by the masses as pet animals, they are indeed one of the best species to have as a pet, and can rival a dog! Pigeons are intelligent, clean, easily tamed (especially if hand-reared), found in different shapes and colours, and are very entertaining and loving. I’m not advocating for people to go out there and capture feral pigeons to keep as pets, not at all! Rather I’m just trying to show that if, for some chance, a tame or baby pigeon comes your way don’t make any rash decisions. You have a wonderful animal in your hands!

For those of you who are not quite sure about pigeons, why not take part in The Feral Pigeon Project: http://feralpigeonproject.com/ It may help you see pigeons in a different light once you’ve started observing them.

Going onto a pigeon forum and reading peoples positive viewings will also help you realise what wonderful animals pigeons are. My personal recommendation is this forum, Pigeon Angels, for a friendly and relaxing atmosphere: http://pij-n-angels.forumotion.net/

For those of you who cannot or will not see pigeons as anything other than a pest, and have an issue with them on your property, please have a look at these two websites before attempting to remove them in a non-humane way: Pigeon Control Advisory Service (PiCAS) and Humane Urban Wildlife Deterrence Association.