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Topic: Baby Dove Concern
Message: Posted by: Shaner316 (Jan 29, 2007 04:54PM)
As you may remember, about 6 weeks ago I finally managed to hatch 2 baby doves.

One is doing very well and is suprisingly big (I sometimes have a hard time distinguishing him from the parents!) And is flying around having a good time. My concern has to do with the other one.

The second one is substantially smaller than the first, which I understand is normal. He is not completely feathered yet (Still missing a little under the wings) and does not have a whole lot of feathers on his stomach area.

It also appears that he can't stand up. He is always "lying down" and I have never seen him stand up.If I am holding him and gradually tilt my hand back, he flaps his wings to try to get up my hand, but it does not appear that he is using his legs to try and climb up.

I am not sure if this means he just does not have the strength in his legs, or there is another problem.

Any advice is appreciated.
Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (Jan 29, 2007 05:24PM)
Shaner, by this time, the dove should be standing on it's own. When it's perching on your finger, does it stand up and hold on, or does it settle down on your finger? If it isn't standing, you very well could have a problem. I would take him to a vet. This could be an easy fix or it could be a problem not worth taking care of. Not the kind of news you were looking for, I know, but it happens sometimes.
Message: Posted by: 1906Alpha1906 (Jan 29, 2007 10:05PM)
Shaner, Hey!
I had this same problem at one point. Its best to get the dove checked out because at this point in the game, he/she should be standing on his/her own. The problem you will face is if the dove keeps laying down, it can develop "bed sores" underneath and other problems can occur with the dove, and will most likely get very sick, and..........well....

Also, other deformities can happen if the dove doesn't start standing and moving around...
Message: Posted by: Autumn Morning Star (Jan 30, 2007 02:21PM)
This has happened to me before, too. I always do a test to see if his claws can grip my finger. Don't let him fall, just see if he has the strength to grasp. Their grasping instinct comes very early on and is strong. If he cannot grasp, chances are there is something wrong.

In general, I find it harder to raise birds in the winter, for our homes become toxic environments. Most of us keep our doors and windows closed more and a weaker bird may be more sensitive to chemicals such as spray cleaning solutions, unvented bathroom gas heater, teflon pan fumes, or even lead in the waterpipes of an old building. I have had birds act exactly like the one you are describing that were affected by a chemical in the house, so be alert to commonplace things you do at home.

Trouble can even happen in the summer, especially if you live near a dry cleaners or other toxic business. One summer, I had a little baby bird who was smaller than her nestmate and could not stand. She would scoot backwards like a crawfish and she could not hold her head upright. It was terrible. It turned out that the dry cleaners near me was venting their toxic perchlorethylene (Perc) fumes into my garage. I called the city and forced the dry cleaners to stop venting fumes and my bird recovered in two days.

So sometimes it is environmental and sometimes it is just a bird that is not born healthy. Please do get the little guy checked out. Our prayers are with you and your bird.
Message: Posted by: Shaner316 (Jan 30, 2007 04:58PM)
I had him out again today. It seems like he cannot perch at all. He just dosen't seem to grasp at my finger and just flaps his wings and tries to move backwards. Looks like I am going to have to take him and get him checked out
Message: Posted by: 1906Alpha1906 (Jan 30, 2007 06:10PM)
Hi Shane..for sure you want to get him checked out. Here is a link to a picture of one of my doves that had the same problem. He, unfortunately never recovered. You'll noticed his leg is spayed, and he did walk backwards, and finally got to move forward, and would follow me around as seen in the linked video too, but just never "came out" of it.


Get him checked out. There may just be a deeper problem. That, unfortunately, is Nature's way of "the stronger will survive"
Message: Posted by: Vinnie Laraway (Jan 30, 2007 08:27PM)
Hey Tom, not to change the subject of anything, but I see that your dove pictured above had a sort of red spot on one of its wings.. Is this normal?

I remember when I got my little guy, he had a similar mark on one wing.. The feathers grew in shortly after it, and the 'mark' dissappeared.. You can see it here: http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a298/Vlaraway/Pictures%20of%20Jack/Dove3.jpg

Message: Posted by: 1906Alpha1906 (Jan 30, 2007 11:42PM)
Hey Vinnie....little spots here and there are normal, yes. Doves don't grow feathers in 'evenly' and eventually the feathers will grow long enough to cover these areas. usually the Beak area is the last to fully grow in. Until then, it usually looks like the dove has gotten a bad haricut! *smile*
Message: Posted by: Vinnie Laraway (Jan 31, 2007 06:29AM)
Cool.. Thanks for the info.. =]

Shaner, I hope all goes well for your little guy...

Message: Posted by: Autumn Morning Star (Jan 31, 2007 09:15AM)
Shane, splay leg is fixable! This condition is like doing the splits all day long and it can rub the belly naked of feathers. "Splay leg" is caused by genetics, diet, inexperienced parents who sit too hard on the nest, and occasionally a single egg hatchling that is off balance in the nest because of too much room. Yours was probably caused by the big hatchling mashing the little one.

There is still hope! I have had several baby birds totally recover from splay leg, but it is best if you catch them early (at 1 week or so). Remember the one I told you about that scooted backward? Her legs were also splayed in addition to all her other issues. She was already out of the nest and nearly 5 weeks old. I took her off the newspaper surface (she could not get a grip) and moved her to a more textured surface so her muscles could build. She got stronger in days.

Try a sheet of the rubbery, nubbie stuff you put in drawers to make the spoons and tools stay in one place. You find it in a roll near the contact paper. I think Rubbermaid makes it. Cut it into squares and line a shallow box with it and put the dove in this box with her legs in the correct position. You can change the nubby square when it gets dirty or poopie. Rinse it well and be sure to let it dry thoroughly. There is more than enough in one roll to make several squares.

If this does not help your bird in a few days, you might try the next suggestion (banding and string) along with the nubby cage flooring.

Magicians, please check for splay leg EARLY, about 1 week old is when it manifests. If your bird is becoming splay legged, buy dove bands and band each leg. Then you tie a soft, thick cotton string from one band to the other between the legs no wider than the width of the body. This will keep the legs from splaying in the nest. Check on them regularly to make sure they have not tangled a toe. (This is rare.) Remove the string when the dove is weaned to see if the legs have corrected themselves. This works almost all the time.

I have had vets want to put a bird down for splayed legs before. Be sure you try this method before giving up hope, unless your bird is in pain. Let us know how she is doing.
Message: Posted by: Vinnie Laraway (Jan 31, 2007 08:40PM)
Autumn, I must say, that is some excellent advice my friend! I applaud you! =]

Thanks for throwing out your knowledge with this issue! It really oculd make all the difference in life or death!

Great job!
Message: Posted by: Autumn Morning Star (Feb 1, 2007 05:58AM)
Thanks, Vinnie.

Early recognition of this problem is a real dove saver. I generally pick them up and examine them when they are a week old. Before that, I let mom and dad do their work of feeding and bonding.

Now if there is only one baby and the other egg does not hatch I put some nest material in to support the baby. This helps keep splay leg from happening. This seems so easy, but it makes a huge difference and is easier than fixing the problem later.
Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (Feb 1, 2007 06:27AM)
I've seen splayed leg syndrome occur quite often when the nesting box is too large. My nests are kept in a coop cup which is usually used for feed and water in larger cages. It's about the diameter of a saucer and about 3 inches deep. With two babies in the nest, they can't spread their legs out sideways. I don't know if this is fool proof but it seems to work for me.
Message: Posted by: Shaner316 (Feb 2, 2007 05:45PM)
Thank you so much Autumn!! I put in some of the rubbery stuff today. I will keep a close eye on her for the next few days and let you know how she is progressing.

Again, Thank you!
Message: Posted by: Autumn Morning Star (Feb 3, 2007 08:47AM)
You are right about the size of the nest being a major contributor to this problem. That is why the problem is more common when there is only one baby. Your observations are totally correct and your solution is excellent!

Glad you could find the rubbery stuff by my description alone. That stuff comes in handy for so many things!

If this does not work quickly you might try the banding/string idea OR if you cannot get dove bands you can use surgical tape or bandaids with string in between to connect them. Just make sure they are not too tight.

The idea is to make a device that will allow the bird's legs to get into the correct walking position so the ligaments will become strong again. I also think the vet can put a "walking cast" on the bird.

My best wishes and prayers for you and your dove. I sure do hope her legs become strong again.
Message: Posted by: Shaner316 (Feb 3, 2007 12:34PM)
In a strange way. I am almost glad this happened. During my whole time here on the Café, I don't ever remember seeing a post about this particular problem.

At least now there is one, and others can find this information when needed.

Thanks again, for everyones help!!!
Message: Posted by: Shaner316 (Feb 3, 2007 12:36PM)

Yes I will watch her for the next few days and if nothing changes I will try the banding idea. I will let you know how she makes out.
Message: Posted by: Vinnie Laraway (Feb 3, 2007 05:11PM)
Shaner, you are so right! This information is priceless!!

Hope your dove problem is fixed soon! =]
Message: Posted by: Autumn Morning Star (Feb 6, 2007 04:56PM)
How is your little one doing these days? Any improvement? It takes a while in a bird that is a bit older.

Be sure she stays hydrated. At least twice a day be sure to touch her beak to some fresh water and let her take a good drink. Don't force. She will drink if she is thirsty.