Sometimes pigeons go fielding and eat grains with chemicals or drink toxic water and arrive home very ill. Some old wrong advice that still floats in our hobby is that pigeons should be given milk to neutralize the poison – this is totally wrong and in fact you risk to kill the pigeon faster instead of curing it since the milk makes the poison to spread faster! Another wrong advice is to offer pigeons salted water – and this not only does not help but it can hurt the pigeon even more.
What you CAN do to actually help the poisoned bird: gently insert a tube in its crop and fill it with clean water, than keeping the bird with the head downwards gently evacuate the water from the crop. Repeat a few times to remove the toxins. Medicinal coal is used in primary management of poisoning in humans and it should work in birds too. Administration of activated charcoal alone without gastric emptying is often more effective, because it binds toxins immediately. Unfortunately I don’t know the amount of medicinal coal to be used but if I’ll ever need to use it, will experiment and update the article.
So, the takeaways from this post are:
– DON’T use milk
– DON’T use salted water
– DO use clean water to wash and empty the crop
– DO use medicinal coal