What To Do With A Pigeon With A Broken Wing

It is not uncommon for pigeons to break their wings, strong wind blowing them into buildings, or encounters with cars, dogs or cats can cause wing damage.

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If you find a pigeon with a broken wing follow these steps:

  1. First get the pigeon into a safe place. This can be tricky because pigeons are easily startled and will fly away if they feel threatened.
  2. If you have a carrier, placing the pigeon inside the carrier can help keep them calm and stop them from attempting to get away (which may cause more damage to the wing). Alternatively, place them in a cardboard box.
  3. Once you’ve got the pigeon into a safe place, make sure that they have access to water and food (seeds are ideal).
  4. Assess the severity of the break. To assess how severe the break is, place the pigeon on a flat surface and slowly and carefully extend their wing.
  5. If the pigeon cannot extend their wing, or you see evidence of broken bones, then the pigeon will need veterinary assistance to have any chance of being able to fly again. If the pigeon can fully extend their wing then the damage to the wing is likely to be less severe and may not be a full break.
  6. In less severe cases allow them to rest while keeping a close eye on them for the next few days.
  7. If the pigeon is able to fully extend their wing then keep a close eye on them for signs of infection. Signs of an infection include swelling, redness, and pus. If you see any signs of infection then consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.
  8. Keep a close eye on their feeding behavior too. If they are not eating and/or drinking, or if there is evidence of swelling at any point in time, it’s important that you contact an animal hospital immediately.
extending pigeon wing

A broken wing may heal naturally without veterinary assistance as long as the injury doesn’t cause permanent damage to the bone or muscles.

Take The Pigeon To A Vet

A vet will be able to x-ray and properly assess the damage to the wing.

They will then be able to work out the best course of action, this may involve surgery or it may involve simply rest and recuperation.

Unfortunately, unless you are willing to foot the bill yourself, if surgery is required then the bird is likely to be put down to save time and expense.

Feral pigeons can live happily in captivity so we believe that if the choice is between euthanasia and living without flight that you should send the pigeon to a sanctuary.

Of course, there are such large numbers of pigeons that this isn’t always practical.


This article was written by our qualified veterinarian Cristina.

This is part of our commitment to providing you with the most trustworthy veterinary advice for your pigeons.

How Long Does A Damaged Wing Take To Heal?

There are many factors that determine how long it will take for a wing to heal.

The severity of the injury is key and whether or not there has been any permanent damage done.

With simple wing fractures, full healing can happen in just two weeks.

However more complex fractures that have resulted in multiple breaks can take between three and six weeks to fully heal.

There is also a danger with these kinds of breaks that the pigeon may never be able to fly again.


Cristina Vulpe

Cristina hold a Ph.D. in Veterinary Oncology and co-authored a scientific presentation on the Radiological Contrast Studies of the Digestive Tractus in Pigeons which was published by the European Society of Radiology. She is responsible for writing our health-related articles and ensuring that any medical information published is correct.

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