tail feathers ripped out

by Milana
(Rome NY USA)

Hi, We found what appears to be an adult Mourning dove in the yard. It looked like it's tail feathers and some of the top portion(closest to the back) wing feathers had been ripped out. We left the bird alone. 2 days later it was sitting on the step sunning itself.

We had an extra cockatiel cage so we put the mourning dove in it along with seed and water, as well as a box-one end removed and placed it open side down so the dove could 'hide'. There doesn't seem to be any blood or torn skin. The dove is eating and drinking and almost seems to understand the situation.

My question is-Will the feathers ever grow back? If so how long might it take? We plan on releasing the bird as soon as it's able to fly well enough to avoid danger. Any information would be appreciated.

Comments for tail feathers ripped out

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May 05, 2012
tail feathers ripped out
by: Linda

First, thank you for being willing to help this bird. It appears he was attacked by an animal, could be a cat, dog, racoon. Birds molt twice a year which means it will most likely be up to 6 months for his feathers to come back in. Find a feed store in your area and get him some pidgeon/dove food if that's not what you are feeding him. He may also like a bit of dark green, Romaine lettuce or finely chopped raw or steamed carrots.

Since he will be with you for a while, it may be a good idea to have him checked for infections, parasites both internal and external and make sure he will be healthy enough to be released when time comes.Only an Avian Vet can diagnose and treat birds, so find one in your area and have him examined. If he has lice or something you can get, this would be a great idea to do right away.

Again, thanks for your kindness to this bird, and we are all Blessed according to our willingness to help a being in distress. This includes all outside animals and birds as well as people and pets.


May 04, 2012
tail feathers ripped out
by: Anonymous

i just want to say Thank you for taking in this bird. chances are he would not have survived with out you taking him in.

It can take several months for the feathers to grow back. If you see no bleeding, thats good.

I would suggest taking him to a vet to make sure he's healthy and not spreading illness to your other birds in the home (if you have any).

Keep this bird in a seperate room away from other birds. Make sure you wash thoroughly after changing food and water or changing papers. Just to ensure you're not physically spreading virus to your healthy birds.

Find an avian vet in your area. They specialize in JUST birds. They can give your bird the best treatment possible.

May 04, 2012
Dove missing feathers
by: Tracie

It is hard to say if it has a disease or has been attacked. The only way to discover the answers to your questions is for you to Find an Avian Vet so it can be examined to determine what caused this and what the potential treatment might be.

Please do not handle the bird until you are sure is does not have a disease that might make you or your household sick. It is best to contact wildlife re-habilitators when you find sick or injured wildlife. They have the experience and connections with vets and the licenses to care for them.

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