‘Pigeon-mad’ woman spends £4,000 a year on ‘fashionista’ rescue pigeons

Animal lover Meggy Johnson shells out around £400 on her adorable little rescue pigeons, Sky and Moose, regularly buying them personalised outfits and strollers

We’ve all heard of dog owners spending thousands of designer gear for their pooches, but have you ever heard of pampered pigeons?

Well, one woman has gone above and beyond give her rescue pigeons the best life possible, treating them to a wardrobe full of fabulous outfits and even a posh stroller.

Meggy Johnson rescued her beloved pet pigeons Sky and Moose after they were found abandoned and vulnerable as tiny chicks, or squabs.

The 23-year-old nursed them both to health, hand feeding them with a tube around the clock for six weeks until they became as tame and affectionate as any ordinary pet, and she resents anyone who brands them ‘flying rats.’

The pigeons, along with two other rescue birds who live in her pet supply store, all now live the ‘life of luxury’ with birthday presents, a collection of soft toys and even walks outside the home in a special stroller that allows each bird to enjoy their surroundings from the safety of their own netted compartment.

“They have their own converted bedroom which is their space and they have all their little perches, toys and wardrobe. They live the life of luxury,” Meggy, from Lincolnshire, said.

“They are fashionistas and have their own wardrobe with about 17 outfits – each one costs between £25 and £30. They do look super cool but the outfits are also really practical because they catch their poo and help keep the house clean.”

The outfits even have a flight leash attached, so Meggy can take them into the garden for fresh air as Sky loves to sit on her shoulder and sunbathe. The animal lover also takes them for walks in a little pigeon stroller.

“I spend between £300 and £400 on them a month but if I looked through my bank account I would probably shock myself, it could be more,” she continued.

“We also celebrate their birthdays and ‘gotcha days’ of when they were rescued and I spoil them as you would any family member with lots of presents.”

The pigeon rescuer discovered her love for the birds back in 2016 when her late dog Pippa alerted her to a nest in a hedge while out on a walk.

There was one dead baby pigeon and another one that was still alive, so she scooped the live bird up and took it home in her coat.

After contacting some wildlife rescue centres for advice she was able to save the weak bird’s life and has been an avid pigeon rescuer ever since.

She rescued Sky, now two years old, in September 2019 when a workman brought the abandoned baby bird to her pet supply shop in a plastic carrier bag.

She then rescued Moose, now five months old, in May this year when someone called to say the one-eyed baby bird had been found alone in a different town.

Meggy said: “Some people would say let nature take its course but I think all animals deserve a chance and especially pigeons, they get such a bad rep.

“Moose was born with only one eye and we have no idea what caused that. It’s not safe for him to fly outside with only one eye, there’s lots of birds of prey that could easily snatch him up.”

Meggy also cares for two other rescued birds that live in her pet supply shop – Clee the pigeon and Snowy the domesticated dove, who both have a disability that means they can’t fly and would be unable to survive in the wild.

Meggy rescued Clee, now 18 months, in April this year when a member of the public called her to say they’d found the bird wedged between their house wall and garage.

Snowy, the 18-month-old domesticated Dove, joined the lucky group of rescues in October 2020 after being found in a hospital car park.

After a difficult start in life the pair are just as spoiled as Meggy’s home-based pigeons and enjoy a big collection of soft teddies and toys as well as a teepee bed.

Meggy said: “Clee was only about 12 weeks old at the time, just a baby. The vet thinks he was bitten by a rat on the wing because he had this awful, big infected lump the size of a golf ball.

“He had to have antibiotics, painkillers and an antibac wash and after a few weeks it got better but the injury has left his wing really stiff so he can’t fly.

“Snowy came to me with a neurological illness, it made her have really bad balance and her head would spin round in circles so she couldn’t eat or drink herself for six months.

“Because of the brain injuries she can’t fly either. She was a stray found in a hospital car park, at risk of picking up illnesses or she could’ve been hit by a car, we’ll never know.

“Now she’s fully recovered other than the occasional head movement and wobble and she can eat and drink herself. It’s amazing because we thought we would lose her a few times but she pulled through.”

Meggy now hopes to change the negative stereotype of pigeons and show that they are intelligent, sweet animals that make great pets and deserve to be given a chance at life.

She said: “Some people say ‘ew pigeon’ and call them ‘flying rats’, which is something as a pigeon-lover that really upsets me but most people are more open minded. The bond that you can get with them is amazing – Clee comes running to his name and follows you like a dog. They make the best pets, they’re so funny.

“When you hand feed them they get so trusting. You can sit with them and they’ll come and jump on you and sit on your shoulder. They’re very special little birds.”

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