Health & Disease

Pigeons are susceptible to a variety of health issues.  Some are external, while others are internal.  Pigeons can have external parasites (Lice) or internal parasites (Worms).  Some illnesses are bacteria related  (E. Coli, Paratyphoid/Salmonella) while others are viral (PMV).  Of course they can get cut’s bruises and fractures as well.  Thankfully, most of these health issues are avoidable by enacting good husbandry.  Cleanliness, and a good dry loft will do wonders for your birds.  You are responsible for your birds health.  By caring for them and keeping things clean you will really stack the deck in your favor.  There are some vaccines available and it’s much better to be safe than sorry.  Whenever you acquire birds it is best that you keep them isolated from your other birds for 2-3 weeks.  All lofts are different and the pigeons will have different immune systems.  If a bird is doing well in another fancier’s loft it doesn’t always guarantee that it will enjoy the same healthy state in yours.  The best way to start the isolation is with a PMV (Paramyxovirus) vaccination.  The only way to know if your birds have been vaccinated is to do it yourself.  You will have to learn how to do that as most folks can’t afford to have an avian veterinarian treat their entire stock.  It’s not too hard and yes, you can do it yourself.

Paramyxovirus or PMV

PMV is a horror show.  It is completely avoidable if you use the vaccine that is available.  Each bird once a year, that’s all it takes.  8 weeks is a good age to vaccinate your Young Birds.  When facing an out break you may also vaccinate nestlings if necessary.  The idea is to get the birds immune system geared up to fight the virus.  Again, it is completely avoidable with vaccination. 

This photo illustrates what a PMV infected pigeon dropping looks like.  This fancier vaccinated bird he had acquired and wisely isolated them from his other birds.  This is why a quarantine period should be employed by all loft managers.  Even though the birds were vaccinated this fancier chose not to take a chance and culled all six young birds in quarantine.  He once had PMV move through his coop before he knew of a vaccine and he knows just how deadly it is.  He chose not to re-live that experience.  It’s better to be down six than to be completely out of birds.  All the birds in this fanciers loft are vaccinated, but why take a chance?