pigeon Keeping The Birds Healthy During Racingpigeons
In a stock loft disease control is straight forward. Diseases present are identified and treated and new birds are treated prior to entry. In this way the stock loft becomes a mini quarantine station producing healthy babies from healthy stock birds each year. On the other hand in the racing loft about 1/3 of the occupants leave the loft each week to mix with birds from many other lofts in race baskets where disease can easily spread. One needs therefore to monitor closely for disease and treat when it appears or alternatively have health programs in place to prevent disease occurring. While in the race units the birds drink each other’s water and breathe each other’s air. It is inconceivable that week after week that returning birds will not bring some disease home. What are the diseases of concern and how do we control them?
Worms and Coccidia: Both parasites are commonly spread through the droppings in race units. Either droppings should be examined microscopically every 3-4 weeks to monitor for infection and the birds treated if infected or alternatively the birds preventively treated every 4 weeks. Worms are treated with Moxidectin, 5mls per 1L for 24 hours. If tape work segments are seen in the droppings use Moxidectin Plus, ¼ ml per bird instead. Coccidia are treated with Tolravet, 3mls per 1L for 48 hours.
Wet Canker: This is the most common medical cause of poor race performance. At our clinic, if it has been more that 3 weeks during the race season since a team has been treated then we would expect to find some birds with wet canker in 90% of those teams. Given this incidence we are quite happy to recommend routine preventative treatment. In most lofts, 2-3 days every second or third week on Turbosole, 1tsp per 2L gives good control. However, follow up crop flushes should be done to make sure that resistance to the drug has not developed. Other medications are available if required. Monday and Tuesday are the best treatment days as any race stragglers are usually back which means all birds in the loft can get a full dose. This also gives the birds sufficient time to ‘lift’ before the next race after having any canker organisms present eliminated. If birds are not treated weekly crop flushes should be done to ensure that treatment is not required.
Respiratory infection: No one wants to give their birds antibiotics unless they need them but at the same time no one wants to loose birds and then find that they have a respiratory infection. Respiratory infection is easily spread from one bird to another in race units and infection is common. Ideally birds should be regularly checked for respiratory infection (see Chlamydia respiratory test). When diagnosed during racing birds are given a longer course, usually 4-5 days, of Doxy-T or Triple Vet initially and then shorter follow up courses, often of 2-3 days every week or second week for several treatments to keep the problem under control while the birds natural immunity and fitness gradually improve. In lofts where respiratory infection have been a problem in previous years and no loft parameters have changed (ie. same loft design, loft location, genetic make-up of birds) it makes no sense to simply wait for respiratory infection to come again. In this situation preventative treatment it given with Doxy-T or Triple Vet for 2-3 days every 2-3 weeks. This can be mixed with canker medication. It is important however to not replace antibiotic use for good management practices.
E.coli and Yeast: E.coli and yeast levels can be checked by microscopically
examining the droppings. They are always found in the bowel in low numbers.
They are opportunists and increase in number when the birds become stressed
and their ability to resist disease is compromised. When at high levels
the droppings will become green and mushy. E.coli and yeast can be treated
with probiotics eg. Probac or to a lesser extent with acids such as citric
acid (1tsp/6L). Probac can be used on a needs basis on any day when the
droppings are green and watery due to these problems but it is important
to identify and correct (if possible) any predisposing stress. Common potential
sources of stress are over training, persistent humid or cold weather,
persistent falcon attack or a poor diet. Probac can be added to the water
(1tsp/2L) or onto the food (1tsp/2kg).
Chlamydia Respiratory Test – Sending
need for medication during racing though good hygiene and stress control:
Panting – Do the birds
have a respiratory infection?
Why do old healthy breeders get wet eyes:
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