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7 pigeon lung tips

9571 Views 29 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  conditionfreak

I am a racing pigeons addict and also a beginner in pigeon lung (seems like). I am pretty sad that there aren't new articles on the official PL website, I read the current ones years ago.

I am trying to compile a list of tips, I would be happy if you would share yours.


Loft project #1

Please see attachment

This is the first anti-dust loft project I designed. What do you think about it? It sucks, doesn’t it? :)

What I tried was to create a dust free environment - the dust will be carried away through the floor, lateral walls and even under the roof. I would have a solid ground under the loft and would wash away all the droppings felt to the ground. The loft’s floor would be 2 or more meters far from the ground. I would use a removable ladder to access the loft and this would also prevent cats and other predators from entering the loft.

Of course, there are other options like the rabbit hutch lofts described on the pigeon-lung.co.uk website.


The pigeon bloom, which is the main source of inhaled pigeon protein, is an extremely small dust particle (<5 microns). The mask must filter out particles down to 5 microns, the size of pigeon dust; bloom, feather particles and droppings.

I personally use www.aircap2.com : the great thing about it is that it filters the air and also covers your hair (the hair would collect a lot of dust).


- Minimate
- Ion Wind Personal Air Purifier
- Airogard


Mangosteen is a tropical fruit with natural anti-inflammatory properties, and I found articles claiming that it is good for pigeon lung. The articles are by Rick Tozier, btw.


Thanks to Mr. Larry Lucas, I found a device that seems to be the perfect solution for all of us who have pigeon lung. The great thing about it is that it filters 98-99% of all particles, five microns in size and 85% of particles one micron in size!

I think that my loft project above + this air filter will be the perfect dust killer.

You can read more about it here. Does anybody use this?


I noticed that several fanciers with pigeon lung say that their symptoms are worse during cold months and they feel better or even don’t have symptoms during summer. Exactly the same happens for me! This really is interesting and must be studied more, maybe we find an useful connection.


This is a very interesting thing I remember I saw online somewhere. Jim Jenner was saying that a fancier told him that when he had a big change in his diet, starting a “no fat” diet, his allergies got very bad and he had to give up his birds. It seems like saturated fat is a critical part of the body function, especially for the surface of the lungs. He went back to a more normal diet, whole milk, butter, etc. and was able to keep pigeons again. Research book: “Eat Fat Lose Fat”.

I also found another VERY INTERESTING information, somehow related to the above: fanciers with PFL that started to take tablets for cholesterol (Statins) reported that they have seen great improvement in their PFL symptoms.

Maybe somebody with a medical background can connect these and come to a conclusion?!



How does the pigeon lung allergy affect you? What problems do you experience?

The biggest problems I have are when I am away from my pigeons for more than 2 weeks, and then I get back. When I return, I always get high fever and chills that night. This may happen the next day again if I am exposed to the pigeon dust, but then, I don’t get anymore fever or chills. I rarely get a tight chest. As my body gets used to the dust again, I only have a productive cough every morning, and if I continue to be exposed for months on a daily basis, even the cough eventually stops or becomes mild.

I think this is the “acute intermittent non-progressive” version of the allergy, as they describe it. I must say that these happen when I do not use any kind of respiratory mask. After the first fever days are gone, I can even clean the loft myself (no mask) without having any problems, although I am sure this isn’t really smart.

However, I am not going to play hide-and-seek with my lungs on a long term. I intend to get used to wearing a mask and also build a dust free loft.
*update - I've been using a mask full time since December 2008!


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Nice Post, but i solved it by going to k-mart ( When they were in Business) and buying two 24' box fans and installed them in my lofts. Birds thrived, i had no problems after that, just have them pull the air out, dander dust out the window. Some people think a little vent fan in the roof is all you need for your birds Health, and yours... Wrong!!! Dave
Thank you for your very thoughtful post.
Many thanks for sharing your pigeon lung tips, andrei.d. :)
Very informative.

Good exhaust fans are all you need. PLD Almost made me give up racing my second year, until i used the exhaust fans. I.E. No dander in the air no dust in the air, no problem. Dave
Thank you for your post. I also feel bad for you for experiencing such problem at so early. Some people are susceptible to it. Some don't.

Believe it or not I hear more about pigeon lung disease from people that keep homers. The way I see it is that their loft is quite enclosed unlike roller fanciers that has those kitboxes. They don't go inside their loft, but rather stay outside so I would guess they don't inhale that much bloom, etc.

Have you tried adding vacuuming the loft to your list of prevention/solution?

Your loft reminds me of a big kitbox. I think that should work, except the soil will end up with feathers flying all over the place.
Hello. I think that homers produce a lot more dust than the other breeds, they are always full of that white powder that leaves marks on your clothes.

As for the fans, they sound good and would add them as #8 but what about the dust that remains on the floor, walls, etc, until you get in and make the birds flap their wings a lot?

RodSD, very good point about feathers flying allover the place - model #2 of my loft has a "room" under the loft, it should collect everything that falls from the loft and than wash it away.

I'm still looking for ideas of lofts. A full 4 wire mesh walls wouldn't work for me because I live by the mountains and it is full of birds of prey that would drive the pigeons crazy by hitting the mesh all the time. My current loft has a full wire mesh in front so we can consider it open, but you see, such open lofts doesn't really mean you won't get PL as long as the dust can stay on the floor.


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Hi andrei.d

Have you had an official diagnosis from a doctor?

I can appreciate your information and your thoughtfulness in sharing your dilemna and solutions.

I also suffer/ed from the dreaded pigeon lung and was told the only way to deal with it is to get rid of my pigeons, but I didn't.

I think everything you listed is extremely important to your health and well being.

May I add that also keeping the number of birds limited is a big help, and of course extremely good loft ventilation.

I am also fortunate to have someone to help me with the cleaning of the loft, so I don't spend hours of time inside the loft. He does use a large vacuum cleaner, one of those heavy duty shop vacuums, and it has really helped with keeping the dust out of the air.

Also, having a large open (walk in)aviary has helped. I can stay out in the aviary for long periods of time and pick up each bird as needed to inspect them from time to time. Having an aviary is just like being outside.

I also take various types of organic products, as well as watching the diet. You need to have a good balanced diet, with plenty of supportive nutrition for lungs. If you have any other health issues going on, especially with digestion-(which has to do with absorption and assimilation of nutrients), that can effect your overall health and also make the pigeon lung worse. Be sure to take probiotics and other support for digestion, as well.

It is possible that symptoms are worse in the summer, because cold/dry air, restricts the bronchial tubes, and when the weather is warm and humid, your air passages are opened more and breathing is easier.

I will share a couple of things I take, Quantum Lung Comlex, which has pine bark extract, kelp, Beta Sitosterol, Marine Coral Concentrate, Alfalfa, Blue green Algea, Beet Extract, Chlorella, and more.... I also take an Adrenal Complex which includes 3 different kinds of Cordycepts- which are known for helping with lung issues, this product includes much more, just don't have time to type it all.

May I suggest, being that you have started with these issues early on in life, that you seek the help of a practioner,preferably a doctor of nutrition. They can advise you further on what you can do, and help to rid your body of any other health issues that may be related to and may be aggravating the pigeon lung. There could be issues from your past, that are blocking your meridians and keeping your defenses down and not allowing your immune system to work at optimum perormance. But with everything said, avoiding the obvious is of course best.

Thanks again for sharing the wealth of information, and God bless you in your endeavor.
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IF, the fans are strong enough, anything the birds kick up is taken out of the loft... Try it, in fact i am about ready to install BIG fans in my roller lofts... It is good for the Fancier, and GREAT for your birds Health.. Dave
Thank you for your tips, I have been diagnosed as being in the "sub acute" stage and the specialists is trying to prevent progression to chronic . I also wear the Aircap2 and have bought a minimate , but will investigate your other tips as I am determined to keep my pigeons (I have 109 rescue pigeons).

I was particularly interested in the saturated fats bit as I have been cutting out fats for years! I will try adjusting my diet.

In my experience it was the white pigeons that seeemd to shed the most dander.

Thank you for your tips, I have been diagnosed as being in the "sub acute" stage and the specialists is trying to prevent progression to chronic . I also wear the Aircap2 and have bought a minimate , but will investigate your other tips as I am determined to keep my pigeons (I have 109 rescue pigeons).

I was particularly interested in the saturated fats bit as I have been cutting out fats for years! I will try adjusting my diet.

In my experience it was the white pigeons that seeemd to shed the most dander.

That's interesting, Cynthia.

Maybe that's my problem, all my aviary pigeons, with the exception of Rae Charles, are white.

Another idea of mine: If you have a big aviary on your loft where you can go in, then perhaps you can feed/water the birds there instead. That way you are not on some enclosed area, but rather on a very open place with wind blowing out any bloom/dander.

With that brick in there, where is the air coming in? I thought you designed your loft in such a way that air will be coming in from the bottom grill. With that brick in there, will it block the air?
Hi everybody, and thanks for the feedback.

Trees: I didn't have a diagnostic from a doctor, but I think I will submit a blood sample to the guys at pigeon-lung.co.uk . I don't think other medical structures are specialized in pigeon antigen tests. I didn't submit before because my symptoms were clear enough to understand I have it.

Other supplements that could help us are: 'Tussilago farfara" tea and Omega3.

Cynthia: what are your symptoms?

RodSD: the idea is good, in fact, I will do even more: after I build the new loft I will even feed and water the birds outside in the garden! I love to see them feeding on the ground. This way, I will only enter the loft for banding the babies and taking the racers to the club on weekends. As for the second loft design, I guess I will use some ventilation holes on the walls to let the air in.

Also: since you can get shots to become immune to pollen, etc etc, isn't there a way to do the same for pigeon dust?
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And here's my loft. Some people say that having an open wall is enough to avoid PL but it is not true.


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My little portable "Dust Buster" vacum takes care of the dust...I just go around and hit all the corners,and along the baseboards....It does a great job....A good way to keep the dust from flying around,while you are IN the loft,is,let the birds out to fly...Wait 5 minutes or so,untill the dust settles down,and then go in,and vacum up the baseboards/corners as I do,then scrape up your floors,and nest boxes and perches...It`s impossible to keep the lofts dust free,but at least you can have it to a point where it is very liveable for you....Good Luck !!!........Alamo
Just a few notes. First of all, I have been diagnosed with Pigeon Lung Disease by several doctors (also known as Bird Breeders Disease and Bird Lung Disease), and was told that the only sure fire way to beat it, is to get rid of pigeons.

I did. Twenty five years ago, but I always kept parrots and suffered from them as well. Although not as bad. The pigeons were always in a loft but the parrots were always in the house, so it should have been worse, but it wasn't.

Many parrots are extremely worse for this condition. Cockatiels and Cockatoo's are the worse.

I now keep my parrots (African Greys) in another building and I wear a mask when I go in there to take care of them It seems to work but is a hassle. I have fans in the windoes to remove air out but can not use them in the winter months due to the parrots not being able to take the cold and draft. As a matter of fact, I have to heat that building during the winter, so fans are not an option then.

This also affects pigeon keeping in the winter. With birds, drafts can be a killer. Pigeons can take the cold pretty well, but if one uses fans in the lofts during the winter months, wouldn't this be bad for the birds? Especially with open floors or walls?

I have tried many things to deal with this problem and the only thing that works well, is wearing a mask whenever I am around them. But I have not figured out what to do at the "club" when birds are being around. Wearing a mask would be the thing to do of course, but I would feel silly doing it.

When I take the birds for training flights, I have them in the bed of a pickup truck, because if I put them in the back seat of a car, I get sick. More so if the car windoes are open, which causes the bloom (dander) to fly around a lot.

Back twenty five years or so ago, when I first came down with this problem, the University of Wisconsin was doing research into the problem, but I have not found any info as to their conclusions. They were looking for volunteers with the disease back then. Since they were so far away, I did not volunteer.

I do not put much faith in eating more fat nor taking vitamins and supplements, etc, to combat this disease.

Researching this disease, info is that this disease is not something you are born with, but rather you acquire it over time of being exposed. It is an acquired allergy. Research also indicates that some people are lucky and never get it at all, but that many get it in various degrees. Some get it real bad and it can become chronic. Those types will suffer breathing problems for the rest of their lives once it becomes chronic. Some that do not become chronic, suffer while they are around pigeons but if they stop (or take measures to prevent heavy exposure) just suffer from being exposed and do not become chronic.

The official web sites concerning this disease recommends that masks always be worn (masks as described above) and that loft coats and hats be worn, when around pigeons. That is so the loft coats and hats can be left outside, and the dander (bloom) will not be brought into the house or in someones hair and on them until they take a bath. When you think about it, if the bloom is on your hair and you comb your hair, the "stuff" is dropping right into your airway, or it is on your pillow. The official web sites also recommend that open air lofts be used, instead of lofts with four walls. They recommend that a loft basically be a very large bird cage, with nesting/perching boxes inside it so that the birds can get out of the weather, but when you are in there, you are basically in an open area. I have one loft like that but I have another that is more traditional.

I use the mask. I do not use the loft coat nor hat (yet). When I get a "dose" of pigeon bloom, I get a bad cough for several days. This is always when I fail to use my mask.

Reminds me of when I was dating my wife of 36 years (started dating when I was ten and she was 7, and been together ever since). We were teenagers and she broke out in hives (itchy blotches all over her body), and the skin specialist doctor her parents took her to, stated that she was allergic to ME! It seems that because I was putting so much pressure on her for sexual favors, that she broke out in hives due to stress. I only mention this because two things I love in life, had something in common. I made her suffer and the birds make me suffer :) (my wife hasn't suffered hives since she was 17) :)

I am now almost 56. I do not know if the birds will kill me sooner rather than later, but I ain't gonna get out of this life alive anyway. None of us are. So I am going to have racing pigeons until I can not.

Oh. One more thing. I tried "Hepa" filtering machines and they did not work. Apparently they do not filter particles small enough to help. I also wonder about using fans, since they actually throw the "stuff" around your loft, yard, property, etc. If the fans are going and you are in the back yard anywhere near your loft/s, wouldn't that be a bad thing?

It is a quandry for sure.
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Well, i am sure no one is interested, but the fans do work exhausting out. Pigeons originate, unless i am mistaken from the Cliffs of the Barbary coast, always exposed to winds, and breezes. You could use the fans in winter, but you would have to start when it is still warm out, and leave them on well before it gets nasty out so they can acclimate. I have never had problems with dander Ect. blowing into the yard.(since when they are on all the time less, is blown out, compared to just starting none up for the first time.
I am aware of the problem, until i started using the fans, which since the number of birds i have is growing, will have to start using again soon.
My Biggest problem is i inherited 8 Rosy Bourk's parakeets last summer, and they are starting to give me a little problem...(they are in an Aviary in the living room) They will go into an outside Aviary this Spring, but will have to decide what to do about next fall. Dave
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LUCKYT. You do have a point about the conditions that wild pigeons live under. But I think it may be like race horses. I doubt they could live well in the wild, because of being coddled and taken care of by humans for so many generations. Same for fancy and racing pigeons, I would think. They are just not that hardy. But that argument goes back to feral threads, and I do not want to go there again.

Therer is a difference between a pigeon being on the wing, and getting drafts from flying, and a pigeon sitting on a perch and getting a draft. Everything I have ever read about birds, states that drafts are bad for resting birds species of most types. Except maybe penguins :)
May be i should have clarified it more. I would not use the fans year long on most Fancy Pigeons, But I Have used it on homers year round. I just made sure They had cozy box perches and had no problems for three years. BUT if you have a small loft i would use a very small fan..This is not theory, this has worked with no problems for me. Now, if your birds were shut up tight in winter than exposed to a breeze, you would have a problem for sure.
Well, i can tell you, if everyone followed the old tried and "true" "draft" theory, HOW could any one in my area, keep sensitive Finches out in aviaries near Chicago all Summer? Or Bourke's parakeets for that matter.
My definition of a "draft" is a breeze the birds are not adapted/conditioned too. NOT what they are conditioned too. but again i think outside of the "excepted" norm for most people... And it seems to tick them off... But it works. Dave P.S. Homers revert to wild form very fast when on there own. SO they are not that very far from it biologically.
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