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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I have been a pigeon owner (Loft of racing bred pigeons) for a few years... However, I am struggling with success. I was wondering if I could get some tips and tricks on here about how to have healthier pigeons, with a better hatch.

Here is some info about my coop (it is new, only a few months old)-

8x10 - 8x8 is the young bird (flier side)
- 2x8 is my small breeder (non-flier side)

Coop is made of shed materials (Shingles, siding, one window). It is a little dark so I plan on putting a skylight of some sort in it to give the birds more light. I also think I need to add more ventilation... maybe cut out some small holes near bottom and hardware cloth them against predators?

Recently, and I am not sure why, maybe it is by mixing young birds from different lofts but I have been getting a lot of sick birds and losses.... I am crushed about this! I really want to have healthy happy pigeons but I am completely unsure of what's going on.... I will lose 1 or 2.. and it will be a couple of weeks and I will get another 1 sick.... I have bleached coop, gave 4-in-1, but it always seems to happen.

Can someone please give me ideas on what I need to do to keep my birds healthy? I feed Flier pigeon food, and Baymor High Calcium Pigeon Grit. I change their water everyday.

What tips should I have to maintain a good loft?
 

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cwebster is right in that you don't put new birds in with your birds. They should be quarantined for a month to make sure they are not going to come down with anything and infect your loft.
Even with quarantining new birds, you are still introducing birds from other lofts. Each loft has resident strains of different things, and when you bring in new birds, they have to adjust to things that your birds carry and vice versa. That takes time. Lofts are healthier when you aren't constantly adding new birds. Some birds can be carriers, like of salmonella, which they can shed off and on. They can infect other birds, and then can be very hard to get rid of.

Also, I would familiarize myself with the more common ailments that pigeons get, and know what to look for, and what it might indicate.

Then pick up meds for those things here and there and build up a medicine cabinet for your birds. The 4 in 1's aren't good for much, as they usually don't have enough of each med in them to cure anything. And why would you want to treat for 3 other things, when they just need to be treated for one thing? Get the right med for the illness and keep it inside your house, not outside in the heat of the loft, and most meds, at least in powder or tablet form are good for years past their expiration date.

I would start with a good antibiotic like Amoxicillin or Enrofloxacyn
A good wormer, one that is safe for pigeons
A good Cocci med

And later pick up a second med for the same things. A different drug, as they should be changed out off and on to avoid the bacteria or whatever it is you are trying to cure, from building an immunity to the drug. Which they can do if you use the same drug all the time.

Ventilation is very important in a loft. If it bothers you to breath in there, imagine how they feel kept in there all the time. They need good air flow and fresh air to be healthy.

Clean feed, grit and water that they don't contaminate with their droppings.

Overcrowding will make them sick quicker than many other things. Over crowding causes stress. Stressed birds get sick. Each bird should have at least 2 square feet of floor space. That is in the loft, not counting the aviary. 2X8 for breeders who never get out is kind of tight, don't you think? Do they get outside in an aviary? They need extra calcium, and D3 if they don't get outside in the sun. They don't often get enough from the grit, or even with oyster shell if you offer that, as they don't always take enough.

Each pair needs a box, and you should have more perches than you have birds.

Can you post pictures of your setup?

I'm sure others will have other ideas.

Do they get vitamins, calcium, ACV in the water a couple of times a week? Probiotics?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you!

Hey guys,

Thank you for your response. I have read introducing new birds can cause birds to get sick, I just didn't realize that I would lose so many. It breaks my heart. Hopefully the birds who have survived will be stronger and healthier for it.

In response to the 2x8 Breeder side... I only have 4 sets of breeders (8 birds), so It seems decent sized. They have an aviary where they can go outside too that is decent sized. It is pretty tall as well.

I have bought Doxycycline, Ivemectin, and Spartrix. I will buy some amoxicillin too. I agree about the 4-in-1 probably not being the best choice, but I was really struggling to figure out what was wrong with the birds. I couldn't think of who would know about how to treat them. A vet would most likely be VERY expensive, though if I could have one checked and get a diagnoses for the rest it might be worth it.

I will post pictures when I get home. in addition to the other changes in the coop (Skylights and vents) I am going to change how the nest boxes are set up. The ones I have I think are over-large and I think I could get some better space saved doing something different.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Would quarantine new birds and not mix them. What symptoms do the sick burds show? Can you post a photo?
That is a good question. a few I did not even notice were sick when they passed. The ones I did notice would get fluffed up and seem just lethargic. I lost my favorite bird the other day, which is what spurred me to write this post.

The ones that are left seem healthy. If I see one I think gets sick I will post a picture. I have no intent of adding any additional birds to the loft until I get my loft healthy. If I do I will quarantine them. I am thinking of adding a second small loft for quarantined birds that I will be able to rehome to the flier loft after 30 days.

I did do a major cleaning of the loft. I mean MAJOR. I boxed the birds up and power washed it and scraped every last dropping out. Once it was completely cleaned I sprayed it with a bleach water (along with food and water bowls). After it was dry and I was sure there were no fumes I put my birds back.

I know this wasn't on your post, but I do not think that my coop is hard to breath in or stuffy or dusty. I think it could have better air circulation, and have more light, but I keep the coop fairly clean by scraping and spraying (power washing I've done twice in 6 months).

I am really trying here. I love my birds and it really upsets me when I lose them. I feel like with them (and any animals) by owning them you make a promise to do your best to care for them. I will do whatever is in my power to make sure that they are healthy and well cared for.

Like I said I will post pics when I get home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Do they get vitamins, calcium, ACV in the water a couple of times a week? Probiotics?[/QUOTE]

They do not get calcium or vitamins (other than the high calcium red grit). I have also not done Apple Cider Vinegar, but I will add that to the routine a couple times of week. I do give probiotics when I am flying them, but haven't since we have had a hawk problem and I have been keeping them inside (I am in Michigan and Fall can be rough for hawks).
 

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I hear you about hawks. I hate them. Fall and winter is awful around here with hawks.
They will need more then just the hi-cal grit. Many give oyster shell, but they don't always eat it, and much of it is too large for pigeons. Unless you can find something made for them. I get York Calcium chips, which are the size of the pigeon grit. They take them fine and I like those. I do also use a calcium/D3 supplement a couple of times weekly. If your breeders don't get extra calcium, they will have problems.

I have used Spartrix and it hasn't worked all that great for me. Metronidazole has worked well. I think vitamins are important, as a seed diet really doesn't give them many vitamins.

Without good air circulation, things do spread faster through a loft. I also change the drinker every few days. Wash and bleach them out and let them dry.
I think spending time with your birds helps you to pick up on things faster. You may notice more if one is acting off, or not eating, or drinking more water. I don't know what you have for a loft, but one you can walk into makes it a lot easier to get to know them so that you know if they are not acting right, and it makes it easier to know how well each is eating and what is going on with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I will look into vitamins for the water and extra calcium for breeders - What do you use? Also, do I use that in conjunction with ACV and Pro-biotics? I feel like I would be adding to their water every day if I did that... Is that normal?

My coop is walk in. Right now it has a window (Also their exit to the aviary) for ventilation for both breeders and Fliers. It has holes drilled in the floor for easier scraping and drainage too. I plan on buying some vents to add to help with better circulation and some skylights for lights as well.
 

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Why do you need holes for drainage. Power washing a loft isn't necessary. A loft should always remain very dry. Dampness and wetness will spread disease, as the bacteria love it. When I do occasionally wash the perches, shelves, and floor, I use Tek Trol which cleans and disinfects. Then rinse. Also, if the holes are on the bottom of the loft, that could allow mice and rats to get in.

ACV 1 or 2 days, and vitamins 1 day isn't all that much. Then the calcium a couple of days. Even give the ACV 1 day helps. Only 1 Tablespoon to a gallon of water. I like the Winsmore vitamins, but there are many out there. If you can get some calcium supplement they will use that doesn't go in the water, that would work. The breeders do need extra calcium. If they get outside enough then they get the vit D3 that they need to be able to absorb the calcium, from the sun. But if they don't go outside, then a supplement with the D3 in it is needed. I use the Calciboost/D3.
If you eat eggs, you can boil the shells, or microwave them for a couple of minutes and break them up to bite size and mix in with the gravel. That is extra calcium. Some put more in the water even more often. All depends on how complicated you want to make it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The holes are certainly not large enough to let rodents in, and they are covered when not power washing at any rate, so I KNOW that no rodents are getting in that way...

Breeders have an aviary, so they can go out in the sun whenever they want.

I don't add the birds in when the loft is wet... I only power wash when it is warm out and because it drains quickly it dries quickly - As you are aware too I am sure, Bleach is a mold KILLER and because I bleach the loft and let it dry I am sure that they are not getting sick from me power washing it. It is the only way to get all the poop out, and I like to do it at least twice a year and get everything super clean again.

I will look into what you are saying about vitamins and ACV. I will buy the Vinegar tonight. You still did mention basically 7 days worth of water additives though, unless I do something different for calcium. I am going to look at what is out there, like I said, I want my birds healthy and happy.
 

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The holes are certainly not large enough to let rodents in, and they are covered when not power washing at any rate, so I KNOW that no rodents are getting in that way...
That's great.

Breeders have an aviary, so they can go out in the sun whenever they want.

Breeders usually need extra calcium. If they go outside and get sunshine, then they get vitamin D. The crushed eggshell would give them extra calcium. Setting up a bath now and then will get them outside more. Many of mine are couch potatoes. But I put out the bath and they run to it like kids at the beach. Then they lay around in the sunshine with wings spread and bask, to dry off.

I don't add the birds in when the loft is wet... I only power wash when it is warm out and because it drains quickly it dries quickly - As you are aware too I am sure, Bleach is a mold KILLER and because I bleach the loft and let it dry I am sure that they are not getting sick from me power washing it. It is the only way to get all the poop out, and I like to do it at least twice a year and get everything super clean again.

Washing is up to you if you feel better doing that. Most just scrape well.

I will look into what you are saying about vitamins and ACV. I will buy the Vinegar tonight. You still did mention basically 7 days worth of water additives though, unless I do something different for calcium. I am going to look at what is out there, like I said, I want my birds healthy and happy.


Actually, with the calcium it would be 5 days. But oyster shell or eggshells is what most use. Not all of them will eat the oyster shell though, as it is usually large. But crushed eggshells work well. The thing is that often people come on here with egg bound hens looking for help. The hen can die unless you get calcium/D3 into her quickly when that happens. So at least keep low dose human calcium tablets on hand in case you ever need them. You would want the lowest dose you can buy, and then quarter them. Hens will also sometimes get egg laying paralysis after laying eggs if they are low on calcium or D3. So kind of important.
The probiotics you would give more in times of stress, or after using antibiotic, to help to build the good gut bacteria back up.
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