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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New to pigeon keeping.

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This is a two year old female homing pigeon, based on her band that reads 2019. She has a breeding partner and has raised two pigeons this spring—those babies are about 5 weeks old—and she’s already sitting on eggs again for the last week now. The dad has continued to feed the first squabs, one of who joined the adults to feed today. Today, we noticed a large growth above the sick pigeon’s right eye. It feels soft on palpation and has grown very quickly. Yesterday, it was barely visible, but you could tell there was some disruption of the feathers around the eye. The eye is very watery, making the feathers look different.

We call this female the sick pidgie because she was a “star gazer” last autumn/early winter. We thought that was PMV—paramyxovirus. We separated her from the others in a small cage. And she gradually got better over about 9-10 weeks. At 11 or 12 weeks, we reintroduced her to the others in the bigger loft again. Her flying gradually improved and she has flown outdoors in the yard and homed since then. She doesn’t seem to have any residual neurological impairments.

She has a mate. And we have one other pair. Both pairs have had squabs this spring. There are now four adults, two 5 week olds, two 3 week olds, and two eggs in the loft. There are 10 nesting boxes in the loft.

We’ve had quite a bit of trouble keeping the pigeons healthy and safe. Their loft is safe from predators. But, flights and illness have been a problem. I bought the sick pigeon along with 15 others last summer. We lost four birds on their first homing flight, five birds to hawks/predators over other flights/nights they didn’t return, and three birds to what we think was Coccydiosis, based on the watery green poops.

We treated their water with Amprol and their poops got more solid and less green/more brown. But, the flock struggles with that issue any time we reduce the amount of Amprol. Four days ago, I started adding garlic to their water too, based on a recommendation from the seller. I don’t clean the water container often.

I haven’t disinfected their loft often. There‘s straw on the floor pushed to the edges as they fly around. I do scrape the poops away from the middle of the floor daily and provide fresh water and food. They poop in the food dish daily, and I usually just spray their food dish clean with the hose and dry. It doesn’t get disinfected. I haven’t cleaned their nesting boxes because it has been winter and frozen, then they were laying eggs in spring.

They are eating a pigeon mix of various seeds. Over the winter, they had more corn and peas in their mix.

None of the other pigeons appear to be sick. Although, there are some green poops today, so they’re probably struggling with coccydia as always.

I’d like to try to keep this pigeon alive and stop whatever is hurting her eye. I’ve read about Conjunctivitis, canker and Pigeon Pox. Can you help with a differential diagnosis here? Is there a medication I can start immediately that would help with the differential, likely help and not hurt, until we can figure it out better. I didn’t want to take her away from her eggs to take her in to a vet, if possible. The mobile vet can’t come for 4 days and needs 2 days to respond to an email.

Thank you,

Justin Vanderleest
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I've read sinus canker can cause a swelling in the head. Did you check for any growths inside her throat? To keep your pigeons healthy, you can start adding apple cider vinegar to their drinking water twice a week. 5 ml acv to 1 litre of water. This helps with digestion and keeping the good gut bacteria in place. I hope she will be ok until the vet arrives. If she is not eating, you will need to handfeed her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've read sinus canker can cause a swelling in the head. Did you check for any growths inside her throat? To keep your pigeons healthy, you can start adding apple cider vinegar to their drinking water twice a week. 5 ml acv to 1 litre of water. This helps with digestion and keeping the good gut bacteria in place. I hope she will be ok until the vet arrives. If she is not eating, you will need to handfeed her.
The vet thought it was a bacterial infection, and put her on antibiotics. I had to ask about canker. And, the vet acted like she hadn’t heard of it for a minute, as I explained that it’s the most common illness affecting pigeons. I’m not good at looking in her mouth to assess. But, I haven’t noticed any canker sores when feeding the antibiotics. We’re also keeping the Amprolium dose in the water high in case it has to do with the Coccydia they have struggled with. I’ve heard about garlic and apple cider vinegar in the water. Should I have all three things in there? I also cleaned out the loft and nesting boxes using vinegar on the floor.
 
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