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Misconceptions and blunders

Misconceptions and blunders Medical issues you better leave up the vet. At least if he is a man that is specialized in pigeons. Because indeed, own initiative has often led to even bigger problems than were already there. Pigeons that were skinny and therefore cured against worms and/or coccidiosis while the real problem was paratyphoid? Many fanciers have made that mistake. On the other hand, serious fanciers should be knowledgeable enough to prevent many health problems.

ADVISABLE OR NOT? Take that fellow fancier for arguments’ sake. He had his pigeons checked and the verdict of the vet was ‘worms’. And now he was afraid he had an additional problem, apart from the infection. Because it was late October, so birds were changing feathers heavily and he had always heard it was wrong to medicate birds that ate moulting.

And now he had two questions:

- Is medicating birds that are moulting so harmful indeed? - And should he therefore better wait until after the moult?   MOULTING Late October is ‘moulting’ time indeed and to-day this is far more serious than in the past. This is because most fanciers artificially stop or delay the moult by darkening or lighting the birds.

Furthermore, especially in Belgium, babies are raced long distance (550 to 650 kms) in September. The result is that the moult will be short and very intense. In just a few weeks’ time they will renew all their feathers. Understandably such birds are not fit for winter breeding end of November. Naturally this intense moult demands very much of the pigeons body. Only healthy birds can handle it and therefore pigeons that are infected by worms or whatever cannot possibly get through the moult smoothly.

Now you may understand why most champions have the health of the birds checked before they start moulting. Especially paratyphoid is something to watch out for. Medicating pigeons that are moulting is not ideal. But ignoring some infection or the other is even worse.

Therefore I advised that fellow fancier to treat the birds immediately, even though they were moulting. I also dared to advise this since most modern medicine will hurt the birds less than the medicine we used to have in the past.


So the conclusion is simple: You need to free birds from canker, worms, coccidioses, paratyphoid or whatever before they start moulting in order not to stagnate this process. My fellow fancier had followed my advice, he cured the birds and they moulted perfectly. One final thing about the moult. Fanciers sometimes talk about ‘little moult’. What they mean is that they should ‘throw’ little feathers the whole year round.

Birds that are not in perfect shape will not do that. PARATYPHOID I mentioned paratyphoid. Should you also vaccinate? I have no clue. Veterinarians think differently and so do the champions in our sport. It might be useful in so-called problem lofts, in which paratyphoid was a problem before. Of course you should know a vaccination is done to prevent problems such as pox, paramyxo, paratyphoid. Today there are many vaccins from Eastern Europe. They are cheaper than the traditional ones, but as good as well? Hmmm.


Which is the best medicine against paratyphoid? Previously we had Altabactine. A sublime medicine. I got the impression that it did even more than cure the pigeons. After a treatment you saw the condition rise spectacularly. That's off the market but a serious vet can put something together that is about the same. Today there are more good medicine on the market to combat paratyphoid. The best thing is to alternate, since paratyphoid is complex and there are many disease strains. How long one should treat? Certainly not too short, follow the prescription. Some decades ago there was a "miracle pill" against paratyphoid. One pill would eliminate the infection, the manufacturer said. The pill disappeared as quickly as that had come. With just one pill or a one-day treatment you will not get a serious ailments under control.


Can you administer simultaneously several drugs against various diseases? Some vets prescribe one drug to be administered via drinking water and the other on the feed. They have a point. I discussed this matter with a scientist. The scientist was clear: You can safely cure against different diseases simultaneously he said and he referred to humans. Especially older people sometimes have a whole range of pills and powders next to their plate all to be taken simultaneously.


Sometimes people wonder whether older medications are "still good". Medicine are not cheap indeed and the sport is costly. Well, it's about the same as with many products for humans. They are still usable after the 'expiry date’. Much depends on how they were stored. One should remember the following things: - Medications in powder form are useful as long as they are not discolored or clumped. - Medicines in liquid form are good as long as you do not see those little ‘clouds’ in it. As I said the way you keep the stuff is important. That should in a dry and dark place, not on some shelf in the loft.


Do you have medicine (or vitamins) in your drinker? Put it somewhere in a darker place in the loft where they are not exposed to sunlight. Some medicines and vitamins are known to expire in less than an hour in water, especially when it is warmer and exposed to light. It is a good thing to take the drinker from the loft for some hours prior to the moment you serve the birds the water containing medications or vitamins. Thus the birds start drinking right away. Pigeons need some luck with what kind of boss they have