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Do not mess around

Medicine is designed to cure pigeons from sicknesses.

If birds are sick a good vet is in the best position to judge what your birds are suffering from and which medicine to use.
This is how simple it should be, but unfortunately many fellow sportsmen do not realise that. 

A lot of them mess around themselves with the chance that they medicate against diseases that aren't there, the result of which may be fatal if this is done too often.

In our sport there is a group of 'addicts', people for whom curing has become habitual. And if they don't cure there is something else in the drinkers: disinfectants, 'condition powder' or some other 'excitation drug'.
For some one week does not have enough days to fill the drinker. 
Unfortunately very few vets are specialised in pigeons and those without the knowledge are the ones you should stay away from.

They may know all about horses, dogs and cats but may ruin your pigeons forever.

The chemist is the same story.

The girl behind the counter is not the person you can rely on.

For fanciers who are unable to visit a specialised vet for whatever reason I have some pieces of advice.


Antibiotics can be administered in different ways.
- In the drinkers.
- On the food.
- By means of injections.
- Through pills or tablets.

The way of administration depends on different factors:

- The number of birds you want to treat.
- The type of disease and how severe it is.
- The duration of the treatment.
- The type of medicine and the availability.


The most common method is through the drinking water for obvious reasons.
It is quick, easy and you can treat high numbers of birds at a time.

You don't have to grab all pigeons one by one, which is the case if you administer tablets or if you want to inject them.
When you want to cure birds from a disease that spreads through the drinking water (coryza for example) it only seems logical to treat through the drinker.
Nevertheless this way of administration has its disadvantages.
Pharmaceutical companies tested on how to determine the dose of medication, e.g. 'a gram per litre' but the problem is not all birds drink the amount of water that they are supposed to drink.

External factors like the weather play a role and also the quantity they consume differs from one bird to another.

Thus birds may take too little of the medicine and others too much.

One should not forget either that birds that are in poor shape often drink too much and in hot weather they may drink four times more than when it is cold.

This has its consequences, if medicine is administered through the water of course.


Furthermore soluble medicine is mostly 'unstable', which means they will expire soon in the water and may get totally ineffective in a few hours' time.

It is also a fact that some medicine give the water a bad taste so that birds drink less or may prefer to drink somewhere on their way home from a race, thus precious time gets lost, not to mention the dangers of drinking polluted water.

Especially tetracyclines lose their effect very fast in water (within eight hours).
You can encounter this problem by using smaller drinkers, which enforces you to change the water more frequently.
In the past it was not done to administer tetracyclines AND leave the grit in the loft, since the calcium neutralised the medicine but nowadays the 'tetras' are better and removing grit is not a must any more.

Many do not know Baytrill is available in tablets as well.
The tablets are, just like the liquid, extremely expensive, but they are handy to treat birds individually.

It is wrong to grind the tablets to powder and put this into the drinkers, since the powder will not dissolve and it will give the water a terrible taste.

The injectable form doesn't dissolve in water either.
So as for Baytrill the best way is put the water-soluble form in the drinker.
Some use Erythromycin in case of respiratory problems.
This is a trend you better not follow, erythromycin is very rapidly neutralised by the bacteria in the goitre and therefore no good. 
If you have ever used it and you saw an improvement this was only by coincidence.

This is not the road to successes

The advantage of injections is you are sure about the correct dose and it 'works' real fast. You may sometimes hear pigeons coughing, like a barking dog.

The effect of an injection can be amazing, the bird may be cured in two days, while a treatment through the water could take up to a week or longer.
A disadvantage is that the injection, especially if done intramuscularly, may irritate.
You should never inject in the buttock or leg, since it would take too long for the medicine to spread throughout the body and the medicine may be broken down by that time.


More and more fanciers administer medication over the food, making it sticky first.
Just like in the drinking water it is an easy method to treat all birds at a time.
This method has its disadvantages as well.
Medicine is meant for sick birds and these often eat less or not at all.
In some countries fanciers routinely give pigeons grains containing the medication, like poultry farmers do, daily around the year.
This method is disastrous, since it might create a 'super bug' that will become  resistant to available antibiotics. 

As for most tetras and Baytrill it is well-known that treating repeatedly creates resistant bacteria that don't respond to any therapy anymore.
Some destroyed their family this way.

Every disease and every medicine needs a proper approach.

You should not forget antibiotics should only be given with a certain goal, not  routinely, after a poor race for example, or 'to make birds win'. 
There should always be a disease in case you use antibiotics.