Ideal to be used when you do not want to feed your pigeons every day. Most of the time, the pigeons can select the feed they need based on what they do: rest period, winter, summer, when feeding babies, or molting. They will use more corn in winter and much less in summer etc..





You all know, I am sure, that calcium plays 2 important physiological roles in
the avian subject. First it provides the structural strength of the avian
skeleton by the formation of calcium salt. Second, it plays vital roles in many
of the biochemical reactions within the body via its concentration in the
extracellular fluid. The control of calcium metabolism in birds has developed
into a highly efficient homeostatic system able to quickly respond to increased
demands for calcium required for both their ability to produce magalecithal eggs
and their rapid growth rate when young. Parathyroid hormone (PTH) metabolites of
vitamin D3 and calcitonin, regulate calcium intake as in mammals, acting on the
main target organs of liver, kidney, gastrointestinal tract and bones. Estrogen
and prostaglandins also appear to have an important role in calcium regulation
in the bird. But just in case a few didn't know, I am posting it again......

Raymond Julien,

Hi all,

Here is an other post that was also written after a
member ask the following question:

''Raymond do you know of a good calcium
supplementation or will red cross grit and oyster
shell be good enough?''

First, let me give you a few details. A pigeon
that is completely at rest needs 5mg of calcium daily.
Parents of growing squabs (same for hens that are just
mated because of the egg’s preparation) will need 20mg
a day.

Calcium is important because of his functions, in
combination with phosphorus and vitamin D, help to
prevent rickets and produce sound skeletal development
and it is of the first importance. Most of the time,
it is lacking in diets but not in those that where
ground oyster shells are included with the grit, or
when ground bones is fed.

If you use pellets, most of them supply adequate
amounts of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D.

So to answer your question, I would say that with
your Red Cross grit, your pigeons might have enough
calcium if you give it regularly to your pigeons.
Please take note that it is important to have clean
grit, constantly renewed because pigeons don’t like
grit that is mixed with dust or dirt.

As Dave wrote, you can give extra calcium gluconate
(sold in any pigeon’s store) from time to time to your
pigeons. Your pigeon will then eat less oyster shell
as they know all about their needs.

If any one has problem with the eggs (bound eggs, soft
shell etc.) calcium in liquid form, or in alfalfa tab,
or other source (1/4 of human dose) should also be
given. This will give the birds muscle extra nutrition
to help push the egg out or to give nice shell.

Hope this help.

Raymond Julien,

Hi all,

This is a very good article I found about the need of
calcium for our pigeons. I just posted it to our IMC

The importance of CALCIUM supplementation in pigeons
By Dr Wim Peters

It is an established fact that all animals, including
pigeons and other birds, require feed containing
protein, carbohydrates and fats. Besides these
ingredients there is also an essential need for
certain vitamins and minerals. The minerals needed
can be further subdivided into the macro-minerals i.e.
calcium and magnesium and the micro-minerals, which
are found in minute quantities in the feed. These
latter substances – the vitamins and minerals - are
present in the feed but in many cases in insufficient
quantities. This is particularly so whenever the
requirements are raised due to stress or
physiologically, during a particular phase of the
lifecycle. Vitamin/mineral products can be fed as
supplements and many such products for pigeons are
available. Pigeons require different additives during
different stages of their lifecycle. Extra demand for
fats, carbohydrates and certain vitamins and minerals
is created during racing whereas extra protein and
calcium is required when breeding and feeding babies.

To fully grasp the special requirement of calcium
during the various stages of a pigeon’s lifecycle, it
is important to understand the processes that take
place within the pigeon’s body. The demand for
calcium stands on two legs, that is, one for hens only
and another for both hens and cocks.

At the time of egg formation within the hen’s body,
calcium is needed for the formation of the shell by
the oviduct. This calcium is withdrawn from the hen’s
body - mainly the blood and bones – and deposited
around the growing egg. For this reason birds on a
reasonably good diet will be able to lay a round of
normal eggs – even in the absence of an extra source
of calcium. However, should extra calcium not be
available, many problems will arise, one of them being
the sudden weakness and paralysis (or paresis) of the
hen’s legs around egg-laying time. Hens are then
often presented as being suddenly ‘lame’. If they are
in a communal breeding loft the suddenness of lameness
amongst the hens may take on the appearance of a
disease outbreak. Soft-shelled eggs may also be laid.
In the absence of extra calcium, egg-laying rounds
subsequent to the first, always create problems.
(Similar conditions occur in other species. In humans
and dogs, acute calcium withdrawal from the blood, as
can occur during pregnancy or lactation, leads to a
dramatic condition known as Tetany. Cows get milk
fever and horses, for an extended time on a
calcium-deficient diet – as when there is too much
bran in their feed – will develop a condition known as
‘bighead’, where the bones of the face increase
markedly in size.)

Calcium deficiency in hens is well-known but should
never occur. It usually happens because of an
insufficient supply but a young driving cock may be
particularly fierce and not allow the hen enough time
to take in her calcium grit requirement, leading to
calcium deficiency.

The second leg concerning insufficient calcium in the
diet occurs during the latter stages of chick-rearing
when both cocks and hens are feeding the babies. The
problem is exacerbated if insufficient protein-rich
seeds are fed. Most grains are relatively poor in
calcium and feeding pigeons are slow to eat them.
(When a standard breeding mixture is fed to breeders
with young in the nest, it will be seen that the
grains are often left untouched, even though the
pigeons are still hungry.) What they need at this
time are protein-rich legume seeds and calcium
supplements. The babies growing up on a calcium-poor
diet are thin, undersized, easily fracture their bones
(which causes lameness) and have general locomotive

It is not the babies only that suffer. When the
breeders have babies in the nest and insufficient
access to calcium supplementation they rapidly lose
condition, develop digestive disturbances with loose
bowels and have delayed laying cycles. At this stage
their immunity is lowered and they become susceptible
to bacterial and viral diseases.

An important function of calcium and magnesium occurs
in the breeding loft where the lack of these minerals
can cause improper functioning of the oviduct leading
to retained eggs, egg-bound hens and/or prolapse of
the egg and oviduct. All are emergency conditions
which can be avoided with the constant provision of
calcium supplements.

Calcium has a host of functions in the body. Together
with magnesium, a very important function is that of
playing a role in the electrical transmissions of
nerve impulses. It will be readily understood that
racing pigeons must have perfect nerve impulse
transmissions in order to fly at high speed for many
hours. A lack of either calcium or magnesium would be
detrimental to a pigeon’s racing prowess and
disastrous to the results''

Any comment?

Raymond Julien,


From AW birds Pigeon

Since breeding birds for over 9 years I have found this to be one of the best Calcium supplement on the market!
Feather Plucking can be a calcium deficiency (as feathers contain calcium)
Baldness in birds can be a calcium deficiency (as not enough calcium to re-new feathers)
Breeding birds require more calcium during egg laying (as egg shells contain calcium)
Liquid calcium supplement for the prevention and treatment of egg-binding, milk fever, rickets, splayed legs, feather plucking, aggression and other behavioural problems. Calcivet is suitable for calcium deficiency in small animals, cage and aviary birds, pigeons and repliles. Improvement in clutch sizes and egg quality of breeding birds. Add to food or water.
Not only is Calcivet a calcium supplement but also a vitamin D and magnesium supplement! Birds can only absorb calcium with sufficient vitamin D! Normally obtained via natural sunlight.

Directions For Use (For all birds, pigeons being in the group)
To add to softfood or fruit/veg: 1mls for 16-32 Canaries/finches, 8-16 Budgies, 4-8 Cockatiels, 2-4 Greys/Amazons/Pigeons, 1-2 Cockatoos/Macaws. Make sure these quantities are fully consumed and not wasted. Feed once or twice a week to non-breeding birds and five times a week to breeders and plucking birds. DO NOT FEED CALCIVET DAILY
Birds on dry seed diets(not for birds eating lots of moist foods): Mix 10-20mls of Calcivet to one litre of drinking water. Feed once of twice a week to non-breeding birds and five times a week to breeders and plucking birds. DO NOT FEED CALCIVET DAILY.
Calcivet can also be added to hand rearing foods or softfoods. Add at the rate of 0.1mls per 100g of bodyweight.
Compatibility: Calcivet can be used with any 'Essentials' product, Feast, Proboost, SuperMax, Potent Brew or Fussy Feeder Essentials.

See also Calcivit Plus from Dr. Collin Walker in this page.



Calcium defiency will show in the long run many problems like small eggs, hens that no longer lay, soft eggs, lumpy or rough eggs. We have to add vitamin D3 for a better absortion of the calcium. See Calcium for all détails.


They are recocqnised as being the best peas in the world for pigeons. Their protein level is 23.8% with fiber at 6.2%, fat at 1.2% and water at 9.5%.


Canary seed can be given as an occasinal treat. Pigeons enjoy them very much.

Canary seed (Phalaris canariensis), or annual canary grass, is a major component of feed mixtures for caged and wild birds. It is native to southern Europe and the Middle East. In North America, commercial production of Canary seed started in the U.S. after World War II and was concentrated in Minnesota and North Dakota.

Production of Canary seed began in western Canada in the late 1970's and early 1980's and although production has been cyclical due to fluctuating prices, a record 505,000 acres (204,000 hectares) were grown in western Canada in the 1994-95 crop year. This total is up from the 14,000 acres (5,600 hectares) grown in 1975-76. There were approximately 10,000 acres (4,050 hectares) of Canary seed grown in Alberta in 1995, down from the 22,000 acres (8,900 hectares) grown in 1994. 



Candling Eggs to Assess Fertility and Embryo Development

Egg Development:

Candling eggs

  1. The egg looks clear. Either too early for candling (has to be 8-days since the start of the incubation). If clear after 8 days of incubation, the eggs are probably infertile or the embryo died at an early stage.

  2. Fertile egg with red blood veins - only visible after 8 days of incubation

  3. Rote oder schwarze Färbung – early embryo death -- if candled after 8 days of incubation or later.

  4. Embryo with red "Blood" ring - early death

  5. Dark outline with ill defined detail - late death (10-16 days)

  6. Live embryo with bill in air sack - due to hatch in 24-48 hours

  7. Normal development of the air pocket according to number of days

 FOR MUCH MORE DETAILS SEE: EGG détails. like Candling, artificial incubation etc.



Matilda wrote:
Here are some other symptoms of canker as explained in an article by Colin Walker…

1. ‘Penguin’ posture – Associated with proventricular (glandular stomach) and crop pain. Birds will lean back on their tails and gulp. Noticed particularly after eating and drinking.

2. ‘Dry feather’ – Due to lack of down feather drop and bloom production.

3. ‘Leady’ feel – Affected birds will not come into condition and feel heavy in the hand.

4. Wet dropping – Inflammation in the digestive tract creates a thirst, leading to elevated water intake and urine production. This produces a clear watery rim around the dropping.

5. Green droppings – Due to digestive tract irritation and in some birds decreased food intake.

6. Inflammation in the throat – Tonsillitis and increased clear to grey bubbly mucus.

7. Interference with crop function – Delayed crop emptying and sometimes vomiting.

8. Increased food consumption by team as a whole

9. Dry yellow canker – In birds of any age, this tells you that many other birds have elevated trichomonad levels, which have not yet passed the threshold for yellow material to form.

10. Indirect signs – Poor loft flying, poor tossing, respiratory problems that respond poorly to medication or quickly relapse, a dramatic improvement in the birds’ general vigour in response to anticanker medication are all suggestive.


By Dr. Colin Walker CANKER -


Nature of the disease

The disease canker is caused by a protozoan Trichomonas columbae. This is a microscopic single-celled organism. It lives within the digestive tract of pigeons, in particular the throat and crop, and can also involve associated areas such as the bile duct. The organism is fragile in the environment, only surviving for a few minutes once outside the bird. This helps with control of the disease and means that the birds cannot become infected from the loft or immediate environment as happens with other diseases such as worms and paratyphoid. The organism (trichomonad) requires intimate contact between birds to be spread and is usually transmitted by saliva or pigeon milk. Saliva contaminates food and water. As a pigeon drinks, the organism swims away from its beak and, when another pigeon comes to drink, it not only drinks the water but also the trichomonads there. When a pigeon sorts through grain, each dropped grain contains a small amount of saliva. In this way, the disease can also be spread through a feed hopper. Adult birds 'billing' can transmit the organism, as do parents when feeding their nestlings. 

Control of canker during the breeding season

Correct medication is vital during the breeding season so that the level of natural immunity in the weaned youngster is as high as possible. Because the severity of the disease varies in different lofts, there is no single blanket program that is best for all lofts. There is no drug that by itself will cure canker in a loft. It is a matter of using medication correctly so that the birds can establish a strong natural immunity to the disease. It is this natural immunity that, in the longer term, protects them from the disease.

What causes canker to appear during the breeding season?

In health, every time the feeding stock bird feeds its youngsters, it passes on some of its own trichomonads to them. This gives the youngsters a controlled gradual exposure to the organism, which in turn allows them to establish their own natural immunity. Clinical disease appears in the babies when the stock birds shed too many trichomonads over a given period of time to their youngsters. 

Increased rates of trichomonad shedding will occur if: 
 the stock birds are stressed for any reason - Anything that stresses the stock bird will lead to an increased rate of trichomonad shedding and includes such things as a poorly designed loft, poor management practices, incorrect feeding, and other concurrent diseases. 
 the stock birds' natural immunity is not high - Stock birds are likely to shed higher numbers more readily when breeding if their own natural immunity to the strains present in the loft is not as yet solid. This can occur if new stock birds carrying different trichomonad strains have been introduced to the loft during the non-breeding time. All birds carry some immunity to the resident trichomonad strains in their loft. When birds from different lofts mix, they exchange their trichomonad strains. Adult stock birds during the non-breeding season are not stressed and so exposure to any new strains brought in by introduced birds is unlikely to lead to disease. They are not moulting, not breeding, and have plenty to eat, and therefore no sign of canker occurs. However, when paired, if their natural immunity to the new different strains is not solid, the stress of feeding will cause them to 'break down' and shed larger numbers of trichomonads. In the same way, the introduced birds need to establish an immunity to their new loft's resident strains. This is why canker is more of a problem in lofts that are still establishing with birds coming from a variety of other lofts. As the years roll by, fewer new birds are introduced and so the chance of new trichomonad strains getting into the loft decreases. The birds' immunity to resident strains becomes solid and the effect of the disease is less marked. 

Many fanciers are frustrated when canker appears in the stock loft. With excellent care in a good loft, they wonder just how it is that the disease can come. Certainly they are on the right track with this approach because in a good loft under good care it is less likely that the stock birds will shed large numbers of trichomonads. However, some strains are so active that problems will arise no matter how well the birds are cared for.

How to manage an outbreak of canker during the breeding season

When canker does appear during breeding, its management is two-fold. It is a matter of:
1. treating the sick youngsters - In lofts with a canker problem, all youngsters should be checked daily. If a sick youngster is noticed it can be successfully treated, and such youngsters can go on to become champions. Either Spartrix or Flagyl tablets* can be used, however, Spartrix is more convenient to medicate the nestlings. The dose of Spartrix is one tablet per adult bird. Estimate how big the youngster is compared to the adult and give it this proportion of the tablet once daily until well. Usually, one to four doses are required. It is often good to also medicate both the nest mate and parents for 2 days. If the unwell youngster is slow to respond, it is usually best eliminated. Individual pairs that breed youngsters with canker are best mated to different birds for subsequent rounds.

At the same time, it is important to
2. decrease the number of fresh cases - This is done by checking the number of trichomonads that the stock birds are shedding. This is achieved by giving 2 days Turbosole* periodically. The exact frequency depends on the incidence of canker but usually every 1 - 3 weeks is appropriate. One needs to give sufficient 2-day courses to limit the number of new youngsters with the disease, but at the same time to avoid overuse of the drug so that the developing youngster is still getting an on-going exposure to the organism. It is a matter of working between these two extremes.

The important thing to always remember with canker during the breeding season is that the disease can never be controlled through medication alone. It is the development of a strong natural immunity that protects the birds in the longer term. It is important that medication is used to keep the birds well but used in such a way as to not interfere with the development of this immunity.


Everybody knows that Canker is a protozoan infection and is very common in pigeons. Adult birds

can get it but it strikes mostly the squabs in the next, symptoms of

this is canker are lesions in the mouth or throat with a yellowish-white


Here is all possible information on Canker (trichomonas) in case you want to know.:

Ridzol is another product that can be used in pigeons in the treatment or prevention of canker. According to the formulary, the correct dosage is 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon (same as 400 mg per gallon) per US gallon for 3 to 5 days. Ridzol is reported to be far superior to any other drug in the US. It seems to be less toxic and more effective than other comparable drugs in the treatment or prevention of canker. However, it seems that it is approved for pigeons only in Europe.

2. Turbosole - The safe, effective, quick-acting treatment for canker. The medication of choice during breeding, racing and moulting.


  • Description: Carnidazole is in the 5-nitro-imidazole family of compounds and has been shown to have significant antiprotozoal activity.

  • Usage: Trichomoniasis.

  • Adverse reactions: None reported with proper dosage.

  • Dosage: One 10 mg tablet per pigeon on an empty crop.

  • Comments: Convenient one day dosage, but recurrence is quicker than with water treatments. Only drug labeled for use in pigeons in the U.S.

By Medical Formula:  Canker treatment

  • Spartix Tablets Emtryl
  • Flagl Ridzol
  • Nolvasan Germex
  • Sani-Coop Copper Sulfate
  • Ren-O-Sal  

 Trichomoniasis (or canker, by its common name used by most fanciers) is the most common disease of the racing pigeons. It is said that most of the pigeons are infested with canker during their lives, but it rarely shows symptoms of the disease in mature birds. SEE for much more détails::

 For more informations see:

The avian disease Trichomoniasis is also commonly referred to as “pigeon canker” or simply “canker”or “roup,” and, in hawks, it is known as “frounce.” The organism “Trichomonas gallinae” lives in the sinuses, mouth, throat, esophagus and other organs. To be followed at:

The Babies have Canker (Trichomoniasis)

From the

Diary as of  8/21/ 09

Horror:  Discovered canker in the babies! Please visit:

A very important point in the article of Dr. Stosskopf (which was thoroughly studied on our Facebook site) is that almost all respiratory diseases of pigeons like in the  nose, throat, eyes, respiration, trichomonas (canker ) is always (he does not write often or almost basis) but always based of those problems. He adds, let us be clear, it does not stay long in one cause. This means that it must not be treated when the disease is declared but before it becomes epidemic. The same goes also for salmonella, it is quite possible that a strain of trichomoniasis is at the based. So, if some of your pigeons have had respiratory problems or salmonella iduring the last year, it is highly advisable to give them treatment against tricho before all other treatments that you might give about five weeks before couplings.

Raymond Julien,



CAPUCHIN (Old dutch)

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « Old dutch capuchine pigeon » 


Origine: One of the older breeds of pigeons from Middle East, Greece or India in about 1500’s by Dutch sailors.

CAPILLARIA WORMS  (see worms for much more détails about them)


 Capillaria columbae and C. longicollis are fine threadworms found in racing pigeons' small intestines that produce a characteristic lemon shaped bipolar egg. Clinically, capillariasis in racing pigeons can present as severe illness and it has been suggested that worms may affect race performance. A major aim of this study was to validate a cheap, simple to perform flotation technique for counting Capillaria worm eggs in racing pigeon droppings. Trials using reference samples of pigeon droppings laced with 348, 275 and 129 Capillaria eggs per gram, found a typical flotation method based on the modified Wisconsin technique to be inaccurate at counting worm eggs. The main sources of error were due to the loss of eggs in the faecal discard and insufficient flotation time. A new technique, using 0.15 g sample size and 8h flotation time resulted in significantly improved test accuracy. On average the new technique recovered 93% of eggs from reference samples with 129-348 epg concentration, recovering 197 times more eggs than the modified Wisconsin technique. Typical percentage error, as a measure of absolute reliablility, was 10% for the new technique and 50% for the modified Wisconsin technique. The regression line on a test-retest series of samples over a range of egg counts from 0 to 573 epg had a gradient of 0.96 (y=0.96x+6.28; r(2)=0.8408) for the new technique and 0.54 (y=0.54x+0.06; r(2)=0.4249) for the modified Wisconsin technique. The Pearson product moment correlations of the new technique and the modified Wisconsin technique were 0.92 and 0.65 respectively. As measures of relative reliability both the gradient of the regression line and the Pearson product moment correlation further suggested better repeatability of the new technique. It was concluded that the new technique would be an appropriate quantitative method of assessing worm egg burdens in racing pigeons.

 Also, have a look on Quest Plus (gel) and Moxidectin 


From ''Pigeonloft''


These are a main source of energy:  There is a need for a constant supply of energy to function properly and a lack of carbohydrates in the diet can cause tiredness or fatigue, poor mental function and lack of endurance and stamina.

How do carbohydrates give us energy?

As carbohydrates are digested and broken down by the body, they are converted into glucose (blood sugar), which is then used or stored as energy.

If the glucose is not needed immediately, it will be stored in a person’s liver and muscles as glycogen, which is the storage form of glucose.

When the body then needs some extra energy, it will turn to the glycogen reserves and convert them into energy.

There are two types of carbohydrates “Simple” which are found in foods like sugar, bisuits etc and complex Carbohydrates.

Complex carbohydrates are also known as starchy carbohydrates and can be found in most grains, cereals, potatoes, brown rice, bread, pasta, legumes and certain fruits and vegetables.

They are basically many sugar molecules joined together in a chain. Due to the more complex chemical structure, complex carbohydrates are not broken down or digested as quickly or easily as simple carbohydrates.

This is much better for the body, as there are no surges in blood sugar levels and the energy provided from these foods is released at a slow and steady rate, meaning that energy levels should stay more or less the same all day.

Complex carbohydrates are often lower in fat than simple carbohydrates and also contain plenty of vitamins and fibre, which are essential nutrients for the body.

Carbohydrates for Performance

To support a training session or competition athletes need to eat at an appropriate time so that all the food has been absorbed and their glycogen stores are fully replenished.

Following training & competition, an athlete’s glycogen stores are depleted. In order to replenish them the athlete needs to consider the speed at which carbohydrate is converted into blood glucose and transported to the muscles. The rapid replenishment of glycogen stores is important for the track athlete who has a number of races in a meeting.

The rise in blood glucose levels is indicated by a food’s Glycaemic Index (GI) – the faster and higher the blood glucose rises the higher the GI. 




Posted by Bob Cook, Member of the AZ Pigeon Club in the AZPIGEONCLUB Newsletter-Jan 2010

In a conversation with a friend from Norway, he reported that a woman in Sweden has recommended treating bird viruses with carrot juice! She is not a pigeon fancier and I think I was told she may be a gypsy from one of the Eastern Countries. (Hungary?)

Don't kill the messenger, I'm just repeating what some of the Europeans are doing for Circo, PMV and Adeno." OK, but after loosing nearly 50 birds, one often gets desperate and will try something that goes against conventional wisdom. One young bird loft had continual problems, the other lofts had either old birds or much older youngsters and were not infected. The birds that became infected were generally between 8 -12 weeks of age. Additionally, I kept 4 youngsters that normally would be dispatched that were desperately sick. Circo places a huge demand on the kidneys, a great amount of urea is produced and the birds rapidly became dehydrated and emaciated. Within 3-4 days, they are so "down" they are incapable of walking. Within 12 hours they die. 

So, I took the advice, made a 50/50 blend of carrot juice and water. Held the very sick birds to the drinker and gave the same blend to two lofts. This was on a Sunday, in fact July 5. I repeated holding the birds to drink about three or four times that day. 

The next morning before work I noticed what I thought was a slight improvement but fully expected the birds to be dead upon my return from work. Later, the birds appeared brighter, they no longer closed their eyes and while they could not walk yet, they were definitely improved over the day before. Also, no sick birds in either of the two treated lofts. 

On Tuesday, I was surprised to see the very sick birds try to eat and definitely the treated lofts showed an improvement. Only held the birds twice to drink since I went to work that day.. Tuesday evening, the sick birds were standing and tried to eat on their own. 

Wednesday morning, were eating and the responded well to offerings of safflower. I continued with the carrot juice until Friday and one week later, a visitor would not be able to tell which birds were sick. Of course, their weight is still down, but all are recovering nicely and next weekend they will be removed from isolation and join the community loft again. They were eager to take a bath last Sunday and fly readily to perches in the isolation cage.

So........A couple of ideas here....The disease actually ran it's course and was in the final stages anyway.......or, my constant good care allowed survival of the fittest. Or?????does the beta carotene that is high in carrots acts as some blocking agent to a virus? Do carrots, high in sugar content and carbohydrates contribute to a recovery process? Is there something else? 

Ironically, I spoke to a racing homer fancier who's wife is a Chinese physician that specializes in Eastern remedies and life styles. I told him of the above and he rather smiled and said, "Of course, carrots have been used for years for viruses as well as other vegetable products". He indicated that this is a treatment for PMV and Adeno as well and apparently used readily in Europe and the Far East. So, I cannot comment more on the subject, makes little sense to me...but, if the birds even faintly look sick, carrot juice will be in the mix. just sharing some findings, don't kill the messenger.

Fresh carrot juice is the king of vegetable juices. It contains a lot of beta-carotene, vitamins and minerals. All this makes carrot juice indispensable for health maintenance, particularly for people with weak immune systems, skin and vision problems.

   P/S. Since I have read this information, my pigeons have some carrot juice in their drinking water one day per week. I am sure it helps their immune system. I put one 8 onces glass of pure carrot juice in 4 liters of water. Once a month, they have as suggested by Rick Barker: 30% carrot Juice and  70% of water. Raymond.

Hi Walter and all members in this group.

We finally got the answer from Rick Barker for the recipe he used with the carrot juice. Here is the message he has for us: 


The carrot juice comes from the market, I tried to puree the juice but it just was too difficult. I used a 50/50 blend with water, but I'm, sure that 30% juice

 and 70% water would be OK too.

Yes, I tried to boil them and then puree, but it was a pain and too time consuming. Now, I just purchase carrot juice from the store in 2 liter bottles. It needs to be changed twice a day. The birds don't seem to taste anything different. Their feces will turn orange. You can use it..


More about Carrot Juice:

Now, for the question about how carrots might help to fight viruses, here is the more plausible answer.

 Carrots are high in vitamin A and beta carotene which the body can convert into vitamin A as the body needs it. Vitamin A is a IMMUNE STIMULATOR and here in lays the answer. Vitamin A takes on a defensive role by producing special enzymes that destroy viruses. It also maintains the health of mucus membranes that line the respiratory and digestive tract, it enhances the response of white blood cells and antibodies to viruses, it stimulates the production of T-cells, it supports proper Thymus gland function which in turn ensures proper T-cell function, and is needed for normal cell division.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported in their October 1985 issue "Carrot juice pulls heavy metals from tissues, binds them and discharges them from the body's system." Both birds and we are subject to heavy metal toxicity from a variety of sources, from the water they drink, the air they breathe, and especially the pesticide sprayed on the grains and leafy greens that they eat, so the use of carrot juice as a chelating agent could be very important to their health.

A side benefit to juicing for your birds that it is no more trouble to make enough juice for yourself and your family than to make a small portion for your birds. Unless you are eating three fourths of your diet raw, your own health will improve dramatically with the daily consumption of raw fruit and vegetable juices.  From comments at discussion groups cabbage and carrots became the vegetables of choice.

Having concerns about the loss of nutrients and possible spoilage when the juice is stored I decided to freeze it. When juicing for the birds I collect 200 ml of juice, half carrot and half cabbage. It’s added to water until I have one cup and pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze it. When I want to use the cubes I put three in a gallon of water and wait for the cubes to thaw. After a little shaking to mix the juice well with the water it’s ready for the drinkers.

One site where health information on vegetables can be found is the Encyclopedia of Vegetables.

Posted by Bob Cook, Member of the AZ Pigeon Club in the AZPIGEONCLUB Newsletter-Jan 2010


By Dr. Gordon Chalmers, DMV:

An article by Dr. Werquin of Belgium in the January 1994 issue of the Racing Pigeon Digest presented some interesting but somewhat incomplete information on the subject of carnitine. I hope that the present article will shed a little more light on this subject, and at the same time, put it in perspective.

Carnitine is a natural substance that was discovered in the early 1900s, and was found to be an essential nutrient for the growth of the yellow meal worm. It is categorized as one of the substances known to be growth factors for lower forms of life, but with no known dietary requirement for higher animals or humans. Even so, clinical studies suggested that the production of carnitine may be inadequate in some individuals, and in some conditions involving impaired metabolism of fats. In these conditions, a dietary supplementation of carnitine may be important.

Some investigators have classified carnitine as a B vitamin (vitamin B T ), because of its need by some organisms, and the fact that it is soluble in water. The letter "T" in the subscript refers to Tenebrio molitor , a species of meal worm that was first demonstrated to need carnitine for growth. In some publications, carnitine is listed as vitamin B 7 .

In general, as the earlier Digest article indicated, foods from plant sources are low in carnitine, whereas foods of animal origin are rich sources of carnitine. Raw beef, and muscle from lamb and sheep contain high amounts of carnitine, whereas raw muscle from chickens, and beef liver and kidney are relatively low in carnitine. As it is a water-soluble compound, it is likely that carnitine present in food is easily and completely absorbed from the intestine. It seems that carnitine is produced in the liver and is released into the bloodstream for transport to various tissues, where it is incorporated into cells of these tissues. The main location of carnitine in the body is muscle, where the concentration is about 40 times the level found in the blood.

Where and how does the body use carnitine? Research has shown that carnitine is needed in the metabolism (or breakdown) of fats for the production of energy -- an important consideration for us as pigeon fanciers. In cells such as those of muscle, it is involved in the transport of one of the last breakdown products in the metabolism of fat, and moves this product within muscle cells, to specialized structures called mitochondria where the energy for flight is produced. As well, carnitine has been implicated in the utilization of ketone bodies which are related to the production of lactic acid. If indeed, racing pigeons develop lactic acidosis after a race, carnitine would be a useful substance to help in the metabolism of this lactic acid.

As mentioned earlier, carnitine is essential for the growth of some insects such as the meal worm. However, most insects and higher animals such as mammals, can produce their own carnitine. On this basis, it seems that carnitine is not essential for most species including humans except when there is some genetic disorder. It is also known that two of the building blocks of protein -- the amino acids called lysine and methionine -- are important for the production of carnitine by the liver. As well, the B vitamins niacin and pyridoxine (B 6 ), plus vitamin C and iron are needed.

Carnitine is produced from lysine and methionine by two enzymes, both of which contain iron and vitamin C (also called ascorbic acid). Therefore, a deficiency of any of lysine, methionine or vitamin C can reduce the production of carnitine. Fortunately, pigeons, like a number of other birds --except for certain species of finches, for example -- are able to produce their own supplies of vitamin C in their kidneys, and likely don't need supplementation with this vitamin.

Deficiencies of carnitine brought about by inadequate dietary intake have not been reported. However, in humans, a deficiency of carnitine seems to be a major cause of a particular inherited disease of muscles called Type I lipid storage myopathy.

It seems that most plant foods that are low in carnitine are likely to be low in lysine and methionine as well. For this reason, a pure vegetable diet may lack both carnitine and its precursors, lysine and methionine. It is possible that pure vegetarians may be at higher risk of having low carnitine values than non-vegetarians. Obviously, this fact could be highly important for pigeon fanciers because grains are the main source of nutrients fed to pigeons. Possibly the use of commercial pellets which often contain animal sources of protein -- such as meat meal -- could counterbalance the deficiency of carnitine in plants and their seeds. As well, there are a number of relatively expensive commercial sources of carnitine, as a perusal of racing pigeon magazines will show.

Do our racing birds need supplemental carnitine? the question is not answered easily. It is likely that if birds are receiving a good range of high-quality proteins in their diet, so that the amino acids lysine and methionine, among others, are in adequate supply, a deficiency of carnitine should not be encountered. Remember that a number of different amino acids linked together make up what we recognize as proteins in the diet. Some amino acids can be produced by the body, and are called non-essential amino acids. Those that cannot be produced by the body must come from the diet, and are called essential amino acids. A protein composed of a high complement of essential amino acids is called a high-quality protein , whereas a protein with a low complement of essential amino acids is called a low-quality protein . It is notable that both lysine and methionine, which are needed for the production of carnitine, are two of the essential amino acids that must be supplied in the diet.

When birds are racing, fanciers tend to avoid diets high in protein, especially from mid-week to basketing night -- and with good reason. Diets high in protein are not energy-producing diets. Diets high in protein also decrease the amount of fat the liver is capable of producing. As fat is the main source of energy for flight, and the liver is the main site of fat production in the pigeon, it stands to reason that fanciers would want to reduce dietary components -- such as protein at high levels -- that would interfere with this important process.

The fancier usually has to squeeze the higher protein diet between the "depurative" diet -- whatever that means -- fed right after birds return from a race, and the beginning of the high-energy diets needed for the next weekend's race. This higher protein may well be needed for repair and maintenance of the muscle structure itself. Even though the level of protein fed is reduced during the few days leading up to basketing, it is obvious that some protein is fed all week -- it is just reduced in amount as the fancier builds steam, so to speak, for the upcoming race. For this reason, it is possible that enough lysine and methionine are fed throughout the week, especially if an animal source of protein (such as pellets that contain meat meal) is used at all, to allow adequate synthesis of carnitine. If there is any doubt about this, the fancier can obtain a commercial supply of carnitine from health food stores or through the columns of racing pigeon magazines.

The foregoing information still doesn't answer the question "Do our racing birds need carnitine?" It is very likely that carnitine added to the drinking water can't do any harm, and possibly can do some good in some situations. For example, if pigeons could be shown to develop lactic acidosis after a race, the use of carnitine might very well be helpful in preventing this condition.

Carnitine appears in two forms, L-carnitine and D-carnitine, or a mixture of both. Only the L-form is physiologically effective. D-carnitine is an antagonist of L-carnitine and has the opposite effect on the growth and metabolism. In humans, D-carnitine can produce some serious side-effects, including irregularities of the heart beat, muscular weakness, and a condition known as myasthenia gravis. Only L-carnitine occurs in nature and in nutrients. Therefore, fanciers need to be aware of the form of carnitine they are buying in commercial preparations. If the label doesn't say, ask before you buy! Carnitine containing the D-form in any amount should not be purchased. In the US, it seems that the Food and Drug Administration has banned the importation of D-carnitine and the mixture called DL-carnitine.

Although I suspect that some pigeons might develop a serious build-up of lactic acid under certain conditions, to date, I have yet to see evidence of any kind from the scientific literature to say conclusively and absolutely that racing pigeons develop serious problems from an excess build-up of lactic acid. Yes, there is scientific evidence that pigeons produce lactic acid during flight, but I haven't seen published work that demonstrates illness or debility as a result of the lactic acid produced.

Until there is some tangible proof from scientific experiments, I tend to withhold judgment on this point. There is no doubt that within a couple of days after a race, particularly a long-distance race, some birds become very stiff, appear to be sore, and are completely unable to fly even to the lowest perch in the loft -- especially if they haven't been exercised after returning home. The breast muscles of these birds are remarkably swollen and very firm, and certainly suggest that lactic acid may be the basis of this problem. Feeding carnitine to prevent such occurrences could be helpful. Just as importantly, forcing long-distance birds to exercise beginning the morning after the race is also equally useful in "burning up" any lactic acid that may have accumulated after the birds arrrived home. (A wise fancier told me years ago that the best therapy for a long-distance bird was a 10-mile toss the next morning -- again, the same principle as morning exercise.)

This "tying up" situation in pigeons is very similar to a problem that occurred in former days when horses were used much more commonly as draft animals, hauling loads of milk, ice or fire equipment. On weekends, such horses were stabled and not exercised, and were fed well on diets high in carbohydrate. Within minutes to a very few hours after beginning work on Monday morning, many of these animals became very stiff and sore, and some even collapsed, completely unable to move. Because it was so common on Monday mornings, it was called Monday Morning Disease. The combination of a diet high in carbohydrate and no exercise on the weekend, followed by regular exercise on Monday mornings, caused severe degeneration of body muscles to the point that horses were virtually paralyzed. In one such situation, virtually all draft horses in one city were affected at the same time, because all had had no exercise and a great deal of high carbohydrate feed on the same weekend.

One way for the individual fancier to try to answer this question -- and obviously other questions that ask, essentially, "What is the effect of__________ on racing performance?" -- is to divide his racing team into two groups, one team fed (in this instance) carnitine, and the other team fed the same diet with no carnitine added. Everything else -- exercise, training, racing, feeding and management -- stays exactly the same for both groups. For example, you can't have one group on the natural system and the other group on widowhood. Both groups must be on the same system. The only difference between the two groups is that carnitine is fed to one group and not to the other group.

Then the racing performances of both groups can be recorded and analyzed to determine whether carnitine supplementation is helpful. One season's results are not enough though, and ideally, several years of results need to be tabulated and compared before it is possible to make a valid comparison, and an informed decision. This process can be applied to test the effects of other nutrients, other systems of flying, other exercise programs, medications, etc.. All that is essential is that accurate records of performances of the two different groups be maintained and analyzed correctly at the end of the designated experimental period. Too often though, we are impressed with a few events in a jumble of records, we form a judgment or opinion on the basis of these few scant events, and nothing of any real value is accomplished.

Admittedly, not everyone is a scientist, but the application of some thought and a logical approach can provide some real information of value to the racing fancy. It is for this reason that I hope that the new Pigeon Center of the Americas in Oklahoma will become a clearing house -- or provide the direction -- for some good experimental work that will benefit the entire racing pigeon fraternity. Regrettably, funds for such research are often in short supply in these days of budgetary restraints that affect all levels of society, and it may not be too easy in the foreseeable future to continue previous research, or to begin brand new research in areas of concern to pigeon racing. It seems that quite an amount of research on various aspects of physiology and racing have been completed in Europe, but likely for straight economic reasons, such as the sale of breeding stock throughout the world, a pall of secrecy has descended on much that would be of value to us as fanciers, and we are not privy to these results. It's a pity.

It is for these reasons of traditional secrecy, as well as the greater need to learn as much as we can about racing pigeons, that I hope the Pigeon Center will become a major force in initiating, directing and even funding research that is important to the racing pigeon sport. Information should not be locked in the files of a few individuals, but should be available for all to share.



From Dr. Cilin Walker:  Carnadazole - The common brand name here is Spartrix. It is only available in tablet form. It has a wide safety margin and is very useful for individual bird dosing, particularly youngsters in the nest. The dose is one 10-mg tablet daily. By Pigeon International: Spartrix 25 tablets by Rohnfried is treatment for canker (trichomoniasis) in homing/racing pigeons. A single oral dose is effective against Trichomonas columbae, the cause of pigeon canker

- Treatment and prevention of trichomoniasis Canker in Pigeons.

- 1 tablet per adult pigeon (i.e. 10 mg carnidazole).
- Half tablet per young pigeon. A single dose is usually sufficient.
- Cases which do not respond within 3 days may be treated again

- To ensure the full benefit of Spartrix, all pigeons in the loft should be treated at the same time, immediately before feeding.
- All waterbowls should be removed in advance and thoroughly disinfected.



See Darwin article on English carriers:

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « carrier pigeons » 



The cartilage in the joint starts to degrade due to overburdening of young pigeons and the lack of movement
with pigeons that are stuck in winter.

The cartilage serves as cushioning between the individual parts of the skeleton. This function is supported by the joint fluid that feeds the cartilage and surrounds it as a defensive ring. When arthrosis occurs, the cartilage degrades, the bones are rubbing against one other causing pain. The irritated bone skin reacts, resulting in an infection (arthritis) and the deformation of the joint bones. As a result the joint functioning progressively re- duces. In an advanced stage, the joint can even ossify causing permanent stiffness.

Casting primaries

 This is done to help finishing a Young bird for the fall show. bu using the darkening methods for my pigeons. I particularly like to practice it to show my Young pigeons that have only 5 months to compete with the oldest ones as they have moulted completely. I use it because in Québec, we pair our birds late in the beginning of the before of the cold wethers we have. For more information see: darkening system.  


Cats commonly have Pasteurella bacteria as part of their natural flora.

While this bacteria is ubiquitous in cats and does them no harm, it is

DEADLY to birds. Even if you cat just bats your bird or gets saliva on

your bird, you could end up with a dead bird. Also, if your bird has a

persistent problem with itching and other skin issues and you have a

cat, this could be a cause and your vet should be asked to screen for

this bacteria. If your bird is ever in a confrontation with a cat, take

him to the vet immediately even if there are NO apparent wounds. The

bird could still have been exposed to this bacteria. You should get your

bird to a vet the same day if you think it has come in physical contact

with a cat's saliva, feces, or food. This bacteria means even friendly

relationships between cats and birds are not safe. Period.

Cats and birds: The combination can be disastrous. Although domestic cats (Felis catus) can make wonderful pets, they threaten birds and other wildlife and disrupt ecosystems. : More about it:




Hi everyone,

I have another question for all of you.  What do you use as loft beddings or floor shavings?

Just to inform, here is what happened to a young woman that bought pigeons which were sent with cedar shavings in the box:

“I am so upset; I received birds that were shipped with Cedar shavings! One was dead,
 and the other 3 are extremely sick. What is wrong with people, that is such a known
 thing!!! It's heartbreaking to say the least.  I'm am just sick about this! I was always told it is
highly toxic.”

And more information from Joee:

“ I wish to comment on your use of Cedar bedding. Though I am no expert in Pigeons I do testify in court repetitively as an expert witness in abuse/neglect cases of rabbits/chickens/ ducks and geese. In those cases and through my extensive study with the nearby vet colleges. Cedar bedding is toxic to all feathered birds and especially rabbits. Though I honestly can not say why those birds died it may have been the combination of heat and or bedding. I have had the unhappy procedure of entering a farm that has lost literally hundreds of chickens/ducks with only a few left living (and not for long) and had to tell the owner of the farm they were killing them with kindness. They kept putting in fresh cedar bedding only to later find these birds died from the toxic fumes. I have also seen several horses die from the same thing.
 I do not wish to start any arguments here. I am only stating what I personally have witnessed and through the necropsy reports we find it was the toxic cedar bedding.
 Please be aware this could at any time happen to your birds also. One never knows when the fumes are just too much. Best to avoid if possible.
 Just my honest opinion for what it's worth.” And:

“Cedar and Pine Shavings are
Toxic to ALL Small Animals!

Cedar and pine shavings, the bedding choices most commonly
used for small animals, have been found to contain toxins!

The news in a nutshell

AFRMA - Both cedar and pine contain phenols-that' s the stuff that
makes them smell good. Phenols are caustic, poisonous, acidic
compounds. These compounds cause constant irritation to the nasal
passages, throat, and lungs of small animals giving bacteria an easy
opening, thus commonly causing pneumonia. Phenols also affect organs
such as the liver and kidneys, because these organs are responsible
for filtering toxins out of the body. When presented with a large
amount of toxins over time, they are unable to filter it all out and
begin to fail. An animal with a damaged liver will have a depressed
immune system, which can lead to other medical conditions.

 CHARCOAL in grit

A bit of charcoal in the grit might be appropriate but too much of it can affect the absorption of viatmins A, B2 and K, resulting in deficiencies. Please pay attention to this product, if not sure about it, it is better not to give it to your pigeons.



CHEVITA Product: 

Find the symptom:

  Very handy chart!  



Cholera is a highly infectious disease which may attack pigeons of any age. It is caused by a germ which multiples in the bloodstream. This disease can be spread throught the droppings of infected birds and can readily spread to the entire flock. The bird rapidly becomes too weak to stand and usually dies within about 3 days. Pigeons become droopy and develop a green diarrhea. They will eat little or nothing but are extremely thirsty. There is no treatment for cholera. Diseased birds must be destroyed and the bodies deeply buried or burned. The loft must be thoroughly disinfected.  (from the book of Thayer Keith Miller Nature 2015)


By Dr. Colin Walker

Circo virus is an infectious transmittable virus that spreads from one bird to another. The virus is shed in droppings, tears, saliva and possibly also feather debris.

Once in the loft it can be assumed that every pigeon will be exposed to the virus and that the vast majority will actually become infected. Typically however only about 5% actually show symptoms, while the other 95% although infected with the virus do not develop clinical symptoms i.e. do not become sick. If tested at this time, they will return a positive result and are infected, but look completely normal sitting on the perch.


Birds that do become sick develop the typical symptoms of weight loss, lethargy, diarrhoea and some will develop yellow scum in the mouth. These birds almost invariably die. The ones that do not become sick after a period of time clear the virus from their system. We do not currently know how long this takes but it is thought that the majority will clear the virus from their system in about 4 to 6 months. There is the possibility however, that some birds will fail to clear the virus and remain as persistent carriers.


The significance of Circo virus infection is that while the virus is active in the bird it interferes with the functioning of the immune system. Specifically it targets a particular type of white blood cell called the T lymphocyte. This means that the pigeons ability to resist other infections is compromised while the virus is active. For this reason in some parts of the world Pigeon Circo Virus is called pigeon AIDS.


Often what alerts us to a Circo virus infection is an increased incidence of these secondary diseases. If your birds are experiencing a higher level of canker or eye colds than normal or if the problem quickly comes back after treatment it may be that Circo virus is the underlying cause. When disease proves difficult to control or behaves in an unpredictable manner it’s always worthwhile asking your vet to check for a concurrent Circo virus infection.

 The term ‘Young Bird Disease’ refers to a condition where young pigeons, usually in the first few weeks after weaning become quiet, fluffed, lose weight, develop a green mucoid diarrhoea and die. The cause is a virus called Circo virus.


The term ‘Young Bird Disease’ is in my mind a poor one and one that I think should be abandoned. The problem is that it groups a whole lot of diseases that cause similar symptoms into a single category. As the way these diseases are caught, transmitted and indeed treated are different they need to be differentiated. Fanciers run the risk of seeing any young pigeon with these symptoms and simply putting them down to ‘Young Bird Disease’ when in fact all he is acknowledging is that the young pigeon is sick with wasting and diarrhoea. Coccidiosis, Adeno-coli syndrome, Chlamydia, Salmonella, E.coli, Herpes virus, thrush, hair worm infection, internal canker, Aspergillus and many other diseases can all cause similar symptoms. A much better term which actually states the true nature of the infection would be Pigeon Circo Virus Disease, so that instead of a fancier saying his pigeon had ‘Young Bird Disease’, the fancier would say, after an accurate diagnosis that his pigeons had Pigeon Circo Virus Disease.


What to do if the problem is diagnosed in your loft

In the face of an outbreak, where available, all youngsters should be vaccinated. After this the following 4 point plan is adopted:

  1. separate sick birds; treat them with a broad spectrum antibiotic e.g. Baytril 2.5% four drops once daily orally and an anti-canker drug e.g. Spartix 1 tablet daily. And place an electrolyte/glucose preparation e.g. Electrolyte P180 in the water. If the birds fail to respond in a few days, they are often best eliminated.

  2. to minimize viral build up in the loft ensure the loft is regularly cleaned and kept clean and dry.

  3. care for the birds as well as you possibly can so that the majority can mount a good immune response to the virus i.e. ‘fight’ the disease. This means, no over crowding, a good diet, good parasite control and treating any secondary diseases identified through testing.

  4. give probiotics, giving probiotics e.g. ‘Probac’ will decrease the impact of the disease. This is not a treatment for sick birds but if a bird is exposed to Circo virus while it is on probiotics it is that much harder for the virus, or at least an overwhelming dose of the virus, to infect that bird. I usually recommend ‘Probac’ be placed in the food or water for 2 weeks initially and then for 2 to 3 days each week until the virus has worked its way through the birds i.e. it has been several weeks since a bird has got sick.

After this do nothing except provide good care until the start of tossing. Then have the birds checked i.e. crop flush, fecal smear and Chlamydia test by a bird vet. Any disease that the bird has not developed a good immunity against i.e. still detectable should be treated and controlled so that the second wave of loss is avoided.


Do note that killing sick birds is not a way of eliminating the disease from the loft because the majority of infected birds show no symptoms.


Although it can be frustrating to loose 5% of the youngsters, the important thing to remember is that 90% of the birds in a typical out break do not die. The team is therefore essentially intact and with correct management can still go on and win if the birds are good enough.


A good thing is that it appears that recovered birds do develop a good immunity to the disease. This has been shown to occur with Circo virus (a different but related virus) in parrots. It also appears that this immunity can be passed through the crop milk and indeed the egg (the yolk which is sucked into the abdomen during development, contains lots of antibodies and hatching chicks also gulp and swallow some of the egg white (which also contains immunoglobins)  which coats the lining of the bowel). Because of these and other factors the effect of the virus dramatically reduces each year.


(From the MERCK veterinary manual)

In addition to poor growth, the classic sign of choline deficiency in chicks and poults is perosis. Perosis is first characterized by pinpoint hemorrhages and a slight puffiness about the hock joint, followed by an apparent flattening of the tibiometatarsal joint caused by a rotation of the metatarsus. The metatarsus continues to twist and may become bent or bowed so that it is out of alignment with the tibia. When this condition exists, the leg cannot adequately support the weight of the bird. The articular cartilage is displaced, and the Achilles tendon slips from its condyles. Perosis is not a specific deficiency sign; it appears with several nutrient deficiencies.

Although choline deficiency readily develops in chicks fed diets low in choline, a deficiency in laying hens is not easily produced. Eggs contain ~12–13 mg of choline/g of dried whole egg. A large egg contains ~170 mg of choline, found almost entirely in the phospholipids. Thus, there appears to be a considerable need for choline to produce an egg. In spite of this, producing a marked choline deficiency in laying hens has been difficult, even when highly purified diets essentially devoid of choline are provided for a prolonged period. Under these conditions, the choline content of eggs is not reduced, suggesting possible intestinal synthesis by the bird.

Diets that contain appreciable quantities of soybean meal, wheat bran, and wheat shorts are unlikely to be deficient in choline. Soybean meal is a good source of choline, and wheat byproducts are good sources of betaine, which can perform the methyl-donor function of choline. Other good sources of choline are distiller's grains, fishmeal, liver meal, meat meals, distiller's solubles, and yeast. A number of commercial choline supplements are available, and supplemental choline is routinely used in most poultry feeds. 



From Pygmy Loris:

 Penisless birds and the cloaca

The first thing to note is that the males of most bird species do not have penises (although many waterfowl species do,  and they are STRANGE – we’ll come onto that later). Both male and female birds have an opening called a “cloaca” – which I thought was a rather lovely word, especially as bird sex is often described using the phrase “cloacal kiss”. Then I learned that the word “cloaca” comes from the latin word for sewer. Why would their sex hole derive from a word for sewer, you ask? Because birds don’t just use this hole for reproduction. They pee and poo out of it, too. Gross but effective, especially if you have to be light enough to fly.

The cloaca.

During the breeding season, the ovaries of the female expand dramatically, as do the male’s internal testes (that’s right, birds keep them inside so that’s why you haven’t seen a blackbird with balls. Presumably makes flying much easier). Bird copulation need only last a few seconds, to allow the cloacas of the male and female to touch in this so-called cloacal kiss. The male typically mounts the female from behind, depositing sperm from his cloaca into the female’s. The sperm then may or may not fertilise the female’s egg, which she has produced in her one functioning ovary. In most female birds, only the left ovary develops into a functioning organ, again this is probably an adaptation to the need to be as light as possible in order to fly effectively. The egg develops a hard shell, is laid by the female and then incubated until the new chick hatches.


– The males of most bird species do not have a penis, both sexes have a multi-tasking orifice called the cloaca. Copulation generally involves a few seconds and a mere touching of these organs in order to deposit sperm.


Very interesting details:

Let's have a look for muchmore information following the first pagraph: Discussions in Genetics

Chapter 1....... Sex, Chromosomes, and Genes.

If you’re new to pigeon genetics, it would be best to first review some of the genetic terms and their definitions listed on the Glossary of Genetic Terms page.    Like most of you, I’m not a trained Biologist nor a Veterinarian.  I'm simply a novice in the sport of pigeons.   What I write about is taken from other genetic writer’s and their works.   I simply try to put it into laymen’s terms and simplify the subject as best I can.  Since most of you are new to this subject I try to write in a style where I often repeat myself.  That is done to reinforce the learning process.  For those more learned types, please be patient and bare with me.



A classic section of the rating of a pigeon, is the judgement of the eye. Every pigeon fancier, wherever in the world, always looks at the eye during the rating of a pigeon. And if you ask: what do you see, then you receive thousands of different answers. For more details:

Bring pigeons eyes up as a topic for discussion between a group of pigeon fanciers and you'll be amazed at the different responses you get.   Some will jump right into the pros and cons of the various "Eye Sign" theories as a performance indicator while others will point to the genetically different eye colors and how to breed for color to achieve the show standards required for the many different breed types.    Both of these topics are highly debated and for some reason very few will agree on either subject.   Why is there such disagreement?   To me the answer is simple.   There isn't enough scientific research conducted on "Eye Sign" to come to their final conclusions nor is there enough factual information published on "Genetics" to explain eye colors For much more information see:


From Dr. Collin Walker:


Circo virus is an infectious transmittable virus that spreads from one bird to another. The virus is shed in droppings, tears, saliva and possibly also feather debris.

Once in the loft it can be assumed that every pigeon will be exposed to the virus and that the vast majority will actually become infected. Typically however only about 5% actually show symptoms, while the other 95% although infected with the virus do not develop clinical symptoms i.e. do not become sick. If tested at this time, they will return a positive result and are infected, but look completely normal sitting on the perch.


Birds that do become sick develop the typical symptoms of weight loss, lethargy, diarrhoea and some will develop yellow scum in the mouth. These birds almost invariably die. The ones that do not become sick after a period of time clear the virus from their system. We do not currently know how long this takes but it is thought that the majority will clear the virus from their system in about 4 to 6 months. There is the possibility however, that some birds will fail to clear the virus and remain as persistent carriers



Toltrazuril Coccidiocide Solution - This effective Coccidia medication requires only a 2-day treatment course; safe to use during all stages of the pigeon year.

Coccidiosis is an intestinal disease which is widely distributed among all pigeons. Coccidia is a small protozoan that lives in the wall of the bowel. Its eggs are passed in the droppings and become infective quicker in humid conditions. In almost any pigeon loft we can find coccidiosis, but only a very serious infection will cause visible clinical signs. The pigeon is able to build up some resistance against this parasite and therefore a treatment will only be necessary in case of a very serious infection. A good daily hygiene has to go always hand in hand with a good treatment and a dry climate on the loft. This disease is transmitted by dirty contaminated baskets, drinking of contaminated water on roofs or out of gutters, eating or drinking of contaminated food or drinking water. The clinical symptoms of the disease are disturbed digestion, flat and watery droppings, weakness causing other secondary infections, delayed growth of young pigeons. Other signs of an outbreak include birds that are pale, droopy, tend to huddle, consume less feed and water, have diarrhea, and may become emaciated and dehydrated. Coccidiosis usually occurs in growing birds and young adults. It is seldom seen in birds under three weeks or in mature birds.



CITY or FERAL Pigeon

 Résultats de recherche d'images pour « CITY or FERAL Pigeon »

 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from Feral Pigeon)
Feral pigeon
Rock Pigeon Columba livia.jpg
Feral pigeon in flight.jpg
Feeding in a park and in flight
Scientific classificatione
C. l. domestica
Trinomial name
Columba livia domestica
Gmelin, 1789[2]
  • Columba domestica
  • Columba livia rustica

Feral pigeons (Columba livia domestica or Columba livia forma urbana), also called city dovescity pigeons, or street pigeons,[3][4] are descendants of domestic pigeons (Columba livia domestica) that have returned to the wild.[5] The domestic pigeon was originally bred from the wild rock dove, which naturally inhabits sea-cliffs and mountains.[6] Rock, domestic, and feral pigeons are all the same species and will readily interbreed. Feral pigeons find the ledges of buildings to be a substitute for sea cliffs, have become adapted to urban life, and are abundant in towns and cities throughout much of the world.[

Read the following for much more info:


For more details just look in this Web Site for videos:

Good products for cleaning have a look on page V and O for: : Virkon and Oxine.



Mangile's Pigeon Pages

American Pigeon Journal

December 1990, page 33.

A Theory About Three-egg Clutches
 From Domestic Pigeons

By Robert J. Mangile
816 E. Atkinson Ave.
Pittsburg, Kansas 66762

Every now and then, one reads about a pigeon fancier who discovers that he or she has a female pigeon that occasionally lays a three-egg clutch.  This puzzles many fanciers because the normal clutch size for domestic pigeons is two eggs.

In a 1977 Pigeon Science and Genetics Newsletter, [PS&GN] (issue #4, page 45) Tom McCaig of Hacienda Hts., California, wrote that a particular black crested Frillback hen laid 3-egg clutches "every time" that year and all three eggs were fertile.  Her sister also laid 3-egg clutches twice that year.  A hereditary basis was implicated.

In keeping with traditional ‘newsletter spirit’, I responded to McCaig’s comments (PS&GN, issue #5, page 29), with the following: "....3-egg laying hens.  No secret, I don't think!?  I had one.  This bird was a double-yolk layer.  I supposed this was the case on a couple of 3-egg clutches and reported it somewhere in PGNL [Pigeon Genetics News Letter] some time ago.  Apparently, two ova that ordinarily comprise a double-yolked egg are encased separately.  Anyway I did get a few double-yolked eggs out of her later.  If more details are desired I'll run down my records - OK?  The bird was a blue Runt hen."

Dave Rinehart (PS&GN editor) responded with: ". . (OK - run them down Bob!  I have a red Lebanon hen that repeatedly lays double yolked eggs: but she has never laid 3-eggs.  No accurate records kept on how many clutches or how many double yolked eggs she produced though.  Seemed like about every other nesting though. - Dave)"

On page 12 of PS&GN, issue #6, selected data on my Runt was published.  To summarize, on October 26, 1972, she laid two soft, rough-shelled eggs, followed by another normal egg on October 30th.  In other words, ... a ‘3-egg clutch.’  (Note the time between eggs?)  Following that three-egg clutch, she laid a minimum of six (6) clutches of one normal egg and one double-yolked egg through December 1974.  In short, each clutch contained three yolks!?  Primarily, they were recorded in the fall and winter months.  No records of double-yolked or three-egg clutches were recorded during the spring and mid-summer months.

Many fanciers have long held the idea that the double-yolk egg-laying trait is hereditary.  Hens that lay double-yolked eggs can sometimes be traced to other double-yolk egg-layers in their pedigree.  This is tricky at best because long held stock is often inter-related anyway!

In "The Pigeon" (Chapter IV – Physiology, paragraph 443), W.M. Levi mentions abnormalities of clutches.  He states . . . "The pigeon hen usually lays two eggs to the clutch; in rare cases, three; and occasionally, only one.  The latter is caused by the improper functioning of the hen's reproductive organs.  Very rarely are four eggs laid to the clutch."

In paragraphs 444 and 445, he discusses hatching difficulties for identical twins (normal size eggs with one yolk shared by both embryos) and double-yolked twins (large eggs containing two separate yolks and embryos).  One case mentioned was of a ‘normal-downed’ and a ‘short-downed’ squab within a single shell.  The differences in down length suggest that each squab was derived from a separate fertilized egg (yolk).  Twin squabs rarely hatch without human assistance.

R.G. Silson (1988, Jour. of Heredity) reports on hens that lay three-egg clutches and suggested that the 3-egg clutch trait was a simple recessive mutant.  He states . . . "A pedigree study indicates that the factor is a simple recessive that is not fully expressed in the homozygote.  All later three-egg hens always had a three-egg hen on both sides of their pedigree, sometimes several generations back."

Nothing solid can be concluded without more detailed study.  Hens that lay three-egg clutches are possibly double-yolk layers that occasionally or frequently lay three eggs due to the intended ‘double yolks’ being encased in separate shells.  The same would hold true of the 4-egg clutch; i.e., both [sets of] eggs were intended as double-yolked.

Whether or not the double-yolked characteristic naturally has modified expressions and/or can be modified into three-egg or four-egg laying hens through selection, is questionable at this time.  If any consistency can be recorded from selected pairings in related birds that lay multi-egg clutches, perhaps we can establish a genetic unit to 'multi-egg clutches' and through selective breeding change the reproductive mode of domesticated pigeons.  This might be achieved more easily than one might expect.


COCCIDIOSIS: (From Dr. Collin Walker)

Coccidia are fascinating organisms. They can infect not only pigeons, and in fact all birds, but also dogs, cats, sheep, pigs, cows and a range of other animals. They are, however, very species-specific so that it is only pigeon Coccidia that can infect pigeons and, for example, only sparrow Coccidia that infect sparrows. There are however, several types that can infect each animal. The most common Coccidia type in pigeons is called Eimeria spp. 

Animals become infected by swallowing the organism's eggs. All Coccidia once swallowed replicate in the cells of the host, in the process causing extensive damage. In pigeons, this occurs in the lining of the bowel. After multiplying here, the newly produced eggs are passed in the droppings. When initially passed, the eggs (oocysts) are thin-shelled and contain a spherical body, which looks granular, called a sporoblast. The sporoblast is an amorphous blob of protoplasm. Once in the environment, the sporoblast within the bigger egg develops into several smaller eggs called sporocysts (there are four in Eimeria), which in turn each contain a number of structures called sporozoites (there are two in Eimeria). Once this has happened, the egg is said to be sporolated. It is not until this has happened that the egg is infective if swallowed. This process usually takes 4 - 5 days but depends on temperature and humidity. Once an infective (i.e. sporolated) egg is swallowed, the sporozoites hop out and burrow into the wall of the bowel. They at first multiply asexually in the bowel cells but then develop into the equivalent of male and female gametes, which then 'mate' to produce further eggs (oocysts), which rupture back through the bowel lining before being passed in the dropping, thus completing the life cycle.

The significance of Coccidia for us as pigeon racers is that as the Coccidia multiplies in the bowel lining, it damages it, interfering with it doing its job of digestion properly. This is complicated by the fact that each time an egg ruptures back into the bowel from the lining, it causes a microscopic 'pin prick', allowing the bird's blood, electrolytes and protein to be lost.

This weakens the birds and interferes with the absorption of vital nutrients. Severely affected birds develop greenish diarrhoea, are lethargic, thirsty and lose weight. Race birds with even the slightest infection are not able to give of their best.

In most lofts, a low level of infection is present and out of the racing season is regarded as normal, serving to maintain the flock's level of immunity. In two situations, the organism can increase in number and cause clinical problems:

1. As a primary disease, where there are flaws in loft management or design that lead to high exposure to the organism - The loft must be clean and dry. A build-up in the loft is prevented by regular cleaning with particular attention to the drinkers and hoppers. There is no place for wetness in a healthy loft; it not only enables the Coccidia egg to become infective more quickly, but promotes bacterial infection.

2. As a secondary disease, where other factors weaken the bird, enabling the Coccidia to increase in number and cause clinical disease - Such factors may be other concurrent disease, such as worms, or alternatively overcrowding, excessive tossing, poor nutrition, etc.


Coccidia should always be suspected where loose droppings appear, particularly in young birds or following wet periods or heavy training. Diagnosis is through faecal examination under a microscope. The best drug to use is Toltrazuril Coccidiocide Solution, which acts entirely within the bowel. It does not interfere with race form and can therefore be safely used during racing. It can also be used safely during breeding and moulting. The dose is 1 ml per 2 litres of water for 2 - 3 days. Avoid medicating if you believe your birds do not have coccidiosis.

Monitoring of coccidial counts by faecal examination (I suggest every 4 weeks) through the race season is a good indicator of the team's form. Birds with elevated counts will benefit from a course of Toltrazuril Coccidiocide Solution. In faecal samples from perfectly fit birds, no coccidial eggs are seen.


Amprolium (Corid, Amprol): An excellent drug of choice for coccidiosis. Must be used for 3 to 5 days to be effective. Avoid using vitamins while treating, but use them for 1-2 days after treatment is finished. Dose: 1 tsp (20% powder) per gallon.

Toltazuril (Baycox): A very potent coccidiostat. Not yet approved in USA.

Dose : l mL per liter (4cc per gallon –100 mg per gallon) for 2 days.

Sulfonamides : Some sulfas are more effective than others. Sulfadimethoxine is probably the most effective. Dose: Use for 5 days. 1250 mg per 4 litres.


Please be cautious if you use it: Cod liver oil is also a good source of vitamins A  but it does contain gizzerine, which is associated with the development of stomach ulcers. Also, cod liver oil will rapidly become rancid if exposed to the sunlight. Rancid oil can lead to a Vitamin E deficiency.

For more about cold go to the R or I letters under: Respiratory Infection


Pigeons get colds just like humans and dampness in the loft is a major cause of colds. The second cause is the lack of air circulation en the loft. The third one being too many birds in a loft.  

Usually if you will make sure your loft has no drafts your pigeons will have fewer colds. Keep the birds warm when sick and administer cod liver oil to keep up their strength. Consult your feed store for an ointment or suggestions to help open the nostrils and make breathing easier.


Conseils pour éleveurs de pigeons

Conseils pour éleveurs de pigeons

Par Raymond Julien

1-    La principale différence entre les virus et les bactéries que nos pigeons peuvent attrapés, est que les antibiotiques utilisés tueront les bactéries mais ne tueront jamais les virus. Malheureusement, ils ne tueront pas uniquement les mauvaises bactéries mais également les bonnes!

2-   La consommation de pré biotiques et de probiotiques est nécessaire au corps du pigeon pour qu’il opère correctement.

3-   Il est préférable de ne jamais traiter nos pigeons pendant la période de grosse mue. (Lorsque le pigeon mue sa 6ième à sa 9ième grande plume de l’aile).

4-   Si vous devez donner des antibiotiques à vos pigeons, assurez vous de respecter la quantité nécessaire et la durée suggérée (nombre de jours) sinon, les pathogènes acquièrent une certaine résistance au produit et deviennent de plus en plus résistantes par la suite. Le même cas s’applique pour les autres médecines.

5-   Il est suggéré d’alterner les médecines utilisées pour éviter que les pigeons deviennent résistants à ces médicaments.

6-   Avant d’utiliser l’ail en même temps que des probiotiques pour nos pigeons, il faut s’assurer qu’il n’y ait pas de réactions chimiques néfastes entre les deux produits. Plusieurs probiotiques de mauvaises qualités peuvent causés cette situation. Ce n’est pas le cas avec Probac et Primalac.

7-   Utiliser beaucoup de médicaments comme routine ou prévention, n’est définitivement pas recommandé.

8-   Donner des antibiotiques comme prévention est effectivement un très mauvais choix à faire. Cela ne fait que donner à nos pigeons une résistance à ces antibiotiques. Il y a une vingtaine d’années, on guérissait presque toujours nos pigeons avec de l’auréomycine. De nos jours, même le baytril ( app. 20 fois plus fort que l’auréomycine) ne parvient pas toujours à guérir.

9-   Le premier signe qu’un pigeon peut nous donner qu’il sera malade, est ce qu’on appelle la ‘‘slow Crop’’  c’est-à-dire une digestion anormalement lente.

10- Il ne faut jamais donner à nos pigeons du vinaigre de cidre de pomme ou produit similaire dans des contenants en métal non galvanisés.

11-   Des études approfondies sont continuellement en cours pour la nourriture de nos pigeons. L’idéal à fournir à ceux-ci est un mélange de protéines, d’acides aminés, de vitamines et de minéraux. Comme les grains qu’on donne à nos pigeons ne contiennent pas toujours tous les produits essentiels, surtout quand les grains vieillissent, (plusieurs commencent à perdre leur qualité après quelques semaines!) il faut combler par des produits ajoutés préférablement à l’eau de breuvage.

12- En tout temps mais surtout durant les périodes de stress pour nos pigeons comme pendant la mue, lorsqu’ils élèvent ou lorsqu’on les expose, voici les éléments essentiels qu’ils devraient recevoir : Acides aminés essentiels: Le besoin journalier pour nos pigeons:

LESINE0.18 grs
VALINE0.06 grs
LEUCINE0.09 grs


A, D3, E,C, B1, B2, B6, B12, K3, acide folique, acide nicitique, folic acid, nicotinic acid, nicotinamide. Ces vitamines peuvent facilement être achetées dans tout endroit fiable de produits aviaires. Mais faite attention à certains produits supposément excellents comme pour la mue par exemple, ils ne sont pas nécessairement bons pour eux! Viennent par la suite, les minéraux et olligo-éléments nécessaires : Cuivre, Zinc, Manganèse, Cobalt et fer surtout.

13- Tous les animaux vivants -y compris les humains- ont un désir prononcé pour prendre plus de sel que ce qu’ils ont besoin. Après une période prolongée de prise du sel, les pigeons risquent d’augmenter considérablement leur pression artérielle, d’avoir des problèmes au cœur incluant la cessation de battement des maladies de reins de grave problèmes aux yeux et plus…

14- Un problème de décès dans l’oeuf d’embryons pour nos pigeons qui dépasse 5% DOIT être considéré comme anormal et indique un problème dans votre pigeonnier ou un problème de mauvaise gestion de votre part. À noter que la salmonelle et tous genres d’infection ensemble ne représente pas plus de 5% de toutes les mortalités à l’intérieur de l’œuf.

15-  Donner très peu de maïs à vos pigeons lorsqu’ils ont des petits à nourrir. Tout d’abord, le maïs ne contient pas suffisamment de protéines, c’est pourquoi les pigeons le délaisse pendant cette période s’ils ont suffisamment d’autres grains à leur disposition. Le maïs peu aussi causé des lésions légères dans la gorge des pigeonneaux à cause de sa forme et sa dureté ce qui pave la route aux trichomonas. La nourriture la plus appropriée de nos jours est la moulée en cubes. Elle doit être bien balancée et procurer tout ce que nos pigeons ont besoin.

16- Les antibiotiques = contre la vie. Les probiotiques = pour la vie. En effet, les antibiotiques tuent les mauvaises bactéries mais aussi les bonnes. Les probiotiques protègent contre les maladies mais aussi aide à reconstituer la flore intestinale. C’est pourquoi ils DOIVENT être utilisés après tout traitement aux anti-biotiques.

17- Comme les grains en vieillissant contiennent moins de vitamines, il faut combler le manque par des vitamines en sachet. Mais attention, trop de vitamines peuvent aussi être néfastes. Il est suggéré d’en donner deux fois par semaine lorsque nécessaire (mue, élevage, et expositions) et une fois par semaine en tout autre temps. On doit aussi suivre les recommandations du manufacturier, non du vendeur du produit! Celles-ci diffèrent grandement dans certaines circonstances : les vendeurs veulent vendre!!!

18- Les nids des pigeons doivent être nettoyés et désinfectés après chaque élevage. Des nids impropres causent plus de dégâts aux embryons que la salmonelle! Le Dr. Collin Walker écrit dans un de ses articles : ¨Des nids sals, mal désinfectés, pauvrement ventilés, ou trop humides conduisent à  une contamination et aux mouvement d’agents contaminants infectieux à travers l’écaille.

19- La salmonelle peu nuire à la progression des pigeonneaux. Ils maigrissent et après un certain temps meurent. Très souvent, les parents n’ont aucun problème mais comme tous les pigeons sont porteurs de bactérie de la salmonelle, ils peuvent infecter leurs jeunes, que ce soit pendant la couvaison ou après l’éclosion.

20-Le problème de patte croches des bébés est causé surtout par un nid mal fait ou par un manque de vitamines des parents. La génétique peut  aussi être en cause mais le plus souvent, c’est le manque de nutrition adéquate qui cause le problème si le nid est bien construit. Très souvent, le problème survient lorsqu’il y a un seul jeune dans le nid.

Raymond Julien



See: City pigeons


During the 30 years I have been in this domain, we have always done our compost from pigeon manures with great result at such a great level that our neighbors asked for some in many occasions. For more information, please see:

From Pigeon Talk:

Marvelous Pigeon Manure

Pigeon manure sells for about twice what other manures sell for. I bet you didn't even know that anyone cared enough to buy or sell Pigeon manure!

Pigeon droppings have a long and honorable history as excellent high-nitrogen fertilizer. They were considered so valuable several hundred years ago, that guards had to be posted on dovecotes, to keep thieves from stealing them!

In addition to their use as fertilizer, they were used for a time as a source of saltpeter for making gunpowder. Gives a whole new meaning to explosive diarrhea, doesn't it?

When composted down, they are unsurpassed for fertilizing high feeder plants, such as tomatoes, watermelon, eggplant, roses, and other plants that like a rich soil.

While they do not burn plants the way chicken manure will do if uncomposted, they do work best if composted. They compost well with a little dirt, and some dried organic matter such as grass clippings or leaves. They can also be composted by themselves, which yields a rich and concentrated fertilizer.

Concentrated Pigeon manure can sell for about $3-5 for a 5 lb bag. Pigeon Manure composted with other organic matter can sell for half that price. Compare that with about $2 for a 30-40 lb bag of bovine manure, or slightly more for chicken manure.

It is also very valuable on your own farm, for keeping your soil in good condition. It makes an excellent manure tea for fertilizing vertical gardens and houseplants, though you'll need to keep it from being too strong.

Pigeon droppings can be tossed into the vermiculture bin also, Worm castings sell for around the same price as Pigeon droppings, sometimes a little more, and this will completely compost the droppings.

They can be scraped up from the floor of a Pigeon house, or if you use deep litter in your Pigeon house, they can be composted with the straw or shavings. In a Flight pen, they will be dry composted over time, and the layer of fresh droppings can be raked to one side, and the top layer of soil shoveled up for use as fertilizer.

In town, Pigeon droppings are considered to be a nuisance, and destructive. But on the farm, they actually have monetary value.



Concrete floors are not recommended in the race loft because they are cold and retain moisture, but they are good for the breeding loft and can be used for the race loft if they are centrally heated. In high humidity areas wire floors are not recommended for racing because the droppings beneath the wire accumulate moisture and grow fungus, which causes molding disease. They are acceptable in dry areas and during the breeding season, but must be treated for fungus and insects regularly.



 It permissible and legitimate to remove any off colored feathers in self and solid colors as it enhances the general appearance of the birds. But, pay attention as excess trimming may disqualify the pigeon. This doesn’t apply to the wing feathers, so, never remove any wing feather. To show a pigeon, it must be clean. It is important to put a pigeon in a show cage and to show him how to stand correctly as the standard says. It is important to never show a sick pigeon or a pigeon that have been sick recently even if the sickness isn’t severe.

See training for the show room at letter T in this site for more information.




Special receipe:  

Two Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar, 1/4 Teaspoon of Acidified Copper Sulfate, and 1 or 2 fresh cloves of garlic crushed to 1 Gallon of water.  The Apple Cider vinegar fights intestinal bacterial infections, and so does the garlic.  Garlic is "natures antibiotic", as well as a blood purifier and a natural wormer.  The Acidified Copper Sulfate fights canker causing organisms in the crop.  I give my pigeons this mixture at least two times a week.  Try this mixture (3) days in a row, and then twice a week afterwards.  You will be amazed at the way the droppings firm up immediately.

From Pigeon Talk:

Several claims on the use of this product. Some use it as a preventative for canker by regular use in the drinking water. 1/2 Teaspoon/Gallon of water twice a week. Also used in the bathwater, for getting rid of ext CORN: 

Corn is undeniably one of the best pigeon foods, it is low in crude fibre, easily digestible and one of the fattiest of all the grains. The pigeons love it in all shapes, sizes and colours. The main thing is its hardness. Corn should rattle with dryness. Corn is poorer in protein and above all inferior in quality due to the absence of two essential amino acids, namely tryptophan and lysine, which is in too small a presence to be of any importance. The various sorts of corn are not much different in their nutritive value, except that red corn contains more vitamin A. Corn should them make up 25% of the feed.



From Dr. Colin Walker:



By Dr Colin Walker  BSc, BVSc, MRCVS, MACVSc (Avian health)

As veterinarians, one of the most common presenting problems in birds is respiratory infection. Birds on presentation display a variety of symptoms, including sneezing, red watery eyes, discharge from the eyes and nostrils, and swollen sinuses. Many veterinarians may prefer to refer such patients to avian vets. However, below is set out a quick summary of the way this problem could be approached.

In chickens, respiratory infections can be divided into two groups, those caused by bacteria and similar agents and those caused by viruses. The viral diseases are Infectious Laryngotracheitis, Infectious Bronchitis, Newcastle Disease and Avian Influenza. These all have high morbidity and/or mortality rates. The diseases in the other group are Infectious Coryza (Haemophilus Infection), Fowl Cholera (Pasteurella Infection) and Chronic Respiratory Disease or CRD (which is due to a combination of Chlamydia, Mycoplasma and E. coli). By far, the most common is CRD and in fact this probably accounts for more than 80% of all pet chickens presented with respiratory signs. So how is this disease managed? Remember (as with many bird diseases) that there is a stress component so that, for control, not all of the answer will be the use of medication. CRD can be managed with a 3-point plan:

Revise housing, management and nutrition with the owner to identify any faults here.
Perform a crop flush and faecal smear to check for concurrent disease, in particular parasitism. Flagellate infections in the throat are common, as are worm and coccidial infections. These will need to be treated if a good response to antibiotic treatment is hoped for. Flagellate infections can be treated using Flagyl (metronidazole) 200 mg, ¼ tablet / 2 kg once daily for individual birds, or Turbosole (ronidazole), 1 teaspoon / 2 litres of water if large numbers of birds require medication making individual treatment impracticable. For Coccidia, use Baycox (toltrazuril), 3 ml to 1 litre for 48 hours, or 0.2 ml / kg once daily for 2 days to individual birds. To treat Ascarids and Capillaria worms, Moxidectin 2 mg / ml, 5 ml to 1 litre for 24 hours, or 0.5 ml / kg once works well.

Treat with doxycycline. Do not use other tetracyclines as they maintain too short blood levels (eg oxytetracycline and chlortetracycline, about 4 hours) for effective treatment and their absorption is significantly interfered with by a variety of mineral salts and other substances that are routinely ingested by free-range pet birds. Doxycycline maintains circulating blood levels for approximately 20 hours after medication and its action is affected to a lesser extent by mineral salts. Doxycycline is available as Vibravet tablets 50 mg, 1 tablet / 2 kg daily to treat individual birds, or, to treat larger numbers of birds, as a water-soluble powder, Doxyvet (doxycycline 12%), 1 teaspoon / 2 litres mixed fresh daily. Continue until all birds are well.

Pigeons and parrots
As with chickens, more than 80% of respiratory infections are associated with either Chlamydia or Mycoplasma. Most birds carry these organisms in their system all the time and are passively infected by their parents in the nest. In otherwise well birds, these organisms rarely cause disease but rather the ongoing low level of exposure to the organism enables the development of a strong natural immunity that is sufficiently high to provide protection from disease in most birds by 6 months of age and in almost all birds by 12 months of age. As with chickens, to ensure a good response to treatment, it is important that any flaws in environment or management are identified and corrected and that any concurrent disease is treated. The antibiotic of choice once again is doxycycline.

Birds are treated until they are well, with treatment courses of 5 - 20 days being common. In theory, if birds are treated for 45 days with doxycycline, it is possible to clear Chlamydia from their systems. However, it is probably not in the birds’ interest to consider these long treatment courses. Birds need ongoing low-grade exposure to the organism to maintain immunity. If the Chlamydia was cleared, the bird’s level of immunity would quickly wane, leaving it vulnerable to disease if it ever re-encountered Chlamydia. Given the ubiquitous nature of the organism, if it ever came in contact with another bird or bird dropping, then this is likely. Sometimes birds are pulse treated. Here birds are given shorter follow-up courses of medication (often 3 - 4 days every 2 - 3 weeks) after their initial longer course of medication. This protocol keeps the organism under control while the birds establish their natural immunity. Often after several treatments medication can be withdrawn with the birds remaining well. Small numbers or individual birds may be treated with oral doxycycline tablets, eg Vibravet. In some pet birds, repeated handling for medication causes significant stress and the risk of injury and here water-based medication is an efficient easy owner-friendly way of providing treatment. Where larger numbers of birds are involved, water-soluble medication is the only practicable treatment. In these instances, a water-soluble powder such as Doxyvet may be used.




Birds do not cough unless there is serious and advanced pneumonia or respiratory infection. This may be due to bacteria, viruses, fungus,or protozoan parasites. Separate the bird from the rest of the flock. It is very ill. Move the bird to an aquarium, box or carrier with soft towels in the bottom, and food and water in low bowls that she can reach easily. Put the whole thing on a heating pad on low or medium. Keep the box partially covered, warm and quiet. Do not try to force food or water. Transport as soon as possible.

She needs to get to an avian veterinarian ASAP for complete examination and diagnosis with appropriate testing.

Read more:




I will like to talk about cracked corn. I know many breeders are feeding them to their pigeons and never had any troubles. I had sickness in my pigeons about 20 years ago and I had so many difficulties to know what the trouble was until a friend of mines told me to try to remove completely the cracked corns.  My problems came from there! You know, cracked corns are very susceptible to fungus and mold. When the kernel is exposed it is open to those, and it can be deadly in some cases to your birds. Also, as some of that cracker corn has pointed edges, it can be ruff to the crop and expose the birds to develop canker. To the contrary, whole corn protects the kernel so it is not exposed to fungus and mold.




From Pigeon Paradise:


is creatine or any similar energy boosting supplements of any use to improve the racing performances

HI John and welcome!There was a time when I thought not. I used to just think they were a waste of money - now I think not. I think it was running the Marathon that changed my attitude. I believe that pigeons is just like athletics, horse racing & most other types of "competitive sport". The "dietary aspect" of preparation & recovery is absolutely fundamental. Carbohydrates for energy - protein to repair and build. In a nutshell I think creatine and other associated products can be of great assistance to the racing pigeon when used in moderation. Like all things, it's not the be all and end all - just a little part of the jigsaw maybe?

That's what I think anyway...

Regards Mike



Here is what I found for you about crooked toes:

''Chicks and pigeons can develop crooked toes. It is
unknown why buy many say that it the main sources is a
lack of good nutrition more importantly appropriate
vitamins, minerals and amino acids of the parents. . .

To correct it, it is recommended to tape the crooked
toes and to leave the tape that should not be too
sticky, that do not irritate their skin, and comes off
easily, along with veterinary applicator sticks. But
pay attention because the baby is growing so fast that
the tape has to come off by the second day, because
the foot is getting larger. If the crooked toes is not
corrected when the baby is very young, it becomes
impossible to correct it later. It might be possible
to do it two times.

A proverbial ounce of prevention is definitely worth
a pound of cure. Unfortunately, it is difficult to
prevent what is not clearly understood. The only
recommendations to make are the obvious: provide
adequate nutrition, vitamins, nest material and nest
bowls to your birds. Until the etiology of angular
limb deformities can be elucidated, it is recommended
these birds be eliminated from the breeding

Vitamin D is necessary for metabolism of calcium and
phosphorous and for absorption of calcium from the
diet. Deficiency causes weak bones, enlargement of
joints and soft-shelled eggs. Excess vitamin D may
cause severe kidney damage and calcified tissues.

Calcium is needed for bone and eggshell formation.
Deficiency causes soft-shelled, weakness, paralysis,
soft bones and egg binding. Excess dietary calcium
without increasing dietary phosphorous causes kidney
damage and mineralized tissues.

Phosphorous is essential for proper calcium
metabolism. Calcium and phosphorous should be balanced
in the ration to a ratio of 1.5:1 for young birds and
2.5-1 for breeding birds.

Niacin is necessary to prevent bowing of the legs and
enlargement of the hocks. A deficiency does not
usually cause perosis.

Manganese prevents enlargement of the hock joint and
prevents tendon slippage of the gastrocnemius muscle.

Zinc deficiency may result in shortened and thickened
long bones, enlarged hocks and weakness. An excess is
usually caused by ingestion of zinc from cage/wire
clippings and may cause gastrointestinal and
neurologic signs.

Choline deficiency also may result in perosis and
cartilage deformities in joints.

Biotin is necessary to prevent shortening of leg bones
in embryos and perosis.''

Raymond Julien,




CROP(Pigeon crop) :

What is a Crop?

A part of the bird’s digestive system, a crop is the dilated area at the end of the esophagus, which is the tube that extends from the bird’s throat to its stomach. The crop is a functional, contracting muscular sac.

What is the Function of the Crop?

Basically, the function of the crop is to store and prepare the food for digestion. When the bird swallows its food, the food travels down the esophagus and comes to rest in the crop. When in the crop, the food becomes moistened and softened. The crop then pushes boluses of food into the stomach, where enzymes are added and chemical digestion begins.

For more details see: Slow crop


Re from Pigeon Insider:

A slow crop in the racing pigeon is a disorder that can not only interfere with the performance of the bird but it can also be an indicator that there is something medically wrong. In this article, we will look at the function of the crop and focus on the symptoms, causes, and treatment of a slow crop.

What is a Crop?

A part of the bird’s digestive system, a crop is the dilated area at the end of the esophagus, which is the tube that extends from the bird’s throat to its stomach. The crop is a functional, contracting muscular sac.

What is the Function of the Crop?

Basically, the function of the crop is to store and prepare the food for digestion. When the bird swallows its food, the food travels down the esophagus and comes to rest in the crop. When in the crop, the food becomes moistened and softened. The crop then pushes boluses of food into the stomach, where enzymes are added and chemical digestion begins.

A Healthy Crop vs. a Slow Crop

In a healthy crop, the food passes from the crop into the stomach within twelve hours if the bird is fed twice daily and within 24 hours if the bird is fed once daily. If there is a delay in this and the food remains in the crop, this is a disorder known as a “slow crop”. Delayed crop emptying is often the first thing the fancier notices and may mean something more is wrong.

Symptoms of a Slow Crop

Often, the first time a fancier notices a problem of a slow crop in the racing pigeon is when he picks it up for a morning toss and finds there is still food in its crop from the day before. Other symptoms include the bird not being as hungry or the bird trapping sluggishly because it has food in its crop, waiting to be digested.

Causes of a Slow Crop

Basically, the main causes of a slow crop fall into four categories; problems with the feed, problems with the crop, environmental problems, and problems within the bird’s body.

Problems with Feed

The primary feed problem that can cause slow crop is contamination. Feed can become contaminated with bacteria, fungi, and toxins. When fed to the bird, the crop can become infected, irritated and inflamed.
Problems with the Crop
Infections are the primary issues here. An infection will inflame the crop and interfere with its function. Wet canker, thrush and bacterial infections such as E-coli are the most common.

Environmental Problems
Environmental problems include things such as exposure to heavy metals, like zinc or lead,
lofts that fail to provide a secure and healthy environment and even fancier issues such as overtraining.

Exposure to heavy metals usually comes from drinkers, storage drums or feed trays made of galvanized metals. The exposure accumulates over time and can result not only in a slow crop but also in infertility.

Environmental issues with the loft can include things such as a cold and damp loft or an overcrowded loft. Any issue that causes stress to the bird can result in a slow crop.

Problems within the Bird

The most common problems the bird can have that may result in a slow crop are worms or Coccidia.

Diagnosing the Cause of the Slow Crop

The first thing to do when you recognize the slow crop condition is to gather a history:

·    Review your recent management and handling techniques. Have you worked the bird hard in cold weather?

·    Review your loft design and conditions relative to recent weather.

·    Have you made any changes in the bird’s feed?

If you have ruled out the above as possible causes of a slow crop, then it is time to call the vet for assistance in diagnosing the cause. The primary method of diagnosing a slow crop is through a crop flush.  Using the flush, fluid is removed from the crop and analyzed under a microscope for possible infections. Additional clinical exams to rule out causes within the bird’s body include a fecal smear to test for worms or Coccidia.

Treatment of the Slow Crop

Treatment of the slow crop includes correction of the cause. You will also want to support the bird’s health and digestion with probiotics and vitamins.

Another treatment that has proven effective is the administration of fennel tea. This was first discovered by Dr. Lorenzo Crosti, the veterinary director of the world famous bird breeding facility, Loro Parque. Dr. Crosti used fennel tea with birds exhibiting slow crops but that were otherwise healthy.

You can purchase fennel tea bags from health food stores. Brew the tea according to the directions and add it to the drinker. It smells like licorice. There is no dose ‘requirement’ for the tea. The birds will drink it readily if not mixed too strongly.




ScienceDaily (Sep. 19, 2011) — Production of crop milk, a secretion from the crops of parent birds, is rare among birds and, apart from pigeons, is only found in flamingos and male emperor penguins. Essential for the growth and development of the young pigeon squab, pigeon 'milk' is produced by both parents from fluid-filled cells lining the crop that are rich in fat and protein.

Research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Genomics uses new technology to study the genes and proteins involved in pigeon 'milk' production and shows that pigeon 'milk' contains antioxidants and immune-enhancing proteins.

Researchers from CSIRO Livestock Industries and Deakin University, Australia, compared the global gene expression profiles of the crops of four 'lactating' and four 'non-lactating' female pigeons. As the pigeon genome has not yet been sequenced, they used a chicken microarray to find the genes involved. Genes predominantly over-expressed in 'lactating' birds were those involved in stimulating cell growth, producing antioxidants and in immune response. They also found genes associated with triglyceride fat production, suggesting the fat in the 'milk' is derived from the pigeon's liver.

Lead author, Meagan Gillespie, says, "It is possible that if antioxidant and immune proteins are present in pigeon 'milk', they are directly enhancing the immune system of the developing squab as well as protecting the parental crop tissue." She continues, "This study has provided a snap-shot view of some of the processes occurring when 'lactation' in the pigeon crop is well established. Due to the unusual nature of 'lactation' in the pigeon it would be interesting to investigate the early stages of the differentiation and development of the crop in preparation for 'milk' production to further ascertain gene expression patterns that characterize crop development and 'lactation' in the pigeon."

She concludes, "This mechanism is an interesting example of the evolution of a system with analogies to mammalian lactation, as pigeon 'milk' fulfills a similar function to mammalian milk."



From Pigeon Insider:


 Culling is a procedure that is easy for some, hard for others and impossible for many fanciers. Each fancier must identify the goals for his loft that he wishes to achieve before he knows which birds he needs to save and which he needs to eliminate or cull. Also, these goals will help him to decide what type of new blood he needs to introduce into the breeding program for improvement.



Hi all,

 Mike and a few among us already gave very good
 information about Cilantro that kills harmful
 salmonella bacteria etc.. I do not recall if I talked
 about Curly Kale with you on this Discussion Group as
 I did in the IMC's one. ? In Europe, many breeders are
 feeding this kale to their birds. Curly Kale is
 specially packed with Vitamins B, C, K and others, is
 rich in minerals (like iron and zinc) and more
 importantly in calcium and it also boosts the immune
 system. I am eager to test it this year. My seeds are
 already bought! I am sure my pigeons will eat it
 easily, will replace the salad I used to give them,
 will be more healthful to them and….. I will also eat
 it myself….LOL..

 Have a look on this Web Site for more details:

 Raymond Julien,


Culling is a procedure that is easy for some, hard for others and impossible for many fanciers. Each fancier must identify the goals for his loft that he wishes to achieve before he knows which birds he needs to save and which he needs to eliminate or cull. Also, these goals will help him to decide what type of new blood he needs to introduce into the breeding program for improvement






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