WIM: The LaSota drops work for a two-to three-week period only, and if you use it in an infected loft, it can cause the situation to worsen. Colombovac is really the better product for Paramyxovirus.

ED: But the LaSota drops do help the immune system, don’t they?

WIM: Yes, they do. And they can help with the race results if you give them a week to ten days before the race. A live vaccine works fast, much faster than a dead virus. Fanciers are also using wormers to boost for races. But nothing gives as good a boost as the LaSota drops.

ED: Can’t this be harmful?

WIM: There will be no harm to the birds if they are vaccinated properly before. But you can give the LaSota drops only a maximum of two times per year, otherwise they are not effective.

ED: I’ve been hearing about a pigeon pox outbreak in vaccinated birds. What do you know about this?

WIM: In the Flanders section of Belgium, we are seeing a lot of pigeon pox in spite of these birds being vaccinated against pox. It’s worrisome. There’s about a 50% disease rate even in vaccinated birds. The vaccination with Colombovac PMV/Pox is not effective enough. We are using the Ovoperisterin, which is more effective.

ED: Wim, when do you recommend vaccinating young birds?

WIM: It’s best to vaccinate them at five or six weeks, once the immune system is developed.









Parasites like lice and mites can infest the pigeons. Lice feed off feather debris and skin flakes, etc. They have little production significance except for the nuisance and subsequent restlessness they cause the birds. Mites, however, are a serious parasite as they feed off blood. Some species are found predominantly on the birds, while many are mainly found in cracks and crevices of the loft, moving on to the birds, particularly brooding parents and nestlings, during the night and feeding. Affected squabs become visibly pale because of the resultant anemia, grow poorly, wean late and occasionally die. There are many good and safe insecticides available to use on them. You can buy them at any pigeon supply company or even at most garden shops. 5% Seven dust is very useful. Just make sure to follow directions and do not dust your birds where you feed them. Do not spray your birds with house product insecticide which will kill your birds. (Mumtaztic Pigeon Loft)  






See salmonellosis




PEDIGREE: ( the 10 commandments)




By Dr Colin Walker, the Flying Vet

Around the world, knowledge regarding avian nutrition has undergone quantum leaps in the last two decades.  We now have a very clear understanding of the optimal nutritional requirements of pigeons.

Taking a quick look at the level of various nutrients in grain and the average level of these grains used in the various feed blends, it doesn’t take very long to realize that no grain blend can provide a complete and balanced diet.  This is why over time a whole range of supplements has been developed and used successfully because they do complement the deficiencies of a diet based solely on dry grain.  Further complicating the picture is that pigeons preferentially select certain grains within a mix.  This means that even if a grain-blend did provide a balanced diet, it is likely that the balanced diet would be distorted by individual birds selecting the grains they liked.  It has been shown, contrary to the opinion of many fanciers, that pigeons do not have nutritional wisdom.  They do not necessarily know what is best for them but rather they are like children.  They just eat the grain that tastes nice, and these for most pigeons are the grains that are higher in fat.

Throughout the avian world, one of the ways of combating these problems is through the provision of pelletted rations.  Pelletted rations can be formulated to contain all the nutrients in just the right proportions and every pellet is the same.  In this way, pelletted rations combat the two problems associated with a dry-grain diet, namely that grain diets alone intrinsically fail to provide an optimal diet and the preferential selection of certain grains.  In a well formulated pelletted ration the nutritional intake and the provision of a complete and balanced diet is guaranteed.

Despite these advantages the use of pelletted diets has only slowly been embraced by pigeon fanciers.  In all poultry species such as chickens and ducks, and in particular in the last few years in pet and companion birds such as parrots, the use of pelletted rations has steadily increased.  Such rations are almost invariably recommended by avian vets around the world.  The progressive veterinary-based pigeon companies around the world have in line with advances in knowledge started to manufacture and produce pellets. 

I think part of the reason pigeon fanciers have been slow to use pellets is a lack of understanding of the product. Some companies produce several types of pellet, designed to be fed at different stages of the pigeon’s life.  This is because the nutritional requirements at different life stages vary.  In a recent article, a prominent fancier was quoted as saying that when using pellets in the stock loft the raised youngsters were beautiful but when the same birds were raced on the same pellets they seemed to have no power.  This is a totally anticipated outcome.  To say that one pellet formulation can supply the requirements of a pigeon throughout its whole life is like saying that the dietary requirements of a pregnant woman, a footballer and a growing child are all the same.  In the chicken industry, different pelletted blends are produced for laying hens, young chicks, growing chicks, etc.  In pigeons, we don’t need such a variety and the provision of too many different pellet blends would make the use of pellets unnecessarily complex.   Most companies produce two blends for pigeons, one designed for the maintenance of adult birds and a second designed to be added as a proportion of the diet to a grain blend for actively racing pigeons.

Maintenance pellets

To formulate maintenance pellets, it is simply a matter of going to the literature on the nutritional requirements of pigeons, which these days is very comprehensive and accurate.  Extensive work over many years has been conducted so that not only is the ideal level in the diet of each vitamin, mineral and amino acid (amino acids combine to make proteins)  known but also the ideal levels relative to each other.  These nutrients can then be blended together in the form of a pellet to provide a complete and balanced diet.  Many fanciers will say, “I have kept pigeons for many years.  I have always fed them grain.  They seem fine.  Why bother?”  What I feel is that many such fanciers accept certain problems that have a nutritional base as a normal part of pigeon management.  Examples here include:

  1. Hens past 7 years of age no longer breeding winners – associated with decreased yolk and albumen quality, resulting in poor embryo development and the chick getting off to a poorer start.

  2. Cocks and hens developing arthritic changes and gout by 8 - 9 years of age – associated with high levels of protein, too low calcium and incorrect levels of vitamin A and D3 in the diet.

  3. Obesity in non-breeding hens – associated with fat contents of  over 6% in the diet.

  4. Infertility in middle-aged cocks – associated with an incorrect vitamin A and vitamin E ratio in the diet.  These are both fat-soluble vitamins and are absorbed into the body via the same pathways.  Vitamin E is needed for normal sperm function (it affects lipid metabolism in the sperm head).  Giving too much vitamin A in the diet means there are no pathways available to absorb vitamin E, leading to vitamin E deficiency even if there is plenty in the diet.

  5. Recurrent canker in nestlings, despite medical management – low protein levels in the diet and poor balance of nutrients predisposes to disease generally.

The list goes on and on.  Recently, a fancy-pigeon owner rang me.  He kept a breed of fancy pigeon that was notorious for poor fertility.  Traditional wisdom was that this breed was of poor fertility and that a likely cause was Salmonella.  Each year, for the previous 5 years, the fancier had paired 30 pairs together, producing only 6 – 8 youngsters per round.  He was becoming totally exasperated and ended up driving 100 miles to our clinic to investigate the cause.  The birds appeared normal in the hand and were fed grain, grit and water.  Six birds were anaesthetized and the gonads were examined with an endoscope through a keyhole incision in their left side.  There were no visible abnormalities (such as cysts, adhesions, or tumours) in any of the birds’ gonads.  Blood was drawn from each bird for a Chlamydia test (Chlamydia is the organism that causes eye-colds in young pigeons and can damage the gonads of older birds leading to irregular laying in hens and premature infertility in cocks).  The best way to diagnose Salmonella (the organism that causes the disease Paratyphoid) is to culture the site of an infection. Endoscope-guided swabs were collected for testing, taken directly from the gonads.  All test results for disease were negative.  The birds were changed to a pelletted ration.  The next year the first round from 30 pairs contained 57 youngsters.  

Fanciers asking if the pellets contain medication to control canker is common.  On pelletted rations, they found they no longer needed to treat for canker.  In Australia , it is illegal to add medication to pellets (except with a prescription).  This effect is simply due to the pellets providing a complete diet and the resultant increased ability of the healthier bird to resist disease.  

In another instance, a fancier added turkey grower pellets to his grain blend during breeding.  The high level of protein and calcium in this blend resulted in beautiful youngsters being produced.  Because of this, he kept feeding the pellets as a proportion of the diet to his stock birds while they were not breeding.  Several months later, some of these started to get sick.  One was euthanized and autopsied.  The persistently high protein, high calcium, high vitamin D3 levels in this diet for non-growing or breeding birds had damaged their kidneys and they were developing kidney failure.  Correction of the diet resulted in all remaining birds recovering within 2 weeks.

Fanciers often add iron to the diet or copper sulphate to the drinker (to combat canker).  These are both heavy metals that are quickly absorbed into the system but only slowly excreted.  With repeated low doses, these birds look fine but as the minerals accumulate in their bodies they have a variety of effects.  The most common of these in the stock loft is reduced fertility.  It can be hard for the fancier to relate the dead-in-shell youngsters, clear eggs and non-laying hens experienced during breeding to these treatments, which may have been given months earlier.

With the nutritional knowledge available and the expertise used in making maintenance pellets, to me it makes no sense not to use them.  Often they are also cheaper than grain. 


Purgrain Advantage Pigeon Pellets

Without question, the most modern, nutritious pigeon food on the market today.

Loaded with vitamins, minerals, trace minerals and many other nutrients designed to provide your birds with optimum nutrition.

Advantage contains high levels of methionine, an essential amino acid necessary for proper feathering. We have added "Bio Moss " to help improve the intestinal integrity of your birds. Soybean oil and roasted soybeans are also included in the formulation to provide super concentrated sources of slow burning energy. Other nutritious additions to this quality product include whole whey (a highly digestible protein source), brewer's yeast (a high quality protein that's loaded with B vitamins), sulphated trace minerals (trace minerals that are sulphated, and therefore easier to digest), and yucca (to reduce stool odour in your loft.


Purgrain 20% Hi Pro Pigeon Pellets

A high protein ration that is fortified with vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, and yucca (for stool odor control).

 Crude Protein (min) 20.0%

  Crude Fat (min) 2.0%

  Crude Fiber (max) 6.0%%

Purgrain 14% Pigeonettes
A lower protein pigeon pellet, fortified with vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals. The lower protein of this ration makes it an ideal feed for the maintenance of mature birds.

This is just a thought written down BUT:
Do you think the reason why pellets havent got a fair shot is because people like doing things the old way especially if they are winning an dont want to change aand try something different?

Amino Acids ,Vitamins and Minerals.

By Dr. K H Frank (Karl) ( - on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 08:18 pm:
Good evening, Jeff!
Pigeon pellets are usually formulated to be a complete diet containing a percentage of carbohydrates, protein and fat as well as some vitamins which were destroyed during the cooking process of the grains. It may on the surface seem that pellets are "easily digestible" because they fall apart in water but I was not really talking about this kind of "digestibility". I was talking about the processes that are happening after the absorption of the nutrients from the gastro-intestinal tract. The protein in those pellets needs to be broken down and "burned" for fuel, liberating a lot of wasted heat and requiring further energy for eliminating the NH3. The bird does not gain much in the way of energy during this process and this is really what the bird needs on returning from a strenuous race. Please remember that the stores of glycogen are always limited and relatively small because, unlike fat, glycogen needs to be stored with quite a bit of water. Quite a few fanciers supply glucose to their birds on the day of shipping to fill up those stores of glycogen as it seems to be the limiting factor for the bird. There is always plenty of fat but not of glycogen. To summarize: Feeding pigeon pellets to the birds returning from a race is like feeding a mix of grains and cannot be considered an optimal management practice.

Racing pellets

The other type of pellet made is what is termed a racing pellet.  These are designed to be added to a grain blend.  They are a more concentrated blend of vitamins, minerals and amino acids and designed to complement the deficiencies of the grain.

Racing pellets are made for two main reasons.

  1. A maintenance pellet cannot provide the fluctuating nutritional requirements of competing race birds.  Fat and energy requirements for a race bird fluctuate depending on how much work it is having, the distance of the race for which it is being prepared, and the weather.  Grain blends need to be modified to cater for this fluctuating need.  The fat and energy content of the diet is usually increased with cold weather and increased work load through the provision of high fat (e.g. safflower, hemp, linseed) and high carbohydrate (e.g. maize, wheat) grains and lowered during warm weather and times of less work.  The experienced and astute fancier can determine the exact level through watching his birds’ behaviour and monitoring weight changes through handling.  If the birds appear a bit tired or light, the fat and energy content should be increased provided the protein level stays above 12% of the total diet.  Total protein levels of less than 12% can lead to loss of muscle bulk.  

  2. Food is a principal reward for a pigeon on return from a race.  As pellets are not as palatable as grain, providing only pellets on return may compromise the reward principle unless the bird is very hungry.  Racing pellets allow the provision of a grain-based diet but still allow the fancier to provide a complete diet.

To produce racing pellets, the level of each vitamin, mineral and amino acid can be calculated for the average grain blend.  Where deficiencies or imbalances are identified, a pellet can be produced to correct these and create a balanced and complete diet when added to the grain mix at a particular proportion.  Most racing pellets are designed to be added to a grain blend at around 10%.  With the use of pellets (be they racing or maintenance pellets) there is no need to provide any other supplement – in fact, their use just distorts the correct diet. The only additional food items the birds need are grit and water.

Disadvantages of pellets

So what are the disadvantages:

  1. Palatability – Pigeons that are not accustomed to pellets initially do not like them and will select grain every time.  Usually racing pellets are accepted more readily than maintenance pellets.  It takes most birds 2 – 3 days to become used to them.

  2. Watery droppings – Birds fed pellets initially drink more.  This makes their droppings wet.  Usually within 2 – 3 weeks water intake becomes normal and the droppings improve.  Usually however birds on the maintenance pellets, but not racing pellets, have droppings that are not quite as tight as those fed grain.

  3. Wastage in the bag – Because the pellets rub against each other in the bag, some powder is produced.  This leads to a small amount of wastage. 

These disadvantages have got to be offset against the enormous advantage of providing a complete nutritious diet.  Advantages such as healthier more fertile longer-lived stock birds, increased disease resistance, and improved race performance.  I would strongly encourage fanciers to consider the use of pelletted rations.





. Permethrin - A pyrethroid insecticidal spray that can not only be used to spray or dip the birds but also to spray the loft.

 One tea spoon in a liter of water.



Pigeon Pox is caused by a virus that is generally carried by mosquitoes and other biting insects. When a nonresistant pigeon is bitten by a carrier parasite, the virus enters the bloodstream of the bird, and within five to seven days, small whitish wart-like lesions appear on the head, feet legs and beak areas. When exposed the birds will develop a fever and feel a little off before they break out with lesions. These deposits can grow to become large yellowish bumps. In time, these lesions will dry and fall off, so it is our advice to leave them alone. Although pigeons of all ages are equally susceptible to it, pox normally occurs on squabs. Other than using the pigeon pox vaccines, no remedy is acceptable. Improver and AntiFungal can only reduce the virus to his minimum and cure up to 75% of the time. Controlling the mosquito and fly populations in and around one's loft may be helpful, but the only sure way to prevent pox is to vaccinate. (Mumtaztic Pigeon Loft)  









By Clint Robertson CPFA President:

When constructing a pigeon loft there are many things you must take into consideration. First is how much money you are willing to spend, how much space you have, and what kind of building codes you may have to take into consideration. Then you will want a loft that will allow your particular variety of pigeons to live comfortable, healthy lives and at the same time let you enjoy and care for them properly. I have seen a wide variety of lofts ranging from simple to elaborate that have worked well and others not so well.

I have often wondered how inexpensively I could build a good functional flying loft.  Something every one could afford.  Or a loft a club could build quickly and loan to new members.  Or even build and sell as fund raisers.  This small loft can be built for less than $500, can be moved by 4 men, and will fit in the back of a full sized pick up.  It can be set up with perches for Young Birds, or up to 16 nest boxes for racing or breeding pairs.  Any one person with basic carpentry skills can build it in a weekend.  Or a club could hold a club "Loft Raising" like we did and build one in a day.



These are much smaller than the average housefly and are found in lofts

especially in the south. They can carry disease. If your pigeons fly

with quick, lively movements be sure to check under the feathers of the

pigeons as they seem to rest there. Keep the nests clear and destroy any

larvae which resembles small lead shot, then spray the loft and the


I found a link that concerns this issue here;












PIGEON LINKS: (most important)

See links














From Canada:







Watch your pigeons, if their throat is parched, if they have difficulty

in breathing, have fever or just look sick it could be pneumonia. Be

sure to keep drafts away from them and keep the area warm. Consult your

feed store for antibiotic drugs to help.











PREBIOTICS: specific substances that stimulate the growth of desirable bacteria already present in the gastrointestinal tract








Dr Gary Davis of North Carolina State University has done a great deal of research on the probiotic called PrimaLac in quail, pheasants, domestic ducks, turkeys and laying hens. He reports that his results have been very positive, with the most significant effects being improvements in livability, egg size, body weight gains and immunity. The poultry grade of PrimaLac is available from Bob Adams of Star Labs (Email address: Certainly, the best source of these bacteria for pigeons would be those derived from normal, healthy pigeons, if such products are commercially available. However, PrimaLac seems very promising indeed, especially because of the range of positive effects found by Dr Davis in several species of birds. One can only hope that pigeons would benefit similarly in fact, a colleague of Dr Davis, Dr Mike Wineland, has been using this probiotic on his pigeons, and swears by it.





Probiotics – what often? By Dr. Zsol Talaber..

I'm wondering if flooding or disturbing the natural gut and intestinal environment with probiotics on a regular basis isn't doing as much harm to the birds just like giving them regular antibiotics?


Probiotics are products that contain useful intestinal bacteria (enterococci, lactobacilli) in a form capable of proliferation. Administered orally, these beneficial germs reach the intestinal system and begin to proliferate, rejuvenating the normal flora, that have for whatever reason declined.

The useful bacteria in the intestines perform essential tasks for the health of the host system:

  • they assist digestion and utilization of nutrients by breaking them up with their own enzymes

  • they produce useful substances, including vitamins B and K

  • they restrain pathogenic bacteria

The latter function is extremely important and necessary, as it primarily affects salmonella and coli bacteria.
There are two ways in which intestinal bacteria have their protective effect. Firstly, through their metabolism they produce a slightly acidic environment around themselves, which is not favourable for the proliferation of salmonella and coli bacteria. Secondly, simply the quantity of adequately proliferated intestinal bacteria represents a mechanical barrier for pathogens – they cover the wall of the intestine and its villi with a number of layers, and so they make it harder for the salmonella and coli bacteria, already attenuated by the acidic environment, to reach or enter the intestinal wall.

Probiotics should not be used more than necessary, either. Firstly, there is no point in administering them too often; secondly, these products usually contain vitamins, the overdose of which can lead to illness. Nevertheless, unlike antibiotics, it is useful to give them on a regular basis throughout the year, once or twice a week. (In addition to this, their use is advised for 4-5 days following courses of antibiotics and other bactericidal products.)


Large numbers of useful intestinal bacteria reside in the intestinal systems of healthy pigeons, and a constantly released into the outside world. They or their metabolic products make up a significant proportion of faeces, roughly 30-40% (!). They reproduce in the intestines on a continuous basis, and yet their stocks need to be refreshed regularly. Firstly, we destroy them with various products, particularly antibiotics, though their numbers are also reduced by certain natural herbal extracts (e.g. oregano oil, garlic). Secondly, all closed populations become old with time, and are helped by being refreshed from outside. This is no different for residents of the intestines. As their generation span is about half an hour, i.e. a fraction of the human one, refreshing the stock once or twice a week with probiotics does not seem excessive. Thirdly, the composition of the intestinal bacteria population changes when feed is changed; for example, if we swap some of the peas given thus far for carrots, different strains will proliferate at the expense of others. On such occasions external assistance is welcome, giving the strains that will be dominant the earliest opportunity to proliferate.

Naturally the choice of probiotic is not insignificant. High-quality factory-made products contain strains specifically for pigeons, which not only proliferate in the intestines but remain there persistently. In addition, we can sometimes use natural yogurt and/or kefir. These dairy products contain a wide variety of strains, some of which settle inside the pigeons, some of which are quickly released. The latter are not wasted, however, for as long as they are in the intestines, they help digestion and produce useful substances; once destroyed, the host can make use of part of their body material. Not to mention the fact that they are much more resistant to certain antibiotics than factory-made products are.


It is worth refreshing intestinal flora regularly, once or twice a week, but not continuously. It is best to vary factory-made preparations and occasionally use natural yogurt or kefir (or their living flora), thereby providing an opportunity for constant yet varied renewal of the intestinal flora.


We can fight salmonella by taking care of the good bacteria in the pigeon’s gut. We should try to avoid the use of antibiotics, which will also kill the good bacteria and later this will allow the growth of pathogens. The good bacteria can also be affected by stress, for example after a hard race. This is when the probiotics become useful.

Oral administration of antibiotics and other antibacterial compounds increases susceptibility to disease. The antibacterial compounds are suppressing the organisms which normally protect against disease, allowing the pathogens to grow.

Before we use the probiotics for birds, we must make sure the water IS NOT chlorinated. We can do this by boiling it or by letting it in a large open pot for at least 24 hours.


The best way to protect our birds from those diseases is the probiotics uses. Their role in the pigeon is to help them to stay healthy and interact between themselves to help the pigeon to fight any strange pathogens.  Probiotics are friendly bacteria. We can say that their presence block those pathogens and even attack them before they reach the bowel. The best probiotics are those that can also stimulate the immune system. What is very important to know is that antibiotics kill pathogens in the pigeon but also kill all probiotics (good bacteria’s). We have more information about probiotics in past posts.

Now back to my friend from France, what is dangerous now for his pigeons is that they can have secondary attack following the viral infection. It is then recommended to help his pigeons with immunoglobulin’s that can have a life-saving result. In such occasions, (adenovirus type1) Dr. Talaber recommends to give antibiotics to young pigeons because of the e-coli bacteria that can produce a secondary attack that could be fatal for them! 

In this situation of illness, there is also a product sell by Siegel that can help the bird to fight the disease. It cannot cure directly as there is no product that exists that can kill viruses but it can help the immune system to fight the disease. This product is called...Ecol-Tonic. It is an all-natural product fortified with ten special organic acids and proven in the loft to be effective in boosting immunity and promoting health and vigor, and bringing the droppings back to normal in pigeons. Again, it is recommended to follow the treatment with a good probiotic.


Raymond Julien,










Here is what Dr. Zsolt Talaber say about it:

"As long as that protein level is not much beyond 18% (say 18% up to 20%) these young birds continue to grow and develop for the next few months and for that reason, they can use the same mix that they were fed in the nest, that is a ration containing not higher than about 18% protein. Studies in the USA showed that this level of protein ( at 18% but not highter) produced ideal fertility, hatchability, growth and development of youngsters.







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