Biosecurity from Neighborhood Pigeons? (not an emergency)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by kukupecpec, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. kukupecpec

    kukupecpec Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,212
    54
    176
    Aug 24, 2012
    Tucson AZ
    I started raising chickens a year ago, and in the last year have definitely learned a LOT, but more than anything I think I've run into a lot of "disease" type problems. I'm always trying to make my coop and run more healthy for my flock but my chickens just keep getting sick!

    DH is sure it has to do with the INSANE amounts of nasty "wild" birds in our yard and neighborhood.
    Can anyone help me with some ideas to keep away the neighborhood birds? The largest population is definitely pigeons (which everyone says are the biggest disease carriers) but we also have a ton of sparrows who fit right through the chainlink run and are constantly eating my chicken food!

    I tried using a treadle feeder to deter neighborhood birds from flocking to my yard but my chickens continuously broke the various working parts and would dust bathe RIGHT next to the feeder piling up dirt under the lever foot so the top wouldn't open so that doesn't work.
    I tried timed feedings so I could be there and keep chase the wild birds away, but then my chickens always seemed like they were starving and if I fed them more they wouldn't eat it in one sitting so it would attract other birds.

    I'm adding chicken wire to my chainlink this weekend and this should help with the sparrows hanging out INSIDE my run, but I still have gobs of sparrows and pigeons all over my yard.
    How close to my flock is too close? How can I get rid of these dang diseased birds or at least keep my flock safe?

    (I live in Tucson AZ and we rarely get a hard frost so disease can last FOREVER in the environment)


    P.S. My family has taken to shooting the pigeons (pellet guns) as often as we can to try to takedown the population, but this barely even scares them away, and it seems like for every birds we kill 5 more show up next time.
     
  2. First off, pigeons do NOT carry more than diseases than sparrows. They get too much bad rap, just want to clear that up ^^

    To deter them, regulate your feedings. Use feeders (Im assuming you do, but if you don't, than do), and only fill them about 6
    4 tablespoons per bird. So if you own 6 birds, 24 tablespoons (which is 1 1/2 cups). A bird eats about 8 tablespoons per day, so you feed them 4 tablespoons in the morning, and 4 tablespoons at night. End result? Birds will be licking every last drop. If you notice they lose weight, of course add more food to the diet. If you have a gram scale, than take each bird, weigh prior to starting regulating feed, than weigh weekly. Hey, your birds may be fat and become healthy again ^^
    But yes, cutting back on feed will help. After that, than something like an owl with fake wings that flap or spin should scare pigeons, but move it often.
    Hey, if you can find an owl that moves its head robotically than your set! But move it to a different location daily. Try to keep it away from the chickens, otherwise they'll be scared to (well unless they don't know to hide from owls)

    Best of luck!
     
  3. kukupecpec

    kukupecpec Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,212
    54
    176
    Aug 24, 2012
    Tucson AZ
    I've always lived outside the city so this is really my first encounter with pigeons, we had WAY too many predators to have birds around in the boonies. The pigeons in our neighborhood just LOOK nasty, bad feathers, weird sickly hacking/coughing noises, there are always dead birds around the neighborhood. I don't know if someone is poisoning them (kudos to them) or if they are just sick birds so I had no problem believing they were a diseased breed. This being my first real encounter with them, it's totally possible I just don't know anything about pigeons lol or that my experience is just an odd one. However my sparrows look like all the other sparrows I've seen, they just can get into places they shouldn't!

    Living in the desert, my ladies don't get to free range. The 4-6 Tbs, is that for a caged bird? I have read SO many different ideas on how much to feed per bird from 1/3C to 3lbs a day I just don't know what to do. They are always either "starving" or wasting food.
     
  4. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    2,758
    538
    261
    Apr 7, 2011
    Boonies of NY
    My Coop
    Can you put bird netting over your chainlink fencing? Another option is hardware cloth, but that would be much more expensive.

    Sparrows actually tend to be bigger disease vectors than pigeons, especially for problems like mites. Doves and pigeons, however, can carry a parasite that causes gapeworm if they share the chicken's waterer.
     
  5. kukupecpec

    kukupecpec Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,212
    54
    176
    Aug 24, 2012
    Tucson AZ
    I can definitely look into bird netting. That definitely sounds better than hardware cloth.
    I haven't seen them drink from their waterer, but it's definitely a possibility. We have a nipple water system but have to put it away for winter or it will all crack when it starts to freeze.
    I haven't noticed gapeworm symptoms, but I'll definitely be keeping an eye out now!

    How would I know if I have mites? I'm still sort of battling lice.
     
  6. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    2,758
    538
    261
    Apr 7, 2011
    Boonies of NY
    My Coop
    Lice are also something else the sparrows probably brought in! Boogers.
    Mites are going to show up in much the same way as lice, but they are quite a bit smaller and more round in appearance, like tiny tiny tiny seeds. https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/mites-chicken-pests-how-to-protect-your-chickens-from-mites
     
  7. kukupecpec

    kukupecpec Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,212
    54
    176
    Aug 24, 2012
    Tucson AZ
    Unfortunately I had no idea they had lice, everyone seemed fine! No change in behavior, they even LOOKED healthy until I noticed the white stuff (turned out to be eggs) under their chin and everyone was telling me that was a sign that it was not only a REALLY bad infestation but one that had been present for quite some time. You can imagine I feel horrible about it.

    I'm ready to start poisoning every wild bird for 10 city blocks! Uhg I'm so frustrated!
     
  8. creepygothnursi

    creepygothnursi Out Of The Brooder

    68
    4
    38
    Jun 27, 2013
    We have deer netting (similar to bird netting) over the top and sides of our run. It does an excellent job of keeping out wild birds; we've had maybe one or two particularly small ones slip through the odd nook or cranny, though they typically don't manage to make it back out. I don't know how practical it is for you, but we keep our food and water in the coop. I do it because I sometimes have to work in the very early morning and can't always let the chickens out right away, but it also helps keep wild birds out of it.
     
  9. Ok, well if their poisoning the pigeons that could be what's wrong with them, or you have a flock carrying a disease (like chickens, there's healthy flocks & sick flocks)


    Pigeons suck up their water, so if you use nipple then they cannot physically drink it. If its shallower than an 1" they also can't.

    Bird netting works great. As for feed, just try it. If they lose 5% of their body weight, increase. If they are wasting, cut back a bit. If they are starving, add a bit until their wasting a bit (than cut down, and you'll know they're fine)
    Also keep in mind, even if it doesn't seem so, they could be fat. Fatty liver disease is a killer (it just causes chickens to die randomly) and if your girls get regulated feed, than they likely aren't going to be overweight. Keep in mind the healthy weight for the breeds, and remember to weigh them.
    Also, forget if I mentioned this, feed them twice a day.

    Just try to keep feed waste low & putting up bird netting will help tremendously.


    Also, if you ever want to see why the pigeons are sick, nab one and post its symptoms as well as how long it lasts. To be quite honest, you could save a pigeons life and even cure the flock - therefore protecting your birds if its zoonotic between the 2 (I know you probably won't, but I own pigeons and feel for them, so curing a flock or stopping someone from poisoning them is something I'd do)

    Btw, what have your birds been getting? You may have to do regular worming & preventatives
     
  10. kukupecpec

    kukupecpec Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,212
    54
    176
    Aug 24, 2012
    Tucson AZ
    Our coop is inside our run, and completely enclosed. The actual "coop" part for egg laying and sleeping is really just big enough for those two things, just to protect them from the elements while sleeping. Is there much of a size difference between bird and deer netting? IT sounds like it's the sparrows that really need to be kept out.
    The Entire top is covered by tarps for shade (super hot here, the more shade the better even though most of the run has natural tree shade) so it's just the one side made from chainlink that is a problem, one side is a gate and crates with smaller holes too small for sparrows and the other two sides are privacy chainlink so no sparrows there either. This sounds like it could be a relatively inexpensive fix!


    How dangerous are these wild birds for my waterfowl? I have two free ranging geese that the wild birds have access to their food and water. Considering adding ducks in the spring.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by