Dying Pigeons

Discussion in 'Pigeons and Doves' started by Grune Eier, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. Grune Eier

    Grune Eier New Egg

    Nov 1, 2008
    SW Indiana, USA
    I've got a small flock of pigeons, maybe 30-35 individuals. They've been rather healthy in the past two years that I've had them. However in the past month they've been dropping off one by one, and I am at a complete loss as for what could be wrong.

    They're mutts, gotten from two different sources giving them away, as thus they've never been vaccinated nor wormed. I've never seen evidence of intestinal parasites, nor evidence of any disease in them till now.

    They're housed in a chain-link dog pen with a tin roof and a concrete floor. They're fed either scratch grain or chicken layer pellets. But the ones I find dead are emaciated, like they're not getting enough nutrition. Informal necropsies I've done here show no signs of worms in the gut. They've been fed either food for the past two years, and pigeons of my youth were fed the same and they thrived.

    The only change has been to the scratch grain. It's the same brand I've been getting, but they've been putting what appears to be un-hulled wheat or oats. Where before it was clean wheat berries in addition to the usual milo and cracked corn. This new wheat/oat is the last to go from the food bowl and I'd thought maybe it's gotten stuck somewhere in their crop or gut and not letting food pass. But again, nothing on necropsies.

    Another thought was this all started around the same time that the remnants of Hurricane Ike hit us and it soaked their pen for 36 hrs, it kept blowing rain in under the roof. I was wondering if perhaps the moisture caused the food to spoil via mold and they ingested some of it. Although I have thoroughly cleaned out their bowl and enclosure with bleach water when I first noticed the first ones dying, and they've had nothing but fresh food and water since.

    The vets here are useless with birds, and wanted to run some things by you.

    Would it be okay to dose their water with liquid antibiotic to see if that'd help? I hate the thought of using antibiotics in such a scattergun fashion, but I need to do something.

    Or would worming be the way to go? Even though I've seen no external evidence of worms and the likelihood of them having worms in their enclosure are slim. Even the people I got them from kept them up off the ground. There are far too many hawks here to let them fly, so I've kept them hooked up, which is not something I enjoy. But its either that or pigeon smorgasbord.
  2. Chickndaddy

    Chickndaddy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2007
    East Texas
    Might be a dumb question, but are you offering grit? If the seed is still in the hull they will need something to aid with the digestion of it. That might be why they are looking emaciated when they die. You might look into worming though as that sounds like a potential prablem as well? Sorry not much help, just thinking out loud...
  3. therealsilkiechick

    therealsilkiechick ShowGirl Queen

    Jul 18, 2007
    Northwestern, pa
    i'm just getting into them and that brings up a great point. what should pigeons be vaccinated for and what r u suppost to use for wormer? where is the cheapest place to buy them at?

    so sorry to hear about ur birds. [​IMG] it is never easy looseing any of our pets.
  4. Grune Eier

    Grune Eier New Egg

    Nov 1, 2008
    SW Indiana, USA
    You know, dumb question or not, I'd never thought about grit. I know the pigeons of my youth enjoyed freely roaming around and would commonly eat large sand grains from the nearby chicken yard.

    Although I would think that the chicken pellets would be easy to digest, they pretty much disintegrate in contact with water. Nor have I seen undigested bits of food in their droppings.

    I think I'll do a round of antibiotics, then a round of wormer, and add grit to their cage and see if that makes a difference.
  5. yardbird tx

    yardbird tx Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    I would order a catalog from foys- http://www.foyspigeonsupplies.com/

    a good grit. I would also start antibiodics.
    You could have got something nasty when the coop was wet. I have read in the Foys catalog that a wet coop floor is one of the worst things you can have.

    Also worm four times a year. Even if you dont see signs of worms.
  6. Pine Grove

    Pine Grove Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2007
    Lakeland, Ga
    Also dont over look Canker, pigeons are very suspectable to it.....
  7. Grune Eier

    Grune Eier New Egg

    Nov 1, 2008
    SW Indiana, USA
    I've looked for lesions in the mouth and throat of the deceased birds, but haven't found any so far. But the symptoms can't discount the possibility it may be the culprit.

    What medications treat for canker? The one page I found about it from the University of Florida said that the two anti-protozoal medications (dimetridazole and metronidazole) are no longer available. Something I highly doubt, because I took one of the two myself this past summer. heh

    Anyone know of any available and effective medications or treatments for canker?
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2008
  8. poultrykeeper08

    poultrykeeper08 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2008
    Agawam , Ma
  9. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    I am by far an expert on animals of any sort, but I would say if they are looking like they aren't getting enough food, it would either be the fact that they don't have grit available to digest the seeds in the scratch, or they have worms. Hope you figure it out.
  10. gypsy2621

    gypsy2621 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2008
    New Hampshire
    You didnt mention if their poops were solid or watery, pigeon poop can look watery at times, but should have some solid matter in it.
    I would treat with Sulmet mixed 3 tsp per gallon of water 3 days on 2 days off 3 days on.
    there could be a growth of Cccci going on , especially ater hurricane winds and flooding.
    Sulmet will also get rid of minor parasites that could be bothering your birds.

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