Over Medication


Oct 24, 2009
I am a breeder of fancy pigeons.

On 2 occasions recently I have purchased new stock.

At my place (in quarantine from my birds) they appeared in good health.. but after several week I started seeing them loose condition and lost several to various diseases.

I went back to the place I bought them... to be told that all his birds were fine.. he went on to show me how he cared for them..

He kept them on antibiotics every so many weeks, even if they were not ill. their drinking water always had multi vitamins and electrolytes in it, they had a huge vaccination schedule and the birds were vaccinated for so many things in such a short period of time. They had some special DE powder all over the coop.. and they were treated for mites every month and de wormed very often. The loft was spotless clean and he showed me how he disinfected feeders, water pots and the coop with bleach every time he cleaned it. He even added bleach to the birds bath water (I thought that must be bad if they drink it).

In 15 years of keeping pigeons my birds have NEVER been de wormed, treated for mites, vaccinated for anything, never had extra vitamins or powders. I don't use detergents.. I just rake over the sand and dry scrape down the nest boxes and perches. I use a sponge and hot water to clean the food and water containers.

The only problem I had was Salmonella outbreak several years ago when I introduced a new bird without quarantine it. My birds got so sick and I lost most of my flock. But the survivors recovered and went on to breed.. and at first I lost a few squabs and dead in the shell. But after a few months everything was back to normal and my flock increases in number without any more problems.

My birds are big, weighty, glossy feathers, bright eyes, active and are prolific breeders.

New birds I often see are small, dull dry feathers and poor breeders.

I have come to the conclusion that it is because some people are over medicating and over pampering their birds. Also breeding from weak birds or birds that have been treated for diseases.

Injecting them with so many vaccines and covering them with chemicals, de wormers etc must have a detrimental effect of their health.

Also if they have been kept and bred like this for generations then I think they looses their resistance to diseases, which before would have not been a problem for them. I have never had canker, mites or other common diseases in my own flock.

I am not saying to stop treating a sick bird.. but I think that if your birds seem healthy and happy people should not medicated them or treat them for problems before they have them.

I know my birds are now resistant to Salmonella and other diseases.. as only the fittest survive.. like in nature. In the past few years I have not lost a bird to a disease (only a predator). I don't keep everything sterile and super clean, and they just get normal tap water and a seed mix with chicken pellets.

Interested in what other people think about this... and maybe we should be copying nature and weeding out weak birds or birds that constantly get ill and only breeding form strong resistant birds... it will result in a much healthier flock, and save lots of money and heartache.

In the past, before the modern technology of the vets and medications, what must pigeon fanciers have done? Maybe their birds were fitter and stronger and more resistant to diseases.. and so they did not need all this stuff?

Pork Pie

Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Jan 30, 2015
I agree that in the long term, doing everything to ensure that a bird lives (vaccines etc) must influence the general healthiness of future generations. I guess many people do it (I'm talking commercial chicken industry / breeders) to maximise profits.

I vaccinated my last hatch of chickens, but only because i knew that i would be selling the males and i would not want my birds to potentially take a disease to another flock - the irony is that because i only had 10 chicks, the cost of the vaccines (lowest quantity of each was for 100 birds) outweighed the selling price!

Having said that, i am glad that the pullets from my last hatch are vaccinated against the main diseases that affect chickens here in Kenya, as many households keep chickens and the potential for them contracting diseases is considerable. My older flock members have infectious bronchitis, so at least my new girls are ok in that respect.

I guess its a double-edged sword, but it seems that the person you purchased your birds from was a little zealous but then again - in their opinion both you (and myself for that matter) would be considered at best sloppy, and at worst negligent.

BTW - i do realise you are talking about pigeons, and i have made reference to chickens, but the principles in question remain the same in my opinion.



12 Years
Dec 8, 2008
I keep my birds n open loft breeding system. I give grain and mediated chick starter free choice. Once I was unable to get the medicate feed ad fed gregular starter for several weeks. Suddenly I had sick and droopy birds every where! I went and got some medicated feed and within a week all were back to normal. I think they become dependent on meds f they get them constantly.

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