Prevention/Nutrition and Medicine for Homing Pigeons
ONCE A WEEK:
GARLIC is an incredible natural antibiotic. It is the allicin that is the key ingredient to purify the bloodstream and build up the immune system,maintains beautiful feathering & white wattle. It is a natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungul, and anti-inflammatory. (They will not fuss about the taste of the garlic if you use no more then 1 organic clove of garlic per gallon of fresh water). If they fuss about it, buy the Now brand softgel capsules and give one to each bird down the throat every few days.
Please see thread http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/showthread.php?t=12553 for more indepth information on "the goodness of garlic"
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR Once a week, 1 to 2 tablespoons of ACV to a gallon water for good gut PH at a level that bacteria, such as Salmonella and E Coli don't like, and most likely will not thrive in the crop. I recommend the organic ACV from the health food store as it has the "mother" in it. You can also give the birds probiotics at this time, as the ACV favors good bacteria over bad bacteria. ACV provides a favorable environment for the good gut bacteria to repopulate.
ACV can be used in heavier doses for medicinal purposes, see the following thread:
THE FOLLOWING CAN BE MIXED TOGETHER ONCE A WEEK WITH THE SEED:
PROBIOTICS I recommend a human grade pro-biotic from the health food store. You can buy it in powder and mix with seeds. Use 1 teaspoon per lb. of seed. You can also buy it in capsule and just pull the capsule apart. I use Solgar multi-dophilus powder, and for birds with special needs I use Total Flora Support. This one also worked extremelly well for raising baby pigeons. it contains:
L. Acidophilus, B. bifidum, L. bulgaricus, L. plantarium, L. reuteri, L. salvarius, E. faecium, S. thermophilus, fructooligosacharrides, calcium ascorbate, & enzymes.
A MULTI-VITAMIN MINERAL PREPARATION with amino acids, and micro minerals once a week. You can get one for all birds, like Prime, or for pigeons specifically ( Prime is great for indoor birds). I use the Herba multi vitamins for pigeons and have great results with it. I alternate with another brand every other week, so the birds get best all around nutrients from different sources. Please use dosages strictly as per instructions PER LB. OF SEED, too much can overdose them, and their minerals and nutrients will be out of balance. Some preparations can be used with water and/or mixed with seed.
BREWERS YEAST Once a week a tablespoon to a lb. of pigeon seed,
You can purchase the multi-vitamins and brewers yeast at any pigeon supply house like Globals, Siegels, Jedds, and Foys. However, I don't recommend using it during the rearing of young, or when the birds are on antibiotics due to possible fungus problems.
MIX 3, 4, & 5 TOGETHER with A LITTLE wheat germ oil, just enough to get the MIX to stick to the seed. Shake it up WELL in a clean plastic bag and serve.
IT IS BETTER TO MIX THESE THINGS WITH THE SEED AS THEY WILL NOT QUIBBLE OVER SOME STUFF OVER THEIR FOOD, BUT THEY WON'T DRINK FULLY OF THEIR WATER IF THEY ARE NOT HAPPY WITH THE TASTE.
FOR RACING PIGEONS
For added performance you can add a little dash of "Concentrace" in the water daily for trace minerals. This product comes from bodybuilding.com. Birdy uses this for his YB's.
I recommend these products before breeding and if your birds are in contact with other pigeons. I do use a medication for the prevention of canker, coccidiosis, and worms, called Globals Multi-Mix. This is also used by those who race pigeons. I can also recommend a preventive medication, called Dacoxine, which is a 4 in 1 treatment. This one is for the prevention of canker, E-coli, Paratyphoid, and Coccidiosis. You need only use either Globals multi-mix or Dacoxine, do not use them at the same time. Please read & follow instructions carefully. The products are excellent and work extremely well in pigeons because it was designed for them. Please only use seasonally and only on youngsters 6 months and older,as it is best to initiate a good nutrition program first and let your birds build up a natural immunity.
Please follow up the above treatments upon completion with several days of probiotics.
All birds that go out to fly or are show birds, in contact with other birds should be vaccinated for Pox, Paratyphoid, and PMV also. If you also have birds that are non flyers/homebound, they should be vaccinated as well. PMV must be done annually, and Paratyphoid every 6 months. Pox needs to be done only once when the bird is a youngster. Please follow instructions carefully. With some vaccinations, like PMV it is recommended giving youngsters at 4 to 8 weeks of age, followed by a booster injection 4 to 8 weeks later, and then annually with the older birds.
Read this thread for more info. on Paratyphoid and other vaccines:
Allow your youngsters to get as natural diet as possible, allowing the immune system to build up on its own, and supplement with probiotics in the water or on the seed.
PREVENTION CHECKUPS & FECALS
Have a check up and fecals done on your birds on a regular basis, especially just before and (bi-monthly) during the racing season.
If your birds are not performing as they should, take a random sample and/or the birds that specifically do not perform well, to a good avian vet. Pigeons will try to act like they are fine (this a basic survival skill they use to keep predators away) may be sick. They should have an exam and fecal done to determine if there have any underlying health issues.
If there are any issues, they can be addressed immediately with the specific drug and proper doses, prescribed by a qualified avian vet. If you don't have the slightest idea what the problem is, it is not a good idea to medicate on your own. It will save you a lot of time and trouble to take the extra step. Follow treatment exactly given by the avian vet for the number of days prescribed and then give the birds a few days of quality human grade probiotics.
I don't believe in over medicating our birds, but if a health issue is addressed quickly & correctly with the appropriate drugs, then there is no need for using medications indiscriminetly and putting our birds at more risk. Follow with a good nutrition program, and you will see a noticable difference in their performance. If everyone gets check ups for their birds, no birds would be at risk, by being exposed to those that have less then perfect health during basketing. That is a win win situation.
FOOD AND GRIT & CALCIUM
Besides giving pigeons a good pigeon mix of seed, they need grit, AND pickstone. I found that the females go for the pickstone during breeding season. It seems to have the necessary calcium that is different from the red grit. Pigeons pick up grit when they need it, it grinds the seed in their crop and prepares it for digestion.
More about the importance of calcium in pigeons diet:
I alternate with different sources of grit and pickcake. that way the birds are supplied with a variety as they would get in nature when they forage.
If you are looking for an example of good pigeon seed mix check out:
This company carries different mixes for the breeding season, for the young, and also racing pigeons. You may want to try a different mix for racing season designed for extra energy and reserves.
During the molting season pigeons should have access to an additional 25% barley, to reduce egg production and give them the necessary nutrients demanded of them during the molt. You can also add a little flax seeds to the mix at this time.
Pigeons should have access to clean fresh water everyday, on the days they don't get garlic or ACV in the water, in a container with top, so it does not get soiled. You can use a clean plastic gallon water jug. Cut a big hole in the side, just big enough for them to put their head thru and drink. This plastic container should be thoroughly washed and sanitized daily. I replace with new plastic containers every month.
For snacks my pigeons love raw Spanish peanuts, that I break up in smaller pieces for them (go easy). They also get spinach or Kale once a week only, and I am experimenting with other vegetables that are on the pigeon friendly list. Kale is one of the best vegies you can offer them, as it is the most nutritious.
Cilantro can also be juiced and added to drinking water once in a while as it is good preventative for Salmonellas. You can also shred it in a small size and serve it on wet spinach. (per Snowbird)
More about Cilantro: http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/showthread.php?t=5152
Pigeons love taking baths, especially the young. I offer mine at least a couple clean cat litter tubs of water a few days a week. Add a little bath salts to the water, that you can purchase from the above pigeon supply houses. It cleans their feathering, and keeps bug out. (Two cat litter size bath tubs per 30 birds)
THIS PROGRAM WAS DESIGNED TO MEET THE NEEDS OF ACTIVE (LEAN MEAN FLYING MACHINES) PIGEONS, AND CAN BE CHANGED AS NEEDED, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE PREVENTIVE MEDICATIONS AND INNOCULATIONS.