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QUESTION "Hi Tony, a few of the pigeon guys are having an issue with their pigeons, quite a few are dying. What is the best medication for green droppings, loss of weight which must be causing their death. I would really appreciate it if you could recommend what the best course of action is..." "As Spring is rapidly approaching what would you recommend for the guys that are having issues with their hens not laying eggs?..."

ANSWER Hello Tom, I appreciate the questions, it can be really frustrating to have birds dying and not know precisely what to do about it. Here is the best course of action as you asked:

Generally, we have the shotgun approach, that is in the absence of a specific diagnosis by a veterinarian, we supply an all in one product like 4in1 or equivalent products that are on the market to blast away at the problem. Many fanciers have anecdotal stories about products they have used that have appeared to resolve the health problems of their birds. Some can be quick to recommend what seemed to work for them and others who have had similar problems.

Problem is, without a specific diagnosis and treatment plan from a veterinarian, we are mostly relying on previous experience both successful and not successful to guide our attempts at helping our birds when they are ill. When there are those times when a whole flock of birds comes down with something, it can be very expensive to have a vet look at each one. Therefore, we are left to our own resourcefulness to find the remedy.

For example, to assist me with my loft, I have found it very beneficial to invest in a small library of pigeon health books and research links on the Internet. This has allowed me to conduct some educated guesstimates as to how to care for an ill bird before it destroys it or spreads to my entire flock. Because it is not practical for me to see a vet every time a bird sneezes, overtime, I have learned by a visual examination of the droppings, the birds’ behavior, environmental stress factors, young bird, breeder, etc, to narrow what the bird might be dealing with. I then provide the solution I think will work best for that ailing bird.

Green droppings like you mentioned can be different things, for example, if I miss a feeding with my kit birds, the next day, some birds can have green droppings, is it sick? No, just the bile going through the intestinal track with no food in which to break down coming out “raw”. I used to think I had some sick birds.

My research also indicates that when enteritis gets out of control and is not treated, problems with salmonella and e-coli become evident. Again, green (and brown) droppings are present along with weight loss and birds dying. Again, Neomycin is something that I would provide my birds to combat this situation. There are other medications, but I have found success when I supplied this. However, this is an anecdotal story.

Then there is also coccidiosis, this too can cause green droppings. Again, as I run through my visual examination “checklist”, I have to use my best judgment and experience to decide what I am going to provide my birds with to overcome the challenge. The bottom line is that you have 2 choices:

1 - take your birds to an avian veterinarian and have a correct diagnosis and treatment prescribed or

2- take the time to find out for yourself what the best course of action is, based on your research and invest in a good library of pigeon books about pigeon ailments, there cause and cure.

As I am not a vet, I cannot diagnose and prescribe a treatment plan for you. If you said that your birds have coccidiosis I can tell you that Medpet’s 4in1 product treats coccidiosis and is available in our online store. If you said your birds have enteritis, I would tell you that I have found my birds react well to using Neomycin 325 for this type of ailment. But only a veterinarian can properly diagnose an illness and prescribe an appropriate medication.

Raising rollers is much more than putting a kit up for competition, it is the daily care, feeding and observation and self-education that positions a fancier to be ready to respond properly to the health challenges we find in our lofts. As for hens not laying eggs, I could get into that here but suffice to say that I do well providing my birds with chicken hen layer crumble (pellets that have been pre-crushed) and the “ProVital Breeder Plus”.

I hope this helps you and your friends.
Tony Chavarria
Publisher Roller-Pigeon.Com

Tony Chavarria