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Pigeon Health Resources
Desk of Jerry Gagne
Pigeon Club Links
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Dropping Analysis

1 Drop 1 Eye 1 Time

"Did You Know" is an addition to Foy's Site, with the goal of sharing things that I feel would be interesting to you as well as informative and helpful.  This feature will be up dated every week, and this being the first one, you may want to consider printing it and saving it. 

Over time, there is no doubt that you, like me, may forget some of these tips, but by putting them in a small binder, you may be able to review them once in a while. If you have Tips or suggestions, I would be happy to hear from you and may use your tip or suggestion. I will recognize you as the person supplying the tip. Send to me at A lot of the shared information will relate to the health of pigeons, but not all.


April 07, 2016 - Depluming Mite

Over the years we have received many calls in regards to the pigeons losing feathers on their chest or back of the head. This is usually caused by the Depluming Mite. I have recently researched the problem and in an old issue of Merck’s Veterinary Manual I found this.
The mite burrows into the epidermis (outer shell of the feather) at the base of the feather shafts and causes intense irritation and feather pulling in chickens, pheasants pigeons and geese, in the spring and summer. To control the depluming mite, affected birds should be isolated and treated by dipping individual birds in a mixture of sulfur (2 oz.{60 grams}, dish soap (1 oz.{30 grams} and warm water (1 gallon {4 L}
My suggestion would be to not do it on an very hot day. You should be able to purchase Sulfur powder at a farm store, but Foy’s does stock it, #983. The Merck Manual does not say how many times to do it, so I would do it just once.

Jerry Gagne

November 23, 2015 - Canker Medicine

While Ronidazole is still an effective Canker medicine in many cases, test have shown that many pigeons has developed a resistance to the drug. Ronidazole has been used for decades, so this resistance should have been expected. In today’s fight against Canker, many vets are suggesting the combination of Ronidazole, boosted by Secnidazole. This combination is most likely the most effective Canker powder available. I am against using medicine to try to prevent most diseases, but the exceptions are Canker, Worms and Coccidiosis. I suggest a preventative treatment about a month before breeding season and the when you have stopped breeding and all your young are weaned.
Health questions

November 11, 2015 - Building A Loft

I recently spoke to a young man who was planning to build a loft. I suggested he go to Home Depot or Lowes and check out their storage sheds. I have purchased four of my lofts from Home Depot. They come and build the building in a matter of a few hours. I have them put the door where I want it and install roof vents. When they are finished, I put in the windows and the landing board. If needed, I also section off the loft, based on the size. I lower the ceiling to about seven foot, using wire. I do not suggest any kind of solid ceiling, I have two 24’ lofts and these are divided into 3 sections, 8 foot wide. The 24’ lofts are 12’ from front to back, I use the front 4’ as an aisle where I have my feed and grit. The aisle allows me to walk into the loft and not disturb the pigeons but can observe them. A 4’ foot aisle is also wide enough to walk with my basket. I do not like to open the loft door and be among the birds, they over time will fly over your head and escape.
If you would like to discuss building a new loft, give me a call.

May 18, 2015 - Gurgling Squab?

If a squab is Gurgling, it is most common just prior to weaning, often there appears to be very little wrong
with these youngsters and the problem usually goes away when weaned.

May 11, 2015 - Difficulty In Breathing

If a single bird in the flock shows difficulty in breathing, with a whistling sound, the most likely causes are either a fungal or Canker.
May 04, 2015 - Clostridium Crop and Intestinal Infection

Try using a combination of Muscle & Wing plus Entromune and Avio Gel for 7 days.
Dose all ill birds separately with Muscle & Wing for 7 days.

April 27, 2015 - Add Weight To Your Pigeons

Try raw peanuts, Unsalted of course. Jim Lucido suggest peanut hearts mixed with your regular grain.

April 20, 2015 - Small Hole or Crack in Eggs

On occasion an egg will have a small hole or crack in the shell, and if not repaired, the egg may become contaminated.
Try a small amount of super glue over the opening.

April 13, 2015 - Dried Droppings on Eggs

If an egg has dried droppings, they should be cleaned or disease could enter thru the shell. Use warm water and a cloth. Gently rub the moistened cloth over the egg service until the egg is clean.

April 6, 2015 - Swollen feed sac/chest getting filled with air.

Question:  The feed sack/ chest is getting swollen and filled with air... Any idea of what this can be or what meds can be given?
Answer:  A small hole is in the air sac, and when the bird breathes out, a small amount leaks into the chest cavity. There is no medication that will resolve the matter, the air must be removed. Here is what I would suggest, please remember, I am not a Vet, and you should always consider taking the bird to an avian Vet.

Use a bit of rubbing alcohol to separate the feathers close to the center of the chest. Using a sharp item, like a new razor blade, that has been sterilized. Cut a small hole in the skin. Gently push most of the air out. This may need repeated for a few days, until the small hole in the air sac heals itself.

March 30, 2015 - Breeding Season

Do not keep chickens and pigeons together.
Just before the breeding season is the time to vaccinate all your birds.
Order your 2015 seamless bands now.

March 23, 2015 - Pigeon Grain Mixture

An adequate grain mixture for pigeons may be mixed at home as follows;
Peas 20%, Corn 30% Kafir or Milo 30% and wheat 20%. Use more corn in cold weather.

March 16, 2015 - Loft Floors

Do not use lime or strong disinfectants on the floor of the loft.
Pigeons will carry it to the nest on their feet, killing the unhatched squabs in their nest

March 09, 2015 - Unmated Pigeons

Unmated pigeons in a loft with the breeding pairs are a source of constant trouble.
Keep only mated pairs in one pen, odd birds and unmated youngsters in another.

March 02, 2015 - Infertile Eggs

Infertile eggs in older pairs may be caused by the loose fluffy feathers around the vent.
Try trimming the feathers around the vent using a pair of scissors.

February 23, 2015 - Mating Facts

Young pigeons mate at four to six months of age.  First eggs are often infertile.

  February 09, 2015 - Sitting On The Nest

The female pigeon sits on the nest at night, the male from about 10 in the morning until four in the afternoon. 

  February 02, 2015 - Swelling and Enlargement of Tear Glands

This is a typical swelling and enlargement of the tear glands located in the bottom inside eyelids of pigeons. Once this gland has enlarged it will sometimes never revert to its normal size in spite of treatment.  The cause of this is either Mycoplasma or Chlamydia or both.  Birds affected should be treated with Spiradox tablets every day for 40 days and the rest of the flock should be given Spiradox powder in drinking water for 7 days followed by Aviodox powder in drinking water for a further 14 days.



January 26, 2015 - Splayed Legs

Splayed legs is not an uncommon problem with young pigeons in the nest. Splayed legs is a condition where one or both legs slip out to the side and in less than a day, they stay there and the bird will be unable to walk. It is usually a condition seen when only one young is in the nest, as with two in the nest, one braces against the other. Some things to do to prevent the situation; If there is only one bird in the nest, and you have another single bird in another nest,  and they are about the same age, combine the two.If you can not combine two birds, fill a sock with grain to about the size of the young and place it next to the baby, it allows the single baby to brace itself. Use a smaller nest bowl, pack nest bowls with nesting material to allow for a better grip. The condition is caused by a slippery bowl surface.

January 19, 2015 - Medicating Pigeons

When pigeons are sick many fanciers start medicating based on what they think might be the problem. So many symptoms are the same for many illnesses and this shotgun approach to retiring pigeons is the worse way to go. Why not get the droppings of your flock analyzed and based on the analysis and the symptoms, your chances of choosing the correct medication are much better. Foy's offers a droppings analysis by a trained poultry/pigeon vet. 

January 12, 2015 - Hawks

Hawks are a real problem for anybody who flies pigeons. A customer has had success with a mirror. She tells me on sunny days she has a mirror facing the loft. If she sees a hawk in the area, she reflects the sun into the hawks eyes. The hawk is quite disturbed by this and will fly away.

January 5, 2015 - Breeding Season and Medicating

It's breeding season and lots of folks think they should medicate before the birds start breeding.  You can not medicate to good health.  So don't use antibiotics at this time.  If you do want to do something before breeding season, put the birds on 3 in 1 as directed.  That takes care of Canker, Coccidiosis and worms.  3 in 1 does not contain an antibiotic.

December 29, 2014 - PMV

A pigeon that had PMV (a virus), it does not become a carrier. If you are going to breed from a pigeon that has had PMV, only breed two rounds. If you are not sure if new birds have been properly vaccinated before you got them, vaccinate again, as directed, it will not hurt and is an additional safeguard. The second shot is very important, do not skip it. If you would like to reduce your cost of vaccinating against PMV, the second shot can be a much less expensive chicken vaccine.

December 22, 2014 - Isolation Loft

When introducing new birds to your flock, it is very important that you isolate the birds for a minimum of 30 days. It is very important that you consider a small isolation loft or cage, and it should be upwind from you other lost. Some diseases are airborne and could travel to your current loft, from the Isolation Loft, if the wind is blowing from the Isolation Loft towards you current loft.You may want to use a loft coat when in the Isolation Loft, and remove it when leaving the loft.

December 15, 2014 - Canker & Pigeon Pox

Canker - In your drug of choice to treat Canker, be aware that Emtryl and Dimetryl are not the same. Emtryl is very dangerous and could kill, if used during very hot weather. Dimetryl contains B1, which makes it a safer product.

Pigeon Pox - If you are going to vaccinate your birds against the Pox, and you have mixed the product as directed, keep the mix out of the sun and cool.

December 8, 2014 - Special Race & Preening Of Feathers

Primaquin may used occasionally, as a very special energizer. It should not be used regularly, but if you have a very special race, try this. Give Primaquin, as directed for 3 days as a stimulant, before the race, but not the day before the race.

Were you aware that when a birds continuously preens itself, it is actually spreading oil through out the feathers?

December 1, 2014 - Pigeons

Pigeons do not always produce one of each sex in a nest. This is a myth going back centuries. If you keep accurate records of the young from any given pair, you will soon prove it for yourself.

November 24, 2014 - Paratyphoid

Paratyphoid in a wing or leg joint is almost impossible to cure.  Paratyphoid does not cause most birds to be carriers.


November 17, 2014 - When do you use a nest box and when do you use a breeding cage?

Nest Boxes are used for a breeding pair to create an area for them to raise their young. Most are made of wood and the most popular is 12" H X 16" deep and 24" left to right. The size varies based on personal preference and the breed of pigeon. The breeding pair will claim a nest box and that pair will defend it's choice of nest boxes from any other pair that may want to enter.
The Breeding Cage may sometimes be used as a nest box but most breeders who wish to be absolutely sure of the purity of the young from a particular pair, will use a breeding cage to let the pair raise their young. Pigeons can be promiscuous and the breeding cage prevents the possibility of a hen being impregnated by a male other than her mate. The pair is locked in the breeding cage and has no interaction with other pigeons.
There is no clear cut definition, the term is interchangeable.

November 10, 2014 - The Pigeon Fly

Many fanciers think that the tiny holes in the wing feathers are cause by mites or lice, when in fact they are caused by the pigeon fly. The pigeon fly is quite hard to spot, because it lives on the pigeon but hides itself deep in the feathers. Pigeon Flies cause health problems such as pigeon malaria. Pigeon flies will not be on all the birds, but they do fly from one birds to another. The holes are a result of the fly inserting its feeding tube into the follicle of the feather at the base, which is blood filled. when the tube pokes a hole in the base, as the new feather unravels, it has a series of holes. A clean floor, free of accumulated droppings, as well as disposing of any droppings that may accumulate under a grid floor or a pile you are going to use in the garden, that is near the loft, should be moved.  The accumulated droppings are a breeding ground for the Pigeon Fly. If necessary, spray the loft with a Permectrin Spray, and if you know a bird has the Pigeon Fly on it, spray the bird with Secticide. Follow the spraying with a 1 day course of Ivomectin in the drinking water.

November 3, 2014 - Preventing Disease and Keeping Birds Healthy

You can not prevent disease completely, but you can do a lot of things to help keep the birds healthy.

1.    Do not crowd you birds.

2.    When you bring ANY new birds in, keep them separate, and if possible, in a separate building for at least a month. Treat the birds for worms,
canker and coccidiosis, follow with a probiotic and then treat with a broad spectrum antibiotic such as Amoxicillin or Tylamox for 7 days, once again
follow with a probiotic.

3.   Create a year long program or ask Foy's for one. Pigeons must be on a program and they react very poorly to changes. A year round program of mostly vitamins and supplements will gone a long way in keeping your birds

4.  Clean the floor after using any worming, canker of coccidiosis program, it will help prevent reinfection.

5.  Remove any sick birds from the loft immediately and treat as needed until healthy.

October 20, 2014 - Fresh Medications and Add Weight To Your Bird

These two tips came from a customer, and I thank Jim Lucido. If any readers of my weekly TIPS would like to submit ideas, I would appreciate it, it makes my job easier, and I like you, get some good ideas. 

If you want to add weight to your bird this may help. For years now, I do this in the fall and during the Winter. I feed my birds "peanut hearts", and they eat them like candy. I get them from a local Blue Seal feed store in 5 or 50 lb bags. I mix it with the regular grain and the birds eat it with no trouble.

When using a medication that will lose its potency in a short time after opening, I seal the medication in a bags, (container and all) with a food sealer i.e. Seal a Meal. So if you need the medication  at another time, it will still be potent.

Ten tips for healthy babies and a perfect molt:  Dr. Ockert Botha    (BVSc) Pigeon Vet

We would be quite happy to 5 pages of the Ten Tips offered by Dr. Botha.  Place an order of any two Aviomed Products, and it will be included with your order, but you must ask for it.  If you want healthier babies and a better molt, you will want this information written by the world renowned pigeon vet, Dr. Ockert Botha.

October 13, 2014 - Bird Observation

I was just feeding and changing the water of in my five lofts this morning, and this is always a good time to observe the birds. I keep all my birds on the hungry side, and when I put feed in the feeders, I always look for birds that do not immediately fly down to eat. If all the birds fly down and one remains on its perch, I catch that one bird. If a bird should be hungry and does not show interest in the feed, something most times is not right. When I catch the bird, I check its throat and see if the bird is "going light".  If I see or feel a problem, I segregate the bird and give it a Coxiworm tablet. The bird is then placed in a cage which has a screen floor and the droppings fall thru to a solid plastic tray. The next day I check the droppings, and if they are not normal, I put the birds on a medication tablet, usually a broad spectrum antibiotic, but I determine what to use by observing the droppings.

Ten tips for healthy babies and a perfect molt:  Dr. Ockert Botha    (BVSc) Pigeon Vet

We would be quite happy to 5 pages of the Ten Tips offered by Dr. Botha.  Place an order of any two Aviomed Products, and it will be included with your order, but you must ask for it.  If you want healthier babies and a better molt, you will want this information written by the world renowned pigeon vet, Dr. Ockert Botha.

October 06, 2014 - Fertility Problems?

A customer recently contacted Foy's in regards to what he assumed was a fertility problem, here are the symptoms:

* Eggs laid at the end of March.
* Some eggs have a very course texture.
* Some eggs have been dry inside the eggs.
* The birds have been setting the eggs for a month and a half.
* All birds seem completely healthy.
* Some of the hens are now laying only one egg.
* Of the 20 pair, seven are not laying at all and three have laid only one egg.
* Of the three that laid a single egg, one was a double yoke and the other two were fertile.
* No Canker, or babies showing any signs of illness.

Suggested plan for solving the issue, by Dr. Ockert Botha, world renowned pigeon vet.

As there are no dead babies and the shells are rough, I believe it must be a nutritional deficiency. Add Fertical to the food on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays and on Tuesday and Thursday, add Bludform.

Ten tips for healthy babies and a perfect molt:  Dr. Ockert Botha    (BVSc) Pigeon Vet

We would be quite happy to 5 pages of the Ten Tips offered by Dr. Botha.  Place an order of any two Aviomed Products, and it will be included with your order, but you must ask for it.  If you want healthier babies and a better molt, you will want this information written by the world renowned pigeon vet, Dr. Ockert Botha.

September 29, 2014 - Clostridium Crop and Intestine Infection

Health Tip


* Birds go light  about two weeks old.
* Parents stop feeding.
* Parents drink a lot of water
* Adults go crazy for grit and eat any put in front of them.

The above is typical of Clostridium crop and intestine infection. Use comb of Muscle and Wing plus Entromune and Avio Gel for 7 days. Dose all ill birds separately with Muscle and Wing mix for 7 days. 


September 22, 2014 - Multiple Use Products

Our best selling medications at Foy's are the multiple use products such as 3-1, 4-1, 5-1 or All In One. While these are excellent products to have in your pigeon medicine cabinet, I must caution you about their overuse, or misuse. These products are used by many to "clean out their birds" before breeding season, and I disagree with most of their use this way. 4-1 and 5-1 or All in one, all contain an antibiotic, and should not be used unless needed. Using an antibiotic, when you do not know if you need one, makes no sense at all. I always ask customers who used it, if they would take an antibiotic so they did not get sick in a week or month. It just doesn't make sense does it? Using antibiotics, when not needed, may create a problem in the future. Birds may develop a resistance to antibiotics by their overuse, and when the time comes that you actually need antibiotics, their use may not be effective.

The only multiple use product I would suggest using, is the 3-1. 3-1 treats Canker, Coccidiosis and Worms. These three health issues are not bacterial infections, they are, for want of a better name, parasites and do not respond to antibiotics. The three are the most common of health problems in birds, and it would be a benefit to use 3-1 at least twice a year, before breeding season and after all your young are weaned and you have stopped breeding.

If your birds are sick, contact use and discuss the symptoms and we will do our best to suggest the proper medication. I also suggest you get the dropping analyzed on a twice a year basis, the dropping are an indicator of what is wrong, most of, but now all of the time. See page 26 for a description of this service offered by Foy's.

September 15, 2014 - Water & Weight Tips

Change the water every day. You may add a couple of teaspoons of
regular chlorine bleach two or three times a week, not any of the new and improved bleach. Apple Cider Vinegar is good for your birds, it creates an acidic environment in the water and helps fight bacterial infections.

If you want to add weight to your pigeons, try raw peanuts, they really do the job. If your birds have never has raw peanuts, give them nothing but for 2-3 days, once they start eating them, they developed a like for them and will eat them with out a problem. Do not leave any type of feed in the feeders over night, remove what is not eaten and give it back to them the next day. Another product for weight gain is #2483, Gro-2-Max in the drinking water.

September 8, 2014 - Moulting Tip

This time of the year I get calls from mostly new time fanciers asking what is wrong with their pigeons. They seem to be losing their feathers, and around the head they are almost bald. To those who have been with pigeons for a while, know that it is now molting season. Once a year, usually middle of August to middle of February, the birds go thru a normal process of losing feathers and growing new ones. You will have feathers all over the place, and have to sweep out the lofts almost every day. This is perfectly normal and healthy. You need do nothing, but if you would like to help them go thru a better molt, I would suggest the use of #2540 Avio-Moult-Powder, it works wonders.

Most fanciers have stopped breeding, and if you have the room, you should separated the hens and cocks. Pigeons need a rest from the vary stressful process of breeding and raising young. I would suggest separating no later than September. If you are unable to separate the birds, dispose of their eggs and use dummy eggs. They will set the dummy eggs for the normal length of time and the leave them to start the process again. Remove the dummy eggs and when they lay again, replace with dummy eggs again.

September 1, 2014 - Loft Tip

Your ceiling of your loft should be 6 1/2 to 7", no higher. Pigeons learn to  fly over your head very quickly, if your ceilings are high enough to allow  them. If possible, keep your feeders and drinkers about 4" off the floor. You will have much less contamination of the feed and water. There are times when you may want to switch eggs around. I use a felt tip pen and mark every egg with the date laid.

August 25, 2014 - Coccidiosis

When treating for Coccidiosis, treat twice, three weeks apart, because there are different stages that one dose may not get. Coccidiosis usually results in bright green droppings. Clean the loft floor after treatment, each day.  Blindness in a new born- May be caused by the mating of two pigeons that are grizzled color. It is  a genetic occurrence and has happened once in my loft. The bird that was born blind is doing find, finds the water and feed fine, and has mated to a red check and has raised young in a nest box, without any problems. How she can fly to the nest box is beyond my understanding. My great-grandson calls her Birdie and loves her because he can handle her anytime because she can not  see him reaching over to pick her up.

Please consider joining the National Pigeon Association.

 August 18, 2014 - Tips

1.  Place all perches on the same wall which will make it easier to clean the floor.
2.  To be sure your young birds can be separated check under their wing and if you see skin wait a bit longer.

August 11, 2014 - "DID YOU KNOW?"

There are just a few things that will make your pigeons vomit" The first thing I would suspect is if you recently wormed your birds with a product called Levimazole. Levimazole will cause some birds to vomit, and if it does, don't worry, it will not hurt them, and if you use the Levimazole, give it to your birds on an empty stomach. Another thing that will make your birds vomit is the Adeno Virus. Like most virus, they are not treatable and must run their course, giving meds may treat the secondary disease that some times pop up during a virus attack, but the virus will have to run its course.

The third thing I would suspect when I get a call in regards to pigeons vomiting is the feed. I just received a call about the fanciers birds appearing perfectly healthy but vomiting, and I suggested he purchase a new bag of feed, if possible from a different source. The feed he was using, could be bad, although appearing normal. Mycotoxins could be on the feed without you knowing it. The only way to be sure is to change the feed to a different brand, as a test. You will soon enough if that is the problem. The addition of Entromune to the feed for 5 days may also help.

Please keep in mind, I am not a vet and the information supplied is based on my years of finding answers to questions asked by our many customers. I always suggest your contacting a vet when possible.

Before I go, may I ask that you consider joining the National Pigeon Association? It is a great group that offers many opportunities to lean more about pigeons, get a Quarterly Magazine in full color, learn when a show is in your area, Scholarships offered, a classified section with birds for sale, and more. $20.00 a year is all it is, and for more information contact me at or 724-843-6889.