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Author Topic: Many pigeons dead  (Read 2055 times)
Pond Creek Farm
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« on: November 06, 2008, 09:16:35 PM »

I lost 14 of my pigeons in two days.  I am new at this and expected losses, but now I really feel terrible.  I have a few left and have opened the coop and let them have free range.  They come and go as they please and I have thrown out all feed and bought new just in case it was tainted.  Water was fine and protectd from droppings and the like.  Perhaps they were sick when I got them, and I really cannot detail any symptoms other than death that they exhibeted.  Bummer really, but hopefully my next batch will be better.  The survivors I am doting on as best I can.  The ones that survived are huge, and look like partridge.  I wonder if the big ones killed the little ones.
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Brian
Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2008, 09:57:58 PM »

I lost 14 of my pigeons in two days.  I am new at this and expected losses, but now I really feel terrible.  I have a few left and have opened the coop and let them have free range.  They come and go as they please and I have thrown out all feed and bought new just in case it was tainted.  Water was fine and protectd from droppings and the like.  Perhaps they were sick when I got them, and I really cannot detail any symptoms other than death that they exhibeted.  Bummer really, but hopefully my next batch will be better.  The survivors I am doting on as best I can.  The ones that survived are huge, and look like partridge.  I wonder if the big ones killed the little ones.

I walked out to my loft yesterday and my grizzel hen was dead on her perch. 

With free range the hawks will soon reduce your numbers to zero. 

It is possible that some of the pigeons were infected with one or more diseases when you got them, especially if you got them from more than one source.  What types of breeds did you have?  Meat pigeons (Giant Runts, White Kings, Pouters, Maltze, Giant Homer, etc) can kill smaller pigeons, Racing Homers can kill smaller pigeons (tumblers, owls, swallows, nuns, rollers, etc).
 
Pigeons fight for social order just like chickens do.  It can get violent to to point of having a bird scalped or killed.  It is best to keep like breed birds with birds of that size class at the very least, don't mix tumblers and homers for instance.
Now that all of the birds have been exposed to what ever it was, the couriers have survived and those new exposed are mostly dead.  Disease and death exposure can go both ways when mixing pigeons.  When getting new birds, sometimes the introduction into a new loft will stress the birds to the point of succombing to the disease they carried as well as the other birds.  You need to have a small loft (a rabbit hutch works) to quarentine new birds for 3 weeks before mixing with existing stock.

In the mean time, feed Sulmet in the drinking water or take a small eye-dropper and squirt a small amount directly down each birds throat.
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Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
johnnybigfish
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« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2008, 10:41:03 PM »

 If the birds had bloody heads and faces that would be a good sign that they were fighting, but usually you will see this with youngsters that get pecked all up when they are on the floor after getting out of the nest(either leaving on their own or being kicked out by their parents).
 As Brian knows, I recently lost about 25 or so birds to a disease called Paramoxyvirus. They would get a bent neck(sometimes with the top of the head touching the floor!) and walk in circles. There is no cure for this disease, only vaccination, and i guess it ran its course cuz I havent lost a bird in about 2 months now, or somewhere around there. I think the most likely cause of this disease in my loft was because i didnt pick up the crap often enough. I have alot of birds still, and usually my traps are open(The gate for the birds to come and go) but when I do lose pigeons to hawks, the hawk is doing the killing on the inside.
 Have you seen "Cheesy" stuff in their throat? Have you put any "Commies"( bridge pigeons or caught pigeons)in the loft in the last few weeks? Or months? Did their food smell funny? Have a lot of mice been in their food?. Is their poop runny and green or just regular?
Brians idea of sulmet is a good idea though....I had to get stuff off the internet just for Paramoxyvirus, but I used it all and I cant remember where I got it from or what it was called....But, I'm pretty sure you dont have this disease as the necks arent bent. I googled pigeon diseases and that how I found this stuff..You really have to see some kind of symptom to go on though, or take a dead bird to the vet.
Wish I could help more huh

your friend,
john
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Pond Creek Farm
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« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2008, 07:43:00 PM »

Thanks for the replies.  I did not see any odd behavior prior to finding them dead, but I am new enough to this to know that I am not likely to notice odd behavior.  I doubt it was poop as they were in a hutch-like pen with a screened bottom, so most of the droppings fell to the earth below.  I am getting some medicine as Brian suggested and am in the process of a new coop anyway.  I will pay a lot of attention to designing it so it will stay as clean as possible.  I did not have any wild pigeons in the mix, but I am going to catch a bunch of them for use as flyers for my bird dogs.  (they need to learn that even though they find the bird, a gun goes boom, they do not always get the bird.  They also need to learn that they cannot catch a bird flying away. (It keeps them from jumping up and chasing quail). 
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« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2008, 10:44:21 PM »

Keep in mind that an overly sterile loft can also stress the birds, and the frequent cleaning adds its share of stress also.
I use deep liter in my lofts (4 inches of shavings).  I clean my lofts twice a year and just turn the liter the rest of the time.  I clean after rearing the young birds and post race season.  That way the loft is cleanest during the racing season.
The amount of poop buildup isn't near as important as reducing drafts and keeping it dry.  A damp drafty loft will kill birds regardless of how well it is designed otherwise.
If you want a clean loft build it elevated with 1X1 welded wire for the floor and just run a scraper over it once every few weeks so the poop falls through to the ground.  I would suggest building it in at least 3 partions. 2 Partions have roosts only, these are 1 partion for the hens, the other for the young (Seasons hatch) birds, the partion with the nest boxes are for the males when not rearing young and the pairs when doing so.  The partions of hen perches and males nest boxes should be designed so they can be joined into 1 unit during breeding seasonl. 
Each pair of mated pigeons can produce 6-10 pairs of young per year so it is likely you'll want to be able to seperate the boys from the girls for a portion of the year in order to control numbers.
The 3 partion loft works well for any breed of pigeon and is a common racing pigeon format.  If you want to raise birds for showing something more akin to rabbit hutches is a better option.
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Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
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