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'Young bird desease' (Part two of two)

In Germany 1,605 fanciers were interrogated about the ‘young bird disease’.

The intention was to get a better view about this phenomenon and it must be said, that research led to both interesting and useful information to fanciers worldwide,

since the disease has become a problem worldwide.


No less than 1,153 of the 1,605 fanciers had the disease amongst their youngsters.

Some of them got sick birds once only, the majority got health problems repeatedly  and for some it was a nightmare that kept on coming back year after year.

56 Percent of the German fanciers have a loft in the yard, the others in the attic of their houses or on top.

It is quite remarkable that those who have a loft high up have more problems than fanciers who have their lofts in the yard.

The reason should be higher temperatures in lofts on top of buildings, since warmth makes birds more vulnerable.

Fanciers who keep birds in open aviaries have least problems of all.

Furthermore those who keep many babies have significantly more outbreaks than others.

The following division was made:

- Fanciers that keep more than 100 babies.

- Fanciers that keep between 50 and 100.

- And fanciers that keep less than 50 birds.

The first group get most problems, fanciers who keep less than 50 the least.

This phenomenon is supported by what happened in Holland.

Recently some one loft races were organised, the lofts were over populated and the losses, due to adeno/coli were enormous.


70 Percent of the Germans clean their lofts daily.

Do not be surprised but these people have more sick birds than those who do NOT clean.

We see the same thing with fanciers that disinfect their lofts (48 %) who also get more hit by the disease than those who do not.

I myself seldom clean my lofts and seldom have problems. Once I wrote an article on this, some fanciers who read it followed my method and also stopped cleaning and ups… from then on they had healthier young birds.

The reason must be that birds that are kept in very hygienic circumstances have less immunity (resistance).

You can see the same thing in daily life.

Where can we find the strongest bacteria that are hard to eliminate?

At places that are kept very hygienic such as hospitals !!!

A reason that pigeons in lofts that are often cleaned easier get sick may also be the  feather dust that spreads through the lofts when they are being scraped and wiped.

In lofts that are not cleaned this dust will stick on the straw or droppings.We see the same thing with those who use the fire hose.

One third of the fanciers that were interrogated regularly use the flame, thus killing bacteria, insects and viruses. At least that is what they think but… they get more problems again than those who don’t. 

This leads us to something that happened to me once.


Long way back I traded 8 babies with a great champion.

I put his four weeks old birds amongst mine and felt embarrassed.

His looked healthier, but… much to my surprise one month later they were all dead.

Yes, exactly those eight birds that I had imported.

I was puzzled and went to the best vet on pigeons I knew with two of the dead birds  and told my story.

‘Did you get those babies from a fancier who daily cleans his lofts?’ he asked.

My eyes popped out.

The man from whom I got the birds indeed cleaned his lofts no less than 3 times a day, and also vacuumed them and disinfected them with chlorine regularly.

‘How do you know?’ I asked the expert.

‘Ha, you are not the first one with such a bad experience’ he said, adding:

‘Things like these happen pretty often. Your birds that are kept in lofts that are not clean are immune, his lacked immunity, they had no resistance and that was the reason they did not make it.’

So far the vet. 

Earlier on I had already decided never to buy birds from fanciers that give much medicine. After that day I decided never to buy birds from fanciers that clean their lofts ‘day and night’.

This resembles the problems that often arise when putting birds together that come from different lofts.

That is also risky and also explains the gigantic problems the organisers of one loft racesin Holland and faced the last few years.


Fanciers who have most problems with adeno/coli unanimously agree that stress and rising temperatures are factors that may lead to an out break.

They often get sick birds after the first training tosses and even more when it gets warmer and the birds have to stay in the baskets for a longer time.

They also found they got more sick birds shortly after a vaccination against PMV.

Therefore it is advisable to needle babies when they are about 6 weeks old, which means some time before the training and racing starts.

Nowadays many people vaccinate against paratyphoid. It seems they get less birds that get adeno/coli than others. 

(note: It is risky to vaccinate against paramyxo and paratyphoid at the same time.

There should be an interval of 4 weeks minimum).

Researchers also found that the sickness is often restricted to certain areas. It happens that in one area there are many sick birds whereas elsewhere there are none. 

In many adds stuff other than medicine are advised to prevent or cure adeno/coli.

Experts agree it is a waste of money. What might help is apple vinegar, yoghurt and 

butter milk but even these products are controversial.


Let’s finish this series of 2 articles by some pieces of advice.

- Avoid stress (transport, training) when birds are weakened for whatever reason.

- Stay away from medicine as much as possible. They undermine the resistance.

- Be sure your lofts are not over populated and the ventilation is ok.

- Needle young birds against PMV when they are about 6 weeks old.   

- In case of an out break of ‘type 1’ do NOT remove sick birds from the loft. Do NOT feed the birds for 2 or 3 days and put electrolytes in the drinker in hot weather which may be strengthened by adding glucose. 

- Never remove the water to stop diarrhoea. This is a big mistake. By doing so birds may die from dehydration.