Birds fly with open beaks

Question:

I have a big problem amongst my birds. A problem I can't cure because I don't know what is the cause seeing this is the first time in all my many years of pigeon racing this occurred.

When my pigeons fly round the loft they do it very well. Their flying time is approximately 25-30 minutes twice per day. When they land on the landing board they all do it with their beaks open. It looks as if they are gasping for air.

When flying, they don't go up as high as they use to do in past years. Has this open beaks got something to do with it?

I recently took them out on the road and for the first time in my life I lost some pigeons on their first training toss. Six in all and this is unknown to me. The open beaks again?

My loft is well ventilated and I have big sections in my loft with only a few birds in each section. Something is wrong. There is no slime in their throats, just open beaks after flying.

Answer:

The fact that the pigeons are landing with their beaks open, would seem to indicate that they are suffering from some form of lung condition. Common causes of lung conditions in pigeons include Mycoplasmosis, Ornithosis (one eye cold), early Adenovirus infection and Herpes virus.

The one stage of Pigeon Malaria inhabits the lining of the lung tissue and along with the anaemia (low red cell count) that it causes, may also be responsible for the symptoms. Although the incidence of lungworm (Syngamus) is low, it may also be a possibility. Any veterinarian can do a faecal flotation to rule this out. I suggest that you have some of the pigeon's stool examined by a vet to rule this out.

As you can see, it is very difficult to give you an specific answer as a symptom is not always specific for one disease. The new Circovirus that has just been diagnosed in South Africa, will cause a severe reduction in the pigeons immunity and will predispose them to all of the above diseases.

I would advise that you start treating for Chlamydia (Ornithosis) with a product containing doxycycline. It is very important to treat for at least ten (10) days before you will see an effect. If the treatment has a beneficial effect, it is advisable to extend the treatment for 20-30 days.

Try to obtain a doxycycline product that is premixed with vitamins or at least add a natural flora to the food. The new natural flora that is combined with the immune-stimulant B1-3 Glucan, is a very good choice as it may also help to prevent or reduce the incidence of the new Circovirus.

If this treatment has no effect, I would strongly advise you to send some pigeons for further tests to a veterinarian and ask that he test for the disease mentioned above.

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