Pigeon health

   three questions

10. 01. 2008.
Three questions from Sri Lanka
Let me say at the outset that I thoroughly enjoyed reading (and being educated in the process!) your book "Pigeons & Their Economical Health Care", and also "Vet's Tips for Fanciers". I am from Sri Lanka. I would very much like to have your advice on the following:
1. I routinely use Moxidectin as a wormer. However for a change I would like to use Albendazole which is available as a wettable powder for poultry medication. This product readily goes into suspension although not soluble. Is this o.k to use and does Albendazole have as wide a spectrum of activity as Moxidectin?. Is it safe for use during the breeding and moulting season?
2. Re Permethrin. (Coopers 25WP) is available which is a 25% strength, wettable powder. The lower dilution rate recommended is 10 gms to 4 litres water.
Is this suitable for a dip for pigeons to provide long term (3 months protection) from lice, etc?
3. I sprinkle Citric Acid (food grade) on to the concrete floor of my lofts -( the birds are on a grid 8" above the floor) The citric acid is mixed with a small quantity of sand. By bringing down the ph of the floor and making it more acidic I am hoping this would act as a deterrent agains Salmonella, etc. Is this a correct thing to do? Would it be preferable to use a disinfectant such as Virkon S and, if so, how often?
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1. Albendazole has a little different spectrum of activity as Moxidectin, and albendazole is not safe as this other drug.
However, albendazole has a broad spectrum, that is effective against hairworms, large roundworms and also tapeworms. But it has no effect against external parasites and air-sacs mites. Its disadvantage is that it is not water-soluble, and so has to be mixed with feed or ideally administered individually.
We should not give albendazole to birds that are less than two months old, in the breeding season, or in the main moulting season!

Moxidectin is a highly effective drug that provides prolonged protection against reinfestation; a member of the milbemycin family. It is effective against large round and hairworms, external parasites and air-sacs mites. (It is not effective against tapeworms.)
It is not so toxic and is safe to administer. It can be given during the pairing and moulting seasons, and neither is its use contraindicated between races.

2. Permethrin has a long term (3-4 months) effect against external parasites. To dip birds, use lukewarm water, and immerse birds up to their neck. You can dip their heads below the surface but only for a second.
Since a number of products are available, it is advisable to alternate them after a given period. If we administer one drug for too long, we can expect its effect to diminish after a while. The following drugs have become prevalent in pigeon-breeding, and can be used safely:
- abamectin
- bioresmethrin
- chlorpyrifos
- chlor vinyl dimethyl phosphate
- fenoxycarb
- ivermectin
- moxidectin
- permethrin
- pyrethrin
- transmix

3. Using citric acid or e.g. apple cider vinegar for making more acidic the floor and the walls is a very good (and cheap) method against salmonellas and coli. It is a correct thing, because an alkaline environment is particularly favourable for the survival of salmonellas and coli bacteria! These bacteria in acidic conditions decay quickly. For this reason – alongside the acidification of drinking water – systematic cleaning of the loft, or spraying the walls with slightly acidiferous water, can prove extremely effective.
Virkon S (potassium-peroxy-sulphate and acids) has a far more broad spectrum against micro-organism. It is good against bacteria, viruses and fungi. Use it as 0.5 - 2 % solution, that is 50 g powder to 2,5 – 10 litre of water.
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