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Wingtips by Bill Fawcett

Keeping Them Healthy

Gurgling and raspy pigeons? A good sign that you are overcrowding, but sometimes when you bring the pigeons in from a dealer you get some sick ones. The simplest plan is to "use them up" in the next training session, but there is a good chance they won't fly. And sometimes this will spread through the pen. When you hear them gurgling, its time to do something fast. The most frequently reccomended course of action may be Tetracyclene in the drinking water for 10-14 days. This yellow powder can be purchased in a packet at many feed stores with a typical dosage of 600 -1500 mg per 4 liters. This is a good guide to various pigeon medications.

Got a great coop or pen? Or a good tip? Send your ideas and photos for inclusion in a future article to Bill Fawcett:

Ever seen a pigeon with twisty-neck? The bird will hold its head sideways and often cannot fly well. This is one symptom of Paratyphoid a.k.a. Salmonellosis which is a serious bacterial infection. With training birds it is best to quickly cull any birds exhibiting symptoms and it might be well to burn or bury the carcass. The disesase is highly infectious and can spread quickly to other birds. Here is a good basic guide to pigeon disease and treatment. The first line of defense in a loft is to keep it clean (as possible), dry, and uncrowded.

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Bill Fawcett resides in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with his wife, Cindy, and his Smythwicks Springers: Jenna, Beebe, Pie and Drake. He is an avid hunter, field trialer, breeder and member of the M-AHSC and the ESSFTA. Bill is a regular contributor to Spaniel Journal through various articles, book reviews and his Wingtips column. Bill also maintains an extensive public ESS pedigree database at

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Spaniel Journal - your source for flushing spaniel training, hunt test, field trial & hunting information