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Vaccinations, Immune System, Young Bird Sickness, Young Bird Racing - Vincent Schroeder



Vaccinations, immune system, young bird sickness,

young bird racing.

We have again experienced a year in which many fanciers, who handle vaccinations carelessly, have fallen flat on their faces. Salmonella and Paramyxovirus illness in breeding pigeons, youngsters and racing pigeons appear again and again. If all fanciers, whose pigeons become ill with Salmonella and Paramyxovirus, were to openly talk about this, the warning rates would be abundant here.  However,as a general rule a cloak of silence is unfortunately placed over these incidents, which is why many fanciers stumble over the Paramyxovirus and Salmonella obstacle again and again, year after year.

Vaccination demonstrably stimulates the immune system in the process. These vaccinations will be indispensable in the future for many fanciers in connection with young bird sickness. I don‘t only mean the Paramyxovirus vaccination with this but rather a systematic vaccination of pigeons with Coli vaccine, Paramyxovirus or Paramyxovirus/Herpes vaccine and in the end Pox and Salmonella vaccine. Of course there are fanciers in whose population young bird sickness still appears even after these vaccinations, however, those fanciers who are already performing these vaccinations will confirm that if it does occur, then young bird sickness no longer breaks out as severely as earlier. It becomes manageable and the youngsters recover and are back in full health much faster or in other words, they are much better prepared for the next disaster due to the Coli vaccination and also due to other vaccinations. I have been working with the coli vaccine for quite some time and can therefore write from my own experience.

The earlier pairing of breeding pigeons can also be a precaution against young bird sickness. It is a fact that the youngsters bred in December/January are at the beginning of the young bird programme in the UK are already six, seven and eight months old. I always label these youngsters as ‚‘pseudo-yearlings‘‘. They are not properly matured yet (rather pseudo-yearlings) however, due to their age they are in the growth phase in which they develop the adult pigeon immune system.

A youngster, which comes into the world, has an immune system that is mainly controlled by the immune organ Bursa Fabrici. However, this immune organ is precisely the main point open to attack by the Circo Virus in racing pigeons. It would therefore be more correct if we were not to speak of the “Adeno Virus“ in the case young bird sickness, but rather of the „Circo Virus“. Almost every pigeon fancier (approx. 90%) has Circo Virus in their loft population. This is only a logical consequence of the selling, buying and exchanging of racing pigeons in the last twenty years.

If the immune organ Bursa Fabrici is affected by the Circo Virus it will no longer be able to fulfill it main task of warding off diseases, bacteria and germs. The youngster is particularly vulnerable, unprotected, without immunity and will now acquire that which we recognize as young bird sickness: coli germs, trichomonads, hexamita, fungi etc.!

Fanciers then treat for young bird sickness and the pigeons recover after the treatment, if they are provided with high quality, modern medications such as T+K+K Powder, Fungi, Matrix or Adeno-Coli-Mix. This is generally achieved with a combination cure as the pigeons also have a combination of health problems. However further outbreaks may occur again, as early as after the next race. This is because the youngsters simply do not have an intact immune system at this stage of their development. Many transporters are also a contributory factor to young bird sickness outbreaks. Full length drinkers (where the water supply is shared between baskets) area recipe for problems. The reasonable disinfection of drinking water, with for example DF 3000 by Dostofarm, could also prevent a lot of problems spread in the basket.

Luckily the immune organ Bursa Fabrici, which is affected by the Circo Virus does not control the immune system for the life of the youngster. At the age of six, seven and eight months, the immune organ reduces in size, degenerates and other immune systems replace the immune activity in squabs. The youngster becomes an adult pigeon, the new immune system functions and the Bursa Fabrici and the Circo Virus no longer play a role. Hence young bird sickness is again manageable or simply ceases: you cure once and the youngster (pseudo-yearling) remains healthy.

Now you understand why it is a great advantage to pair earlier and to be able to deal with young bird races with older youngsters. Since most racing pigeon fanciers breed one, two or three rounds, they perhaps repeatedly place younger pigeons in the young bird section in many cases, which are more susceptible to young bird sickness and thus also re-infect the older youngsters again and again. A separation of the various rounds would be an optimal solution. Many fanciers would then realize that the older youngsters are more stable and do not repeatedly fall ill with young bird sickness. The vaccinations already mentioned also have a stabilizing effect in this context.

In conclusion, here are a few more sentences about the use of a combination cure against disease in young animals. Of course I would also - and who wouldn‘t - gladly treat young bird sickness with natural products. I also recommend this for prevention; however, if the disease breaks out once, then neither garlic nor iodine will help nor carrot soup or immune powder. The fact is, however: You cannot treat cancer with chamomile tea.

I would gladly like to be able to walk on water as a few people have claimed. However, while attempting I was mostly wet to the skin after a few steps. In the event of an outbreak young bird sickness there is no alternative to a corresponding and effective cure especially during the racing season.

It would presumably help us all here to simply postpone the young bird races. Every day, in which the youngster becomes older, helps to avoid young bird sickness. Merely a youth bird season from the end of August until October would presumably reduce young animal losses significantly and young bird sickness also would not occur so often at this time. The heat-phases and blue sky would also be gone. Hence, the result for young bird races would normalize since the advantage gained from darkening and lightening would be gone. Youngsters which are raised normally would have finished with moulting up to 70% and would no longer be without a chance due to the feathering disadvantage since plumage would be equally good or equally bad in all pigeons in September.

This is certainly more than merely worth consideration!


Vincent Schroeder

Specialist Racing

Pigeon Veterinarian