CARING FOR YOUR PIGEON
· A balanced diet is important for your bird, the core of which is a good quality pigeon mix (seed and legumes). Seed/legume based diets can be supplemented with brewer’s yeast and wheat germ oil 2-3 times per week.
· Ideally, each day your bird should be supplied a balanced selection of chopped fresh vegetables such as corn, peas, spinach, silverbeet, kale, green beans, parsley, broccoli, carrots, sprouts, etc.
Fruit can be offered in small quantities but must be limited due to high sugar content.
· Pasta, rice, boiled egg and potato may be offered 2-3 times per week. Remember to give only in small quantities relative to the bird’s size.
· Do not give your bird chocolate, coffee, avocado, onion or rhubarb leaves as these are toxic to birds.
· Worm every 3-6 months and have a crop tube worming at least once a year.
· Book a yearly health check-up to detect general health problems. At this time, testing for common pigeon related illnesses will be done for trichomonas (canker), coccidian and intestinal parasites.
· Test or treat for chlamydia annually. Chlamydia is important as it is very common in pigeons and can spread to humans. Birds may show signs such as sneezing, weight loss and/or green watery droppings, or no signs at all.
Remember – Birds often mask the signs of illness and may only show signs of being unwell when they are very sick.
All pigeons should receive the PMV vaccine in the first year of life with two vaccines 4-8 weeks apart. After this a booster is required annually for continued protection.
Heavy metal poisoning
Heavy metal poisoning is extremely common. Lead, zinc and copper are the metals involved and are found in galvanised wire, paint, copper wires, metal ties, rusty metal toys, costume jewellery, solder, etc.
· Do not put sandpaper on perches or on the floor.
· Perches should be made of natural wood and various sizes provided.
· Place food and water bowls so that your bird does not defecate in them.
· Avoid using metal objects such as toys, food bowls or plastic-coated bag ties in the cage.
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