How to Prevent and Treat Salmonella In Racing Pigeons

How to Prevent and Treat Salmonella In Racing Pigeons

HOW TO PREVENT Salmonella infections:

Proper hygiene is the best way to keep Salmonella away from the loft. Don’t overcrowd! The disease has a greater chance of spreading in overcrowded conditions and stale air environments. Overcrowding also lowers immunity by stressing the birds. The chance of becoming infected depends a lot on the number of bacteria taken in by the pigeon. If a pigeon swallows just a few of the bacteria, it will probably not become infected. This is why cleaning the loft can lower the spread of the disease. Taking in large numbers of bacteria can overload the bird’s immune system, the germs will proliferate and the disease becomes active. Then the bird will also spread the bacteria through its droppings.

Lowering the pH of the drinking water with apple cider vinegar can control the disease. The use of probiotics is also recommended. Lowering the pH of the intestinal content inhibits the growth of Salmonella, E coli and other pathogenic organisms. I tested my tap water and for a PH of 7 with a GH of 0, 5 ml of vinegar for 2 liters of water drop the PH from 7 to 4. Most fanciers recommend 5 ml/liter but you might need to adjust to suit your needs for the local water.


The problem is that there is no antibiotic that is 100% effective. Treatment of salmonella infections should be based on laboratory tests so that the appropriate antibiotic can be administered. You collect some droppings samples from the birds for several days and send them to a laboratory where, after a bacteriologic culture and an antibiogram, the right antibiotic will be prescribed. Make sure the pigeons didn’t receive antibiotics before the test for several weeks…or the test might be useless.

Treating the birds only for 4-5 days is pointless and stupid. Such a short cure will not cure Salmonella. It might just lower the symptoms and eventually put the bird in a carrier state (which is worse!).

Enrofloxacin / Baytril is usually prescribed for treating Salmonella, but only the lab test will confirm what exactly you need for your pigeons. A treatment with thrimetoprim (1 gr / 4 liters of water) takes a long time… if the weather is cold, the treatment should last 2 weeks, because the birds drink less water. DO NOT forget to give probiotics to the pigeons after the treatment because the antibiotics destroy ALL the bacteria in the intestines including beneficial bacteria. I’m amazed to see that often probiotics are forgotten, although they are extremely important in the fight against salmonella and for the well-being of the bird.

Vaccines can be used to prevent the disease. Before you vaccinate against Salmonella you must be sure that there is no Salmonella infection in the loft and this can be checked only by a lab test. If you vaccinate pigeons that already have Salmonella, you can have some serious vaccination reactions and many pigeons die because of this. Should I use vaccines for Salmonella? Well, some are good, some are no effective at all.

How to Prevent and Treat Salmonella In Racing Pigeons

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2 thoughts on “How to Prevent and Treat Salmonella In Racing Pigeons

  1. Morning Chris,

    We have lost a few pigeons from Newcastle’s disease, a few more have got it, which we have quarantined from the rest.

    We have inoculated all of them, but it does not seem to have helped. What more can we do to stop it from spreading further?

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