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Worms in Pigeons and Doves


The hairworm, Capillaria obsignata - a very slender, hair-like parasite - infests various poultry species in addition to pigeons. Hairworm eggs become infective in the environment after 8-9 days.

The pigeon roundworm, Ascaridia columbae, only occurs in pigeons. The eggs become infective in the environment after 2-3 weeks.

Two types of tapeworm, Hymenolepis columbae and Raillietina columbae, infest pigeons. Their emergence is dependent on suitable intermediate hosts (snails, beetles, ants), which they require in order to develop. Pigeons only become infected if they ingest an intermediate host.

The interval between ingestion of infective worm eggs, sexual maturation of the new generation of worms and the first excretion of eggs in the faeces (prepatent period) is 5-6 weeks for roundworms, 3-4 weeks for hairworms and approx. 2 weeks for tapeworms. All types of worms may also appear at the same time.

(Thanks to Chevita)

Symptoms of the disease:

The disease can take two forms:

Sudden death not preceded by any perceptible signs of illness:

A typical scenario sees young pigeons released from the loft for their daily training (on a hot summer & day, perhaps), whereupon they fly around for an hour and then return to the loft. They land on the roof or on the alighting ledge, do not respond to the breeder & attempts to entice them into the loft, and die within the space of a few hours.

Death preceded by visible signs of illness:
During the period between the onset of symptoms and death (lasting from 3 days to 1 week), the following symptoms are observed: lack of activity, puffed-up plumage, refusal of feed, swelling of the crop, weight loss, greenish-yellow faeces in puddles, vomiting.


There is no vaccine against young pigeon disease that could be used to prevent infection. However, sick pigeons can be treated with Adenosan. And timely use of Adenosan may also prevent an outbreak of the disease in birds suspected of infection.

Similar Conditions:
E.coli, Hexamitiasis

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