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Cause - This highly infectious and very common disease is caused by a protozoan that infects the intestines of our birds. It is usually present to some degree in all pigeons, but most adult birds have developed enough immunity to the disease to remain healthy. Most often infected are young pigeons or birds that have been subjected to severe stress (i.e., racing, showing, lack of feed/water, or relocation), Adult birds may become infected from drinking unclean water or from being in contact with moist droppings.
Symptoms - Infected birds have little or no desire to eat or drink, will remain puffed up on perches, lack any desire to move and often close their eyes. Droppings are usually very loose, greenish in color and may become very watery. Loss of weight occurs, and death can occur in young birds.
Prevention - Keep lofts dry and sanitary. Do not allow feed to come into contact with droppings, and regularly disinfect drinkers. Do not allow birds to drink from gutters or mud puddles, and keep feed and water free from contact with rodents. Always isolate new birds as described earlier, as they are a primary target for the spread of cocci. Returning race birds should be given a preventative treatment shortly after their return, especially if out overnight. Baskets should be disinfected weekly.