Young Bird Disease (YBD) is a devastating disease normally affecting pigeons younger than 10 months. It is caused by a combination of viruses and bacteria but is always initiated by Circo-virus infection.
YBD starts off with babies becoming listless and losing there appetite. They soon start vomiting and soon afterwards they stool become loose. The disease progresses to a severe gastroenteritis with very bad foul smelling diarrhea. Pigeons become very emaciated and up to 20% may die. YBD wipes out the birds immune system and secondary infections such as E coli Salmonella and Trichomoniasis is common. In the mild form only the immunity is affected and these pigeons respond poorly to vaccination or preventative treatment whilst often getting lost on training tosses. Pigeons not dying from YBD will recover fully if treated correctly.
Isolation and disinfection are the most important factors to be followed during an outbreak. Sick babies must be isolated in a separate loft. At the first sign of disease a pigeon specific immune stimulant and intestinal protectant containing Pre and Pro-biotics must be given for 10 days. Babies should rest and a safe and effective broad spectrum antibiotic combination such as Sulpha/ Trimethoprim combination should be given for 7 days. Whilst the diarrhea is severe a pigeon specific electrolyte that includes amino-acids must be used.