Human health risks with pigeons?

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Setter
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Human health risks with pigeons?

Post by Setter » Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:52 pm

I really have appreciated the Hall of Fame posts regarding pigeons…very, very helpful! I am way too slowly building a small loft (life is so busy isn’t it?).

My question deals in the area of pigeons and human health. I didn’t really think of it as a big deal starting my project but last week a man (who is a veterinarian) scared me a bit regarding raising them. And since I have little to zero personal knowledge I’d appreciate ya’lls feedback. According to this vet there are significant issues regarding human respiratory health and/or worms (like hook, round, tapeworm…). Being a father of a 5yr and 7yr old, it kind of through me. I’d like to raise pigeons for training, yet I am not going to do something that places my kids in a real harmful situation. I have no experience.

So if ya’ll could help what are the real health risks, what do you do to address/control them? I would value any firsthand insight.

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Re: Human health risks with pigeons?

Post by Sharon » Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:59 pm

I believe you do have to take precautions in this day and age.
I wear a mask when sweeping and cleaning up the pen.
I wash my hands thoroughly after handling a bird.
I use gloves to handle a sick or dead bird.

The first case of transmission from human to human happened last year. This is scary when you realize humans travel from one side of the world to another every day. Birds from other countries with Bird Flu do mix with migratory birds too.

The precautions I take are simple so why not be on the safer side.
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Re: Human health risks with pigeons?

Post by ezzy333 » Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:33 am

Pigeons do not carry Bird Flu the last I ever heard. There are a few people who show an allergic type reaction to them when in the pigeon loft so it might be smart to were a mask if you are in cleaning a dusty loft though I never have. Other than that just normal cleanliness should be fine. Our homing pigeons do not carry everything a feral might but it is an area that has been overemphasized when you thing of all the pigeons in some of our cities that live with the people. My grandkids used to spend a lot of time in watching the birds and we would find them in the loft. Never had a problem to date.

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Re: Human health risks with pigeons?

Post by CherrystoneWeims » Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:50 am

Setter wrote:My question deals in the area of pigeons and human health. I didn’t really think of it as a big deal starting my project but last week a man (who is a veterinarian) scared me a bit regarding raising them. And since I have little to zero personal knowledge I’d appreciate ya’lls feedback. According to this vet there are significant issues regarding human respiratory health and/or worms (like hook, round, tapeworm…). Being a father of a 5yr and 7yr old, it kind of through me. I’d like to raise pigeons for training, yet I am not going to do something that places my kids in a real harmful situation. I have no experience.

So if ya’ll could help what are the real health risks, what do you do to address/control them? I would value any firsthand insight.
Your vet is very correct about diseases. Histoplasmosis, cryptococcus, and psitticosis are some of the lung diseases that you can get from birds. There was actually an animal tech at one of the universities where my husband did residency who contracted one of the above who became very sick.
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Re: Human health risks with pigeons?

Post by Nebraska » Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:57 am

I used to just pull my shirt over my nose/mouth :roll: but will start wearing a mask. I can buy ER masks at work so I'm hoping something like that would be alright.

As far as issues go, I feel a-ok and don't supect I do/will have any issues but, as an FYI, are these problems something you'd notice fairly quickly or would they show up way down the road, like cancer, long after the exposure has already occured?

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Re: Human health risks with pigeons?

Post by Sharon » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:41 pm

All things mentionned above show up fairly quickly. Bird dust in your lungs could trigger cancer later in life.( True for any kind of dust in your lungs of course - coal, asbestos, drywall, mouse dust
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Re: Human health risks with pigeons?

Post by ezzy333 » Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:41 pm

Sharon wrote:All things mentionned above show up fairly quickly. Bird dust in your lungs could trigger cancer later in life.( True for any kind of dust in your lungs of course - coal, asbestos, drywall, mouse dust
How do you know that? Didn't think we knew what causes cancer. If those things do then we all are on the way out so we might as well just give it up.

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It's not how many breaths you have taken but how many times it has been taken away!

Has anyone noticed common sense isn't very common anymore.

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Re: Human health risks with pigeons?

Post by vzkennels » Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:50 pm

I don't worry about pigeons any more then I worry about everything else that carry diseases,if I did I wouldn't eat,sleep,or breeth & least of all go hunting to be eaten by ticks,mosquitoes,snakes & this could go on & on.Gee we don't live in a bubble.

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Re: Human health risks with pigeons?

Post by Benny » Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:39 pm

Worry a little bit. They weren't called sky rats for nothing. Just be mindful and wash your hands. As far as cleaning the pen/house, I would take at least some precautions. There's no harm in a $0.35 mask from the hardware store.
I definitely don't live in the bubble, I but I don't go asking for trouble if I can avoid it.
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Re: Human health risks with pigeons?

Post by ezzy333 » Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:17 pm

Benny,

Think they picked up that name from people who couldn't spell pigeon. Think it was the same people who call pheasants ditch parrots who do carry a disease, and call squirrels tree rats. Plus the homing pigeons are just as clean as our chickens,and turkeys. The feral pigeons have carried some desease from living in large groups and eating a poor diet.

I think it is fine to be aware but I just can't get to excited about all of the precautions we have to take today against things we have lived our whole lives with. Of course I probably just don't understand the seriousness of it since I grew up with lead paint, mercury in the high school labs that we shined all of our coins with, and the asbestos that we used on all of the brake shoes we had to change quite often, or the bacon we ate every morning, or a thousand other deadly products of today. Some one explain how we ever lived through it? I admit I'm stumped!!!!

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http://www.perfectpedigrees.com/4genview.php?id=207

It's not how many breaths you have taken but how many times it has been taken away!

Has anyone noticed common sense isn't very common anymore.

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Re: Human health risks with pigeons?

Post by Sharon » Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:24 pm

ezzy333 wrote:
Sharon wrote:All things mentionned above show up fairly quickly. Bird dust in your lungs could trigger cancer later in life.( True for any kind of dust in your lungs of course - coal, asbestos, drywall, mouse dust
How do you know that? Didn't think we knew what causes cancer. If those things do then we all are on the way out so we might as well just give it up.

Ezzy
:) No one gets out alive.
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Re: Human health risks with pigeons?

Post by Sharon » Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:28 pm

ezzy333 wrote:Benny,

Think they picked up that name from people who couldn't spell pigeon. Think it was the same people who call pheasants ditch parrots who do carry a disease, and call squirrels tree rats. Plus the homing pigeons are just as clean as our chickens,and turkeys. The feral pigeons have carried some desease from living in large groups and eating a poor diet.

I think it is fine to be aware but I just can't get to excited about all of the precautions we have to take today against things we have lived our whole lives with. Of course I probably just don't understand the seriousness of it since I grew up with lead paint, mercury in the high school labs that we shined all of our coins with, and the asbestos that we used on all of the brake shoes we had to change quite often, or the bacon we ate every morning, or a thousand other deadly products of today. Some one explain how we ever lived through it? I admit I'm stumped!!!!

Ezzy
Not everyone from our generation did live through it. My dad died from lung cancer - asbestos dust. We're lucky . I also don't make a big deal about pigeons etc - obviously - I keep them in my garage. :) - but I think it is always wise to take whatever precaution is available and foolish not to.
" We are more than our gender, skin color, class, sexuality or age; we are unlimited potential, and can not be defined by one label." quote

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Re: Human health risks with pigeons?

Post by CherrystoneWeims » Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:42 pm

Not everyone from our generation did live through it. My dad died from lung cancer - asbestos dust. We're lucky . I also don't make a big deal about pigeons etc - obviously - I keep them in my garage. :) - but I think it is always wise to take whatever precaution is available and foolish not to.
Smart!

BTW the Animal Tech who got sick with the histoplasmosis worked only with birds in a laboratory setting not with feral birds. I believe it's in the dust in the dry droppings and it is inhaled.
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Re: Human health risks with pigeons?

Post by Sprig » Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:32 pm

I have raised pigeons for almost 30 years now. there are some health concerns but are pretty uncommon. the most notable is pigeon breeders disease. it is kind of an allergic reaction to the tiny dust particles from pigeons that gets in your lungs. some people are very allergic to it and over time it can be very serious. i have known people with this problem and they take great care in keeping the pens clean and very well ventilated. there are some diseases that are transferable from pigeons to humans, like any animal has, but from my understanding this is far more a concern when handling wild ferel pigeons as opposed to domesticly bred pigeons.

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Re: Human health risks with pigeons?

Post by ohiogsp » Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:48 pm

The alergy everyone is talking about is called PFL (pigeon fancier lung) it is pretty rare but you will know very fast if you have it. It is not harmful other than you can't be around pigeons. You can get the diseases listed here but it is pretty rare. Pigeons are not a tranmitter of the bird flu. They can carry it and die but is rare and the don't spread it. I would always wear a mask when cleaning a loft (I got sick and learned the hard way on this one). I don't wear one just to go in there. I would never put a feral pigeon in my loft. If you get healthy pigeons you are fine. Most racing pigeons are healty as a horse. Mine have been vacinated for everthing under the sun and are treated for everything else. I do my own vet checks on my birds and I am sure they are very healthy. Most racing guys vaccinate and treat their birds so this is alot safer way to go. Most normal pigeon diseases are not passiable to humans. They can carry some bad stuff but I think with our captive birds we are pretty safe.
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Re: Human health risks with pigeons?

Post by snips » Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:22 pm

My Rick has the reaction to pigeon dust. If he inhales alot of it catching birds he will have flu-like symptoms for 24 hours. Chills, fever like symptoms. It can happen for him around pigeons first, and occasionally with quail.
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Re: Human health risks with pigeons?

Post by Rick Hall » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:31 am

Don't know if I'm whistling in the dark, but I've had walk-in pigeon lofts for a dozen years now without known problems. Do, however, use a very well ventilated loft design, wear a particle mask and wash up well after dusty chores, and use a hose for other cleaning.
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Re: Human health risks with pigeons?

Post by Benny » Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:37 pm

ezzy333 wrote: Some one explain how we ever lived through it? I admit I'm stumped!!!!

Ezzy
No I agree we can't live in the bubble, I think I mentioned that. I'm just saying if someone is asking my advice I always err on the precautionary side. Heck, when I jump start someone's batter I like rarely pay attention to which terminal I'm hooking up to first and often like making sparks by applying the negative and positive clamps together. But if some junior asks me how that's probably not the instructions I'd give him :D

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Re: Human health risks with pigeons?

Post by Setter » Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:03 pm

A big thank you to ya'll. I have really appreicated all the insights, it helped mucho.

Now to find the healthy birds will be the challenge.

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