Medications one should avoid during the breeding season

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Joined: 12/05/2009

With breeding season coming on and fanciers sometimes experiencing youngsters dying in the shell, I thought I would share my thoughts on some material I have been reading on the subject.

We should be aware that some of the sulfa drugs we give our birds, are successful because they inhibit folate synthesis which is important to bacteria survival (which is why these sulfa drugs act as an antibacterial).

Unfortunately, folate (the natural form of folic acid) is supremely important during periods of rapid cell division and growth therefore the use of sulfa based medications that suppress folate production, during the breeding season, will adversely affect pigeon egg embryo development and early sweeker development.

Therefore, I am not in favor of treating the breeders with these sulfa drugs during egg production nor during pigeon milk production.

Some examples of sulfa drugs to watch are dapsone, sulfamethoxazole, and the antimalarial sulfadoxine.

I suggest you give these sulfa based products several weeks prior to breeding, then supplement with folic acid B9. If you want to know which sulfa drugs to be aware of, go to this wikipedia page:

You will need to click on each of the family names under "List of sulfonamides" to get the names of the folic acid inhibiting drugs to avoid during breeding as not all sulfa drugs inhibit folate synthesis.

This of course is just my opinion, do some reading for yourselves on this subject. It is at least something to be aware of and to plan around as breeding season approaches.

NOTE: most sources of sulfur are healthy for pigeons. Only some manufactured forms are not healthy to use during the breeding season. Sprinkling sulfur on the grit is good, the sulfur found in the active ingredient of garlic is good, MSM is a good form of sulfur. Most sulfur supplementation is healthful and should be continued even during the breeding season.

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