OLR Shipping Suggestions

We wanted to put together a list of things to consider when shipping your birds to any race. They are all common sense ideas but can often be overlooked. We believe these ideas can help the chances of your birds making it to the money races. Hope you find it helpful.


  • Vaccinate, Vaccinate, Vaccinate!


  • We have been doing a lot of research and talking with successful flyers in futurities who get most of their birds to road training. One common link we found was not only good birds but they vaccinated their birds for PMV and Salmonella prior to shipping. A vaccine takes a while to take effect and vaccines work best when a bird is not stressed. If a bird is vaccinated a period of time prior to being shipped, the vaccine will have time to take full effect. Let's play out a scene where a bird is not vaccinated and then shipped. When you ship a bird it is stressed out of its mind and then it gets vaccinated upon arrival at the futurity. How effective is that vaccine going to be? Will the pigeon get the full benefit of the vaccine? Will the vaccine be able to protect the bird from PMV or Salmonella if another bird in the isolation pen has it? With birds being shipped from all over, you don't know what your birds will come in contact with. Therefore vaccinate before you ship anywhere so they have the best chance to make it to race day. Vaccinating before is also suggested by our Aviarian Veterinarian. 


  • Mike Ganus' Suggestion:
    • Vaccinate at 20 days for PMV and Salmonella. 
    • Then again 3-5 weeks later for a Booster.
    • Wait at least a week then you can ship your bird.
    • Out of all the years Mike Ganus has shipped to our race he has had not one pigeon die from sickness.


  • Frank McLaughlin's Suggestion
    • "For starters, vaccinate for PMV when the pigeons are weaned. At this time I also recommend spraying with Pyrethrum for parasites. One week later vaccinate for Salmonella. These two vaccinations will boost the immune system while the young pigeons are still carrying some parental immunity. Three weeks after the first PMV vaccine, vaccinate a second time. Three weeks after the first salmonella injection, vaccinate for a second time. The pigeon is now 52 days old and has been vaccinated four times. The immune system has been placed on high alert from the vaccinations and the immune system will be more likely to fight other problems when needed. "


  • Dave Shewmaker Suggestion:
    • Go to the link and click on the last Seminar Presentation, 2017 Mt. St. Helens Combine Picnic. For our purpose specifically, look at slides 3-18 (The whole presentation is awesome information). Dave discusses the immunity of the young bird and the importance of vaccinating with boosters. His suggestions for vaccinating to ship to OLR's are pretty much the same as Ganus. EXCELLENT RESOURCE, PLEASE READ.


  • Don't Overcrowd when Shipping Birds! Shipping is already stressful enough for the youngsters. You add in an overcrowded box that gets hot = disaster. Birds produce a lot of body heat.  Give them space. The more stressed a bird is the more bad stuff it will shed in the drinkers and through its poop. Stress also allows them to be more susceptible to catch something from other birds. They are very fragile. 
    • Suggestions: Medium Box no More than 5 birds. Large Box no more than 10. If you use a small box, no more than 2. 


  • Give them Water before you ship them. Especially when shipping during the summer months. 


  • Ship birds that are at least 50-60 days old. Based on the vaccine recommendations you can't ship any earlier. Read many articles that suggest a birds immune system is weakest from weeks 6-9. That is the time these birds are being shipped and introduced to a bunch of new hazards. 


  • Make sure the Bird has been weaned for a period of time. Weaning can be a stressful time in a pigeon's life. 


  • Worm your Birds. Some wormers to consider: Ivomectin, Moxidectin, and you can dip them in a diluted Permethrin solution.  


  • When shipping always think of ways you can limit the Stress on the bird.