Ban on moving pigeons lifted in NSW
RESTRICTIONS on the movement of pigeons in New South Wales have been lifted as of yesterday (Monday), says the State Department of primary Industries (DPI).
“The movement restrictions were introduced to give pigeon owners time to double vaccinate their flocks following the detection of pigeon paramyxovirus in hobby pigeon flocks in Western Sydney earlier this year,” says DPI deputy chief veterinary officer Sally Spence said.
“Commercial producers, hobbyists and backyard pigeon owners have now had that time and the vast majority have vaccinated their birds.
“It is appropriate that we lift the ban now and allow pigeon owners to resume normal activities.”
Dr Spence says pigeon owners had responded positively to vaccinating their birds, with more than 625 permits issued to allow these vaccinations to occur.
“In the Sydney area, where the disease occurred, our information is that nearly 100 per cent of the racing pigeons have been vaccinated and a large number of the fancy pigeons,” she says.
DPI avian technical specialist, George Arzey, advises pigeon owners throughout NSW to continue to vaccinate young birds and give annual boosters to their birds.
He says many clubs are now requiring vaccination as a condition to participate in pigeon races and other events.
“It is important that fanciers remain vigilant and strengthen bio-security measures if they haven’t already done so – to prevent the introduction and spread of the virus,” says Dr Arzey.
Priority bio-security measures include maintaining an effective vaccination program; avoiding contact between domestic pigeons and feral pigeons; limiting visitors to pigeons; and isolating new birds for at least four weeks
Pigeon paramyxovirus remains a notifiable emergency animal disease.
Pigeon fanciers should seek veterinary advice if they suspect their birds may have paramyxovirus or notify the DPI or the Livestock Health and Pest Authority if signs are suggestive of pigeon paramyxovirus.
An Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline – 1800 675 888) – is also available.
Dr Arzey says the first signs of pigeon paramyxovirus are usually reluctance to fly, increased thirst, runny droppings and loss of appetite.
In Victoria, pigeon paramyxovirus caused neurological symptoms such as trembling of the wings and head, tumbling on landing, partial paralysis of the wings and legs and head flicking.
Respiratory signs like eye discharge, cough and nasal discharge were also reported with pigeon paramyxovirus outside NSW.