Pigeon Sampling

The Starlight Trust is an animal welfare and rescue organisation based in Surrey

In 2018 we invested in a microscope and Sarah learned how to examine pigeon poops for parasites. This has made an enormous difference to how effectively we can treat our pigeon patients and we’ve come to view this as an essential part of pigeon rescue.


Of course, not every rescuer can spend a few hundred pounds on a microscope or afford to spend £15 a time sending samples to a laboratory. So, we’re happy to help fellow rescuers by examining samples of rescued pigeons without any charge. We can check either samples from individual birds or a group sample from an aviary or group living together (since co-habiting birds will usually have the same parasites).


Some caveats

  • Sarah is not an expert but is confident in identifying the most commonly seen parasites (coccidia, fluke, roundworm, strongyles and capillaria)
  • the sampling we offer will not identify bacterial infections such as salmonella/paratyphoid or fungal issues such as candida and canker
  • we offer a quick, free, amateur test. Responsibility for seeking a professional examination, veterinary advice and medication remains that of the carer
  • we can only test pigeon poo (including feral pigeons, racing/domestic pigeons, wood pigeons, stock and collared doves. We cannot test other birds.
  • we offer this service to established rescues/rescuers registered on helpwildlife.co.uk to save them time and money. It is not intended for members of the public. If you have found a sick pigeon and you’re not experienced in caring for them, please pass them to a rescue ASAP. You can find one at helpwildlife.co.uk/map
  • the sender is responsible for ensuring the sample is packaged and posted in accordance with the relevant legislation and post office guidelines
  • we will let you know when the sample is received and aim to get results to you within 24 hours of receipt for Urgent samples, 48 hours for High Priority samples, 72 hours for Medium Priority samples, and 96 hours for Low Priority samples.

Important Instructions

We are delighted to be able to support fellow pigeon rescuers by offering fast, free sampling but, as demand increases, in order to keep this service fast and free, we need you to follow the following guidelines.

  • please don’t send samples taken within 10 days of giving wormers, coccidia medications or antibiotics. These will produce a false negative result.
  • complete the form below for each sample before posting. You will be shown the address to send the sample to once the form is completed and submitted.
  • please limit each package to a maximum of four samples to help keep volumes manageable.
  • please send a decent quantity of poo (about 3-4 droppings). Eggs are only shed intermittently and insufficient samples may produce a false negative result.
  • please try to avoid containers which won’t fit through a letterbox.
  • make sure to include your name in or on the envelope and label each sample with the name of the bird.
  • please make sure you apply sufficient postage otherwise the sample may not arrive.
online database form by Ragic

This is the information we have gathered about treating parasites in pigeons. It is shared here purely to provide information about what we have found to be effective from testing and treating our own birds. It is not intended as treatment advice.

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