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 rescue 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 still learning and not an expert. She is very confident that she can identify coccidiosis, fluke, roundworm and capillaria (the most commonly seen parasites in pigeons) and reasonably confident that she can identify strongyles.
  • The sampling Sarah can do will not identify bacterial infections such as salmonella/paratyphoid or fungal issues such as candida and canker.
  • We offer a quick, free, amateur view of the sample but the responsibility for seeking a professional sample and/or veterinary advice and medication where needed remains that of the carer.
  • We’ll usually be able to contact you with the results the same day the sample arrives but this is dependent on demand as well as our other work. In general, it helps if samples are limited to about 4 at a time – larger batches are harder to manage (keeping in mind that between prepping each sample, giving it time to develop, examining it, cleaning equipment afterwards, and updating you and our records, each samples takes around 25-30 minutes to process).

Samples should be

  • taken before wormers or cocci medication is given or at least 10 days after medication has stopped. Doxycycline also seems to affect the results.
  • sent in a solid container such as a makeup sample pot (eg these available from amazon), ideally in a padded envelope. Putting the poop in a bottle cap and covering it with foil works well too.
  • ideally at least 1g of poop (about 3 droppings) taken from several different ‘piles’ of poop
  • sent FAO Sarah Argrave, to 63 Tharp Road, Wallington, Surrey, SM6 8LG. Please make sure you apply sufficient postage otherwise the sample may not arrive.

For each sample you’re sending, please complete the following form: –

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