1. The Head

The observation of the head, followed by a look in the beak and the throat can give a lot of information about the health of the pigeon. At the head we can find the eyes, ceres, wattles, nares and ears. The ceres and wattles should be clear and almost white. 

(There is an exception when rearing). Also rain can wash off the white powder from the cere and give it a pink color. The plumage around the ear must be smooth. “Openstanding” (Owl attitude) ears are an indication of a respiratory problem. The eyes should be bright with no swelling or discharge. There must be a clear and lively eye and a strongly pigmented iris. 

Inflamed eyelids become red and swollen. A typical example is “one eye cold” that is caused by herpes virus, mycoplasma or chlamydophyla. When you open the beak you can see the tongue and the tonsils. There are two tonsil areas in the beak. The first one is located on the floor of the mouth around the windpipe and the second one is large and includes 2/3 of the soft palate. Numerous glandular ducts open on the palate lateral and caudal. The swelling of the tonsils on the palate is an indication of an infection. They become swollen and redder and contrast with the surrounding tissues. The swelling can be caused by a respiratory disease or a canker infection. Sometimes you can see small white spots in the tonsil tissue in the throat. These spots are lymphoid aggregates and an indication of an old herpes virus infection or another inflammation. The spots take weeks or even months to disappear but cannot affect race condition. Mucus in the throat is also an indication of a respiratory problem and is many times associated with stress producing circumstances. The throat appears red and inflamed and white slime accumulates in the throat. White slime is a sign of a secondary bacterial infection and is usually due to E. coli or Mycoplasma. The windpipe opening (glottis) must be narrow and elongated with sharp edges. To receive more oxygen the pigeon can breathe deeper en faster.

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