What is pigeon lung? It is an allergy to the pigeon dust that affects about 20% of the pigeon fanciers, with different degrees of severity. Exposed to the pigeon dust, you get shortness of breath, cough, feverish illness and other symptoms. Read all about this allergy on the Pigeon Lung website – it is the official resource for this health problem. Pigeon fanciers lung is a form of extrinsic allergic alveolitis.
I also had pigeon lung and I created this page for all the fanciers with this allergy to exchange tips and ideas. Let’s help each other to easily manage pigeon lung and keep our pigeons and beloved hobby.
Below is a list of resources about PFL. I will update this list every time I find interesting and useful information. Please contribute with your knowledge.
Loft project #1
This is the first anti-dust loft project I designed. What do you think about it? It sucks, doesn’t it? :)
What I tried was to create a dust free environment – the dust will be carried away through the floor, lateral walls and even under the roof. I would have a solid ground under the loft and would wash away all the droppings felt to the ground. The loft’s floor would be 2 or more meters far from the ground. I would use a removable ladder to access the loft and this would also prevent cats and other predators from entering the loft.
Click on the picture to enlarge it:
Loft project #2
I think this second model isn’t so good at keeping the loft environment dust free… I was trying to find a way to make the loft look nice from outside, and not be surrounded by feathers and droppings.
Click on the picture to enlarge it:
Of course, there are other options like the rabbit hutch lofts described on the pigeon-lung.co.uk website.
Loft project #3 – My Loft Floor
In 2011 I built new lofts and got back in the pigeon hobby. Below I post some pictures of the wire mesh floor I built that minimizes dust in the loft. The loft still collects some dust in the nest boxes but they can also be made in such a way that dust falls off from the nest box. Please contribute, send me your ideas and pictures too, to post them here.
RESPIRATORY PROTECTION MASKS
The pigeon bloom, which is the main source of inhaled pigeon protein, is an extremely small dust particle (<5 microns). The mask must filter out particles down to 5 microns, the size of pigeon dust; bloom, feather particles and droppings. Resources: I personally use www.aircap2.com : the great thing about it is that it filters the air and also covers your hair (the hair would collect a lot of dust).
WEARABLE PERSONAL AIR PURIFIERS
Mangosteen is a tropical fruit with natural anti-inflammatory properties, and I found articles claiming that it is good for pigeon lung. The articles are by Rick Tozier, btw.
AIR FILTRATION SYSTEMS INSTALLED IN THE LOFT
Thanks to Mr. Larry Lucas, I found a device that seems to be the perfect solution for all of us who have pigeon lung. The great thing about it is that it filters 98-99% of all particles, five microns in size and 85% of particles one micron in size!
I think that my loft project above + this air filter will be the perfect dust killer.
You can read more about it here. Does anybody use this?
SYMPTOMS WORSE IN WINTER, LESS OR ABSENT IN SUMMER
I noticed that several fanciers with pigeon lung say that their symptoms are worse during cold months and they feel better or even don’t have symptoms during summer. Exactly the same happens for me! This really is interesting and must be studied more, maybe we find an useful connection.
FAT IN THE DIET
This is a very interesting thing I remember I saw online somewhere. Jim Jenner was saying that a fancier told him that when he had a big change in his diet, starting a “no fat” diet, his allergies got very bad and he had to give up his birds. It seems like saturated fat is a critical part of the body function, especially for the surface of the lungs. He went back to a more normal diet, whole milk, butter, etc. and was able to keep pigeons again. Research book: “Eat Fat Lose Fat”.
I was also found another VERY INTERESTING information, somehow related to the above: fanciers with PFL that started to take tablets for cholesterol (Statins) reported that they have seen great improvement in their PFL symptoms.
Maybe somebody with a medical background can connect these and come to a conclusion?!
WHAT KIND OF SYMPTOMS DO YOU HAVE
How does the pigeon lung allergy affect you? What problems do you experience?
The biggest problems I have are when I am away from my pigeons for more than 2 weeks, and then I get back. When I return, I always get high fever and chills that night. This may happen the next day again if I am exposed to the pigeon dust, but then, I don’t get anymore fever or chills. I rarely get a tight chest. As my body gets used to the dust again, I only have a productive cough every morning, and if I continue to be exposed for months on a daily basis, even the cough eventually stops or becomes mild.
I think this is the “acute intermittent non-progressive” version of the allergy, as they describe it in this article. I must say that these happen when I do not use any kind of respiratory mask. After the first fever days are gone, I can even clean the loft myself (no mask) without having any problems, although I am sure this isn’t really smart.
However, I am not going to play hide-and-seek with my lungs on a long term. I intend to get used to wearing a mask and also build a dust free loft.
I am sad that the medical world does too little for this. I rarely see new info or articles about pigeon lung. All they know is: get rid of pigeons. Easy to say, hard to do.
Please share your thoughts and tips below. Thank you!