Q: How and when do you vaccinate for PMV?

The PMV vaccine comes with a slip of paper that gives you good instructions. However, here is the procedure I follow at my lofts. I give a shot to the babies when they are all weaned and at least 6 weeks old. I personally do not give the booster shot as per the instructions. I then give all birds, breeders, flyers, everything on the premises -- one shot every winter. I have been doing this for years. My birds and I have been exposed to the virus when shipping on our truck but have never had a problem.

Here is how I give the shot. I have someone sit across the corner of a table from me holding the bird in their left hand facing them. (In the standard way with the feet between the left hand pointer and middle fingers and thumb holding the wings at the rump of the bird). The back of the left hand holding the bird needs to rest on the table for stability.

With the right hand I have my helper use his pointer and middle fingers to grab the bird from the top down around the sides of its head. In this way he stretches the neck towards himself and upwards.

I use my left hand ( thumb and pointer finger) and grab the loose skin on the back of the neck of the pigeon. I then spray the area with rubbing alcohol. This makes the feathers lay down and I can separate them to have the skin exposed to me. I then pull up on the skin (again with the left hand) to create a pocket and inject the bird with my right hand.

Be sure that you inject in the center of the pocket. Just imagine that there is a vein on each side that runs from the back of the head towards each shoulder. You want to be in the middle of these veins and just inject the vaccine under the skin into the pocket that you have created by pulling the skin back.

Once you do one or 2 birds, you too will be an expert!