The intensity of parasite infections often increases during the reproductive season of the host as a result of parasite reproduction, increased parasite transmission and increased host susceptibility. We report within-individual variation in immune parameters, hematocrit and body mass in adult house martins Delichon urbica rearing nestlings in nests experimentally infested with house martin bugs Oeciacus hirundinis and birds rearing nestlings in initially parasite-free nests. From first to second broods body mass and hematocrit of breeding adult house martins decreased. In contrast leucocytes and immunoglobulins became more abundant. When their nests were infested with ectoparasites adults lost more weight compared with birds raising nestlings in nests treated with pyrethrin, whereas the decrease in hematocrit was more pronounced during infection with blood parasites. Neither experimental infestation with house martin bugs nor blood parasites had a significant effect on the amount of immune defences.