Hi everyone, following on from the article I wrote regarding fatalities in young and old birds, this is the way we did things and still do with the Who Dares Wins International One Loft Race birds, we no longer race ourselves so the secrets are out enabling the working class fancier and a complete novice to compete against the big boys.
Prior To Pairing: I will start in September because this is when we choose to vaccinate all our stock with the combination vaccine for PMV/Herpes, if your birds have never been vaccinated with this combination vaccine then it is very important to vaccinate twice 14 days between vaccines, after this you only need do them once a year, why against herpes many may ask, from experience of having had this dreaded disease in 2015, I did much research into the Herpes virus and most pigeons will have it as they do canker, old pigeon’s generally will have a strong enough immune system to handle this but they breed it into the youngsters, your youngsters upon weaning may look 100% healthy but within three weeks maybe slightly longer you will find some fatalities this is down to the herpes virus, so it is imperative that you vaccinate all your old pigeon’s with this dual purpose vaccine before pairing up, remember this is only my advise passed on through experiences we have had.
Moving on now to 60 days before pairing, we treat all our pigeon’s for worms using Moxedectin for 2 days followed up by 2 days of Bio- Liverchol. Then around 40 days before pairing we put the stock on Baytril 10% for seven days, I know many will frown when the name Baytril in mentioned but it’s the best multi purpose treatment there is, I have tried para stop and Coxymex but Baytril is the best, however you must not abuse it, for e.g. using Baytril to enhance performance when racing because it will ruin your pigeons immune system, this product used once a year will not harm your pigeons. When using any medication you must allow your water to stand for 24 hours with no top on, this will allow any toxins to escape, after using any medication its important to follow the treatment with 4 days of Bio- Liverchol.For 28 days before coupling our pigeons the hens are given only 1/2oz of Depurative per day because we don’t want our hens over weight if they are too fat then they may struggle or the laying of eggs will be delayed, we want all our hens to lay within three to five days of the first one laying and certainly all to have laid within 12 days of being put together.
Coupling Your Pigeons: When you have selected your breeding pairs and put them together still only feed them lightly but use only good quality corn, we use Vanrobaeys Caseart Light and at least 3 days per week we put Bio Plume Plus oil and Oligo-Elements Plus on the corn this gives the pigeons everything required, in the water 3 days per week we use a top product called Bio-Cal D3, we give the birds only twice per week prior to laying a small hand full of mixed minerals in their boxes, some will ask why do you not leave grit and minerals in all the time, its simple, from December through until mid March we can get a lot of damp wet weather and the atmosphere in your loft will although seem dry have a damp atmosphere especially at night when it gets colder unless heating is being used, but I am talking about the everyday working class fancier who will not be using heaters, damp minerals and grit is a recipe for Ornithosis and other diseases plus unless the pigeons are feeding there is no need for them to have grit and minerals every day.
When our pigeons have all laid and are sitting about five days we treat them for Trichomonosis ( Canker ) the product we use is Ronidazol, the pigeons are given this treatment for 7 days followed up by 4 days of Bio-Liverchol.
I will move on now to when youngsters are in the nest, again we use only top class breeding mixes for e.g. Vanrobaeys Breeding Exclusive mixed with Vanrobaeys Breeding Supreme 50/50 also a good pinch of multi-mineral everyday but no grit is left in pots on the loft floor, in the water twice weekly we use Botanicals Vitin a good quality reasonably priced multi-vitamin. If we get any pigeon’s drinking slightly more water thus passing it onto the squeakers causing wet droppings we will use for 5 days either Botanicals Mediylte-Plus or Vanrobaeys HYP 100 in the water.
At this stage of this article I want to make it clear these are only my chosen feeds and products, at no stage am I trying to push any of the products we use on anyone its your choice as to what corn etc. you decide to use I am only trying to help.
Prior To Weaning Off: When the squeakers are approx. 21 days old we vaccinate them against PMV using Columbovac and their feeding will have changed we use 70% Vanrobaeys Breed&Wean mixed into the two breeding mixes, once the youngsters are picking up and feathered under the wing we will move them into their own section the age of the squeakers will be approx. 26 to 30 days old, the day of weaning we give every squeaker a pill for Trichomonosis ( Canker ).
The hens should by this time have laid again and be sitting their second round of eggs, so again we will treat them all against Trichomonosis ( Canker ) with Ronidazol but only for 3 days followed by 4 days of Bio-Liverchol.
Weaned Squeakers: We now have the youngsters in their own pen/pens and fending for themselves, we feed them 70% Vanrobaeys Breed & Wean and 30% Maple Peas, in the water Vanrobaeys Cider Vinegar.
We never use water direct from the tap, all the water we use will have been stood for 24 hours with no cover over it allowing any toxins to escape, when the youngsters are 35 days old we vaccinate them again, this time against PMV/Herpes, following the vaccination we put Vanrobaeys HYP 100 in the water for 3 days, having used this vaccine since 2015 we have never had any youngsters with what’s known as fat eye, the fat eye is a form of herpes.
We like most are forever observing the babies once weaned, because one minute you have them the next they do down like flies, as regards getting them out to familiarise themselves with the surroundings I see no hurry if you have aviaries on your lofts.
I don’t see any importance in rushing to get them out into the skies especially until the female raptors are sitting eggs around April, this is providing they are in the aviaries 90% of the time, if we didn’t have aviaries then obviously we would have the youngsters out daily.
Moving forward now, some 14 days after vaccinating the youngsters for PMV/Herpes we will again vaccinate them but this time against Salmonella/Paratyphoid this vaccine is immediately backed up by using Bio-Liverchol in the water for 4 days, after using this vaccine you may have the odd one show a few signs of stress but it is very unlikely, on the whole your youngsters will be quiet the opposite they will be bouncing, it is important to treat regularly say every 6 weeks for Canker, when all your young bird team is together and you are quiet happy and for e.g. its been 28 days after the last vaccination we ourselves will give them their last vaccination using Colombovac PMV/POX, its common knowledge that POX is becoming more and more rife in our sport, many years ago you very rarely heard of anyone getting Pigeon Pox, we the fanciers are to blame because had we not starting using this combination vaccine then we would not have introduced this disease, Pigeon POX spreads very fast but on the whole will not harm your youngsters however there can be fatalities but mostly only when babies get it in there mouth, if you do get any birds with POX there is no direct cure but Iodine is very good, use a Q Tip and paste iodine over the lump but do-not pull the scab off this will drop off by itself. I have heard of some fanciers sending birds to be raced totally innocent not recognising their birds have POX.
When racing ourselves we always put our birds on the Darkness when the clocks were put forward in March, it is now important to treat them after two weeks for Ornithosis because although you may have good ventilation in your loft, the youngsters are locked up/darkened out for 16 hours per day often in the prime hours and in the months of May & June when it can be really hot so there will be very little wind and the heat created from the pigeons inside the loft will be abnormal.
When using both the Dark or Light system we are going totally against nature, I have to say that if we were racing our own pigeon’s to-day then we would have two teams one on the Dark and one on Natural.
I am not at all a fan of using the dark or light system but to compete in the longer big money races then you must have birds on the Dark or Light System.
I wont go on and bore you with how we used to fly our youngsters through the season or the motivation used, all this along with how we used to race our old birds to include what I call my A to Z bible of pigeon racing will be featured later and I will leave no stone unturned giving a complete novice the experience gained from over 45 years in our sport enabling all to compete against the big boys.
I will close this article now and I hope it helps the working class fancier to ensure 100% health in your young birds and breeding team, remember only healthy pigeons will win races.
If you need any assistance or have any questions regarding this article please contact me.
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Until Next Time Remember Who Dares Wins