Do not do it (15-11-19)
Do I ever get nasty mails? No, in fact not, at least; so far. Are there any articles of which I regret I have ever written them? Here I must admit there are.
I once wrote that you need not lighten the lofts in winter before mating the birds. That was in a winter that the birds mated smoothly, came on eggs and the babies grew up perfectly while I did not have any lights on. The hens came on eggs some days later than normal indeed, but so what?
In the following years I found out I had been just lucky. Making the days longer by artificial light in winter before mating up the birds is a must. Chicken farmers will know best what light means for chickens that should lay eggs in abundance.
What I do find wrong is to force a pigeon to accept a partner. When I write this (early november) many fanciers are making so-called ‘coupling papers’. With other words, just before the breeding season they are forming couples on paper. Especially for the racers I find forcing them to accept a partner is wrong. A partner that pigeons finally unwillingly accepted cannot possibly motivate birds. Leave the choice to them.
As for the breeders I make an exception for my very best, the others may choose their partners. I have 3 little breeding sections so that I can steer them a bit. Thus I make sure pigeons will take another partner than the year before. It seems that the longer the birds are mated, the poorer the quality is.
In the stockloft are only birds of good quality that are worth breeding from. With which partner I will have most chances to get good off-spring no one can tell. Therefore free mating.
Very incidentally I give my pigeons names, but mostly the last 3 figures of the ring are the names of the birds. So ‘006’, ‘191’ or something like that. Sometimes fanciers give their birds funny names. ‘The Gentleman’, a pigeon from J. v d Putten is such a funny name. He got it because every time it comes home from a race together with other birds he is the last to enter.
Many ‘pigeon names’ refer to speed, like ‘Rocket’, ‘Comet’, ‘F16’, ‘Merckx’ and so on. Nothing wrong with that, anyway it is better than what I once did long way back. Then I had a Super that I called ‘Ugly Deep’. With this bird only one thing was wrong: No one wanted its babies. However this changed when I called it ‘Fast Blue’.
Most fanciers consult a vet every now and then. That is good, provided that vet is familiar with pigeons. Most good medicine for pigeons were for dogs, pigs, chickens and so on initially. And what does a vet, not familiar with pigeons, do? He reads the prescription which mostly refers to the weight of the animal.
An animal whose weight is one quarter of another animal will get one quarter of the medicine that the other animal will get. However.. for pigeons that is different. The doses of the medicine should be (much) higher. If not it will not be effective, moreover it should be well-known: Too little of the medicine maybe more harmful than too much on a longer term.’
When there are medicine or vitamins in the water, the drinker should not be exposed to sunlight. A dark place in the loft is better. Most medicine are expensive, we do not want to waste money and therefore some are inclined to exceed the expiration date. If you do not exaggerate this will seldom be a problem, certainly not if the package or bottle was not opened. But there are some conditions. In case of a liquid you should not see those ‘clouds’ in the water when you shake it, it should be clear.
Medicine in powder form should not stick together. Therefore you better keep it in a dry place, not in de moisty garage or something like that.
Recently rats were a nightmare at my place. If something goes wrong in our lives we often say ‘bad luck’, but in most cases we ourselves are to blame. This plague was my fault as well. You should know in some lofts I feed the pigeons in so-called ‘self fillers’.
I can put 2 sacks of food in them, which is convenient if you are away from home for a while. Thus the pigeons will always have food available and it is convenient for me. But… it is asking for trouble.
A so-called self filler. Handy but also kind of dangerous
FIRST THE FOOD
Here was always poison for mice and rats at several places. But my eyes were opened when I took the lid off such a self filler. You could clearly see much of the feed was eaten from. Also the feed that was spoiled under the roosts in the aviary was gone. They were clearly rats that had filled their stomachs. From the poison nothing at all was eaten. And what does a man do today when he has a question? He applies to google. So did I. Rats are rodents, it said. Their instinct tells them to eat hard food if available to keep their teeth sharp. Like pigeon food for example. Poison is soft and they ignore it. That was exactly the case at my place. I had had my lesson:
The ‘self fillers’ were emptied and the spoiled food was removed, not one grain was to be found any more. To my surprise only two days later all the poison was gone, I still found 2 dead rats and then they were gone as well. What I want to say should be clear.
A foreigner showed some results of a Dutch fancier. They were astonishing indeed and therefore he wanted to buy pigeons there. The Dutch had won first 10 prizes I saw. What I also noticed was that his 10th bird that won the 10th prize was clocked 4 minutes after his first bird. For a short distance race too much, I thought and I was right. I compared with the same race in another club and there half of the prizes were won in 4 minutes’ time. Always watch out for results that are too outstanding. They are often less impressing than it seems. It is also important to know how many birds a fancier enters. The good news is that in this regard foreigners have become smarter.
A race with 600 participating birds looks like a nice race. But if these 600 birds were basketed by 8 fanciers or by 80 makes all the difference!!!