Good and bad, right and wrong (March 8)
I am the last person to claim that I know all about pigeons. But nearly half a century successful racing gives me a right to speak and is a guarantee that it is not all nonsense I will say. That's why I dare give my opinion about a number of themes in our sport.
Someone is tired of being a loser in our sport. He wants to clean up everything and make a new start. Or there is that novice who is ambitious and wants to become ‘somebody’ within a few years. Neither of them wants to spend much money. How to act?
It is wrong to buy from many different fanciers. Even if they are birds from their best. The problem is that after all, also 'the best birds of the champions’ give much junk. Breeding from pigeons you know nothing about their racing abilities may have as a result even more junk.
It is much better to work ‘in stages’. First you purchase some ‘foster parents’ with one condition only: They should be in perfect health. Then, in spring, you turn to one or maximum two fellow fanciers in your region who race well and get eggs from the first or second round that you put under your ‘nursing pigeons’. Why in the spring? With those babies you can race and that is important. Results mean more than looks or pedigree. Only by playing you will find out what a pigeon is worth. Why from local fanciers? They know you will often meet and it would be embarrassing for them to see your reproachful look every time because of the 'pigeons that are worth nothing '.
During the racing season you notice that every time that you release the birds for their daily training the same pigeon refuses to get out. You do not understand, what to do?
It is wrong to ignore this and think by yourself ‘the others are healthy so it should be no big deal’. I also fooled myself in the past by thinking ‘such a bird feels attached to his box and is afraid of intruders’. And I raced the bird. Always in vain.
I sometimes talk about ‘the five seconds rule’. When you let the birds out for training the loft should be empty within five seconds. The birds should, as it were, stand ready with stretched necks to fly out with a deafening noise. Something is wrong with pigeons that do not fly out directly. And pigeons with which something is wrong do not belong in the basket.
You have purchased a voucher from someone or a youngster and the fancier allows you to pick out when you come for the bird. You know that the man has such good birds that there should be good ones among them without any doubt. Therefore much may depend on your choice. What to do?
It is not advisable to handle all the birds and pick out the most beautiful one. (the bird with the perfect body, the softest plumes and the smartest look). Is not it a good racer that you want?
Probably the breeder will not like it, but try to get him to make the choice for you. If you choose and the bird turns out to be junk he can always use the excuse ‘too bad, but you made the wrong choice’.
You have gotten some youngsters somewhere that you want to let out but in fact they are too old for that. How can you reduce the risk to lose them?
The worst thing you can do is to place such pigeons between your older babies who already train smoothly. Another mistake is to wait until the weather is nice.
The best thing to do is purchase some so-called droppers that you first put in the loft. Make also sure that the birds feel a bit attached to you by talking to them or make some noise whenever you feed them. Then you wait with releasing till there is a day with dark weather or even better a rainy day. Then you first let the droppers out, a bit later your youngsters. In rain they will not fly up and every second that they are on top of the roof and can see the environment is good.
A so-called dropper. They are useful for many reasons.
Something is wrong with your birds. The medicine you got from the vet do not help. What to do?
Increase the dose or lengthen the cure is out of the question. Skip the vet and take other medicine, or go to another vet is not recommended either.
With ANY medication against ANY ailment you should see improvement within three days. If this is not the case, tell your vet and he should give other medication. Better go to the same vet who you previously consulted.
Some of your birds have 'one eye cold'. You want it to be over soon, since it is in the racing season and understandably you want to race them. What to do?
You can buy special eye drops, but unfortunately you will find none of them works. In that regard, I can speak from a little experience. I really have tried every conceivable drops, but not one on the market could free the birds from the ailment. So forget eye drops.
Pigeons seem to be more sensitive for this viral infection after a few days with bright crisp summer weather. It has turned out that pigeons in darker lofts are less vulnerable. So what you could do is make your lofts darker. Furthermore, I have the experience that the recovery will be faster if you put them in an aviary. Believe me, the correct drop is not yet invented, so drip the eyes is pointless. When you drip the eyes it takes about two weeks before the eyes are in order again. When you do nothing it takes about fourteen days.
It is not forbidden to read this last sentence twice.
When I get buyers for birds for obvious reasons I prefer them to choose.