In modern pigeon sport it is hard to be successful if you ignore a vet or medication.
Some visit a vet before the racing season, before the breeding season and before the moult, others pay him a visit every month or even every week.
There are people that only go to a vet in case they think their birds have a problem or after a bad race and some have a vet that comes to their place every month or so to check the birds. Among the fanciers that hardly ever pay a visit to the man in the white coat were Klak and I myself. What the late Klak did and what I do is try to prevent problems.
- I do my best to keep canker under control myself.
It sounds like bragging but I think that I can see if birds need to be treated. That is when babies do not grow up nicely and get skinny and when they produce watery droppings that stink.
When the bodies of old birds are not tight and the throats not clean (slimes and threads in it) I do not go to a vet but medicate.
- I never treat against coccidioses, since that should not be a problem in a dry environment.
- For me paratyphoid is no problem either, since I do not take any risk and treat every fall for 2 weeks.
- Respiratory problems I try to prevent by cheap medicine in winter. The name is oxygen. I get it by putting birds in the open regardless the weather.
- Adeno/Coli has seldom been a problem either.
Long way back some of my babies suffered from Coli and what I did was' nothing! Some died, sorry for them, I might have saved their lives by medicating, but I ended up with birds that are less vulnerable.
This does not mean that I never talk to a vet or to scientists.
In wintertime I participate in many seminars and so do many vets.
Mostly I enjoy seminars but what I enjoy most of all is the hour or the dinner that follows.
Then the members of the panel gather, including the vets and/or scientists.
It stands to reason we talk health problems and medication of pigeons then.
But it is kind of strange to notice that those people, who are supposed to be knowledgeable, disagree on so many things.
Especially vaccinating against paratyphoid is controversial.
To my surprise I have never met a vet or scientist so far that does not promote (apple) vinegar though there is no money in it for him or her.
VINEGAR AND GARLIC
The biggest health problems that birds face are salmonella, canker and Adeno/coli.
Their pathogens mainly spread through the water and many of those 'wise guys' agree a very good disinfector is vinegar.
Vinegar is a natural enemy of many bacteria, it keeps the digestive system in balance and it even has a positive effect on the digestion of the feed.
It is supposed to be a better disinfector than bleach (chloride) against salmonella.
I heard a scientist say that fanciers would save money by putting apple vinegar PLUS garlic in the water frequently, since you would make much antibiotic treatments later on superfluous.
A provision of ample, clean, fresh, pathogen-free drinking water that is regularly replaced is important, because infected water is one of the most common ways of pathogens to pass from one pigeon to another till the whole flock is infected. But water with some vinegar in it should even be better.
A very knowledgeable scientist once stated that systematic spraying the walls with slightly vinegarish water is far more effective than whitewash like so many do.
Those that know my articles or me must have noticed I am sceptical on most additives that are promoted so aggressively in the media.
Once I believed in yoghurt and buttermilk as a means to stop Adeno coli (young bird disease) but I lost confidence.
I never believed in vinegar either.
But after many discussions with vets and scientists and after I met that guy that had hardly any problems with Adeno and canker since he put vinegar and garlic in the drinker frequently I began to doubt and turned into a believer, since I cannot imagine they are all wrong about products that are not profitable for them.