Fancier's questions (May 11th)
Below some questions from fellow fanciers. I did my best to answer them correctly and maybe some of them are also interesting for you.
ONCE A DAY?
"A pigeon friend cannot feed the pigeons in the morning because of his work. Will he still be able to win prizes if he only feeds once a day?"
I think it is better to feed twice, but it is certainly not a "must". There are plenty of good fanciers who do nothing but feed once. G v d Wouwer has been playing well all his life. The fact that he only became known outside his own region in recent years is because he played short distance only in earlier years. And at short distance you can forget publicity, no matter how good you are. Gaston feeds his birds once a day only, in the evening. He only flies hens, but would it be different with cocks?
He doesn't even get into his lofts in the morning. Conclusion: No time to feed twice a day should not get in the way of success.
"If you darken youngsters, should it be pitch dark in the lofts? One says "you shouldn't be able to read the newspaper anymore", the other says "the birds should still be able to find the drinking bowl."
In the past it couldn't be dark enough in my loft. The slightest slit that let light through was shielded. I just didn't want to take any risks. In recent years however I have become less precise, the lofts are less dark, and… I experienced: No problem! I think that a reasonable criterion is that the birds no longer move and you no longer hear them flying or cooling.
"You read so much different about tossing babies. How do you feel about it? "
Different thinking is normal. After all, everything depends on the circumstances, which are different everywhere. I used to use "the five second rule". When I walked up to release the babies, they had to welcome me with stretched necks, ready to pop out with a deafening noise to stay away for at least an hour. After five seconds, no pigeon should be in the loft any more. Well, birds that behave like this you need not train much. And you can start from 10 kilometers or so.
But you should act differently with babies that do not do loft training at all. With such birds you have to be careful or you will suffer immense losses. Start tossing from 3 kilometers, possibly with some old ones, is far enough. Once you are at 10 to 15 kilometres and the youngsters do not come home smoothly, then do not go any further and release them at the same place next time. What I understand about "not coming home smoothly ...?" Simple: When you are home before the pigeons.
"Is reading about pigeons pointless because the champions all act differently and veterinarians contradict each other? Do you yourself read a lot and what? "
Pigeon sport also evaluates and in order not to fall behind you have to read. Thinking that you "know" it all leads to decline. Why else do many good players read my articles. I myself do read more selectively than before. There was a time when I devoured every page of every ‘pigeon magazine’ with the intention of improving as a fancier.
But that time has passed. Today I still read very few reports. What I do if I come across one now, is to first look at the results of the man. They are often so poor that I don't need to know how he guides his pigeons. National winners long distance get a lot of attention. Even if they were lucky winners. I am not interested in a winner if he is a poor racer with over-all poor results. Fanciers with fantastic results are often ignored. Unless they plan to have an auction.
YOUNG BIRD DISEASE
"How can you prevent Adeno/coli and what is the best medicine to cure birds?
Too bad, but you cannot prevent the so-called young bird disease at at all. Apple cider vinegar does not help, although it has been claimed for a long time. I still hear P v d Merwe say that he never suffered from Adeno as much as in the year he added apple cider vinegar to the drinking water. Most specialized veterinarians today have excellent medicines to neutralize Coli. You should see the affect in one or two days, if not you can safely stop. Because you have a different problem than Adeno.
Recently in my area, several fanciers had to deal with sick youngsters. The vet prescribed medicine against Adeno / coli, but the pigeons continued to get sick and even die. I was not surprised, something else was going on there. The birds did not drink and in case of Adeno Coli they drink a lot. It could not be Rota virus either. Then pigeons would die. Another vet did not give a "coli cure", but Amoxicillin. After one day the birds improved. You should realize that ‘young bird disease’ does not always mean Adeno/Coli. Best thing to try out what is really wrong of course is to immediately put a dead pigeon in the freezer and send it to a lab, but the problem is that valuable time is lost.
SHORT DISTANCE BIRDS
There is a subject we do not agree on. Can good speed pigeons handle long-distance as well?
I think, but I like to give my opinion for a better one; some do and others don't. I prefer not to mention names, but there are examples of short distance racers who have pigeons that can easily handle distances up to 600 km and others for whom 300 km is already too much. Pigeons with a flexible body, soft plumage and especially pliable last flights are usually pigeons that can handle 500 kilometer races or further. Pigeons with stiff flights that break easily can be good for speed, but only speed.
Believe it or not, if someone opens the wing of such a sprint pigeon, I think I can already hear whether that species can handle 500 kilometers. Although you, dear reader, are of course free to laugh at it.