Occasionally we find a super breeding pair. We then try to monopolize the young produced from the pair by swapping eggs to foster parents. Maybe the racing results are not what we expected from the fostered out babies. Are we missing something? Could there be a link between the immunity/antibodies passed from the parent’s pigeon milk , to the baby, to performance? We know pigeon antibodies are passed to the young through milk. We always talk about the quality of this milk but never the quality and diversity of the antibodies in this milk.
Genetics plays a big factor in strong immune system. Exposure to pathogens many relatively harmless plays a big factor in the development of a strong immune system. Vaccines also play a major role in the strengthening of the immune system and increasing the immune response to pathogens. Is there something else?
I have a theory that old pigeons have been exposed to many pathogens in their lifetime. What they lack in the quality of their milk may be enhanced by the quality and diversity of antibodies in this milk. Now to my first thought……Consider that champion breeders may be passing something other than genetics to their young.
Bottom line is mate the old breeder to a younger pigeon. Let them raise the young and send these out to the big futurity. The youngsters from the old pigeon may have an advantage with a better immune system. The common theory is the older pigeon has less quality pigeon milk than the younger pigeon. I am not sure if any studies have been done on this. It could be older pigeons have less vitality (due to age) and interest to pump such milk to their young.
If you have a choice let your old champion pigeons raise their own youngsters. Use these youngsters for breeding. Why not give yourself every opportunity for success. We see many late breds from the old superstars go on to be exceptional breeders. Usually it is the late breds that are actually raised by the old breeder. Here at McLaughlin Lofts our breeders raise nearly 100 % of their own young. If there is a connection between a champion racer or breeder and its immune system (genetics/pigeon milk) I like to give the champ every opportunity to pass this to their young.
Nearly all of us in the Baby Boomer generation were bottle fed babies. I feel many health issues we face in our adulthood could be connected to being bottle fed. This is very tough to prove but worth considering.
In case of Emergency… Break Glass!
is a list of emergency medications/supplies a fancier should never be
caught without. If your best pigeon is sick you do not want to waste
time placing an order. If you need to hand feed a youngster please be
Live Saver Capsules http://www.vitakingproducts.com These capsules work when all else fails. I start with Baytril and or Amoxicillan and if an immediate improvement is not seen begin the Lifesaver Capsules. You can also follow up a treatment with the Lifesaver capsules. This product tends to bring the pigeon around and eliminate the problem.
Amoxicillan Powder 10% If I pigeon looks extremely sick and listless, mix 1/8 teaspoon in one ounce of water and use the bulb syringe to fill the crop of the pigeon. You should see an improvement the next day. Do not offer feed or water for 24 hours after treating. Give the same dose on the day two if you see an improvement. Continue treatment for up to ten days going to 1/16 of a teaspoon of amoxicillan to one once of water each day. Let the pigeon eat and drink normally after the first 24 hours of treatment.
Metronidazole Tablets Usually if a pigeon does not look well I give it a tablet of metronidazole and then start using the baytril or amoxicillan immediately. If you eliminate canker and then start treating for salmonella and ecoli you should cover and cure the major diseases.
Baytril Liquid You must ask the supply house for this. They do not advertise. Seven tiny drops each day down the throat for ten days. Can be used in place of the amoxicillan or if the amoxicillan shows no improvement use the baytril. I use tiny drops off a small syringe that I use to vaccinate the pigeons.
LA 200 Keep an injectable antibiotic on hand for any one eye colds,rattles or respiratory issues you may have. We use LA 200 an oxytetracycline. Inject 0.4cc at the base of the back of the neck and in two to three days all the symptoms will be completely gone. Buy a very small bottle of LA 200. It goes a long way.
Breed from the Crosses!
1.Breeding top performing racing pigeons takes some skill, some luck and some excellent stock. With that said, many US fanciers are always on the quest for pigeons that are pure, inbred, line bred, straight etc. Many here are looking for endless generations without the introduction of a cross.
What do the real champions do? The greats in a sport keep a line of related pigeons and constantly cross in the blood of other superstar pigeons. If these crosses win in big competition the cross is then used for breeding and the line continues. Do not be afraid of breeding from the cross especially if it dominates on the race course.
What do the following sport changing pigeons have in common?? Kleine Dirk, of Koopman, 178 and Den Dikke 584 of Engels, Invincible Montaubon and Bronze of Casaert, all the famous original Meuleman pigeons, Bliksem of Vandenabeele, Daniel and Dikke Prinz of Van Reet, Shadow of Myrtle Lofts, Dromer of Sablon etc etc etc. These pigeons were all total crosses and all started a legacy of champions in our sport.
Sure there are plenty of inbred pigeons that have become famous breeders but I bet there are more crossed pigeons that have had a bigger impact. Next time you are contemplating on breeding from a cross, please think of the above list.Secret 51
1..Sometimes I feel our pigeons are more likely to train us than us train them. An example of this is how quickly they learn to act very hungry at feeding time. They can put on such a show of starvation when they may not be hungry at all.
One trick I use to keep feed consumption down and make sure the pigeons are fully satiated in the winter, is to add 25% high quality rabbit pellets to the mix. The pigeons will eat the rabbit pellets if they are truly hungry. In the winter I feed until there are a handful of rabbit pellets left over in the feeder after the daily meal. Grain costs will drop drastically because the pigeons will eat noticeably much less when rabbit pellets are in the mix.
The rabbit pellets are highly nutritious and provide greens in the form of nutrient rich alfalfa. The rabbit pellets will help with fertility and fill in the micro-nutrient gaps only to be found in vegetable matter. 5% rabbit pellets year round in the mix will provide all the greens pigeons will ever need. I buy rabbit pellets that have the #1 ingredient as alfalfa or alfalfa meal. 50lbs of rabbit pellets will be less expensive than the low cost grain blends. Mix in the rabbit pellets, your pigeons and your wallet will be thankful you did.
Super Feather Usually Equals Super Pigeon
One thing that is a constant amongst the greatest pigeons in our sport is they all have super feather quality. It is tough to describe the amazing feather quality of National Ace pigeons. I once compared trying to describe what the feather feels like on one of these elite champions to describing the aroma of fresh baked bread. Once you handle the pigeon or smell the bread you just know what it is. I was in the pigeon sport for 15 year s when I first traveled to Belgium and Holland. That was the first time I handled a pigeon with elite feather quality.
There are many great pigeons with excellent feather quality but very very few have feather quality that is freakish in nature. These freaks are so few and far between. In most cases they can never breed a pigeon to compare to themselves. This might be because it is nearly impossible to find a mate that will be equal. Cherish the pigeons winning in major competition that have elite feather quality.
Feather quality definitely offers a competitive advantage but more likely this outstanding external quality is a mirror of the outstanding internal quality. If you are selecting pigeons start by selecting the pigeons from a long line of champions with incredible feather.
Vaccination schedule starting at weaning.
24 days old vaccinate for PMV
31 days old vaccinate for Salmonella
46 Days old vaccinate for PMV
53 days old Vaccinate for Salmonella
Three weeks before the beginning of training Vaccinate for Pigeon Pox
30 days prior prior to breeding vaccinate for PMV
21 days prior breeding vaccinate for Salmonella
Old Bird Race Team;
30 days before the beginning of training Vaccinate for PMV
21 days before Training Vaccinate for Salmonella
Pigeons that are being bothered by some type of illness will increase water intake. If the pigeons look healthy but water intake increases drastically give ½ teaspoon of Virkon S to the gallon of water for five days. After the Virkon S treatment add one once of Apple Cider Vinegar to the gallon along with probiotics in the water every day for three weeks. You can alternate Apple Cider vinegar one week and Van Beeks Avain Solution (oregano) the middle week and then back to apple cider vinegar. Mix all with probiotics.
This jump in water intake is either in increase in wet canker, or possibly a mild gut bacteria infection or a combination including a mild case of young bird sickness. Let this run its course and the pigeons will recover and go back to normal without antibiotics if you use the apple cider vinegar and or Avian Solution. Whatever is causing the increase in water will make the babies stronger if you can stay away from antibiotics. If the young start to look and act sick, start to dies and or stop eating with continued increased water intake, you can mix doxycycline with the Avian Solution together for ten days. This will block and stop the problem in its tracks. Only use the antibiotic if several pigeons become very sick.
Duct Tape Cures Everything:
Living in New England, deep freeze causes pigeon waterers to crack and break. If you have plastic waterers that are cracked they can be easily fixed with duct tape. I buy Gorilla Brand. Very stong stuff. Clean and dry the plastic and place a few layers of tape overlapping like shingles on a house in all directions. Waterers will be good for a long period of time.
Slow the molt on the last few primary flights. If you remove a tiny tip off the last three primary flights the pigeon molting process will slow for those flights. Let me explain. For example in nature if the birds body thinks the ninth flight is broken the system will want to grow the eighth flight out completely before dropping the ninth flight. 1/32 of an inch off the tip of the flight will do the trick.
Pigeons desire peanuts more than any other feed. Once a pigeon gets used to eating peanuts they will do about anything for peanuts. I like to call peanuts “Pigeon Heroin” because they are so addicting. Want your pigeons to trap fast, place a peanuts on every nest box after a toss or race. Want your pigeons to land on the scanner pads upon returning from a race. Place a few peanuts on the pads after every toss of race. A few peanuts go a long way so keep the treats to a minimum.
Reward or not reward. Animals if rewarded every time they complete a task will stop performing that task after a few times in a row when no reward is offered. Now if you reward, reward reward, do not reward, reward do not reward and so on, rewarding two out of three times over a period of time. Now if you stop the reward the pigeons will continue to do the task over and over and over even though there is no reward. For example, widow cocks home and the hens are waiting. Next time hens are waiting then home no hens, then hens, then hens, then no hens. Now they will rush home over and over and over even though there may be a hen occasionally. Same can be applied with peanut treats. Peanuts are waiting for them some of the time and they will run in all of the time. Sporaticallly rewarding a pigeon is more beneficial than rewarding every time.
Pigeons Recognize Faces.
Studies have shown that pigeons recognize faces. They know you from your neighbors. Pigeons certainly know strangers in the loft and also combine this with an incredible memory of traumatic events. Keep this pigeon memory in mind whenever you decide to do something very upsetting to the race team. Also keep in mind the pigeons know you.
When you bring your race team to the club on shipping night never ever let anyone handle your pigeons no matter how proud you are of the health and condition. Passing pigeons around the clubhouse causes much stress and immediate dehydration. I do not even want to handle my own pigeons when I go to a convention race. The convention handlers like to show off the job they have done but you handling the pigeon only reduces the chances of success. Handling by strangers in a crowded room greatly decreases the pigeons chances of success. It also greatly increases my chance of success when my competitors are showing off their pigeons on shipping night.
Keep a pair of shoes strictly for the clubhouse and do not wear those shoes in your loft. The clubhouse floor can harbor all kinds of virus and bacteria that you will not want to introduce to your own pigeons off the bottom of your shoes.
Do not have an extra pair of shoes? Keep a can of spray disinfectant outside the door of your loft and spray your shoes before entering the loft anytime your shoes may be contaminated. This is also a quick fix for the bottom of all visitors shoes. I will regularly disinfect my shoes before entering my own loft.