Archive for January 2018

It doesn’t really matter…..   Leave a comment

THE STORM.

Recently we had a bit of a storm with quite strong winds and light to moderate rain at times. Inevitably some rain got into my lofts in parts and I purposely didn’t cover a north facing window in the race loft housing since I figured a little bit of dampness would make cleaning easier after the front had gone through!

Just as in human health and hygiene we can be overzealous at being spick and span with kitchen surfaces etc being wiped down with antiseptic solutions to keep the germ exposure to us lower. I don’t know what you do but if you are a hygiene fanatic and you feel happier with your pigeon pals that you care for then keep doing that. I think a happy medium is the best way. But remember, young pigeons in particular, especially prior to the race season need to develop a robust immune system and too much mollycoddling will be detrimental!

YOUNG PIGEONS NEED IMMUNE CHALLENGES.

Indeed young pigeons do need to be exposed to all sorts of pigeon diseases especially prior to the racing season when they will come in contact with the diseases endemic to the lofts of the pigeons they compete against, especially with those of other club members. I’ve left a good dozen or so old cock birds in with my babies, not actually solely for this reason but the exposure to the loft diseases endemic in my old cocks is a good thing for the babies developing immune systems. This immunity will be active immunity, whereas the immunity transferred in the crop milk from each babies parents is passive and with sheep for example might last only up to 3 months, that’s when the sheep Clostridial vaccines are more likely to take since the colostral antibody levels in the lambs have waned and then a booster shot 3 to 4 weeks later is likely to give them a good chance of solid immunity for a year plus against the likes of tetanus and the sudden death syndrome, pulpy kidney, which kills fat lambs on lush pasture suddenly.

I haven’t heard of any pigeon fanciers vaccinating their pigeons here. We don’t have paramyxovirus here thank God! It wouldn’t be legal to vaccinate pigeons against paramyxovirus here anyway. I haven’t heard of anyone vaccinating against Salmonella serovars that could affect racing pigeons here either. I don’t hear of many people having diagnostic work on their pigeons done apart from faecal egg counts, coccidiosis counts and maybe trichomoniasis crop counts. Of course some do their own at home.

I do have a microscope here but I don’t bother. The pigeons are generally treated for internal parasites 4 times a year. But I’m not into doing treatments every 3 to 4 weeks during the racing season as some bird Vets recommend. Its overkill. It is more likely to result in parasite resistance to anthelmintics. I tend to give a treatment every 6 weeks or so during both racing seasons. I haven’t cleaned under the loft for at least 2 years and so there’s pigeon, chicken and sheep droppings under the loft. Sometimes when there’s a major down pour the debris under the loft gets washed out along a trench at the back or a drainage trench flowing away from the front of the loft since the race loft has no gutter.

With all that shit under the loft, especially pigeon shit, then no doubt the youngsters develop immunity against coccidiosis quicker than most lofts. I also haven’t dosed with Baycox for about 5 years now even though I have about a half litre bottle of it. Having just had a brilliant Old Bird season up to and including the middle distance races then its likely not an issue and prior to our long distance racing I had only lost 3 pigeons from 80, which is pretty good!

I use Matrix mineral sheep drench on the race pigeons in the water. It’s not licensed for pigeons but I’ve had no problems and I haven’t seen any roundworms in the droppings during dosing for many years. That doesn’t mean there are no hair worms as one can’t see those with the naked eye without staining them.

THE LOFT SHOULD SMELL GOOD. IF ITS NOT PLEASANT FOR YOU THEN IT WON’T BE FOR THE PIGEONS EITHER.

It is surprising how much faecal material pigeons can put up with in a loft and still look great! The fine dust in the loft is more the problem especially when semi deep litter or full deep litter systems are used, especially when the weather warms up. You can tell by the smell in the loft too i.e. whether it is pleasant or not being in there without a mask as to what environment the pigeons inside might have to cope with. On a still day is the best day to gauge this. I think if every day was windy then it would be easy to have an ideal loft environmnet all year round. We are on a hill here so it often is breezy which helps. Dehumidifiers and fans are good too when nature isn’t ventilating the loft well for u. 100% grill or slat floors are a great option also.

Of course the best environment for all pigeons especially babies is outside. Mine go out between 8 and 9am most days and in Summer sometimes its not till 8.30pm that I get them in. Obviously they are just on once a day feeding but the protein and fat content is high so they grow well and enjoy flapping off periodically from the 3 big native rimu trees next to the loft or from under it or from the 30 foot long landing board.

CONCLUSION.

Finally, a bit of dampness here and there for a day or two is really no problem at all, nothing to worry about! Well bred pigeons will handle that but when the mould starts growing after rainy days then it pays to get rid of that, one must draw the line somewhere!! As if anything it is just a bad look! So perhaps try being a bit less fussy but still set aside quality time for your pigeon hobby but don’t be anxious about anything, just enjoy it and go with the flow! Pigeons are indeed tough and if some aren’t then perhaps they shouldn’t be in your race team…..

Advertisements

Posted January 18, 2018 by ferguselley in Food for thought

Tagged with ,