Thoughts on Moult Part1
Honestly speaking I do not feel like writing this article at all. It is about the moult and it is all so useless and unimportant. I do not mean the moult, but what I have to say about it, since pigeons just moult, that is in their nature and there is nothing special we need to do for that. Swallows instinctively and inevitably build a perfect ‘swallow nest’ when it is the time to do so, even though they have never seen other swallows do this before. Healthy pigeons are the same story. They inevitably will moult when it is ‘moulting time’. ‘Why then should I write and should you read about the moult?’ you may wonder. That is because there are so many misunderstanding and… I get many questions on it, mainly from novices and novices should be helped.
It is a well-known fact that one should stay away from medicine as much as possible when birds are moulting. But… in case of health problems you just have no choice. The point is that during the moult birds are more vulnerable to diseases, since renewing the feathers in a short period of time weakens the body of the pigeon so much. One such a problem may be paratyphoid but fortunately the medicine to cure paratyphoid does not influence the moult at all, apart from Baytril (maybe!). Of course you should not medicate against diseases that do not exist, neither in the moulting season nor at other times. If you do, you will undermine the natural resistance little by little until you have a family of birds that cannot be helped any more in case of real health problems. When a German saw the breath taking condition of my birds his inevitable question was what I had given them (Germans are like that, they are addicted to medication and food additives). ‘Nothing at all’ I reacted, adding ‘I give medicine as little as possible, which explains why my birds are so healthy’.Then he asked ‘don’t you need medicine to get birds in such good health as yours?’Questioningly I looked at him and thought ‘poor man, you will be a loser in this sport as long as you are in it’. But as I said, in case of serious problems you just have no choice and you have to take action. The risk of ‘disturbed’ flights is little.
The medicine in particular that you should avoid are those against worms and coccidiose. If these are based on sulpha they may be harmful if you treat birds for a longer time. As I said medicating birds against paratyphoid when they are moulting will not hurt them but vaccinating them will. I am against vaccinating against salmonella; while others promote it, which is confusing for novices, since vets as well have different opinions. Such a vaccination is real tough and birds may suffer a lot for some days. If you mate up birds shortly after a vaccination you ask for big problems and you may ruin a whole breeding round; Hens may not lay or eggs are not fertile. There should be a break of at least 6 weeks between the vaccination and the day you start breeding.
TEA AND VITAMINS
The firms that sell food additives know fanciers love their birds and will do anything they can to get them in good shape. Therefore they aggressively advertise all kinds of stuff that pigeons absolutely need according to them. ‘You need that shit for good race results, for breeding and to get birds through the moult properly. At least that is what they say. If you do not give your birds our golden stuff you will endanger the next racing season’ one cries out louder than the other. Do not fall for their slogans. Of course an innocent tea will not harm the birds, but I do not believe in tea (any more). Vitamins won’t hurt either if you do not exaggerate, but I stopped believing in them as well. Several times I gave half of my birds vitamins, the others not, and the result was that I did not see any difference at all. So forget all that stuff from now on. It is meant to rob you from your money, for which you might have had worked hard. Please bear in mind there is much money to be made in food additives and medicine; therefore so much money is spent on advertising. Did you ever see an ad on grit? You probably did not. Still grit is far more important than tea, vitamins and so on. Why then, you may wonder, do people not promote grit if it is so important? The reason is simple. It is heavy, not handy and… there is little profit in it.
Every year in spring I am surprised when I see the glossy shining feathers of wild doves in my yard. They did not get any help in winter either, on the contrary. In hard winters they have to fight to survive due to lack of food and water. But still they get through the moult perfectly. I know you cannot compare our pigeons with doves but nevertheless: Food for thought!!!
see also Thoughts on Moult Part2
Thoughts on Moult Part1 by: Ad Schaerlaeckens