Beyond the Hype; Identify the Truth Part 2
In part 1 of “Beyond the Hype; Identify the truth” we discussed 7 qualities that all champion fanciers have in common and how easy it is for new and experienced fanciers to get information overloaded. In part 2 we wanted to shed the hype and explain each of the 7 areas in a bit more detail for you.
Improving any one of these 7 items will definitely help any fancier. However, it may be necessary to make a few improvements in all 7 areas to create results. You need to take a strong, objective look at each area to see if you can improve your methods. Here is a look at each separately, along with a few suggestions that may improve results:
1. Source of Quality Proven Stock – Improve record keeping. Eliminate those birds or pairs that have not produced. Breed a few extra young each year from better pairs. Breed quality not quantity. STOP BUYING BIRDS! Give the stock you already have a fair chance to breed. Go to performance lofts for new stock. Keep breeders in top condition all year. Place high value on good breeding HENS. Breed speed to speed and distance to distance. Understand and breed the type of birds to be competitive in your area. A CHAMPION is only as good as his breeding loft year after year.
2. Training System – Select a system that fits your time and work schedule. Believe in the system that you use, learn all you can about it, and stick with it. Stop jumping from one system to another every year. Seek advice and guidance from qualified, successful fanciers who use the same system. When in doubt, fly the Natural System. Plenty of short tosses are better than one long one. Keep your training and birds on a regular routine.
3. Health and Hygiene – Use products on the loft floor, walls and perches to maintain a healthier environment. Clean and disinfect race baskets, drinkers, feeders and nest bowls frequently. Quarantine any new birds (a major source of new health problems) for at least 3 weeks. Keep the loft dry, eliminate dampness and foul odors. Keep dust and ammonia levels low (do not let droppings accumulate). Take more precautions to control lice, pigeon flies, mites, mosquitoes, mice, wild birds and roaches. Keep other fanciers out of the loft (shoes carry problems). Take advantage of natural fresh air and sunlight, without creating drafts. Give more baths. Keep less birds, avoid overcrowding. Always have clean water in the loft. Change the water as need. Dirty water is the source of many problems.
4. Trapping System – Spend more time schooling YBS. AND OBS. Keep the same routine (train, land, trap quickly). Do not let trained birds bum on the loft. Have someone there to GENTLY guide the birds into the trap after training tosses. Work with your droppers. Is your landing board big enough? Can you reach the trap and landing board easily? Is there a problem with cats, dogs or children spooking the birds? Remove objects or limbs that prevent the birds from making direct landings. Keep birds off of the ground or garden. “PATIENCE” is a must. The birds must trust you, understand the system and you must handle them carefully and gently. If not, it will cost you on race day.
5. Medication – Accept that a medication program is necessary. Keep a record when you use medications, duration and dose. Learn more about types of medications available and how to use them properly. Learn what medications can be mixed together. Medicate regularly during race season for CANKER, COCCIDIOSIS, RESPIRATORY AND E COLI. Always keep a “first choice” drug on hand for the most common pigeon diseases. Find a good pigeon veterinarian and use him for help when necessary. Medicate all breeders at least twice a year. Vaccinate all young birds for PMV and POX. Medicate with a specific purpose. After you medicate, always place the birds on liquid vitamins and electrolytes.
6. Feed – Buy quality “CLEAN” feed. Store it properly, i.e. no dampness or dust, constant temperature, and fresh air to let the grain breathe. Eliminate contact with wild birds, rodents and other humans. Buy only closed bags of feed to eliminate contamination by humans and animals. Feed pellets during the breeding season (21 % protein or higher). Use LIQUID vitamins and minerals in the water on a regular schedule. Use raw Spanish peanuts #1 grade (for humans) during the race season. Use FRESH GARLIC, LEMON, AND APPLE CIDER VINEGAR in the water for breeders and racers. Accept that supplementing the birds’ diets is necessary. A WATER – GRAIN diet will not keep you competitive. Supplements for POST race recovery is important. FRESH grit is a must. Pigeons are athletes in training. Feed them by hand. Observe their eating habits. Feed them well.
7. Loft – Fix all leaks and drafts. Secure the loft to eliminate outside intruders, birds, mice, etc. Provide adequate ventilation, plenty of natural air exchange and natural sunlight. Make your loft fit your system of racing. Have more perches and nest boxes than birds (rest is as important as training). Make your loft strong and out of material that will clean easily. Place your loft position so that it will best suit your location. Keep it dry.
We did not cover all the things that one could do to improve each area. There are situations that are unique to each fancier and his lifestyle. COST can always be a problem, but if you keep less birds, then costs stay down, and you can go first class with the birds you keep. “COMMON SENSE” is an important factor for success with racing pigeons. You breed and train athletes. There is no difference when training a human or an animal for a particular event. They both need the ability, proper training, excellent diets, good health and hygiene habits, plenty of rest, regular routines and stress free environments to stay in condition and compete week after week. You control almost all of the factors for your birds success. If you believe that you have the birds to be successful and you are not, then you must take a long look at yourself and what improvements you need to make as a fancier to give your birds every chance to win. It is not easy for some fanciers to accept that they may be the major reason why their birds are not doing well. Take a good look at your own situation, be fair and honest with yourself. Apply some good “COMMON SENSE PRACTICES” to pigeon racing and be willing to make a few changes. Spend more quality time with your birds, be more observant of their actions and habits. Once you do this, you are on your way to a more successful and rewarding race season.
Beyond the Hype; Identify the Truth part 2 By Bob Prisco