Virkon S is a disinfectant sold by Dupont. Not only is it the most
amazing disinfectant you will ever use in the lofts for sanitation but
it is simply magic when used in the pigeons drinking water.
Virkon S should be the first line of defense for any young bird
sickness. If the pigeons start to go off whether it is a young
bird sickness or possible other affliction add 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon to
the gallon of water for five days. Usually within two days all
symptoms have disappeared. By day five the birds look spectacular.
Virkon S must be added to the water after the containers are
filled and then stirred. It will form up if added first and then
water is added. Like any disinfectant be careful to keep
Virkon S out of your eyes and try not to inhale the powder. Better
to be safe.
As a general health aid give the pigeons three days of Virkon S every
six to eight weeks. Virkon S seems to have a positive effect
against all bacteria, virus, fungi and canker. We use it during breeding, molting and racing will no ill effects.
Chicken breeders have been giving Virkon S to chicks for
years. The chicks live better, grow better and losses are
We add Virkon S to the bath water in the same above dose.
Virkon S is an unbelievable disinfectant to be sprayed in the lofts and
all general disinfection and sanitation needs. Buy in the
powdered form in the 10 pound container. It looks like Virkon S is
only sold in 10lb containers but it is well worth it.
After treating with Virkon S please give several days of friendly gut bacteria and vitamins.
Virkon S can be given at the dose of one teaspoon to the gallon if your
pigeons are experiencing Circo-virus. The product will not cure
infected pigeons but it will stop the spread of the virus. In the
case of Circo Virus you can remove sick pigeons and keep the remaining
pigeons on Virkon S until the pigeons are no longer becoming sick.
This may take a week to ten days. Like I said if the
pigeons is already infected with Circo, Virkon S may or may not
help. The benefit lies in stopping the virus from spreading.
I get asked all the time "can you use Virkon S during breeding
season"? On June 18th I put all my breeders on Virkon S at the
dose of 3/4 teaspoon to the gallon. I have babies at all stages of
development and every breeder and youngster looks a super as
ever. Droppings are firm and normal. We experimented with
our pigeons but I do not recommend using during breeding.
You will notice that if a pigeon has a minor respiratory problem the
Virkon S will turn the wattle slightly yellow. At the end of the
five day treatment the wattle will be white and dry.
I have been reading how Koi Fish Breeders and keepers used Virkon S in
the ponds and tanks to cure and prevent many difference virus and
bacteria. They also claim it works at a very low dose and does not
effect the biological filter (friendly bacteria). If fish can
thrive in the presence of Virkon S, this is a very good sign. To
purchase Virkon S go to www.jedds.com Tell them Frank sent you!
Secret 2 Updated 3/12/12
Moxidectin wormer If you are still using Ivermectin or
any other wormer you are wasting time and your birds probably have
round worms and other parasites. We have been using Moxidectin for
ten years with incredible results. The easy way to administer is
to go to a feed store with horse products and buy a product called
'Quest'. Quest comes in a syringe tube and will make eight gallons
Quest is a gel that must be mixed in a blender poured into the
water and given to the pigeons for 24 hours. It lasts in the
pigeons system for 30 days. Not only does it eliminate all
internal intestinal worms, it eliminates gape worms and all external
parasites. We treat the race team with Quest seven days before a
big race and have only had super results.
We place 1/2 tube of Quest in one cup of water in the blender. We
blend for 30 seconds and then pour this into 4 gallons of water and
stir. When you see the dial on Quest you will realize it is
difficult to make less than two gallons at one time.
If you see worms you can repeat every three weeks for up to six months.
If your pigeons are reinfected from the environment you can treat
every three weeks or monthly for six months. Round worm eggs only
live in the enviroment for six months so the life cycle can be broken.
Once per year we treat with Quest Plus which contains the Tapeworm
medicine. The pigeons do not like to drink Quest Plus so we use it
only once in a great while.
Never give to dogs, it may be deadly.
Secret 3 Are you a widowhood flyer and wish you could fly hens but do not have the room or time?
Here is a system that will change the way you race pigeons.
Before the widowhood season begins train the hens out 60 to 70
miles. Once the birds are separated feed the hens 100% high
quality barley every day but Thursday evening the day before
shipping. On Thursday evening feed all the small seeds like
safflour, hemp along with all the European mix they want. After
about 30 minutes remove the feed and place barley in the feeder for the
day on Friday. Ship the hens every week to each race and upon
return let them eat all the rich feeds and small seeds they want.
Place them back into their holding section or flight pen a couple hours
after they home until the process starts over each week. They are never trained or let out of the loft.
They only fly one day a week in the race. Leave one or two hens
home for the first two arriving cocks or use some unmated stock
hens. More often than not the hens will beat the cocks and will
even be better when the distance races come along. The hens only
eat barley except for Thursday evening and Saturday after the
race. If you are sending the hens to a long distance race, you can
feed the hens the rich seeds the day of shipping also.
Keep every possible mineral in front of the hens free choice at all times.
If the hens fly eight or more hours in a race you can skip a week and go two weeks between races.
This system works so well and allows you to race more pigeons without
any extra time or effort. You will start to re-think how to
train pigeons when you fly this system.
Secret 4 Feeding Tip.... Never over feed your race team
again. Just add about one ounce of Rabbit Pellets to the feed each
day. Feed enough until the birds leave the rabbit pellets.
Any very hungry birds will eat the rabbit pellets. After we feed
our youngsters each day there is always a sprinkling of rabbit pellets
in the feeder. By late in the day the pellets are gone.
We give all the birds rabbit pellets two time per week year round.
This eliminates the use of any fresh greens. Buy rabbit pellets
that have the first ingredient alfalfa.
Resting Tip. Rest is one of big misconceptions when it comes
to racing pigeons. If you want your pigeons to have a long
successful career please give one day of total rest for every two hours
on the wing. Four hour flight, two days rest, 12 hour flight 6
days of total rest. You will not only dominate all season long you
will win with 5 year old or older pigeons if you follow this rest
recommendation throughout their career. By total rest we mean they
do not even loft fly.
Secret 6 Buy a hygrometer (Home Depot) with a high low
setting. The hygrometer measures humidity. Place the hygrometer in the
racing loft and adjust ventilation to maintain humidity below 70%.
By monitoring the humidity you will learn to keep it lower than 70% at
all times. Pigeons have a big drop in form with humidity over
70%. My widowhood loft can be kept at 68% humidity when it is 100%
humidity outside. My hygrometer monitors temperature and high low
Keep an injectible antibiotic on hand for any one eye colds,rattles
or respiratory issues you may have. We use LA 200 an
oxytetracycline. Inject 0.5cc 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.
Aquarium Chlorine Removers
amounts of chlorine and chloramine are added to tap water to kill
organisms for safe human consumption. Of course, chlorine and chloramine
are toxic to your friendly bacteria and may interfere with antibiotics
etc.. Use aquarium chlorine removers to do away with them. Aquarium
chlorine removers often remove other harmful heavy metals, amonia or
otherwise prepare your tap water for pigeon use. Purchase
the one drop to the gallon dose and stop wasting money by killing or
interfering with anything you give your pigeons in the drinking
water. Just fill the bucket or container, drop in chlorine remover
stir and add your products immediately.
Most pigeon grit is comprised of ground granite. This ground
granite is very sharp, fragmented, pointed and generally abrasive.
Is this grit irritating the gizzard and insides of our pigeons?
Wild birds eat round smooth pebbles for grit. Maybe we should all
rethink grit and find a pebble based grit with no sharp edges. I
collect smooth pebbles off a salt water beach. There are places the
pebbles collect at the base of large rocks. The size ranges from
slightly bigger than a grain of sand to a little bigger than a
pea. I bake the pebbles on a tray in the oven at 450 degrees for
ten minutes to kill bacteria, let cool and feed to the pigeons. These beach pebbles also contain shell fragments, trace salts and minerals.
Not all yellow in a pigeons throat is canker. Fine lines of yellow
could be an ornithosis or some sort of respiratory problem. If
your canker treatment does not seem to work maybe you should be treating
with doxicycline. Remember eyes, nose, ears, and throat are all
The most important meal after a workout is the first meal.
This applies to athletes and animals. When your pigeons return
home from a tough race they need rich feed with plenty of oil seeds in
front of them free choice. They will eat what is needed to
recover. By feeding rich feed your pigeons will recover very
fast. We usually place all the 16% European mix along with
safflour, pellets, hemp, flax etc.
When our pigeons return home from a race they drink our special blend of
water additives to assist in recovery. In one gallon of water we
place one tablespoon of glucose powder, 1/4 teaspoon of chicken vitamin
electrolytes, one teaspoon of Probios Horse probiotic and 1/4 teaspoon
of iodized salt. They will bounce right back on this mix.
Apple Cider Vinegar is one of the best natural additives that can be
given daily to the pigeons. We give one ounce to the gallon nearly
every day of the year. We also mix in vitamins and probiotics
several times per week. For a natural product to have benefits it
must be used regularly over a long period of time. Apple Cider
Vinegar makes the gut acidic. Bad bacteria does not thrive well in
an acid environment. The good bacteria and normal pigeon gut
bacteria love the acid (Apple Cider) environment. We usually
buy the gallon container at the super market. If you only have a
handful of pigeons the Apple Cider Vinegar sold at the health food
stores is better.
All winter and the entire breeding season we give the apple cider
vinegar every single day. We do not use the vinegar as much during
the race season. I am too worried to that the race team will not
be hydrated enough if I put the vinegar in the water. When I do
use it during racing it is in the water for just the morning
feeding. Used over the long term Apple Cider Vinegar has
positive effects on the pigeons.
I never mix the Apple Cider Vinegar with medications.
Please do not feed Popcorn to your pigeons. Popcorn
is very hard and does not absorb water easily. If you
put popcorn in a glass of water for 24 hours it does not swell
or get soft. Popcorn should not be included in any
pigeon feed mix. Use a regular large corn in the feed mix and your
results will improve in both racing and breeding.
We do not medicate youngsters in the first many months of their
lives. If possible just vaccinate and worm with
moxidectin. Medicate only if it is absolutely
necessary. Our youngbird team will not be medicated for anything
until they are in the racing season. Our
young pigeons that are not raced either bred for stock or sale
may not receive anything but Virkon S and moxidectin for over a
year. Pigeons that are allowed to build natural immunity when
young have less problems with health for the rest of their
lives. Do yourself and your pigeons a favor by keeping them
as natural as possible.
For pigeons to stay healthy naturally they cannot lack anything.
We give apple cider vinegar just about daily along with numerous mineral
cups, grits, probiotic several times per week, vitamins two or three
times per week, garlic etc. If the birds are not lacking anything,
their immune system works optimally.
You can pretty much feed any grain and or pellet mix and raise
super babies providing you have every mineral and grit available to
the pigeons. Vitamin deficiencies do not effect the pigeons
nearly as much as mineral deficiencies. We keep pink vitamineral,
brown mineral blocks, pick pot minerals, oyster shells, grit mix,
red stone, magnesium blocks etc in separate cups in front of
the breeders at all times. Your babies will be
There is only one type of oil that should be used on our feed for the
pigeons. That oil is Flax Seed Oil. This oil is high in
Omega 3's and the health benefits are endless. Wet the feed
with the Flax Oil and then add a good natural flavored whey protein
or brewers yeast. Never chocolate whey because chocolate is
poisonous to pigeons. Omega 3 oils act as an anti-inflamatory
which allows the pigeons to keep flying when others have
quit due to swelling and fatigue. Tuesdays and Thursdays
during racing (and breeding) will be enough for a positive effect.
You may wonder why supply houses do not sell Flax Seed Oil in
their oil mixes??? Flax Oil is more expensive and must be kept
refrigerated. Use the best oil for top results. Consider using
Flax Oil to make your own salad dressing or just take a tablespoon a day
right off the spoon. Brain and cardiovascular benefits are
endless. Flax Oil has a mild nut flavor. You can buy Flax
Oil at the Health Food store and even in the refrigerated section of
Need to up the protein during breeding? Add a high protein small
kibble dog food to the mix. Ten to twenty percent
dog food in the mix will do the trick. My pigeons would
rather eat dog food over safflour. Pigeons
love the animal protein plus all
the vitamins, minerals and calcium is very high in dog
food. We like a puppy food because the protein is higher and
the food is richer for growing dogs/pigeons.
Before breeding we feed a higher percentage of Rabbit
pellets. Being predominantly Alfalfa, the vegatable like pellet is
natures way to add a spring diet to the pigeons during
winter. I feel the rabbit pellet also helps with fertility and the
droppings will be firm and black. We always try to
fill in any nutritional blanks with our pigeons. 33% in the mix
will be perfect, Rabbit pellets will also help keep their body
Secret 20 Updated 11/4/2012
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
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
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
Need a very inexpensive salt/mineral supplement? Go to a
Salt Water Aquarium Store and purchase 5 lbs of Instant Ocean or similar
Saltwater fish salt. This salt is loaded with endless trace
minerals. Use just a pinch at a time or change regularly because
salt will attract moisture. Another option would be to keep
all your minerals on a warming plate. Pet stores sell a
variety of heating units that can be attached to the bottom of a
glass aquarium. You can attach one of these to the bottom of a
glass pyrex cookware/dish and add all your mineral cups.
Minerals will stay dry.
I have found a super vita-mineral/grit combination. The product
contains a combination of grits, vitamins, minerals and supplements. If
you wanted to just use one grit/mineral mix this would be the one of
choice. It comes in two size buckets 16lb or 22lb. This mix
contains, sea grits and shells, small round stones, red grit, tiny
mineral pellets, mineralized seeds, pink mineral pellets, B Vitamins,
trace elements and assorted beneficial products for the pigeons.
This is a must for every serious pigeon fancier. I give daily in
small containers and move the leftover from the day before to another
pot. Produced in Belgian by Jovati Pigeon Products and can be
purchased by the bucket at
Vita King Products 1 877 848- 5464 This produce is now called Ganus Minerals.
Some of the top Belgians treat every new pigeon they buy with ten
days of Baytril and give a vaccination for salmonella on the 10th
day. This protocol makes sense before adding a pigeon to a
salmonella free colony. My suggestion would be to treat for
canker upon arrival followed by worming with Moxidectin. Then
proceed with the 10 days of Baytril and the salmonella
vaccination. Plenty of probiotics will help keep the gut in
check after this process.
Leave the lights on for 24 hours per day for your first two rounds
during the breeding season. Your breeders should have feed in
front of them at all times. The breeders can feed the babies
throughout the night while the day length is short. Your results
The wonders of Oregano. Five years ago my 90 lb German
Shepherd could not stop vomiting and also had and intestinal
issue. I brought him to the Vet and expected a big dose of
antibiotics. The Vet gave the dog a tube of Oregano Paste.
The Vet said it would work better than the antibiotics. The
dog nearly instantly started to improve. He was fully recovered in
a few hours. I have thought about this for several years
wondering how oregano would work on our pigeons. Recently I saw an
oregano based water soluble pigeon product on the market. It is
called Avian Solution or Avian Powder made by Van Beek Natural
Science. Can be bought at www.Jedds.com.
The solution is gel like and you must really mix it well but it does
dissolve. I have been using it for two months three to five days a
Young birds can spread any health problems in the bath water.
Many lofts notice that shortly after giving the young pigeons a bath
health problems begin. I would suggest adding one teaspoon of
Virkon S to a gallon of bath water for each bath. This should
eliminate the spread of disease when the pigeons drink the soiled bath
Snake Problems can drive even the most careful fancier crazy.
Snake can enter into the loft and eat eggs and youngsters. If the
youngster is too big to swallow the snake will just kill the
pigeon. My friend Butch Shoop in Texas has had some luck with a
product called 'Bird Block' made by Easy Gardener. Sold
at Home Depot the netting can be placed around the bottom of the loft
and over any opening. The product works like Gil Netting on
fish. The snake gets caught in the net trying to get
through. If the snake does get through the net to feed it will
certainly get caught on the way out. 'Bird Block' comes in a
selecting breeders you can bring in cocks that are not physically
perfect if the pedigree and bloodline is outstanding. You must
always pair these less than perfect cocks to perfect in every way
breeding hens. Many of the babies will have the physique of the
mother along with half the genetics of the sire. Mating physically
perfect cocks onto less than perfect hens usually leads to less the
perfect babies. The great lofts have great hens. The super
hens will compensate for many flaws in the cocks.
Try wood pellets for a loft floor deep litter. One bag
will cover about 5' by 7' of floor. They break down over time but
are really not dusty. The also make a super compost for the
garden. Use the hardwood pellet designed for burning. The
pellet used in wood stoves seem to hold up better than the soft wood
pellet designed for bedding.
If you are not able to clean your loft constantly and do not live in
a very dry climate a deep litter system is the best system for keeping
pigeons. The birds are very comfortable on deep litter, the loft
stays extremely dry and the pigeons stay in better condition. All
beneficial to keeping healthy happy pigeons. I use straight wood
pellets on my floors and sometimes mix 25% pine shavings into the wood
pellets. This fresh bedding will change the atmosphere of the loft
to a very positive state. You will immediately notice clean
feet, clean feather and a bounce up in health.
If you ship pigeons through the express mail in the post office or
even by airline you should hydrate the babies as you place them in the
box. An infant bulb syringe made of rubber in a tear drop shape
will make this easy. About a half a bulb of water in each
youngster as you place them in the shipping box will fight dehydration
during the trip.
Secret 32 Updated 8/22
If you can't beat them join. This past week (July 15th 2011) I
bought some rotating mechanical Dove Decoys and wind activated spinning
wing Dove Decoys to place around the loft. The decoys go out when
the birds are out. I am hoping when the hawks attack the young
birds they may go for the easy target and hit a decoy over hitting one
of the youngsters. We will see??
Hawk attacked a Dove Decoy the other day. Will this help?? I do
not know. Maybe the hawk will realize those pigeons at McLaughlin
Lofts are extreme hard and tough to eat and leave the pigeons alone?
We have witnessed numerous hawk attacks on the decoys.
Secret 33 Updated 3/12/2012
It is easy to tell if you are caring for your breeders correctly.
My top breeders are raising their sixth and seventh round of young
feeding, driving, moulting their bodies etc and still act and handle
like they did before breeding season. The cocks are highly active
and are snapping their wings with that Pop Pop Pop sound bouncing in and
out of the flight pens. I attribute this health and condition at
the end of breeding season not only to great pigeons but great
care. Every mineral supplement is available to the breeding
pigeons at all times. We breed right though the high heat and
humidity of the summer with no ill effect. High quality pigeons
combined with outstanding care should not show stress at the end of the
breeding season. It is amazing to see yearling breeders mature and
grow flawlessly while the entire time they are raising young. We
bred until November and raised nine rounds from some of our stock
pigeons with no detrimental effects.
a very interesting article on the Pipa website that explained that
youngsters vaccinated for Paramyxo-virus (PMV) at 3 weeks had less
problems with Adeno-virus during young bird season. Some vets even claim
they have less problems with Circo also.
the past I would vaccinate my youngsters for PMV about six to eight
weeks before young bird season. The year I vaccinated the
youngsters at weaning. I wean the babies very young. Boston
has had major issues with Adeno-virus this season and McLaughlin Lofts
has not had any problems.
there is a correlation between vaccinating for PMV at 3 weeks of age
and a lessor incidence of PMV, it is well worth a try. You must
start with new syringes and load the entire 100 dose PMV vial into the
syringes. It is very easy to just grab a loaded syringe each time
you wean a baby.
If you are shipping babies to one
loft races use more space and larger boxes than needed. If you are
going to spend large sums of money on entry fees please do not try to
save $40 by packing your babies into one small box. Think big
picture. Birds that are hurt during shipping never amount to
Have some of your better pigeons not
performed well this past season? It may be best to have your vet
test the race pigeons for Pigeon Malaria. If you have seen pigeon
flies there is a good chance you loft has pigeon malaria.
Moxidectin (Quest) wormer will kill the flies if the flies bite a
recently wormed pigeon.
If hawks are a serious problem in the
spring for the old birds this tip may help. Most pigeons are lost
to hawks when they are out of shape and released for exercise around
the loft. Do not release for exercise before the start of
training. We at McLaughlin Lofts get the pigeons weight down with a
mixture of barley and rabbit pellets for maybe two weeks before
training. We then keep them very hungry pick a nice day and take
them for a 1/4 mile toss.
The object is road training so why
let the hawks chase the pigeons around the lofts. Train them short
and get them right in. Inch them out maybe 1/2 mile at a time.
Once the pigeons are conditioned moderately from the road training
they can be loft flown. At least they have a fighting chance if
loft flown in condition than loft flown out of condition.
Yesterday as I was
repairing a cracked egg I realized that maybe some do not know the
proper procedure of repairing eggs. For starters eggs can only be
repaired if the shell is cracked or slightly broken but the inner
membrane is intact. If the inner membrane is not pierced the egg
can be repaired. I have been repairing eggs with success for 40
years starting when I was a boy.
One thing to keep in
mind is, the chick pecks out of the egg along the bigger end.
When repairing eggs you must try not to cover the area the chick
must peck through. If you do need to cover a section of the dome
the chick pecks through keep in mind it may be beneficial to remove your
patch once the chick starts to hatch.
Now to how to repair
an egg. In the old days we would cut a postage stamp to size and
use this for a patch. Stamps no longer work for
a patch because they are now made of almost a plastic type paper.
The adhesive is different and the stamp will not mold to the egg.
What works best??
I have been using plain white copy paper and have even used
newspaper in an emergency. The secret is to cut the paper a little
larger than the crack. Now place the paper on your tongue and
keep it in your mouth for about five minutes. The paper will be
come very soft and pliable. The saliva is a great adherent and the
paper will breath identical to the egg shell itself.
After five minutes
of the paper patch in your mouth place the paper on the crack and very
gently smooth all the edges so the paper makes a complete seal on the
egg shell. With warm breath blow on the patch until it starts to
dry. Place the slightly damp patched egg back under the parent pigeon
and it will finish drying under the parent.
You will be amazed
at the success rate of these patches. Keep in mind that the chick
will have a tough time pecking through the patch so the patch can be
removed once the hatching process begins. Life finds a way and I
have had chicks hatch when I expected them not to be able to hatch.
Pigeon eggs once
laid can be stored for several days and maybe even over a week at room
temperature before the incubation process begins. You must place
the egg on its side and make three or four half turns each day until you
put the egg under a foster parent. If the incubation process has
begun you cannot store the egg. If the egg is freshly laid you can
keep the egg until you have a foster pair ready. I am doing some
experiments now on how long a fertile egg can be kept and how much care
the egg actually needs. Today 4/13 an egg hatched that I kept on
the shelf in the breeding loft for 10 days. I turned the egg only
once a day and the temperature ranged from 45 degrees as a low to about
65 as a high. I will keep experimenting.
Dust in a pigeon loft may be detrimental to both the pigeons and the
owner. The pigeon dust is composed primarily of bloom which is a
powdered feather lubricant that prevents the wear from the feathers
An easy way to remove dust from the loft is to thoroughly clean and then
use a vac to get into the hard to reach places. Once clean here
is the little secret. Pick a nice windy day and remove all the
pigeons. Put on a good dusk mask, open every window and door and
use a leaf blower in the loft until all the dust has been blown out of
The leaf blower will remove dust from the tops of beams, ceilings,
nests etc. The loft will be like new after this treatment.
If you really want to finish the job spray the entire clean and
dust free loft with Virkon S disinfectant. Your loft will be like
new and a successful season will follow.
It is much better to
wean babies a little younger than a little older. The younger
babies tend to learn to eat faster and this is easier on the parents if
they are not pumping babies an extra few days longer.
At weaning, I
vaccinate for PMV and dip their beaks in the water. The next day if they
are not eating I will pump them up with a pellet soup from a large tip
syringe. I do not want the babies to stress so I make sure they
are not hungry. By day two after weaning they are always eating
and drinking well. Feel free to dip beaks in the water to introduce the
Some of the most
determined and successful pigeons do not like change and this counts for
babies a weaning. Do not think that because a baby does not want
to eat or drink immediately after weaning that this baby is not a good
one. The great pigeons do not like change and are more apt to sulk
and be effected by change. This counts for babies also.
I hear all the time that it is better to let a hen mature before
breeding her. This is nonsense. Nature will tell you when a pigeon
is old enough to breed. If a hen mates and lays she is mature
enough to breed. Breeding young hens or cocks is not detrimental
to the pigeons in anyway. The first two eggs a young hen lays are
pure gold. If she is ever going to raise a one in a million
champion it will probably be from one of the first two eggs she lays in
In my individual breeding pens I feed pellets to the mated pairs until
the young are being fed pellets for two days. Once they have
transitioned from pigeon milk to pellets I add in a high protein high
fat grain mix and keep pellets and the grain mix in front of them at all
I feel it is easier on a baby pigeons digestive system to go from pigeon
milk to pellets and then to grain. Nice smooth transition for
optimal growth and no stress. Keep the minerals and grits in front
of them at all times.
In the breeding pens that have more than one pair at different stages I
keep all the pellets they want in one feeder and add a grain mix to the
other feeder several times per day. I like to use a good 16%
protein large corn mix and add about 30% safflour.
I heard a great tip at a seminar last fall. Dr. Weir said nearly
all adult pigeons carry Herpes Virus. Youngsters must be exposed to
built immunity. Problem is they have their parents immunity when
they are being reared. Once weaned they do not get exposed if they
are kept with only other young pigeons. Here is the tip.
When you wean your babies keep a couple adult pigeons in the
section. I have two old dropper hens that live with my youngsters.
Exposure to herpes virus when there is no stress leads to an immune
response and immunity. Exposure to herpes when they are stressed from
shipping, a new loft, a few days missed feed or even extreme heat can
lead to sick babies.
Better to expose your young to adult pigeons when there is not any
stress. They build immunity and they will not ever have an issue.
Secret 45 Pyrethrum
is a natural insecticide made from the flowers of chrysanthemum.
It can be bought on the web and diluted to the proper dose.
I am using it full strength from a tiny 1/2 ounce pump spray
bottle that contained bug repellent in the past. Seems to work very well
on lice. I give one quick spray under each wing and by the vent.
The least amount of strong insecticides we use the better. When I
was a boy my father used to give me DDT, Chlordane and numerous other
pesticides for minor insect problems. I have wanted to stay away
from harsh chemical ever since. Please do not confuse Pyrethrim
with all the similar sounding chemical versions. Link to buy the
product below. I am going to experiment adding to the bath water.
I will update what I think.
Secret 46 Need to settle a
strong flying pigeon. Buy some Super Hold Hair gel. Spread
the gel along the last six primary flights of each wing. Let dry.
Flights will look like quills. Pigeon will fly very little. Maybe
from floor to perch. Let the pigeon get used to the new wings
before allowing the pigeon outside. After a week of walking around
the loft and going in and out, rinse off the gel with water.
Wings will be as good as new. This tip came from Joe
Secret 47 If
a Coopers hawk attacks and kills a pigeon and is scared off the kill,
the hawk will always come back to the kill. It may take up to two
hours but the hawk is coming back to feed. We have witnessed this
over and over. By removing the dead pigeon the hawk is going to come
back looking for a live one.
Secret 48 We
have updated our worming protocol. Mainly because this should be
the first approach to pigeons with loose droppings. We have been
using Moxidectin exclusively for over 10 years. If you have been
using Ivermectin for pigeon worms you are not killing the round worms.
Everyone goes crazy reaching for antibiotics when pigeons especially old
pigeons have loose stools.
After years of using Quest Horse Wormer we now feel that alternating
Antelcide and Quest every 12 days for 60 days will completely eliminate
worms. (See pictures below, we buy them at the feed store). We use both
products exactly the same way. One tube will make eight US gallons
of water. Measure out what is needed in the tube using the dial,
whip up in the blender using a few ounces of water and pour into the
desired amount of water. Start the process with Antelcide.
usually to keep things simple and mix 1/2 tube for 4 gallons of water.
Give this to the pigeons for 24 hours. Please clean
thoroughly after each worming. Round worms reach maturity in 21
days so by removing litter and hopefully most of the eggs you can break
the cycle. Disinfecting will not kill the eggs. Be careful
if you use a flame to kill the eggs.
is nearly useless in killing roundworms. Ivermectin is great for
lice in the bath water but not a good choice for worming the pigeons.
It does not work well dogs anymore either. Please see Secret
#2 for more info on Quest and Quest Plus.
Worms irritate the intestine and produce toxins causing excessive water
intake. Keep it simple and eliminate the worms first. If
the the loose stools do not disappear you must look at Canker as being
the possible problem.
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 prepared.
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.
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 Oxytetracycline Injection http://www.jefferspet.com/la-200-liquamycin/camid/LIV/cp/16296/
a pigeon has a one eye cold, rattles or respiratory problem inject 0.5
CC behind the neck under the skin. One dose usually completely
cures the problem within a few days. Rarely have I ever had to give a
second dose. This product is amazing.
Infant Bulb Syringe Tear
drop shaped soft rubber. Buy at any pharmacy. This can be
used to administer medication, feed or water. I give all pigeons
one ounce of water when I place them in the Postal Shipping boxes.
It is easy to put the pigeon in the box, lift its upper beak and
place the rubber tube about 3/4 of an inch into the mouth. Pump in the
water. Fill the crop while the pigeon is on its feet in the
restricted space of the box. You will find this to be easy and
quick one you practice a bit.
Kaytee Exact Hand Feeding High Fat Baby Bird Food This
is baby parrot food. Highly nutritious. You can hand feed
youngsters by following the directions on the bag. You must mix this
with warm water and make the consistency about the consistency of
ketchup. I occasionally will wean a round of babies and the
following day just fill all their crops with the baby parrot mix.
This eliminates stress and you can just grab the upper beak of
each pigeon, lift straight up, put in the tube about 3/4 of an inch and
squeeze. The babies will love you for it. This process does not slow
down the weaning process. You can also assist the old breeders with
feeding their babies occasionally if you have time. Do not
overfill the babies. A little less is better than a little more.
Babies can not upchuck like the adults so do not overfill. Clean
the syringe thoroughly with a hot water rinse after each use.
Breed from the Crosses!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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