A desperate fancier
An Irish fancier wrote something like this:
"Please help. If not I have no other choice than to quit since I have a big problem. My pigeons constantly suffer from respiratory problems. I have treated them for the 4th time this year, but all in vain. How do champions in Holland and Belgium deal with this? Can you give me your medical program? How often must I medicate and what medicine are the best against respiratory problems?"
I am afraid this poor guy is brainwashed by all the ads he read in which fanciers are made to believe that they can forget good results if they do not medicate regularly. It made me think of that American who worms his birds (do not be surprised) monthly.
In fact it is not strange that the Irishman could not keep his birds healthy. The frequent cures killed the immunity.
I myself wormed my birds only once in my life and coccidioses I have never dealt with. Respiratory problems I had to deal with every 5 years or so. Or even less.
If you medicate as often as the Irish fancier does it is just inevitable you get birds that can hardly stay in good health.
Try to stay away from medicine as much as possible.
If you wean healthy babies only and put them in a loft with a perfect climate you reduce chances of an infection dramatically.
What some fanciers do, treat after a poor performance, is totally WRONG.
Even the greatest champions sometimes have a poor result.
As for condition humans have their ups and downs and so have pigeons.
Being in super shape the whole year round is an illusion. Medicating whenever the condition goes down, not knowing if the birds are sick or not and what they suffer from is a big mistake.
If you have say 80 birds and 3 of them get sick there is only one option: Get rid of those 3, regardless the origin, and do not medicate 77 birds in order to heal 3.
If 2 students have a headache you do not give the whole class aspirin either.
Medical 'schemes', I mean treat birds every month or so, lead to nowhere.
Who can say if birds will suffer from worms, canker or whatsoever later on?
NOT SO SIMPLE
And even if birds do suffer from respiratory problems it is not as simple as many think. There are lots of antibiotics available but here we face a problem.
Chlamydia, herpes, mycoplasmosis, ornithoses and other viral or bacteriologic pathogens of all kinds may be the problem and they all need a different treatment.
Therefore it is wrong to just put 'something' in the drinker to heal the birds.
One medicine against all these pathogens simply does not exist.
The place to go in case of problems is a vet who specialises in pigeons.
Unfortunately there are not many of such vets in most countries and we in Hollandand Belgium are in a privileged position.
Therefore especially foreigners should pay special attention to the stock loft.
The source of much misery is to be found there!.
Breeders should be 100% perfect and free from whatever disease.
Once I was in America where a fancier invited me to see his birds.
When I saw the poor health I was sorry for him, when I saw his loft I was shocked.
'You have a loft problem' I said.
Change it, see to it that it is dry and warm without draught and get rid of all unhealthy species.
He followed my advice and shortly after he sent me some bottles of wine.
You may understand why.
In Portugal about the same happened long way back. I was in the loft of a fancier that had spent fortunes on birds but it did not bring him any further.
I could not believe that he was cheated by all fanciers from whom he had bought birds and that none of the many birds that he had was any good I could not imagine either.
But a child could see what his problem was; the lofts were far over crowded.
He knew he had too many birds, but could not get rid of them, since they had cost him much money.
I told him he had no other choice than to keep fewer birds.
We handled all 300, I told him which couldn't possibly be any good since they had too many defects and advised him to get rid of those that were in poor health.
Some hours later he had 60 birds instead of 300 and 2 years later he was the champion in his area.
ME AND MYSELF
I know the flesh can be weak though. This spring my best breeder had 2 babies in the nest of which one did not grow up well from the very first day.
Normally I do not even think about keeping such a bird, but this was one of a very good breeder and I decided to give it a chance.
I put it on a band 2 days later after I had rung the nestmate because it was too small and the toes were too thin.
I weaned it 4 days after its nestmate, since it was too much behind.
But from the moment it was in my young bird loft it did not look good. The feathers did not lay flat on the body and
were not shining.
The smaller baby is a bird without a future.
From training tosses it was always one of the last to get home and especially in hard weather it was tired.
I got rid of it which I never regretted.
It was just a weakling and weaklings are pigeons without a future.
Even though they are off your very best breeders there should be no place for such birds in your loft.
Respiratory problems, respiratory problems. I have heard about it for nearly all my life. But why are they always the same fanciers that complain, and have others never problems? Everything has a reason. That is what I answered the Irishman.
The question should not be how to deal with them but how to prevent!