Finished by vitamins
The long distance champ was THE talk of the day.
He had entered no less than 23 pigeons for a race that he was supposed to destroy.
Why did people think they had no chance against him and his birds that day?
First of all because of the distance, it was about 650 kilometres, and from 500 to 700 kilometres his birds were the ones to be beaten, especially in hard weather and the weather that day WAS hard; warm, bright and headwinds,
When he first bird arrived and he reported the bird, which is a must in Holland andBelgium', the guy who picked up the phone was shocked and nearly cried out 'what? You got a bird at 15.53? I can't believe it.'
Since the man to whom he reported his bird was so surprised he hoped his bird was an early one and he felt in Heaven,
Still he did not feel quite at ease and he had reason to worry.
He was an experienced fancier who knew quite well that the way the birds get home shows a lot.
Early birds trap like hell, as if they want to attack the loft, but this bird did not, on the contrary.
It seemed as if it was happy the job was done and it sat quiet on the landing board for a while, adjusting its feathers.
And indeed, it soon turned out the champ had reason not to feel comfortable.
The guy to whom he reported the bird was not surprised because it was an early bird but because he had clocked it after the race was finished.
It never happened before that the name of the long distance champ was not on the result sheet!
It was the astonishingly poor result that made people talk and honestly speaking I was surprised as well.
Personally I do not race long distance but for me it was also clear something was very wrong.
Therefore I asked the champ shortly after the race if I could have a look in the loft and see a bird, since only sick birds will perform so poorly.
He opened the loft and wanted to grab a bird to show me.
'Forget it, it is ok' I said.
A quick look was good enough to see that the birds were in perfect shape, which was confirmed one day before by a vet.
He was desperate; I did not understand either, till he told me what he had done,
In fact the results of the champ were not super in previous races either.
They were good but not as good as the years before.
Since some younger guys performed so extremely well he wondered if he had become old fashioned.
Had those guys a new system?
Did they give their birds additives that he did not know about?
He began to doubt about that which was the reason he started to put vitamins in the drinker 10 days before the race, in fact pretty many.
Why 'pretty many?'
He had read somewhere that you could not overdo with vitamins since they would not be absorbed but leave the body in case there were too many.
And this was the fatal mistake he made!
What he had read was not true!
Too much is too much, which includes vitamins.
I myself stopped giving my pigeons vitamins many years ago.
One of the reasons is I never saw any improvement in the condition if my birds after I treated them vitamins.
I know most vets do not agree but I also know some famous vets who have their doubts. One of them once told me: 'I sell vitamins because fanciers ask for them but I am not convinced they will shape up their birds.'
Another reason why I am sceptical is that now and then I also read, especially articles on vitamins, diseases and medicine that are written by scientists.
And in one of those articles it said that a shortage of vitamins was hardly ever found with healthy pigeons.
What the champ did not realise was that vitamins increase the body weight, not with half a gram or so but more.
And overweight is something any athlete should avoid, included pigeons that have to fly for many hours under hard circumstances.
Vitamins in the drinker may also be a reason for the birds to drink less.
And if pigeons take less water than needed that means trouble for sure.
It may even result in Adeno/Coli!
A very sick bird suffering from Adeno. The reason may be vitamins how strange it may sound.
So far we only talked vitamins but experimenting with antibiotics on your own may even have bigger fatal results.
If they are used well they may be a great help to eliminate pathogens but even then it may take its price since they are a burden on the body.
You can compare this with a soldier.
If we send him at war with heavy armour (read antibiotics) he will never win a race, but they may enable him to survive.
About antibiotics I said if 'used well', because a wrong treatment (antibiotics against a disease that does not exist) will cause problems for sure.
The antibiotics will not eliminate the enemy (harmful pathogens) as you intended to but the reverse will happen.
You make them stronger, they will build up more resistance and therefore will multiply even more easier.
A wrong medication means you give an extra but absolutely useless burden on the body of a soldier
Of course there are very good antibiotics that may be a great help in case of health problems.
But they should be administered very precisely; which means against the proper bacteria, with the proper amount and the proper time span.
But how many fanciers know all the ins and outs of the illness and the medicine?
Even very few vets do!
In case of problems you cannot sit still, that is clear, not acting at all is something you better leave up to your competitors.
In case if severe problems you need help, which means the assistance of a very good vet.
What a 'very good vet' is?
Somebody who has experience with pigeons and preferably some one who races pigeons himself.
LONG WAY BACK
I still remember what an awful mistake I myself made a long time ago.
Something was clearly wrong with the birds and I thought it was salmonella, so I was so stupid as to treat against salmonella; thus I thought I would save money on a consult to a vet.
That was stupid indeed. The birds did not recover but their condition even got worse.
I was at my wits' end, put some birds in a basket, put the basket in a car and went to a vet. It was the best vet in those days people said.
'Streptococci' he concluded.
I had never heard about the word in those days but the vet said it was often caused by over population and lack of oxygen.
Over population was impossible but with lack of oxygen he had a point since it was winter and at the time I was so na've as to close of the lofts in cold weather.
Anyway, he gave the appropriate medicine and the problem was solved real soon.
So the lesson is to always be careful with antibiotics.
Especially during the racing season a wrong treatment may finish your birds for a whole year and that is not what we want.
Life is too short to let this happen.