Good to know part 1
Sometimes people have questions that should really not be questions at all but obvious things that you ought to know as a pigeon fancier.
People have no idea how easy it sometimes is to solve a problem. I"m going to list some things that could be of help.
Who hasn"t had the problem that he forgot to ring a youngster?
And who has never found a ring in the loft which made him pray to our Lord very intensely for a moment because he immediately realized that the ring came from a youngster that by now was too big to fit a ring on?
With a little dexterity you can still fit a ring on such an "older youngster". I have even succeeded with young that was already weaned and running around through the loft.
Stretching the ring isn"t possible but ... shrinking the leg is.
What you should do is the following:
Put some lukewarm water in a small bucket (about 2 centimeters) and dissolve a little bit of soap in it.
Then you put the pigeon that needs the ring in the bucket and after about ten minutes you can see that the leg has shrunk, like your fingers do when you are in the bath for a while; then there is more space between the ring and the toes as well.
Next you put some soap on the leg and carefully pull the ring on, using a piece of cloth or a handkerchief.
Move the ring slightly but not too much.
When the pigeon sits in the bath you should be careful that it doesn"t cool off too much.
I must admit, ringing young of 12 to 16 days doesn"t always have a good ending.
It sometimes happens that after you have managed to put the ring on, the leg swells so much that the ring tightens too much, cutting off the blood circulation.
Often that can be solved by applying some cortisone salve to the swollen leg twice a day; and the sooner you do that the better.
You must make sure however that you don"t run into trouble at a possible doping control because cortisone is on the list of illicit substances, and they will find it.
LOST AND RETURNED
Sometimes you are able to collect a young pigeon that has been lost for some time.
You want the bird to stay in your loft, but you also know that it"s likely to get lost again, usually the first time that you release it.
Keeping it inside the loft is an option, but not many will do that with a pigeon that has still to prove itself.
There is a method to help fate a little to keep such a pigeon.
Something that actually stimulates flying away (back to the place where it came from and where it liked to be) is releasing such a pigeon in good weather, and releasing it early in the morning is asking for problems especially.
Best is to keep the bird in the loft for a longer period, and then release it late in the day and preferably in dull, rainy weather.
The chance that it will never fly away again will be improved if you could manage to pair it up, but that requires even more patience.
From the notorious race from Pithiviers in 2007 I, and not only I, lost almost all my best pigeons.
Three months after that day a good hen returned, the 04-026.
Together with her sister (the 04-091) she had won 1st and 3rd against over 10,000 pigeons. The 091 went on to be the fastest in the last race of that year and ... she was the mother of super pigeons for Jespers van der Wegen in Belgium, one of which won the 4th NATIONAL Bourges against no less than 31,824 pigeons.
So they were both very good pigeons, but sadly the 091 was lost forever.
When after months, the 026 returned to the loft, she looked so well that it seemed obvious that she had stayed somewhere close to home.
Would you believe that I only dared to release her again when she was sitting on eggs, even though she was 3 years old and had a lot of racing experience?
On the whole, pigeons are very "home-loving", but beware when youngsters are not happy or old pigeons have been paired in another loft.
Some fanciers give the pigeons a mandatory tepid bath, especially after a difficult race, "to make the muscles supple again".
That is pointless.
A bath is good, but the pigeons ought to this voluntarily in order to "put the feathers upright again".
With a mandatory bath the water doesn"t go where it ought to, on the skin, so it is a lot of trouble for nothing.
When apple vinegar became popular I didn"t follow everyone in using it, because where supplementary products are concerned I am very sceptical and I don"t believe in them very much.
But in the case of apple vinegar I started to doubt more and more.
Giving apple vinegar in the water one day a week is pointless, that I knew, so I started a test by giving the pigeons water with apple vinegar for three days out of seven outside the season.
I added a clove of garlic and what did I notice?
From that time on they never got canker anymore!
Because they received apple vinegar and/or garlic?
"A successful test doesn"t prove that you"re right, an unsuccessful test proves that you"re wrong," Einstein stated. Therefore I put the topic of "no canker because of apple vinegar" before several vets who are serious fanciers themselves, and also before several scientists.
Without exception they were all for apple vinegar.
Why every time "apple" before vinegar you may ask?
Some experts believe that the only difference is the price of the vinegar.