Good to know
It is February 2009.
I am sure in England eye brows will be raised.
January was the coldest month in the past 12 years both in England and on the continent.
And pigeon fanciers were surprised to see how little the birds drank in this cold weather, especially hens that are separated.
Naturally this has consequences.
Most fanciers medicate their birds against canker in winter.
Others dare to skip a treatment since the pathogens can hardly survive nor multiply in real cold water.
Today many fanciers put apple vinegar, garlic (or both) in the drinker to acidify the water and they found it reduced chances of an infection of trichomoniasis dramatically.
I have done this since 3 years and'since then I have not treated my breeders either!
One third of a table spoon in a litre of water is the ideal dose as for vinegar.
In summer though, especially in hot weather, one has to be on the alert with racers that get into contact with other birds on their way to a release station.
Those birds are far more vulnerable than birds in winter.
Those fanciers that treat their birds against canker in winter should be aware of the fact that birds drink so little, therefore it is advisable to cure through the food that is moistened.
2 GOLDEN RULES
Sometimes you can read on the instructions of medicine how much you have to put in the water, the food is rarely mentioned, therefore fanciers ask themselves 'what about the dose if I give it through the food?'
Well, one dose (take for arguments' sake a tea spoon) of the medicine per litre is two doses per kilogram.
So, if the instruction says 2 grams (or say tea spoons) per litre that means 4 grams(or tea spoons) per kilo.
Furthermore many fanciers give their birds vitamins or additives of all sorts that are in fact for humans.
They face the same problem: How much?
Here one can say that the amount for one human is about the same as the amount for 40 pigeons.
As for the correct dose many inexperienced vets calculate by the weight but they are wrong.
In my country with my climate one should start darkening the young birds early March.
The birds should not be exposed to daylight for more than 10 hours, so lofts should be darkened for at least 14 hours.
Some think that darkening causes the so-called 'young bird disease'.
That is not true.
Numerous young birds that are not darkened also get Adeno/coli.
As you know one cannot fight the virus (adeno) but by eliminating the Coli bacteria that mostly go with it as a weakening factor you strengthen the birds' resistance.
Many fanciers are so scared of the 'young bird disease' that they cure preventively.
This is a big mistake.
In the body of all pigeons are Coli bacteria.
They are mainly harmless and useful residents of the guts.
But there are also stronger and harmful strains of the bacteria that in combination with the Adeno virus, can cause serious damage.
A problem is that one strain of the bacteria can be far more pathogenic than another.
As I said medicating preventively is wrong since that would also mean the end of useful bacteria that pigeons absolutely need to fight harmful bacteria and pathogens.
Throughout the years we have already undermined the immune system of our birds too much, therefore it is of the utmost importance to try and get birds with immunity.
Now you may understand why so many champions put their birds in an open aviary in winter where they are exposed to cold, wind and rain.
'The best method there is to harden the birds and to avoid respiratory problems in summer' they claim.
And champions mostly know what they are talking about!