Sending pigeons to a one loft race.

The article below are suggestions for sending and preparing your OLR entries. It was written by Oscar Devries who runs and manages the Dutch Touch OLR in Ottawa ON Canada. Some helpful suggestions.


I will outline several things not to do and some helpful advice that in my opinion will help you when sending young birds to our and other one loft races. This view comes from having run a one loft race the last few years and extensively discussing these items with friends who have also managed one loft races for many years and friends who have had a lot of success in entering their pigeons in a number of one loft races.

I am sure everyone knows that to win any race you need quality pigeons and that you can find those in many different families, you don’t need one particular bloodline to be successful. However, it seems some bloodlines do better on some courses than on others. You do need to make sure that they are 100% healthy and NOT by treating them with antibiotics etc. before shipping. If you need to medicate young birds at that early age just to stay healthy in your loft it is doubtful they will survive and/or do well in a one loft race situation, of course, there are always exceptions. But, exceptions do not prove the rule.

One item I can not stress enough is the importance of vaccinating for PMV, many one loft race managers will tell you it is essential, not only to protect your birds but it is also an overall immune system stimulant. This is extremely important when your birds are being exposed to birds from hundreds of different lofts from all over N. America and perhaps from Europe. Having talked to veterinarians in Europe, it seems maximum protection is at around 3 weeks after the first vaccination, but after those 3-4 weeks the immunity declines quickly, therefore the booster between 3 & 4 weeks after the first injection is just as or even more critical. The recommendation is to vaccinate between 21-24 days (weaning) of age and ship to the one loft 3 weeks after. By doing it this way, either you can give the booster yourself before shipping, or they will get their booster at the one loft race. Most one loft race managers do not care whether you vaccinated once or twice or not at all. Therefore it is essential that you let them know whether they have been inoculated and if possible when they were done.

These are a few of the things we recommend when sending birds to our one loft race the “Dutch Touch International.” Send them between the age of 30 to 45 days of age. We have no problem settling older youngsters. The first year of the “Dutch Touch OLR,” we received some that had already dropped 5 flights and were finished the body moult, their training also seemed to go well. But those older birds did not do as well once the actual races began and often did not make it to the final in September. Younger pigeons appear to adapt much better, settle easier and our darkening system also works much better with this age group. Our loft has 15 different sections, the new arrivals are grouped by age. This grouping really helps us keep a close eye on all pigeons.

Do not treat them to “clean them up.” When you treat with antibiotics before you ship them, you also kill the friendly (good) gut bacteria, and those “clean” young birds actually are more susceptible to the harmful bacteria and on average have more health issues.

To sum things up, ship birds between 30 & 45 days of age, VACCINATE for PMV and do NOT treat them with antibiotics. Make sure they are robust, healthy and have the physical attributes to be able to handle the competition within the one loft race lofts and be able to handle 6 to 8-10 hours of racing.

We ship pigeons to various one loft races in the USA, and we handle them as mentioned above, and make sure they are vaccinated PMV three (3) weeks before shipping. We shipped birds to 4 different one loft races in the US flown in 2017 using this system and scored money in 3 of those and in 2 of the 4 one loft races we were on the 1st drop in the final race at 350 miles.

We are also official shipping agents for the world famous Million Dollar Race in South Africa (SAMDPR) When shipping to races like these, we strongly recommend the same procedures mentioned above before sending those birds to us. There doesn’t seem to be a problem entering somewhat older pigeons to the SAMDPR. While in isolation/quarantine we make sure all vaccinations are done and have them in excellent condition when shipping time comes. We put only 16-18 birds per large shipping crate and have feeding/drinking stations in all 4 corners, giving them the best chance of getting there in excellent condition. We do all we can to mitigate the stress of quarantine and shipping to ensure they arrive in top condition ready to take on the new loft conditions they encounter.