Tips to prevent E-Coli (part 2)

There are fanciers who teach their young pigeons to eat and drink in the training basket. One fancier showed me how he had cut an old transport basket into two parts. One half of the basket was placed so that the pigeons had to go into it get to the water containers to drink.

They were only able to get to the water by putting their head through the bars. Very smart. There was no other drinker to be found in the loft. This was a perfect way to simulate, race season shipping conditions. Everyone should follow this practice, as soon as possible.

Don’t begin getting them accustomed to the training baskets just a few weeks before they start racing, as it causes stress. You can begin training while they are on the dark. Should the pigeons be hit by E-Coli, then this will soon be something you’ve got out of the way. Getting an E-Coli problem just before or during the races is obviously something we try to aviod.
Increasing day length.
We all want to fly well with our youngsters. That’s why we are prepared to manipulate nature by using the darkening system, that is shorter and longer day length, when needed.

There are different opinions about giving extra light. I know a number of fanciers who benefit from it, and just as many who do not want to repeat this ever again. I cannot determine whether or not mistakes were made. But one thing is absolutely true: it makes the pigeons exquisitely beautiful and smooth.

It increases their desire to fly. The covert feathers are retained to the end of the racing season. This offers the advantage that the young pigeons can start and end all flights with optimal plumage. If you opt to increase the day-length, you can start on the longest day of the year.

In fact, we are trying to retain the light hours of the longest day.  Actually, we are not extending the summer, but we are shifting it. The pigeons were kept “in the winter” for a long time, and now, summertime is finally here, due to our manipulation.

We should also keep in mind that the pigeons will be eating a lot more. For a two by two-meter loft, you need a high frequency fluorescent true light bulbs. The best true light tubes have high UV CRI – RA values, the sun’s value is rated at 100.

The best true light tube I know at the moment has a value 98% sunlight:  Philips Master TL-D90 Graphica 36 watt/950 RA98. It’s best to mount them at least 800 mm up to a 1 meter away from the pigeon’s perches. There are also true light bulbs that can put into a fitting, but they don’t UV (ultraviolet light), so they don’t have the same hormonal effect for our pigeons.

If the lights are turned of at night, don’t let this happen suddenly. You can use a dimmer to switch of the light gradually. You can also apply emergency lighting. The emergency lighting goes on when the timer switches of the light.

The pigeons then know “what time it is” and they will go to their nest boxes for the night. After 45 minutes it should be dark. When the race season ends, begin reducing the light again, so the moult can start.
Stress can cause a blockage of the small intestine with it’s consequences. Most complaints occur during the period just before and during the first races. E-Coli, should be considered a “stress disease”.

Therefore, you should feed light and bring the ph. value of the intestines down with, for example skimmed yogurt, skimmed quark, buttermilk and some apple cider vinegar. The bad intestinal bacteria hate that and they are less likely to spread.

You can start with the training at a few kilometers from the loft. Then increase the distance to 5 km and 10 km to 20 km gradually. It is important always toss them from different point, so the pigeon get to know the area around the loft .

You should avoid training when there is an Easterly wind. Our pigeons are always raced from a southern direction, so it is wise to focus on that. The weather should always be good.

You should certainly not do any training when it is foggy. Begin as early as possible training and educating the young pigeons.  If E-Coli strikes, you will have more than enough time to get them over it and back on the road.

When the young pigeons have fully developed, we can feed them a lighter mix. In part (1), I mentioned a nice combination of feeds. Today, there are mixes on the market made especially for young pigeons.

It is certainly important to select a mixture with a lot of variation. Furthermore, there should be sufficient fats and not too many legumes in the feed.

More help with the prevention of E-Coli:
To prevent E-Coli, we should pay close attention on a daily basis. If they stop listening and if it becomes difficult to get them into the loft, watch out . It is also important to watch closely when the pigeons have finished their meal in the evening and when they are sitting in their nest boxes. If there is one that (almost) has to puke, take it away immediately and set that pigeon apart.
Giving elderberries or medication?
When the weather gets warmer, we can start adding elderberry juice to the feed or to the drinking water. In the “experiences of a fancier”, Willem van Wezel has devoted a lot of attention to the effects of elderberry juice. André Christiaans has also written about this in the pigeon magazine “De Duif”.

In a subsequent article (npoorgaan), a doctor accused the author of quackery. For such people, only the scientific evidence is relevant.

These people very conveniently forget that the vast majority of drugs (90%) only help 30 to 50% of the patients. The biggest manufacturer of pills, the British pharmaceutical company Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK), has recognized that many drugs don’t work for majority of people on them. Allen Roses, the vice president of the GSK branch that focuses on genetic research, admitted this, some time ago in the British newspaper “The Independent”. According to that newspaper, this statement is an open secret within the pharmaceutical industry, but it was the first time that a top executive of such a company openly admitted it.

Drugs to combat Alzheimer’s, only help one third of the patients and only one quarter of cancer patients benefit from the drugs they are prescribed.
F. Lekkerkerk, the Chairman of the Dutch Board for the Evaluation of Medicines agrees with Roses. For Alzheimer’s, the effect is much lower (between 4 and 12%).

Medicines for depression are only effective for 20 to 30% of the patients. However, the still claim that medications are important, after all, you might be one of the lucky ones. And then, the medical advocates have the nerve to tell us that we are all wrong with products like elderberries? Should I even bother?

The elder has a slightly bitter and sour taste. The berry contains lots of vitamin A, potassium, amino acids, vitamin B1 and niacin. This last substance stimulates digestion, it relieves gastrointestinal complaints, and it has a good effect on general health.

Usually, the first outbreaks of E-Coli begin in May. In my opinion, it is useful to start adding elderberries to feed in this period. You can read more about the use of elderberries in the article: Old and new(s)

Vitamin C tablets.
Just before the next possible outbreak of E-Coli, vitamin C can be helpful. You can administer one or two vitamin C tablets to any pigeon beginning to show early symptoms.

This stimulates their immune system, and the pigeons are getting some acids. This has a positive effect on the ph level in their intestines and this is something that the “bad” germs dislike.

The probiotic world has evolved much further than we sometimes think. Some big companies are eagerly looking for opportunities to control pathogenic bacteria.

We should not always think in the direction of beneficial bacteria. Nowadays, there are alternatives that are very useful. We are running a number of tests, with a group of fanciers. I will keep you informed of the results.