We are banding youngsters

Yesterday and today 17 youngsters were banded. That’s half of the first round. Another round in the breeding loft should hatch the middle of next week. Smooth sailing so far. Almost to the point where you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. Anyway now that we  have the first youngsters banded I can begin training them next week, but only if the weather is nice. Won’t take them to far, they are kind of young yet. All kidding aside though, I can’t wait for the winter to end and the new season to begin. I’m itching to go.

Really nice day here, 11° C as I’m writing this, the 4 inches of snow we had at the beginning of the week, is all gone . Had the bath pans out this morning and all the birds dove in. Bath’s are one of those little things, a small detail that is easily overlooked, yet I think very important to the overall health and well being of our feathered athletes. At least once a week, is what we aim for here at our lofts. It is surprising how readily they bathe, even in colder weather. I’m not talking about -20° C that would be a bit extreme, but -1 or so on a calm day, they readily jump in and splash all the water out of the bath pan. Sick pigeon won’t bathe, so if your birds readily bathe you can be sure they are feeling just fine.

The pairs pumping youngsters have been switched over to a breeding mix, we use the Beyers Starter, and we give them all the grit, Beyers Deli mix and pickstone they want. They are waiting for it in the morning and often the grit pots have  to be refilled in the late afternoon. My philosophy when it comes to mineral is, if they want it and they eat it, they must need it. There is also a generous amount of Beyers Treat Seed and local Hemp added to the grit pot daily. They are also provided with a big handful per 10 pigeons or so of the Versele-Laga Success corn IC+ pellets daily while they are pumping, it is available locally (Moore’s Bird Feed).

Other than the feed we make sure to keep an eye on the drinkers and refill them when required, they do require more water while they are raising the babies. Twice a week we add the recommended amount of Beyers Herba Zyma to the drinking water, it’s a tonic and acidifier.  The feed has probiotics, prebiotics and immune system stimulants such as beta-glucans added with olive oil used as the sticking agent several times a week. There are many of these types of products on the market and most pigeon supply houses sell them. They are not products that make a big difference to your pigeons overnight. They require a longer period of time too make a difference on the overall health and condition of your pigeons. Definitely an alternative to the frequent use of antibiotics, during the racing season. Don’t think I am against antibiotic use in our pigeons, if there are health problems, it would be irresponsible and cruel to our pigeons if didn’t use them when needed but hopefully with a veterinarian looking over your shoulder. We as a sport must begin think about antibiotic resistance before it’s too late.