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I collect smooth pebbles off a salt water beach. There are places the pebbles collect at the base of large rocks. The size ranges from slightly bigger than a grain of sand to a little bigger than a pea. I bake the pebbles on a tray in the oven at degrees for ten minutes to kill bacteria, let cool and feed to the pigeons.

These beach pebbles also contain shell fragments, trace salts and minerals. Secret 10 Not all yellow in a pigeons throat is canker. Fine lines of yellow could be an ornithosis or some sort of respiratory problem. If your canker treatment does not seem to work maybe you should be treating with doxicycline. Remember eyes, nose, ears, and throat are all inter related. Secret 11 The most important meal after a workout is the first meal. This applies to athletes and animals. When your pigeons return home from a tough race they need rich feed with plenty of oil seeds in front of them free choice. They will eat what is needed to recover.

By feeding rich feed your pigeons will recover very fast. Secret 12 When our pigeons return home from a race they drink our special blend of water additives to assist in recovery.

They won't tell you why it's always their racing pigeons that win all the money!

They will bounce right back on this mix. Secret 13 Apple Cider Vinegar is one of the best natural additives that can be given daily to the pigeons. We give one ounce to the gallon nearly every day of the year. We also mix in vitamins and probiotics several times per week. For a natural product to have benefits it must be used regularly over a long period of time. Apple Cider Vinegar makes the gut acidic.

Bad bacteria does not thrive well in an acid environment. The good bacteria and normal pigeon gut bacteria love the acid Apple Cider environment. We usually buy the gallon container at the super market. If you only have a handful of pigeons the Apple Cider Vinegar sold at the health food stores is better. All winter and the entire breeding season we give the apple cider vinegar every single day. We do not use the vinegar as much during the race season. I am too worried to that the race team will not be hydrated enough if I put the vinegar in the water. When I do use it during racing it is in the water for just the morning feeding.

Used over the long term Apple Cider Vinegar has positive effects on the pigeons. Secret 14 Please do not feed Popcorn to your pigeons. Popcorn should not be included in any pigeon feed mix. Secret 15 We do not medicate youngsters in the first many months of their lives. One sick youngster does not mean it is time to medicate the entire team. Our young bird team will not be medicated for anything until they are in the racing season and maybe not even medicated in the racing season. Do yourself and your pigeons a favor by keeping them as natural as possible.

Seem to have an antibiotic effect on the pigeons but is all natural. For pigeons to stay healthy naturally they cannot lack anything. We give apple cider vinegar just about daily along with numerous mineral cups, grits, probiotic several times per week, vitamins two or three times per week, garlic etc. If the birds are not lacking anything, their immune system works optimally.

Vitamin deficiencies do not effect the pigeons nearly as much as mineral deficiencies. Secret 17 There is only one type of oil that should be used on our feed for the pigeons. That oil is Flax Seed Oil. Never chocolate whey because chocolate is poisonous to pigeons.

Tuesdays and Thursdays during racing and breeding will be enough for a positive effect. You may wonder why supply houses do not sell Flax Seed Oil in their oil mixes??? Flax Oil is more expensive and must be kept refrigerated. Use the best oil for top results. Consider using Flax Oil to make your own salad dressing or just take a tablespoon a day right off the spoon.

Brain and cardiovascular benefits are endless. Flax Oil has a mild nut flavor. You can buy Flax Oil at the Health Food store and even in the refrigerated section of supermarkets. Secret 18 Need to up the protein during breeding? My pigeons would rather eat dog food over safflour.

I feel the rabbit pellet also helps with fertility and the droppings will be firm and black. We then try to monopolize the young produced from the pair by swapping eggs to foster parents. Maybe the racing results are not what we expected from the fostered out babies. Are we missing something? We know pigeon antibodies are passed to the young through milk. We always talk about the quality of this milk but never the quality and diversity of the antibodies in this milk.

Genetics plays a big factor in strong immune system. Exposure to pathogens many relatively harmless plays a big factor in the development of a strong immune system. Vaccines also play a major role in the strengthening of the immune system and increasing the immune response to pathogens. Is there something else? I have a theory that old pigeons have been exposed to many pathogens in their lifetime. What they lack in the quality of their milk may be enhanced by the quality and diversity of antibodies in this milk. Now to my first thought……Consider that champion breeders may be passing something other than genetics to their young.

Bottom line is mate the old breeder to a younger pigeon. Let them raise the young and send these out to the big futurity. The youngsters from the old pigeon may have an advantage with a better immune system. The common theory is the older pigeon has less quality pigeon milk than the younger pigeon. I am not sure if any studies have been done on this. It could be older pigeons have less vitality due to age and interest to pump such milk to their young.

If you have a choice let your old champion pigeons raise their own youngsters. Use these youngsters for breeding. Why not give yourself every opportunity for success. We see many late breds from the old superstars go on to be exceptional breeders. Usually it is the late breds that are actually raised by the old breeder. Nearly all of us in the Baby Boomer generation were bottle fed babies.

I feel many health issues we face in our adulthood could be connected to being bottle fed. This is very tough to prove but worth considering. This salt is loaded with endless trace minerals. Use just a pinch at a time or change regularly because salt will attract moisture. Minerals will stay dry. The product contains a combination of grits, vitamins, minerals and supplements.

It comes in two size buckets 16lb or 22lb. This mix contains, sea grits and shells, small round stones, red grit, tiny mineral pellets, mineralized seeds, pink mineral pellets, B Vitamins, trace elements and assorted beneficial products for the pigeons. This is a must for every serious pigeon fancier. I give daily in small containers and move the leftover from the day before to another pot. This produce is now called Ganus Minerals. Secret 23 Some of the top Belgians treat every new pigeon they buy with ten days of Baytril and give a vaccination for salmonella on the 10th day.

This protocol makes sense before adding a pigeon to a salmonella free colony. My suggestion would be to treat for canker upon arrival followed by worming with Moxidectin. Secret 24 Leave the lights on for 24 hours per day for your first two rounds during the breeding season. Your breeders should have feed in front of them at all times. The breeders can feed the babies throughout the night while the day length is short. Your results will improve! Secret 25 The wonders of Oregano.

Five years ago my 90 lb German Shepherd could not stop vomiting and also had and intestinal issue. I brought him to the Vet and expected a big dose of antibiotics. The Vet gave the dog a tube of Oregano Paste. The dog nearly instantly started to improve. He was fully recovered in a few hours. I have thought about this for several years wondering how oregano would work on our pigeons. Recently I saw an oregano based water soluble pigeon product on the market.

Can be bought at www. The solution is gel like and you must really mix it well but it does dissolve easily. I have been using Avian Solution for several years now and feel it is the best natural product on the market. Secret 26 Young birds can spread any health problems in the bath water. Many lofts notice that shortly after giving the young pigeons a bath health problems begin.

I would suggest adding one teaspoon of Virkon S to a gallon of bath water for each bath. This should eliminate the spread of disease and has a nice cleaning effect on the feathers. Secret 27 Snake Problems can drive even the most careful fancier crazy. Snake can enter into the loft and eat eggs and youngsters. If the youngster is too big to swallow the snake will just kill the pigeon.

Sold at Home Depot the netting can be placed around the bottom of the loft and over any opening. The product works like Gil Netting on fish. The snake gets caught in the net trying to get through. If the snake does get through the net to feed it will certainly get caught on the way out. Secret 28 When selecting breeders you can bring in cocks that are not physically perfect if the pedigree and bloodline is outstanding.

You must always pair these less than perfect cocks to perfect in every way breeding hens. Many of the babies will have the physique of the mother along with half the genetics of the sire. Mating physically perfect cocks onto less than perfect hens usually leads to less the perfect babies. The great lofts have great hens. The super hens will compensate for many flaws in the cocks.

One bag will cover about 5' by 7' of floor. They break down over time but are really not dusty. The also make a super compost for the garden. Use the hardwood pellet designed for burning. The pellet used in wood stoves seem to hold up better than the soft wood pellet designed for bedding. Secret 30 If you are not able to clean your loft constantly and do not live in a very dry climate a deep litter system is the best system for keeping pigeons.

The birds are very comfortable on deep litter, the loft stays extremely dry and the pigeons stay in better condition. All beneficial to keeping healthy happy pigeons. This fresh bedding will change the atmosphere of the loft to a very positive state. You will immediately notice clean feet, clean feather and a bounce up in health. Secret 31 If you ship pigeons through the express mail in the post office or even by airline you should hydrate the babies as you place them in the box. An infant bulb syringe made of rubber in a tear drop shape will make this easy.

About a half a bulb of water in each youngster as you place them in the shipping box will fight dehydration during the trip. This past week July 15th I bought some rotating mechanical Dove Decoys and wind activated spinning wing Dove Decoys to place around the loft. The decoys go out when the birds are out. I am hoping when the hawks attack the young birds they may go for the easy target and hit a decoy over hitting one of the youngsters. Hawk attacked a Dove Decoy the other day. I do not know. Maybe the hawk will realize those pigeons at McLaughlin Lofts are extreme hard and tough to eat and leave the pigeons alone?

We have witnessed numerous hawk attacks on the decoys. My top breeders are raising their sixth and seventh round of young feeding, driving, moulting their bodies etc and still act and handle like they did before breeding season. The cocks are highly active and are snapping their wings with that Pop Pop Pop sound bouncing in and out of the flight pens.

I attribute this health and condition at the end of breeding season not only to great pigeons but great care. Every mineral supplement is available to the breeding pigeons at all times. We breed right though the high heat and humidity of the summer with no ill effect. High quality pigeons combined with outstanding care should not show stress at the end of the breeding season.

It is amazing to see yearling breeders mature and grow flawlessly while the entire time they are raising young. We bred until November and raised nine rounds from some of our stock pigeons with no detrimental effects. Some vets even claim they have less problems with Circo also. In the past I would vaccinate my youngsters for PMV about six to eight weeks before young bird season. The year I vaccinated the youngsters at weaning. I wean the babies very young.

How To Race Pigeons - True Racing Secrets Revealed!

Boston has had major issues with Adeno-virus this season and McLaughlin Lofts has not had any problems. If there is a correlation between vaccinating for PMV at 3 weeks of age and a lessor incidence of PMV, it is well worth a try. You must vaccinate anyway. We start with new syringes and load the entire dose PMV vial into the syringes. It is very easy to just grab a loaded syringe each time you wean a baby. Secret 35 If you are shipping babies to one loft races use more space and larger boxes than needed.

Birds that are hurt during shipping never amount to anything. Secret 36 Have some of your better pigeons not performed well this past season? It may be best to have your vet test the race pigeons for Pigeon Malaria. If you have seen pigeon flies there is a good chance you loft has pigeon malaria.

Moxidectin Quest wormer will kill the flies if the flies bite a recently wormed pigeon. Secret 37 If hawks are a serious problem in the spring for the old birds this tip may help. Most pigeons are lost to hawks when they are out of shape and released for exercise around the loft. Do not release for exercise before the start of training. We at McLaughlin Lofts get the pigeons weight down with a mixture of barley and rabbit pellets for maybe two weeks before training.

The object is road training so why let the hawks chase the pigeons around the lofts. Train them short and get them right in. Once the pigeons are conditioned moderately from the road training they can be loft flown. At least they have a fighting chance if loft flown in condition than loft flown out of condition.

For starters eggs can only be repaired if the shell is cracked or slightly broken but the inner membrane is intact. If the inner membrane is not pierced the egg can be repaired. I have been repairing eggs with success for 40 years starting when I was a boy. One thing to keep in mind is, the chick pecks out of the egg along the bigger end. When repairing eggs you must try not to cover the area the chick must peck through. If you do need to cover a section of the dome the chick pecks through keep in mind it may be beneficial to remove your patch once the chick starts to hatch.

Now to how to repair an egg. In the old days we would cut a postage stamp to size and use this for a patch.

The adhesive is different and the stamp will not mold to the egg. I have been using plain white copy paper and have even used newspaper in an emergency. The secret is to cut the paper a little larger than the crack. Now place the paper on your tongue and keep it in your mouth for about five minutes.

The paper will be come very soft and pliable. The saliva is a great adherent and the paper will breath identical to the egg shell itself. After five minutes of the paper patch in your mouth place the paper on the crack and very gently smooth all the edges so the paper makes a complete seal on the egg shell. With warm breath blow on the patch until it starts to dry. Place the slightly damp patched egg back under the parent pigeon and it will finish drying under the parent. You will be amazed at the success rate of these patches. Keep in mind that the chick will have a tough time pecking through the patch so the patch can be removed once the hatching process begins.

Life finds a way and I have had chicks hatch when I expected them not to be able to hatch. Secret 39 Pigeon eggs once laid can be stored for several days and maybe even over a week at room temperature before the incubation process begins. You must place the egg on its side and make three or four half turns each day until you put the egg under a foster parent. If the incubation process has begun you cannot store the egg.

If the egg is freshly laid you can keep the egg until you have a foster pair ready. I am doing some experiments now on how long a fertile egg can be kept and how much care the egg actually needs. I turned the egg only once a day and the temperature ranged from 45 degrees as a low to about 65 as a high. I will keep experimenting. Secret 40 Dust in a pigeon loft may be detrimental to both the pigeons and the owner. The pigeon dust is composed primarily of bloom which is a powdered feather lubricant that prevents the wear from the feathers rubbing together.

An easy way to remove dust from the loft is to thoroughly clean and then use a vac to get into the hard to reach places.

the secret to feeding racing pigeons before a race

Once clean here is the little secret. Pick a nice windy day and remove all the pigeons. Put on a good dusk mask, open every window and door and use a leaf blower in the loft until all the dust has been blown out of the loft. The loft will be like new after this treatment. If you really want to finish the job spray the entire clean and dust free loft with Virkon S disinfectant.

Your loft will be like new and a successful season will follow. Secret 41 It is much better to wean babies a little younger than a little older. The younger babies tend to learn to eat faster and this is easier on the parents if they are not pumping babies an extra few days longer. At weaning, I vaccinate for PMV and dip their beaks in the water. The next day if they are not eating I will pump them up with a pellet soup from a large tip syringe.

I do not want the babies to stress so I make sure they are not hungry.


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By day two after weaning they are always eating and drinking well. Feel free to dip beaks in the water to introduce the water. Some of the most determined and successful pigeons do not like change and this counts for babies a weaning. Do not think that because a baby does not want to eat or drink immediately after weaning that this baby is not a good one. The great pigeons do not like change and are more apt to sulk and be effected by change. This counts for babies also. Nature will tell you when a pigeon is old enough to breed. If a hen mates and lays she is mature enough to breed.

Breeding young hens or cocks is not detrimental to the pigeons in anyway. The first two eggs a young hen lays are pure gold. If she is ever going to raise a one in a million champion it will probably be from one of the first two eggs she lays in her life. Secret 43 In my individual breeding pens I feed pellets to the mated pairs until the young are being fed pellets for two days. Once they have transitioned from pigeon milk to pellets I add in a high protein high fat grain mix and keep pellets and the grain mix in front of them at all times.

I feel it is easier on a baby pigeons digestive system to go from pigeon milk to pellets and then to grain. Nice smooth transition for optimal growth and no stress. Keep the minerals and grits in front of them at all times. In the breeding pens that have more than one pair at different stages I keep all the pellets they want in one feeder and add a grain mix to the other feeder several times per day.

Secret 44 I heard a great tip at a seminar last fall. Weir said nearly all adult pigeons carry Herpes Virus. Youngsters must be exposed to built immunity. Problem is they have their parents immunity when they are being reared.

Start Breeding Seriously Quality Birds

Once weaned they do not get exposed if they are kept with only other young pigeons. Here is the tip. When you wean your babies keep a couple adult pigeons in the section. I have two old dropper hens that live with my youngsters. Exposure to herpes virus when there is no stress leads to an immune response and immunity.

Exposure to herpes when they are stressed from shipping, a new loft, a few days missed feed or even extreme heat can lead to sick babies. Better to expose your young to adult pigeons when there is not any stress. They build immunity and they will not ever have an issue. It can be bought on the web and diluted to the proper dose. Seems to work very well on lice. I give one quick spray under each wing and by the vent. The least amount of strong insecticides we use the better.

When I was a boy my father used to give me DDT, Chlordane and numerous other pesticides for minor insect problems.

I have wanted to stay away from harsh chemical ever since. Please do not confuse Pyrethrim with all the similar sounding chemical versions. Since Jacob Poortvliet lives at his present address in Surhuizum. From here he drives 28 pairs of racers to unlimited highs and turns many eggs of his 60 breeding pairs into cracks. About youngsters are bred for racing. The 56 acers are entered on double widowhood rotation system. First the hens are trained, the cocks walk to the hens loft with perches , the hens walk in the cock loft with breeding boxes , get some food, the cocks are trained, the hens walk back to their own section and the circle is round.

Twice a day training, with the hens training just a bit longer and harder. Sometimes 1,5 up to 2 hours per training. Youngsters can train practically whole day, sometimes even night and day. At night Jacob lets them out, they can come in themselves and the loft remains opened so they can train early in the morning again! When the darkening is stopped that is. The youngsters are darkened from medium April up to end May, 6 to 7 weeks in total. In the morning they must go outside and an obligatory training of 1,5 up to 2 hours is at program, also for the youngsters on nests. The rest of the day they are free to train.

Old pigeons are not darkened. Pairing Breeders as well as racers are paired half December. The racers bring up the youngsters until they are about two and a half weeks olds. The hen and one youngster are than placed on the youngsters loft and the other youngster remains at the cock. The hens can not lay a second time. Medium March the racers are paired again, they get to breed a maximum of 10 days on the eggs and are than put on the widowhood system.

Like this the racers keep their feathers longer, it takes a long time before the first pinion is thrown. Beginning of July most of them only threw one or two pinions. Not far, the most important thing is gaining rhythm. Jacob believes in the importance of just tossing the cock once and the hens once, so they find the partner when returning home. With good weather in the early season, the pigeons are tossed on Thursday or Wednesday in between the races, to get the extra rhythm and to learn the widowhood system for the yearlings.

Youngster are tossed minimally 10 times. On about 10 km, just as long until they come home quickly. First than the distance can be enlarged up to 40 km. In between the first four races they are trained on km to become more and more experienced. Starting July they are lighted extra from 5. The late tour season means training young and old birds together whole day. The mixtures I use for my racers - old and young - are: Furthermore candy seeds, peanuts, grind and hemp. These mixtures I feed in the racing season; beginning Sunday morning and my starting point is basketing on Friday.

When this is Tuesday; all comes one day earlier. Wednesday morning all 4 mixtures in equal quantities, that is G, S, C and K added with some candy seeds, peanuts and bit hemp. Wednesday night, Tuesday and Friday morning mix S and K added with some candy seeds, peanuts and a bit hemp, but some more than the beginning of the week. The beginning of the week all must be eaten, but not too poor.

Friday morning the youngsters get electrolytes over the food.