My Barcelona Dream Part 15
So the experiment a success or failure. To me it is neither as it is as it says on the tin ‘an experiment’. In all honesty there was more chance of failure with this one than there was of success. Completely disappointed I am but hat is pigeon racing for you. We take the hits regardless of the reasons and we move on. I have been thinking more and more about the right way to prepare these birds for the ultimate Barcelona International Race and although I do not want to lose or throw the birds away I do feel that constant experimentation will be a must in order to be successful. And so I will continue with the little experiments along the way with selected birds and carry on with the general approach for the majority. I think in this way I can at least get the birds to compete from France into Ireland.
So we are now back to ongoing plans. At present the old birds racing for next year are numbered about 15. To this there is at last count 70 young birds. There are a handful still to be weaned as mentioned in an earlier article. Those that are double grandchildren of Barcelona Birds or out of the Harvey lines. Other than that breeding is done and stock birds will be on pot eggs for the coming weeks until I separate the race birds and start going through them. I have to go through them for at least 13 young cocks will be moved to the stock lofts next year and also about 12 hens for the line breeding to carry the families down another generation.
This I hope will give a better hit rate for the performers. So with those numbers of yearlings leaving the race team it bring that brings it down to about 50 yearlings in the race team behind the birds that will become 2 year olds. Thinking about those numbers I think it will be ideal and will give me a good attempt at some further distances especially with the 2 year olds. These will be in one section with 12 next boxes and these numbers will be topped to 24 with yearlings that will then be another experiment for next year. The yearlings or at least some of them will be tested out to Poitiers at 585 miles to Dublin approx. I hope that one works out as well and it will certainly be interesting. The yearlings will be selected after the ones that are to go into the stock lofts for the season and they will be made up of birds from all the different lines housed in order to see if they can compete at such distances in to Ireland or not. A big ask for yearlings into Ireland but something that can be accomplished with the right birds. Again this is something I think is present in my lofts and something that will have to be tested on the road to Barcelona.
So it as at this time of year we sit back and relax as fanciers. Racing is all done, breeding is finished and it’s all about getting the birds through the moult in one piece. Something to consider is the stress youngsters have going through the moult. It is a heavy time for them and ensuring enough food and supplements in the form of grit and minerals is available is a must. Don’t forget that the youngsters of today will hopefully be the yearlings that do well next year and years after. In this regard it is important that they get as much looking after as the rest of the race team and stock birds. It is also a time of year for sickness to hit the lofts. It would normally surface as colds or dirty wattles as minor things but always be on the lookout for more serious illness that could destroy your hard work all year and you year next year.
When I go into the lofts I am constantly looking around and checking droppings and also on the listen for a bird that might be sneezing or have a one eyed cold. It is important because a simple infection within the lofts could easily ruin the whole team. Be always vigilant and don’t let it happen to you. Something I use regularly that helps to keep the spread of virus specifically is Virkon S. I know there is a lot going around about it as a product and it’s uses. I have to say I have been giving it to my birds regularly almost once a week for the past 4 years and have had no bad effects that I can see. The worst I have heard is that it can cause sterility in the birds. This is something I have not seen as yet. I am not saying it could not happen but when I started using it I did a bit of research myself on its use and also on the pack it gives the dilution numbers as well for animal drinking. For me I use slightly less than what is recommended. The dose I give is quater teaspoon to 5 litres of water. This I give to prevent the spread of viruses in the loft if there are any. Also important to not it is not a killer of the virus in this form. To kill the virus within the lofts the sterilising amounts should be used in a spray form and the lofts wet down well and allowed to dry. Whilst on the subject of treatments let me explain exactly how I do things.
For me treatment for diseases in the pigeons we keep, is like most feel, something that is all too common. I am not against treatments but am in favour of the right accurate treatment where required. I myself to not treat widespread in fact I have taken a much more laid back approach to treatment in the last 12 months. Last year I actually did not treat the birds for anything throughout the year as a flock except for 1 thing. Last November I did treat for worms so all birds within the lofts received this. Other than that there has been nothing in the flock treatments.
Again I have to stress I am not against treatment, it is an important tool for us as fanciers. It is my aim though never to treat as a flock unless absolutely necessary. If this is the case and I suspect something other than minor issues regarding health I will most likely get testing done. I have treated individuals through this year that I have noticed with a bad case of canker. This was done with Flagyl tablets. Other than that if I notice a bird that is off it is isolated for several days in order to give it the opportunity to recover itself. I have done this with 2 birds to date. I know fanciers feel that if birds get this bad that it is better to be rid however I feel that the bird deserves the opportunity to recover itself. If this does not happen within a week of isolation then the other option is considered. I have also made note of those that have been treated or isolated in order to see what they perform like next year. Or if they do not and they are lost early on it will give more indications. I also understand that most fanciers say it is a waste of time in giving the birds this kind of second chance however it is the way I have decided to carry on.
At least in the short term. I am extremely lucky that to date over the last few years I have had no major outbreaks. I suppose that can in part be put down to the fact that I have not really raced young birds for several years now and really do not intend to do it in the next few years on a competitive level as this is not what I am interested in. I have another idea for next year that I may pull in 20 youngsters or so for a project for a group I am involved with outside of pigeons. If I decide to go ahead with this I will in actual fact race those 20 or I could simple use the old bird season and the 24 or so for exactly the same project racing them through the program. I will decide that over the winter months.
The pictures are firstly a mug shot of yours truly. Just so those of you who do not know me can put a face to the writing. The next 2 are of the race cocks for next year and the stock cocks. Then we have the stock hens, and as you can see the moult is progressing as it does.
Something else I have started to do now is to make videos on the Dream saga and upload onto Youtube. Something a friend of mine does on a regular basis and something I think would be another tool for people to see. It will be the same for the videos as my writings. My views and experience and what I am doing in the most honest way I can. You will see the loft as it is on the day not as some people feel and should be cleaned and spotless for such things like public viewing. This is the link to the first video tour as it is I suppose,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OG7xxd_25Aw&t=3s have a look and feel free to drop me a line. I will continue through the winter an on with this showing from here on out everything I write about. Food, birds and what I am doing and why at any given time. I hope you are all enjoying the journey to date I certainly am and can tell you I would love to have some birds to attempt Barcelona in 2019, something that might just happen if I have a little luck along the next year and a half.
Until next time
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