Not medicating young birds is probably the ideal scenario in
your own loft, however in a one loft futurity not medicating the young birds at
all is probably not a practicable idea. In my 8 year experience of running
a one loft futurity I have found that once I started accepting over 100 birds
the health problems started to grow disproportionately and when it reached the
200 bird mark dealing with health issues became a real challenge. Now, I
expect at least 20% of the birds to go through some form of illness. Some
sickness in what could be described as a "viral and bacterial jungle" is
inevitable. My task is to create an environment for the birds that will
not aggravate this situation but to help them develop a resistance to the
greatest challenge they will ever have to experience.
One loft derbies are growing in popularity yearly. They
are springing up all over Canada, which is a good thing because I believe that
they may help save our great sport. Part of the selection process in the
search of finding the best pigeons to send to these futurities is to select those that have ability to deal with the stress of relocation but most of all to
cope with being thrown in a "pathogenic nightmare". Regardless of the
challenges that face these babies my goal is always to limit the amount of
medication used and still achieve the best racing results. I firmly believe that in
the long run this practice will be best for our sport. However, most fanciers
send their birds to futurities to fly the race schedule successfully and not to
have them succumb to disease before
racing begins. Only a few select young birds bred by pigeon fanciers in
Canada are sent
to futurities. Most are flown at the club level and are not exposed to
other young birds until they are more mature and disease resistant.
Sending young birds to one loft futurities at a very young age can be considered
an unusual circumstance for these select few candidates. Some
precautionary measures would be prudent in this case. Therefore after all
the birds have arrived a 5 in 1 treatment for canker, coccidiosis, worms and
respiratory ailments will be administered.
It is impossible to keep a loft totally free of
pathogens and probably not advisable to do so. I believe that to a
limit, "kids have to play in the dirt" to grow up to be healthy adults.
partial deep litter system will be used. A mixture of shavings, wood
pellets and dry
pigeon droppings will be left under the perches and turned daily. However,
all other areas will be scraped twice a day. Stable
Boy (100% Karbonyte) will be added to the litter and spread throughout the loft
regularly to keep it dry. An added benefit of this product is it will
neutralize ammonia given off by droppings. I have used it in my stock
lofts and it has worked very effectively.
The birds will be let out for the first time during the 3rd
week of May. Hopefully by this time the hawks will have decided to nest
elsewhere because of not finding an easy meal around the loft during their
migration. This year I have spotted several Goshawks flying in the area.