Article by: Greg McKnight Anaheim, California USA
Bring the outside in, which in this case would be minerals, grits, pick stone, vegetables, carrot corn, mineral salts and such.
Modified light system is used! Reminder, if you haven’t already, please vaccinate for PMV & POX. I know currently in America both products are not manufactured. La Sota for PMV can be substituted and Flowers of Sulphur in the grit should be used if you can’t locate a pox vaccine.
With this being one of the hottest months, I would pull flights and shut them down. Remember, when pulling flights, you don’t have to pre-cut & let dry beforehand if birds are on their 3rd flight. Crate them up, since this will get them excited and hot, then pull the flights straight out– not on an angle that could cause damage to their follicle. Temperature of a normal pigeon is 108 degrees, so crating them on a hot day helps the blood move quicker which then makes it easier to pull flights. I usually pull the last flights (ninth and tenth). After this, return them to the loft and let them get accustomed to flying up to the perch with only eight flights. Optional tail feathers can also be pulled and I do this by pulling every other one (alternate) and then when 3/4ths of the new flights are grown out, I pull the other six tail feathers. At this point, you should shut them down for a month to grow in the new feathers. Remember, one of the down sides to this is the flight is stunted about 3/8ths of an inch for the following old bird season. But most of our money races now are in the young bird series so you don’t leave anything to chance.
If you have lights, they should be used extend the day light which will help the new flights. I would recommend that at the end of the day so the birds wake up to natural sun light, this doesn’t play with there minds as much. I would set a timer to go off at 11:00 pm–you can’t play with nature too much as it will give you a reverse effect.
A loft with an attached aviary would be best but an enclosed landing board will also work. Some build a PVC pipe type temporary aviary with flexible plastic netting over the top and they attach it to the top of their loft. This gives them extra sun light and area for exercise to help expedite the molt with lots of fresh air. Lastly, you should remove temporary aviary before releasing them again.
During this time, baths at least once a week are a must– using a feather type cleanser is best. Feed them well, but don’t over-feed. Before turning out the birds again, they need to get some of the fat off of them (this is crucial since they need enough speed to get a way from the predators). Barley is a good food tool at this time!
To help with the molt use Herbots Methio Forte or MedPet Premolt 100 at least every other day. I would add brewer’s yeast to the feed along with a wheat germ or any of your favorite oils. Many on the market are good. Small seeds such as Candy Treat from Jedds are a great source of vitamins with oily seeds. Proteins are beneficial to the molt so peas are a good source for this. Breeder Protein Pack from Jedds, a 20.5% protein strength, is very good at about a 1/3 mixture to your regular mix. Another effective item that can be used is Vitamineral (I use on the feed dry). Only certain brands are a fine enough powder to attach without oil, such as Vanhee’s Van-Minvit and Jedds’ Red Racing Minerals. The others are best to give with oil or lemon juice attached. Remember, feed with oil shouldn’t be so much to have the feed/seed clump together–it should be just enough to apply the mineral to cover the seed and the seeds to separate. I’ve also tried a Gem product named GemThePax on the feed which gives exceptionally good results during this time.
Amino acids are highly recommended which speeds up the molt. Herbots Aminovit and A-Lyte Solution, which is American made, should also used at this time. Remember that general vitamins should be given at least once a week on feed or water. Also, change the grit at least every other day. Smaller receptacles and change is often recommended. A rule to remember is to “Bring the outside in” which in this case would be minerals, grits, pick stone, vegetables, carrot corn, mineral salts and such. I use Five Star Brand Grit from Jedds Avian Supply or the Vita King named Jovati special grit bucket which is also very good. I mix with the feed.
Now this was a given for me every year in July and August was to give them a treatment for Pseudo Malaria (Haemoproteus) since I live in California, USA with a higher temperatures in the summer months and more parasites so I would do this religiously these months at 10 day consecutive time frame, each time with about a three week interval in between. I started treating this in the year 1965 using in the old days Atabrine and currently MedPet’s Primaquin Solution. Mosquitoes and pigeon flies carry this blood issue and I’ve found that with treating always enhances my bird’s flying performances. After each treatment I would use Red Cell or another blood packing product for a few days. An old time product called Flowers of Sulphur is also good for prevention of pox and mixed in the grit. Now, keep in mind that most of these products can be purchased from many pigeon product companies, but I work at Jedds Bird Supply and know the product code numbers as mentioned in the above sentence. Search the websites for the best deals and check out the mailing costs when deciding to place an order.
Now this is the time to go on vacation and spend some important time with the family. This may be the only real long period you’ve got to do this. You can have someone take care of the birds with a guideline given, since they don’t have to exercise the birds. Enjoy yourself and forget about the birds. Focus on family, because after this time period you must remain focused on your birds in an everyday basis. I know the next statement is harsh but true. Nights and one day on the weekend usually is all you have for the family up until racing is complete. It is a very demanding hobby to perform at a high level without focus. Partnerships are highly valued.
Thank you all for your kind comments and my wish is that you gather useful information from my experiences over the last 50 years. The above picture is one of our Triple Crown winners in the San Diego race where he flew 3 races in one week (100-200-300 miles), winning big money. This is to give you some credentials of what I speak of. I truly appreciate your comments.
Yours in the Sport,