Many of the below reminders are based upon racing starting in early September so please adjust your schedule accordingly!
Modified light system is used! Reminder if not already please vaccinate for PMV & Pox.
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 before pulling. Crate them up get them excited and hot then pull the flights straight out not on an angle that could cause damage to the follicle. Temperature of a normal pigeon is 108 degrees, so by crating them on a hot day this helps the blood move quicker and easier to pull flights. Usually pull the last flights 9th & 10th. After this return them to the loft and let them get accustom to flying up to the perch with only 8 flights. Optional tail feathers can be pulled. I do this by pulling ever other one (Alternate) and then when 3/4ths of the new flights are grown out I pull the other 6 tail feathers. You now will shut them down for a month to grow in the new feathers.
Lights would be used if you have them to extend the day light again helping the new flights. I would recommend at the end of the day so the birds wake up to natural sun light, this doesn’t play with there minds too much. I would set a timer to go off at 11:00 pm “You can play with nature to much and it will give you a reverse action.”
A loft with attached aviary would be best but an enclosed landing board will work. Some build a PVC pipe type temporary aviary with a flexible plastic net over the top and attach to the front of the loft. This gives them the sun light and exercise area to help expedite the molt with lots of fresh air. Remove temporary aviary before releasing them again.
During this time baths at least once a week is a must with a feather type cleanser is best. Feed them well but don’t over feed during this time. Before turning out the birds again, the need to get some of the fat off of them is crucial. Need enough speed to get a way from the predators. Barley is a good tool at this time!
To help with the molt use Herbots Methio Forte or Med Pet pre-molt at least every other day. I would add brewer’s yeast to the feed along with a wheat germ or your favorite oil. 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 is very good at about a 1/3 mixture to your regular mix. Another item used is Vita Mineral. I use on the feed dry. Only certain brands are a fine enough powder to attach without oil, such as Van Hee and Jedds vita mineral brands. 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 clump together, it should be just enough to apply the mineral to cover the seed and the seeds to separate. I’ve tried a Gem product named The Pax on the feed also with good results during this time. Amino acids are highly recommended at this time also speeds up the molt. Herbots has an Amino and another is A-Lyte American made also used at this time. Remember at least once a week a general vitamin is given on feed or water. Change the grit at least every other day. Smaller receptacles and change often is recommended. A rule to remember is “Bring the outside in.” Minerals, grits, pick stone, vegetables, carrot corn, mineral salts and such. Five Star grit from Jedds or the Vita King Container bucket is also very good. I mix with the feed.
Now this was my given every year in July and August was to give them a treatment for Malaria (Haemoproteus) and I would do this religiously these months at 10 days each time with about a three week interval in between, using in the old days Atabrine and currently Med Pet Primaquin product. Mosquitoes and Pigeon flies carry this blood issue and I’ve found that with treating always enhances my birds. After each treatment I would use Red Cell or another blood packing product for a few days.
In conclusion, 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 guide line 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 the birds on an everyday basis. 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.
Yours in the sport,