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If you race well and write in pigeon magazines it is kind of normal that fellow sportsmen often approach you with questions of all sorts.
Trying to learn more about the ins and outs of the sport one practises is good.
Novices however often do not have the guts or feel shy to ask as they are afraid they ask stupid or silly questions.
They should not worry about that!
There are no stupid questions; it is the answers that may be stupid.
Especially at seminars I am often surprised to hear about the numerous questions that are on people’s minds.
One of the reasons is that some champions have the habit of doing mysterious after a successful race.
That is a bad habit.
Fanciers that are new in the sport might think they will never be successful as there are secrets they will never learn about and might quit.
What they should know is there are good birds, good lofts and good handlers but no secrets; just little things to bear in mind.
It is the task of the pigeon press to make that clear, to open eyes and to help.
In this article again I am going to answer questions that are often asked me, at least if f I am able to answer them.

‘While my birds were on eggs I had them tested by a vet. ‘Nothing wrong’ was his conclusion so I why should I medicate I wondered.
But when the babies were about 10 days old they got skinny, their dung was watery and smelt. They suffered from canker, which was for sure. How could such a thing happen? Was the vet a goofy, not capable for his job?’
Things like these are not strange and one should not always blame the vet.
Finding canker (trichomonas) is so simple that a child can do the job but… when slimes are examined under a microscope it is quite possible that no trichomonas is found whereas pigeons are still infected as it is hidden.
When pigeons have little babies in the nests they are more vulnerable as those little flagellates seem to feel good in the crop milk.
As for canker one should always be on the alert especially in hot weather and when the birds were in the basket for a longer period of time.
The reason is that those flagellates ‘feel better’ in warmer water than in cold water.
Nowadays products based on ronidasole are the most popular.
As for ronidasole it is better to give something more than prescribed than something less. In case you medicate you should do it well.
The canker must be eliminated for 100 percent. If some flagellates survive it will be the strongest of course.
When you medicate again and do not eliminate the disease completely it is again the strongest flagellates that survive and after some time you yourself have created a form of canker that is so strong that it is almost impossible to get rid of it.

‘The eggs of one of my breeding pairs often get broken. Is this because the shell is too poor or does the cock sit too heavily on its eggs?
It is quite possible that the shells are too thin as some hens do lay eggs with weak breakable shells indeed.
It is also possible the cock breeds ‘too heavy’.
To solve this problem you can either put the eggs under another pair or put some dry sand in the nest bowl.
Then the underground is less hard and most probably your problem is solved; eggs won’t break any more.
Of course watch out for straw that is too hard.

In Holland and Belgium it is obliged to have pigeons needled against PMV.
Without a document from a vet in which he states the birds were vaccinated you are not allowed to race.
In the past fanciers used La Sota to prevent an outbreak of PMV but that is not accepted yet by the government.
Now I have heard about fanciers that still use La Sota in order to boost the condition. Does La Sota improve the condition indeed?’
Yes it does; Many champions use La Sota indeed before a race they want to win.
They do not give the birds water for one day, then they put one tablet La Sota in the drinker (1,5 liter). As the birds will be thirsty they will drink immediately and will put their heads deep in the water, eyes and ears as well which is important.
And as I said, the condition may rise dramatically indeed after that.
It is important that the pigeons drink immediately the water with La Sota in it as La Sota expires real fast, after an hour or so it is not effective any more.
After the first out breaks of paramyxo in the 80-ies it was said that La Sota protected the birds as well as an injection but this turned out to be false.

‘From a great champion I got 2 babies, both checked but their parents are red!
Was I cheated?
Of course I know pigeons may do ‘sins’ as well as humans but the owner told me this was impossible as there were no other birds in the section where this pair was at. What do you think?
You need not be cheated. A red cock and a red hen may produce checked babies indeed. It maybe handy to know that if such birds have a red baby in the nest it is a cock always.
Another rule says that a blue cock mated to a blue hen will give blue babies only.
I am not so sure about this any more.
It was Klak himself who told me he had bred white flights off of 2 blue birds and later on I heard the same from others.
Moreover we sometimes say too easily that a pigeon is blue.
A little white spot next to the eye or a third band in the wing is enough to say a bird is not pure blue.

‘People often say that you may forget a good results if birds that are raced on widowhood have ‘made love’ just before basketing. Is that so?’
No it is not.
Many fanciers that race widowhood (or babies with separated sexes) let the birds together before basketing and I know how scared some are those will mate. They think birds are not motivated any more to rush home, or that they lost energy but they are wrong.

‘What do you think about glass in the roof? Is it to be advised or not?’
It depends on the climate. In hot weather when the sun is out there is no better means to destroy the condition than glass, especially glass in the roof.
The reason why is simple:
When the sunrays fall into the loft with an angle of 90 degrees it will ‘burn out’ the oxygen.
In bad weather however or in countries that are not sunny a little sun may do the birds a lot of good.
Lack of sunlight is bad for pigeons and humans.
Also the location of the loft is a factor that should be considered.
Whether the front faces south or west may make a great difference.
In other words; if glass in the roof is useful or not depends on extern circumstances.
As for the loft for youngsters I would advise to watch out for glass.
Young birds often have problems with the eyes and it is a well known fact that too much light is real bad for the eyes of both pigeons and humans.
Alert fanciers must have noticed that pigeons like to find a spot in the dark to build their nests. They feel more comfortable in dark places.
Remember that the ancestors of the modern racing pigeons used to live in caves.

‘I know about a long Distance champion that sells many birds to Taiwan.
I have nothing against that but it is said that over there fanciers only race youngsters. Everybody knows that the off spring of long distance birds do not perform as babies so I do not understand.
it is a fact indeed that real long distance birds are poor racers as a baby, they need to mature, as it seems.
On the other hand one should realise that circumstances in Taiwan are much harder than in Holland and Belgium and therefore they make a much lower speed on their way home from a race.
Over there birds have to overcome heat, humidity, mountains, valleys and nowadays the sea as well.
So smart and fast birds are not enough for people over there. They need to be strong as well.

In American magazines one can often read that Dutch birds are better at long distance and Belgian birds are better at short distance. Is that a fact?
There is some truth in it but one should not think too extreme.
Some Belgian fanciers race well at short distance with Dutch birds and some Dutch fanciers race well at long distance with Belgian birds.
But the results of International races such as Barcelona clearly show that in general Dutch birds do far better at long distance indeed.
That’s why so many Japanese prefer Dutch birds and more and more Belgians are buying pigeons in Holland now, something that was unthinkable some decades ago.

Which vitamins are the best for pigeons?
In my opinion healthy birds kept in a good loft and fed well do not need extra vitamins. Vitamins are only useful when birds are recovering from a disease, they will never turn your birds into winners.
Never ever did I notice a better condition after pigeons got vitamins.
In case you feel like giving vitamins always use a complex, never vitamin A, B, D, E and so on alone. That is risky business.