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Help my babies do not train

"Help, my youngsters do not train"

You can only race youngsters successfully that train spontaneously round the loft. If they do not, they are not even fit for short training tosses.

In Holland and in Belgium most fanciers practise winter breeding. Late January their 1st round of the year put their first steps outside.  

Though some fanciers act differently today. To avoid the risk of being caught by birds of prey they only let those babies fly out for the first time when they are about 10 weeks old. Some old pigeons must help them to find the entrance of the loft.

Some fanciers only let their babies out when they are older. This is the reason.


Most Belgians start racing their youngsters end of May, so when they are about 4 or 5 months old. In Holland they start one month later

Now it happens that in March and April they do not fly for one meter. The fancier has to chase them out of the loft, then they fly on top of the roof and just sit there.

Some are worried about this, they fear a year will be lost, but mostly it does not mean real much. It is like vet Norbert Peters once said: 'Babies that do not train you do not lose.' Of course this should not last too long.   


In life there is more than pigeons.


Concerning this I will not easily forget what happened to me a long time ago, back in 1993. In that year I also had a team of babies that refused to train around the loft. Then, in April a camera team from the 'Koerier' came to make a video about my birds and me. They also wanted to make some shots of my babies that were sitting on the loft, as if they were sleeping.

I felt ashamed and begged them not to do that. 'Come back after the season' I said.

'Then you can make a special film about my young bird team.'

They looked at me questioningly. 'Would such birds perform?'

And indeed, they had to come back later in the year and made another video in which I was described as the best young bird racer in Holland. One of the camera men was a fancier himself. From that year on he strongly believed I had some secret pills. How else could those birds have shapen up so sensationally?      



Of course such birds may also be sick. And sick birds need to be helped. In most cases it is respiratory problems and then you have no choice; antibiotics should help you out. The best thing is to use a combination of different antibiotics. Another possibility is that something is wrong with the intestines.  What we did in the past was treat the birds with Altabactine and Ronidazole together and at the same time we started feeding very light. It worked nearly always. Why I said 'in the past?' Because Altabactine (which was 'Golden stuff' based on Chloramphenicol and Furaltodone) is not available any more.

But, as I said, it is also quite possible that birds that do not train are NOT sick. The best thing to do then is: Give little and light feed. Understandably feed without peas. Peas just do not belong in food for youngsters. This was what I did back in 1993. The problem I had then was that nobody believed me.   

Stay away form such stuff as much as possible. But sometimes you just have no choice.


And what if even little and light feed has no effect and the races will start soon? Then you have no choice and you will have to go on the road with them. But be careful. The first tosses should be from a little distance, just a few miles far and fair is enough. Initially some babies will get lost but later on, little by little, those birds will also train. Their bodies were kind of 'lazy' and they benefited from forced training.



Like I said, I used to have a reputation as young bird racer. And I worked hard for it. For decades it was pigeons that came in the first place. Other things were less important. But times changed

Now I have 3 grandchildren: a boy 3 years old and twin girls 8 years old.

They are far more important than pigeons and honestly speaking I do not always give them all the care that they need. I am talking about the pigeons of course. When my grandchildren want me to go with them to the seaside I will go.

Even if it is for more days.

And even if it is in the racing season.

Such a thing, skipping races, was absolutely out of the question for decades. To-day this has become kind of normal.

Still, my babies also train pretty well today when they are about 3 months old. That means most of them.

Because I must admit, nearly every year I have some that stay in the loft when I let them out, or just do not feel like flying up while others train well.

The last thing I will do then is medicate. When 40 birds in the same loft and with the same care are fine, there is no excuse for the other 5 or 10.

I put them on a clip ring, so that I can see which the lazy bones are. When, after a while, I notice that this aversion to train has become a habit I get rid of them.


In the 90-ies I was really unbeatable with young birds. This is a note that every fancier
then got. It encouraged them to pool money again on their birds since they had  

forbidden me to pool.

One of the biggest mistake fanciers make in this sport is medicate a whole team in order to cure just a few birds. 



Of course I only look at the pedigree AFTER they are eliminated. Thus I prevent to fall for the temptation to keep them only because of the pedigree.

Such birds are birds without a future.

What I noticed was that they are regularly 2 birds of the same nest that I have to eliminate. In such a case their parents also have a problem, a big problem I daresay. 'Staying alive' is the name.  

And when those lazy bones are no longer there you cannot believe what a salutary influence this has on the others. It seems that their absence shapes up the others more than any medicine can do.