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So strange

The mystery of 'the yellow peril'


Never ever will I forget the problems I that I faced when raising babies long way back. The name of the problem was canker, trichomoniasis.

And I can tell you: It was not a little problem.  

Without medication I would not be able to breed any babies.

It even happened that babies in the nest were infected, even though the parents got a treatment two weeks before when on eggs.

Whenever I entered the loft I feared the sour smell that is so characteristic.

I feared wet droppings and numerous times I opened to beaks of babies to check out  if the throats were ok and did not show that well known yellow substance.



For many the problem became so serious that it could not be solved with the normal dose of the prescribed medicine. They had to double it.

The birds had built up so much resistance throughout the years that things would only become worse, some vets predicted.

And they were the fanciers themselves who were responsible. They created the problem by frequently giving too little of the medicine.

Especially those treatments of only one or two days were to blame.

But something strange happened in the beginning of this century. The problem did not get bigger but to the surprise of many it was the opposite.

Little by little we got rid of a problem with the result that today many fanciers do not medicate any more, something that was absolutely unthinkable some decades ago.

Pigeons in good shape is so much more fun.


I discussed this phenomenon with scientists but no one has an explanation.

For a time I thought we thanked this good luck to the clove of garlic that many fanciers put in the drinker to-day.

Is garlic indeed preventive?                 

Scientists doubt.

And what about (apple) vinegar?

About a decade ago fanciers and even vets thought acidification of the drinking water was a good means to prevent outbreaks of Adeno and Salmonella.

They found they were wrong but what they also found was that their birds were free of canker. Was there a connection with the acidification of the drinking water?

Scientists contradict each other. .  



It is also kind of strange that the symptoms changed.

In the past a yellow substance in the throat meant canker.

To-day we seldom see this yellow cheesy substance. Now thin slimy 'threads' in the throat or bodies that are not tight are detectors and mean danger.

It is strange as well that canker is still quite common among ring doves and here we do see that yellow cheesy substance that infected racing birds had in the past.   



So what do most champions do today?

They do not treat the breeders at all.

My breeders were treated 6 years ago for the last time.

And the racers?

Some do not treat them either, I am one of those that do not take risks.

We treat for a period of about 5 days before the racing season.

And that is it for the rest of the year.

After a race many do not medicate any more like they used to do but every bird gets a so-called 'yellow drop' in the beak.     

These drops, that have become very popular do not contain antibiotics but they are a perfect disinfector as it seems:

Pigeons that are free from canker will not be infected any more when they get one 'yellow drop' weekly.

Koehoorn was the first to introduce those drops. Because of its success now some vets sell them as well. I do not know the contents, but who cares as long as it works?   



When you read or hear about health problems with pigeons the news is usually bad, but as regards trichomoniasis the news is good.  

The bad news is that paratyphoid (salmonella) is far more wide spread than fanciers realise. Especially when pigeons from different environments come together you have to watch out. It is my firm conviction that many fanciers would race much better if they were aware of this.

H de Weerd claims that 80% of the pigeons are more or less infected. Maybe it is a bit exaggerated but even 20% would be enough to be on the alert.

To-day nearly ALL champions treat their birds yearly as a prevention.  

And what about vaccinating?

Is it advisable or not?

Vets and even scientists disagree. Again.