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Successful young bird racing (part V)

I do not know the situation in America, Japan, Taiwan and so on but I regret to say that both in Holland or Belgium there is a lot of jealousy.
Especially in young bird racing. For some mysterious reason long distance champions are less criticised. Once a foreign fancier visiting Europe said: 'Here everybody seems to hate everybody.' Fortunately it is not that bad.
One reason for this jealousy is frustration, caused by foreign buyers. They go and buy birds from people who can hardly win a decent prize. They skip the fanciers with the real good birds. Why is that?
Most foreigners want pedigree birds, and many champions in Holland and Belgium do not have them. They just have good birds, which are, in most cases, something different. As I said for some obscure reason it is mostly the people who do good in young bird racing who are made to suffer.
The reason is many just do not want to realise that also in young bird racing you need quality.
People suspect the ‘specialists’ to have a 'secret potion' or a secret at least that they do not want to share with others.
Terms as cortisone, anabolic steroids etcetera are most often heard.
You know what I think?
If you criticise fanciers for racing too well you may just as well criticese them for trying too hard with them.
The criticism shows little decency, little knowledge, no brain and no common sense. What people often forget is that the champions put a lot of hard work into this and that they are good handlers.
But can you criticise them for that?
I think the predicament of the expert will continue as long as the losers do not realise they need to have good pigeons, and to be a good fancier.

I have learnt that the less successful fanciers are more likely to experiment with drugs and medication than the people they get beaten by. The funny thing is that there are plenty of fanciers who should know better.
They are those people who performed well in the past, but who do not appear to be doing so, now.
The fact that they managed success without dope and medication in the years past they seem to have forgotten, though.
What they should ask themselves is whether they have still got the same grade of pigeons or, whether they have just lost some interest in the game.
What Champions have in common is their belief in the good birds, a careful selecting by the result, and no-nonsense breeding: They pair the best with the best. They breed many babies, race many babies and eliminate many babies and that's it! They leave it to their fellow sportsmen to breed from 'name birds' because they know there is little in the name.

Many pigeons that raced super as a baby are related to birds that also performed excellently.
So it seems that youngsters performances in their first year is related to type. 'It is in the blood' they say here.
Some birds seem by nature more mature at an early age.
When I hear people talk that racing well with babies has nothing to do with quality, but everything with medication or 'drugging' I feel sorry for them. They will never make it.

A lot of people tried all kinds of medications, but ended up disappointed.
In the past when Orleans was immensely popular in Holland the injection needle of a vet was well known. Pigeons were injected en masse so that it became almost obvious that the winning bird had been needled, also.
But if the winning bird was needled, was the needle also the secret?
Use common sense. If half of the basketed pigeons are red then there is a big chance the winning bird is red as well.
But should you therefore buy reddish birds because they win easily?
One expert had never made a secret of the fact that he used eye-drops from a Belgian vet.
So what happened? In the whole area they started to copy him, everybody started using the same eyedrops.
But nothing changed! The expert remained the expert, the losers kept on losing.
The late Flor Goris was the first who used the lighting system. He raced extremely well with birds that did not moult.
And again others began to imitate him. They also lighted the feathers out. It only lasted a little while, though. Goris kept sweeping the floor with his competitors. Because he had the better pigeons and he was a better handler people realised later on.

From another point of view it would be naive to suggest things remain the same and nothing has changed throughout the years.
For example: To race well and never at all cure against canker has become almost impossible. A routine cure now and then has become a must.
But this should be an adequate cure! That means long enough and certainly not less than the doses that are prescribed.
Most champions medicate thoroughly before the racing season, which means for about a week and later on, during the season they not take chances.
The most popular products are Ronidazole and Flagyl.
Pigeons can make a spontaneous recovery from diseases such as coccidioses but a bird that is infected with canker will never be able to recover spontaneously. Canker is a disease all pigeons can be affected by sooner or later, regardless of the quality.
So measures should be taken.
And vitamins?
Do not expect miracles from them. No one has ever proved that pigeons need extra vitamins, not to speak about what sort of.
Many champions only give vitamins to breeders or, after a treatment with anti-biotics due to a disease.
The late Flor Engels who past away last winter at a blessed age was a Super Champion.
You know what he said?
'Never in my life have I given vitamins. Should I have to administer now as is advised in many adverts? No way! The manufacturers who want to make money make up these ads, they are not made up by champions. And is it not the champions who have a message and we can learn from?’
Those were Engels’ words about vitamins.
And what about popular products such as tea or garlic?
I tried this all out. The birds in one section got tea. The others did not. The birds in one section got garlic, the others did not. A group of birds got vitamines, the others did not. But never did I notice any difference in condition or results. I discussed tea, garlic and other stuff with scientists who know what they are talking about. 'If you believe in tea or garlic give the birds tea or garlic' was their unanumous answer. You may feel better, but the birds don't.

Something peculiar should be said about medication against canker.
In the past we saw that a canker cure encouraged form! It seemed to free them somehow and the birds reacted immediately.
For that reason it made sense to cure before that important race you wanted to win. If you cured the birds regularly, say every 2 or 3 weeks, as some people do, then you would not get that sudden rise in form.
But things changed.
If you medicate against canker now (at least in Holland and Belgium) the week that follows the result will almost sure be poor.
So the effect is quite opposite than it used to be.
I discussed this with some scientists; they were aware of it but did not have an explanation.
But many fanciers have had a lesson and dare not medicate before a race any more.

Coccidioses and worms seldom present a problem to young birds. Moreover, medicines for these are so-called 'form killers.'
For worms you have to watch pigeons, which are on the ground in an aviary, but not young birds. They may have other problems. Problems with the intestines and respiratory problems for instance.
For that many champions cure with furoxine or altabactine, which are products based on chloramphenicol and furaltodone.
Never use these 2 products together, though. You may poison the birds. Respiratory problems, ('ornithosis' people say, which is probably not the right name) must be taken seriously. It is considered to be the main cause for poor results.
The striking thing is that it is often the same people who complain. I think they are on the wrong track as they try to suppress respiratory problems with medication. What should be done is to try and PREVENT by having good lofts, plenty of fresh air and no draught! Also by selecting the birds well. Many problems start with the first pigeon that got ill by not separating this one from the others straight away.
Medicating all the birds in order to just heal one or two is also a big mistake.
Anyway do not believe in secrets. The experts do not have them, nor have the vets.
There are good birds and bad birds, good lofts and bad lofts, good fanciers and bad fanciers. Secrets there are none.
And remember that medicines are designed to help sick pigeons and not to enable them to fly faster!