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Too far


‘He you, pigeonfoodman. Have you got a packet of good tea for my birds? They can’t win a decent prize, it makes me sick and now I have read that tea is excellent for pigeons.’
‘Of course I can help you sir. But what kind of tea did you gentleman have in mind?’
‘Hm, that’s a good question. Honestly speaking I don’t know myself.’
‘Well I have tea that is good for the moult. I have tea for a good digestion. I have tea against stress, I have tea to clean the nostrils and the throat, I also have tea for better breeding results and I have tea for a good condition in general.’
‘Well, the last tea you mention looks the best to me. Just give me that please.’ ‘Okay fine, but one final question. I have 2 kinds of that: one with sage and one without. The word ‘sage’ is derived from the Latin ‘salvare’ which means ‘rescue’. Sale is the best stuff there is in case of ‘indigestion’.
Shall we take that?’
‘That means that the intestines do not function well.’
‘Okay. Give me the tea with sale. And make it two packets please. The performances of my pigeons are real poor.’

Thus was the discussion between a club mate and the supplier of his pigeon products and whistling with joy he started to put tea on the menu for his pigeons. ‘Something which is good for the condition and a better digestion as well?”
What else could make a pigeon fancier more happy than that?
The sky looked brighter than it was and getting home from work he kissed his wife for the first time since years.
His next step was to order stickers with his telephone-number on it to cleave onto the rings of his pigeons because if he would really turn into a champion and any of his champion birds would get lost he would want to have them back of course. It was because of these stickers that he phoned me: ‘I was cheated. They do not cleave onto the rings. Can’t you write something about the crook that sold me that rubbish?’ he said.
I kept silent because there was something which the man did not know and could not know. I myself had the same stickers that I had bought from the same supplier but mine did cleave onto the rings without any problem.
‘If those stickers do not cleave do not race your birds’ I advised him. He was breathless. ‘Not race birds now that he had given them that magic tea?’ He did not even think about it.
He would race them and pool money on them as well.
‘Not race pigeons because of stickers which do not cleave?’ He had never had such a strange advice. Especially not from a man like me. I must have been drunk.

Some weeks went by and then he phoned me again. He had had 2 races. The first was bad but that was ‘because of the weather which did not give the birds a fair chance’.
The next race however was held in excellent circumstances: a bright sky and calm headwinds, but again his birds failed hopelessly.
This reminded him of my advice to have a break but still he could not understand the link between ‘not race birds’ and ‘stickers which do not cleave onto rings’ and wanted to know more about that.
‘Racing pigeons which are not in good shape is a waste of time and money, to be successful you need good birds, a supercondition and luck’ I told him. Pigeons are in good condition:
- When they are lively. They must not sit still on the roof of the loft.
- When the eyes are glossy.
- When there is white powder on the feathers.
- When the bodies feel tight. Sorry for my language but a pigeonbody should feel like the tits of a young girl and not like those of an old woman, with all respect to old women.
- And last but not least: ‘Telephone-stickers should cleave onto the rings. If they don’t that means that the rings are dirty which refers to no condition.
He got the message apart from the stickers but was not a dummy and would find out.

He had brand new pigeon rings and.. damned.
On these new rings the stickers did cleave, probably because they were clean. So you can understand the man got some confidence in me now and that’s why he asked my opinion about pigeon-tea.
I told him that I might be wrong and tea might be good for the health, something which was never proven though but… if pigeons are in poor shape or sick tea would not have any effect at all.
In case of sickness or no condition he should find the cause and act adequately which means take refuge to medicine against the right disease at the right time in the correct amount and over the correct period of time.
I advised him to consult a good ‘pigeon vet’.
He followed my advice and you know what the vet found?
Just trichomoniasis (canker) as usual when there are health problems.
This is something which will not happen to serious pigeon men as they know that canker is such a common disease that you have to watch out for it 365 days a year. It is well known that it spreads via the water and therefore the best way to prevent an outbreak is to give water individually.
In Germany scientist made tests:
Pigeons were given water in a common drinker, others were given water individually and the difference was spectacular. Birds that drank out of the same drinker nearly all had trichomoniasis but hardly any trichomoniasis was found among the birds which were given water individually.
For a common fancier it is too much work though to give the birds water individually each day.
Therefore many have another good method to reduce the risk of an outbreak of canker; a double set of drinkers. One is in the loft, filled with water of course, the other is upside down drying outside and they are switched twice a day.
Trichomoniasis can only survive in water so when the drinkers are switched the new drinker will be ‘trichomoniasis free’ every time.
Concerning this there is an interesting anecdote.

A long time ago Belgian star Marc Roosens told me he had just one problem in pigeon sport: trichomoniasis.
No matter how much he medicated, the birds could not get rid of it.
Till he ‘saw the light’.
After he had given the birds water the drinker was taken from the loft after just a few minutes twice a day and he kept on doing this for weeks and… believe it or not, since then the problem was solved. What he did was give trichomoniasis not a chance to stay alive.

Doctor Lemahieu is an authorities in Belgium as for pigeon-diseases.
And an authority like him you better not contradict.
One of his well-known sayings is: ‘Every loft has its own health problems.’
I myself seldom have health problems with my birds since my selection is not only based on results but also on basic health.
40 Pigeons in good health and one pigeon sick? I get rid of the sick one Such a bird has no excuse to be sick as it is kept under the same circumstances as the others.
It is absolutely wrong to medicate a whole loft in order to heal one bird.
When in a class one student has a head-ache you do not give all students aspirin either.
Some people wonder why birds they get from me never get respiratory problems. The reason is simple: I never medicate.
Of course we cannot do without medicine but those who can stay away from them as much as possible are the greatest champions.

My pigeons seldom have trichomoniasis during the racing season.
Why medicate birds that are lively, full of energy and train spontaneously for a long time? Not me!
You can only bring them down by any medicating whatsoever.
When fanciers ask me how often I medicate during the season I say: íf possible not at all.’ Most of them do not believe me but that is more their problem than mine. Once my problem was trichomoniasis with the breeders and it was of a special kind. When they are on eggs I do not need to have them tested because I know the result beforehand: Negative! No trichomoniasis.
So not medicate one should say but I had to because I knew what would happen later on: Problems with babies that were about 10 days old and health problems with pigeons scores high in my top-ten of annoyances.
I am going to mention some of them.

- I can’t stand people who lie.
- I am spited by people who drive too long and too slowly on the left-lane of a highway.
- Reading all the shit which is promoted to make birds win make me vomit.
- As for television I would not mind if the producers of those programs in which boys are ‘coupled’ to girls would be pissed off for the rest of their lives by their families, their neighbors and their friends. I hate such programs.
As you may have understood I hate the abuse of medicine but sometimes you have no other choice than to medicate.
But be careful.
I can live with a piece of cheese, tea or herbs. I do not mind a cure against canker and salmonella but I cannot live with sellers of castles in the air who only care about their bank-accounts.
Of course there is serious stuff that really helps birds but the amount of ‘magic stuff’ which is marketed these days has become so great that it drives every normal pigeon fancier crazy.
Sometimes I wonder who is laughing at whom:
The sellers of that shit or the champions who stay away from it.
Unfortunately this is not something to laugh about but I can assure you: Those ‘brokers in air-bubbles’ know just as little about winning races as Clinton about celibacy.

Let’s go back to my problem in the past: Canker with the breeders and NOT with the racers.
When I found out about it I initially blamed the vet. He was a loser I thought. He could not find any signs of trichomoniasis under his microscope whereas only some weeks later the babies in the nests were dying from it.
Now I know that it is quite well possible that no trichomoniasis is found as it may be hidden in the body and cannot be observed in the slimes which are tested. I also have learned that it is quite well possible that a vet does not find worms or coccidiose whereas pigeons do suffer from it.
As for salmonella the same story. It may not be found whereas it is there still. So if a vet does not find trichomoniasis, coccidiose, worms or salmonella this does not necessarily mean it is not there. Be careful with accusations. Sometimes a vet cannot help he made a wrong statement.
For many years I have basketed birds from fellow fanciers for a race.
When I was handed birds of which the band numbers were hardly legible because of the shit on it I felt kind of relieved. This was another guy I did not have to worry about. That was what I told the ‘tea-man’ I referred to in the beginning of this article.