Management August 2002
General Management May June Training
Week of August 11th to 17th
Now that the sprint series is over the task will be to prepare the birds for the most grueling part of the Le Tour. The birds will be put to the test having to fly at least 8 hours in each of the last 2 race of 400 and 500 km. The Canso Causeway release has historically been the most challenging. Last year and on one previous year there were no day birds. Hopefully history won't repeat itself this year.
Upon returning from the second 300 km race the birds received Vita-Pro Combo (a mixture of probiotics, electrolytes, amino acids and essential vitamins), nourishing tea and Vita-King Formula Powder ( a mixture of grape sugar reinforced by vitamin C). The feed was a mixture of 50% barley, 30% safflower and 20% sunflower. By the evening virtually all the bird's droppings were back to normal.
The team was exercised the following morning and flew for about 30 minutes. The following day they were back to their normal behavior and when I entered the loft in the morning they couldn't wait to get out for their exercise. They disappeared immediately and returned after an hour of ranging.
Wednesday August 14 As usual, the racers were anxious to get out for their morning exercise. They were let out at 7:00 and quickly disappeared for 50 minutes. The usual half dozen landed and the rest kept on flying. I put the flag out and they disappeared again. They came back twice and disappeared again. The same six landed and I scared them up. At 9:00 the team returned and looked like they had enough exercise for the morning besides the temperatures was quickly rising. It was 26 C. I whistled to them and they made 2 short circles and all landed in unison. All of a sudden something spooked them and up they went again. I was a little anxious because a hawk got one last week and it was quite hazy and the wild bird activity was minimal. Finally at the 2:20 mark of flying they all trapped for their morning feed except for 6. Those that stayed outside were more interested in mating then eating. What a choice! This year more birds are in the mating mood than in any other previous year. The sexes had to be separated for the last 300 km race. At supper time the racers were exercised again. They flew without encouragement for another 45 minutes in 30 C heat.
I suspected that some of the racers were showing signs of canker so as a precautionary measure the birds are receiving a 4 day treatment of Ridsol S. Emtryl was used earlier in the year but I believe it has run it's course and is not effective on some of the 30 odd strains of canker. Also, the birds received a couple day treatment for coccidiosis with Vita-King Miracle Life. It's been over 30 C and humid for the last 4 days and the ideal weather for a coccidiosis problems.
Thursday Aug 15 Another excellent morning for exercise. Birds flew 2 hours in the morning and 45 minutes in the evening. Maximum temperature in the yard was 34 C.
Friday Aug 16 Birds were called down after 90 minutes of flying in the morning. They flew another 45 minutes in the evening. High for the day was 32 C.
Saturday Aug 17 Rest. The birds were basketted for tomorrow's race from the Canso Causeway 400 km. The weather prediction is mostly sunny conditions throughout the course. The predicted high's for the first part of the race will reach 25 C and up to 30 C for the latter part. It should be cooler along the coastline where I suspect the birds will be flying.
I hadn't cleaned the perches for a couple of days and decided to do so this morning. The droppings were the size of peas and you could blow them off the perches. It was a satisfying sight to see - it's amazing what turns one's crank. It must be age.
Week of August 18th to 24th
After Sunday's race the health management program was similar to the previous weeks except Ridsol S was only given for one day.
The birds were kept in for a day after the 400 km race. They were let out Tuesday and immediately disappeared for an hour and upon return they continued flying for another 30 mins. During the evening exercise period the birds flew for 45 mins. This behavior was typical all week. On Saturday the racers were given a 110 km toss and returned in 1:40 hours.
The only concern that I have is about a half dozen pair have mated and are preparing to nest. One laid last week 2 days after the race. Many cocks are preoccupied with courting. In previous years this behavior only began after the race season was over.
Four birds arrived during the week from the last race and one returned that was lost during training.
Week of August 25th to 31st
The race birds were given open loft all week. The weather was ideal for this. It was sunny and warm all week and the birds took advantage of the ideal weather by doing a lot of flying and lounging around on the roof of the loft. They also received their weekly bath.