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General Management 2003

Management 2002

May    June    August    September    Inventory(07/19/03)

    July

Finally, July has arrived. Since the first birds arrived about 2 Ĺ months ago I have been preoccupied with the health of the Le Tour birds. It has been a challenge.  Normal healthy looking droppings were not common.  For 6 weeks I wondered if I would ever see droppings the size of a pea and that would roll of the perch with a sneeze.  By late June this type of droppings became more common and the norm during the beginning of this month.

There is something perverse about this sport when most pigeon fanciers become preoccupied with pigeon poop. Pardon me, just a little bit of alliteration.

First off all, the weather in May was not very cooperative.  It was much colder and damper than normal.  Early June was no better. Then without notice during the latter part of June we experienced tropical heat wave. The birds went from arctic damp cold to tropical heat and humidity in just a couple of days.  For example in early June we had frost and by the end of the month the temperature almost reached 40 C.  Needless to say, this type of weather is not conducive to raising healthy pigeons.

Many fanciers often wonder why they donít have any health problems with their birds in their own lofts yet their birds experience health problems when shipped elsewhere.  In one loft futurities young birds do not have the advantage of growing up and developing immunities among family members before they are immersed in the real world of pigeon racing to compete against foreign birds and the pathogen packages that each individual brings to the basket.  Furthermore, these youngsters are immersed into a jungle of pathogens as babies while they are still developing immunities.  The stress of shipping and then being thrown into a different environment with hundreds of strangers and often almost directly out of the nest can have dire consequences.  To cope with this scenario requires super healthy individuals and with a genetic package to meet this challenge.  And letís face it, not all pigeons have what it takes for this kind of challenge.

In a sense this is not fair to these youngsters.  However, if this is where the future of young bird flying is heading then it is fair game because to participate in these events it will take birds with an exceptional genetic package that can deal with all the stresses that are associated with such events.  Therefore the sooner we begin breeding such birds and "resist to color the water for any reason" the sooner and better off the sport will be.  The real challenge of the future will be to breed "low maintenance pigeons".

Fanciers spend good money to enter one loft futurities. Therefore they expect an effective health management program.  Our philosophy has been to medicate as little as possible; that is, "donít touch it if itís not broken". However this year we medicated more than we have in the past mainly due to the unpredictable and extreme weather.  From the day the birds arrived, they have always received a complete supplement system in their food and water.  Just recently we have introduced a CSS product supplied by "On the Wing" Loft.  I have also experimented with use of Colloidal Silver and the initial results seem positive.  I will report more fully on my findings with the use of CS later.

In early May the birds were treated for canker with Metronidazole and once again in June with Ridzol.  In addition they were given Amoxicillin in an attempt to control YBS.  Also the birds were wormed with Ivomec every 10 days while the birds were arriving.  At the end of June during the heat wave when humidex values regularly reached into the 40ís, the birds were given a preventative treatment for respiratory problems.  Still losses due to sickness approached 15% and another 10% were lost around the loft.

Anyway on the positive side over 70% of the entries are still here and since June 21st have been healthy enough to go ranging at least an hour a day.   And the big news is that we have begun training on July 5th and things look promising.  You can read all about it below.

Training

July 5th    (8 km, 0:15)  Over 160 birds were basketted for their first training toss.  They were released at 6:30 am from the Bathurst Airport which is directly east from the loft.  The skies were partially overcast but the sun was clearly visible.  This was the first time the birds were in the baskets and they left them without hesitation and headed home almost immediately.  Driving home along the South Tetagouche Road I saw the birds weave back and forth over the road.  Shortly after I arrived home 5 birds landed.  God I hate to see that.  It's like a bad omen.  I will never get used to the fact that these are usually the birds that don't like to fly or have some health problems.   Anyway, 10 minutes later the rest zoomed over the loft and kept on going.  I am sure they all winked at me as the passed over.  It's obvious they had no intentions of landing immediately and in their own  way they were telling me that everything is fine and we are just going site seeing.  I can handle that.  They were back in a few minutes so I called them in.     

July 6th   (10 km, 0:50)  The birds were released at 7:00 am in cloudless skies and at southerly point from home.  Upon release the birds broke for home immediately.  One of the birds was slow coming out of the basket and flew home alone.  And as expected it was the first one home.  The rest took their time - site seeing I guess.  When they arrived about half landed immediately and the rest chose to continue flying.  They must have felt cheated because yesterday's exercise period was rather short so they wanted to fly longer.  They flew for another 30 minutes before I called them in.

July 7th    (10 km, 0:20)  The birds were released at 7:10 am in cloudless skies.  They beat me home.  I could see them circles high above the loft from a distance.  When I drove in the driveway it was obvious that that they were not really anxious to see me.  They just kept on zooming in and out and around the yard enjoying their morning exercise and preferred not to come down just yet.  I let them fly  for another 45 minutes before I called them down.  Two whistles and they dropped like stones and trapped immediately.  The birds were given a late afternoon exercise and they flew strongly for 30 minutes.

Have you ever wondered if anybody ever listens to you.  For 30 years in the classroom I often wondered if anybody listened to me or was I just talking to myself.  It was the same with my family.  For the record, the birds listen to me here.  I am in total control and when I say it's time to come down and eat - they listen.  Now that's discipline.  It's great to be retired.

July 8th    The weather prediction was not favorable so it was a day off for the birds and me.  The morning exercise lasted an hour.  This evening the birds flew for 30 minutes in a light rain.  One hundred and sixty-five (165) birds were basketed this for tomorrow's training toss.  Four birds remain in sick bay.

July 9th    (20km, 0:30)  The 165 birds were released at 7:15 am in clear weather with a brisk wind in there face. They disappeared quickly over the trees.  They were flying lower than normal because of the wind conditions.  Wind gusts of up to 35 km were predicted for this morning.  I arrived home 30 minutes after the release and the birds were in the loft already.  They were given an evening exercise period and flew freely for 45 minutes in brisk wind conditions.  Tomorrow they will be tossed from the same location.

July 10th    (20km, 0:25)  With no wind to speak of it was another beautiful morning for a release.  Half of the birds were down and in when I arrived home and the rest kept on flying.  I whistled them down and just as they landed something spooked them and off they were again.  The birds flew for about 15 minutes, landed and a handful trapped before the rest took off again.  Thirty seconds later a hawk flew 50' above the loft; saw no prey  and kept on going.   The young birds flew for another 15 minutes and when it looked like they were ready to come down I whistled them in.  They are becoming very hawk wise. 

Weather permitting tomorrow's toss will be from 40 km.  From this point they will have think because I believe they will be out of sight of home.

July 11th    (40km, 0:45)  Below a thin cloud cover with the outline of the sun clearly visible, 165 trainees were released at 7:45 am to arrive home 45 minutes later.  The birds landed immediately and trapped quickly.   For the next couple of days the weather does not look favorable for training.   This evening the Le Tour team was let out at 5:00 for their evening exercise and most flew for an hour.  For some unknown reason a group of about 100 birds decided to keep flying for another 45 minutes.  Perhaps the hawk made a visit.

July 13th    (40km, 0:40)  In mostly overcast skies the Le Tour team of 165 birds was released at 8:50 am.  All but about 20 were in the loft when I arrived at 9:30.  They quickly trapped when called for their feeding.  The next toss will be just north of Miramichi City along the great Miramichi River about 75 km from the loft.

July 14th    (75km, 0:55)  It was a beautiful morning for a training toss.  The birds were released at 9:00 am in almost cloudless skies and in virtually no wind conditions.  The beat me home again.  Margie said they arrived about 5 minutes before me.  All but 6 birds had trapped and at 10:10 a couple of stragglers arrived. 

July 15th    (75km, 0:60)   The birds were released at 8:40 am in mostly sunny skies and no wind conditions.  I arrived back in the yard at 9:40 and like clockwork the Le Tour team was circling the loft.  I just had enough time to jump out of the truck and get a few pics as they were landing.  Tomorrow will be a day of rest and for the next fair weather day the birds are scheduled for 100 km training toss before racing begins.

July 15th    Today was a day of rest for the birds but not for the manager.   I began putting the e-bands on the Le Tour team last night and finished the rest this morning.  One hundred and sixty-four (164) young birds were fitted with e-bands.  I took the opportunity to look over the birds closely.  Two youngsters are struggling because of sickness but the prognosis looks good and one had to be permanently removed from the race team because of chronic illness which has resulted in a terminal case of throat canker.  To date no young birds have been lost training.

After finishing banding about 11:00 am I let out the birds for their morning exercise.  Not having their morning feed they were a bit hungry and reluctant to go out.  I have conditioned them to go outside by tapping on the loft floor with a broom handle.  That's all they had to hear and out they went and disappeared.  It was very calm, quite hot, extremely humid and there wasn't a cloud over the loft.  I still haven't gotten accustomed to the team ranging so frequently even with training almost completed.  But like clockwork they reappeared at 12:00 and made a few circles, landed and then went in on their own.  Weather permitting, the youngsters will receive a training toss from their first race point at Kouchibouquac National Park a distance of over 100 km from home.

July 17th    (75km, 1:15)    I left for Kouchibouguac (100 km) this morning in weather best described as a mixture of sun and cloud.  However when I approached the Miramichi River it became very overcast with thick dark clouds looming overhead and rain was threatening so I did the cautious thing and let the birds out at the same spot for the third time.  It was a positive learning experience for the birds because it was their first release without any sun visible.  The weather looks favorable for the next 2 days so hopefully the birds can get a Kouchibouguac toss soon.

July 18th    (115km, 1:37:44)   Wow!  Do these guys like home.  They just can't wait to get there.  The time of 1:37:44 almost beats the previous record of 1:56:00 by 20 minutes.

The birds were released at 8:50 am in beautiful weather.  The skies were virtually cloudless and the wind conditions were almost perfectly calm .  Upon release the team made very few circles and quickly started drifting in the direction of home. 

When I arrived home I immediately went into the house to get a cup of coffee.  Five minutes later I came outside and was very surprised to see birds on the loft roof.  When I went inside the loft I immediately checked the clock and it showed that 110 birds had clocked in.  The rest of the birds were whistled in and by dinner time over 160 birds had arrived home.  The inventory of birds remaining will be posted tomorrow.

Weather permitting racing will begin Sunday, July 20th.

The trapping order of today's training toss is below.  I thought I would put it in just to tease your interest.

1

CU 26528

The "Mighty" McVicars

1:37:44

2

HC 1923

Radoman, Zach

1:37:49

3

AU 158

Petzold, K & A

1:37:56

4

FS 847

Boudreau, Leo

1:37:57

5

Alg 3106

Daehn, Paul

1:37:58

6

CU 22019

Badgerow, Bill

1:38:01

7

Gawal 58

Gawal, Stan

1:38:03

8

EDM 3906

Makowecki, Tom

1:38:08

9

FS 843

Boudreau, Johanne

1:38:10

10

MJ 3522

Greer, Iain

1:38:13

July 18th    Due to heavy early morning fog the race team was let out for their morning exercise late .  Once again the vast majority disappeared.  Only a handful remained back and chose to hang around the loft.  Thirty minutes later the birds returned and flew for another 15 minutes before landing.

Weather permitting racing will begin tomorrow.  An inventory of birds remaining has just been updated.  INVENTORY

Good luck to all! 

July 24th    The weather has been has been very unsettled for the past few days.  The typical day has been overcast  with fog and rain in the morning and some clearing in the afternoon with late afternoon showers.  The birds have only received one exercise period a day but have flown well for at least an hour.  The next race is tentatively scheduled for Saturday.  The present prediction for Moncton is:  Saturday .. Sunny. Increasing cloudiness in the afternoon. Low 16. High 30.  And for at home it is:  Saturday .. Increasing cloudiness. 60 percent chance of showers. Low 18. High 26.

July 25th    The team exercised well this morning.  They disappeared again and flew for over an hour.  This evening they exercised for 45 minutes.  Otherwise it wasn't a good day.  Unfortunately a handful decided to stay out and frolic on the roof this evening rather then come in and eat.   The hawk made a visit and I believe it got one of the racers.  Only 163 birds trapped this evening.  Also a beautiful checker cock came in this morning with a wing injury.  It was hanging very low.  I am guessing that his season is over. 

The birds were basketted this evening for tomorrow's race from Moncton.  The weather is predicted to be good at the planned 7:00 am release time.

Moncton:   Saturday .. Sunny in the morning. A mix of sun and cloud in the afternoon. Wind southwest 30 km/h. High 26.

Miramichi:   Saturday .. Increasing cloudiness. 60 percent chance of showers in the evening. Wind southwest 30 km/h. High 25.

Bathurst:   Saturday .. Becoming cloudy in the morning then 70 percent chance of showers. Fog patches dissipating in the morning. Wind west 20 km/h. High 26.

July 29th    The team flew for 90 minutes this morning.  As usual they disappeared for most of this time.  They were kept in for the rest of the day and basketted this evening for tomorrow's race from Moncton.  The weather looks favorable for an early morning release.

Wednesday .. Sunny at first then increasing cloudiness with 60 percent chance of showers in the afternoon. Fog patches dissipating in the morning. High 25. UV index 7 or high.

The weather at home also looks favorable for the expected arrival time.

Wednesday .. Sunny at first then increasing cloudiness. 60 percent chance of showers late in the day.