Go to June 1st
In Rosehill it doesn't matter how much snow we have it always leaves the lawn on May 1st. This year with a below average snowfall it looked promising that the snow would be gone sooner. A miserable end of April dashed my hopes and as usual the last bit of snow left May 1st and the daffodils started to bloom.
Birds began arriving from across the country this past weekend. Shipments from British Columbia, Manitoba and Nova Scotia have arrived. The new arrivals were put into a holding pen for a few days until I am comfortable that they are eating and drinking well. Then they are put in with the main group.
Young ones learn quickly when it is feeding time and who feeds them. When they see me come in with a feed can they immediately fly to the troughs and start looking for the feed or follow me around the loft until I put the feed down. If I leave the can on the ledge they will go to it and try to get in to it. All I have to do is whistle and they all come to me and stand at attention waiting to get fed.
After a long 1500 km drive Mike van der Jagt and his wife Chris arrived in Bathurst Sunday afternoon. Mike and Chris are celebrating their 25th anniversary delivering pigeons. Now that is a true fancier. It is hard to outdo Mike but just for the record, Margie and I will be married 36 years sometimes this summer. I have trouble with dates.
They spent Saturday night in Montreal and were treated to supper by Bob Percival and experienced some French cuisine - frog legs. As those of us that have been married for 25 years and longer know, new experiences are hard to come by.
Most of Mike's friends know that he has a healthy appetite. In appreciation for delivering the birds and celebrating Chris's and Mike's 25th Anniversary, Margie and I treated them to a "fresh" lobster supper. Just in case you don't know, Mike is on the left, Chris is in the middle and Margie is on the right. Chris did not like lobster when she arrived however when she tasted the "fresh" lobster caught locally in the Bay of Chaleur, I think she was converted. Margie and I really enjoyed their visit and would like to wish Chris and Mike a very Happy 25th Anniversary.
Again just for the record - personally I feel that just being married to Chris was reward enough for Mike and the size of his lobster was not digitally enhanced.
It was a very busy weekend and the first few days of the week. A trip to Moncton to ship birds, then to Tony River, NS to pick up a load of feed, then to Truro, NS to pick up some Le Tour entries, then to Halifax to attend my daughter's engagement party, then back to Moncton to pick up more Le Tour entries and finally back home to Bathurst were on the weekend itinerary.
Thanks to Mike Rogers, vaccinating the birds for PMV went quickly and smoothly on Monday. The birds will receive their booster in a couple of weeks. As a group the young ones are doing well and things look positive for a good start even in spite of an unusually cold and damp month of May. As to be expected a handful are struggling in their new environment. They will be watched closely and if their appetites don't improve shortly they will put into the sick bay immediately. Most of these are young ones that I feel were sent too young and were not eating and drinking well before they arrived. Every care is taken to insure that new arrivals are able to fend for themselves before they are put in with the main group. To accomplish this the new arrivals are put in a separate section until they are eating and drinking well on their own. The vast majority respond quickly. Others do not and these are the ones that can be problematic.
Mike Roger is a 30 year old pigeon fancier that lives in Moncton and has been a tremendous assistance in coordinating pick ups at the Moncton Airport and delivering the birds to Bathurst. He has a contagious enthusiasm for the sport which is quite remarkable in itself – there are only 3 of us in the province. Being the 2nd loneliest fancier in NB if not Atlantic Canada (I'm the first), he has the pleasure of having a partner - Chris Nickerson. They are entered in the Le Tour under the team name NIKROG Lofts . For a young man he has had a remarkable life. He has been in the army, a chef in BC, a competitive cyclist and mechanic, a certified chimney sweep (we burn lots of wood in NB) and now a very dedicated pigeon fancier. I suspect the latter will be a life long devotion. He plans to attend college this fall to study veterinary science. I suspect he will specialize in racing pigeons. While a guest in my home I challenged him to show off his cooking talents. He passed the test with an honor mark.
The weather has been like this all week - damp and cold. It has been similar all month and considerably below normal. Needless to say, not the best weather to raise healthy young ones and especially when they are under the stress of relocation. Several youngster had to be put into sick bay. That is more depressing than the weather.
One hundred and eighty-four (184) birds have arrived as of this morning.
Bathurst: Issued 5.00 AM ADT Saturday 21 May 2005
Yesterday afternoon I began putting the ebands on the birds and registering them in the clock. The weather was so bad that there was nothing else I could do and it had to be done anyway before the birds could be let out. Margie was gone shopping so I decided that my office was the ideal place. Also it gave me the opportunity to examine the birds and make sure all the band numbers were correct. I put bands on 60 birds.
I was pleasantly surprised that the birds handled better than they looked in the loft. Damp cold weather always makes them look worse than they are. There were a few on the light side but they had food in their crops so hopefully this is just a minor setback. From experience at least 30% of the birds will have some difficulty adjusting to their new environment and that is to be expected when you put birds together from about 60 different lofts. In 8 years running of the Le Tour I can only recall one bird that made the top 10 overall that was sick during the first month here.
As a general rule good pigeons seldom get sick. My loft sire Maverick who is 15 this year was never sick and handles like a bird half his age. This year he has filled 3 sets of eggs when mated to his daughter. There are always exceptions to the rule. About 20 years ago I had a blue cock that was so sick as a youngster that he fell of his perch and remained motionless on the floor. I picked him up and put him back up on the perch and said to myself, "if you fall off once more your history". He must of heard me because he remained motionless on the perch for the rest of the day. Eventually he totally recovered and was never beaten to loft for 3 years and often he was ahead of the pack. I guess he never forgot my threat.
I've been living in Bathurst since 1967 and can't recall a more miserable month of May. I had to stoke up the wood furnace on this Victoria Day Weekend which is unheard of. I should have been planting flowers and cutting the grass. When I walked into the loft early this morning to feed the birds I felt sorry for them especially those that left the mild temperate climate of BC. All the birds were huddled up with their feathers ruffled trying to keep the cold damp air from penetrating through their feathers. They looked miserable and initially gave me the impression that they were all sick. However, once I put the feed down they livened up right away.
I wonder if the leaves on the trees will ever come out. I am afraid that they have have decided to wait until next year. Normally during the Victoria Day Weekend the leaves on most trees are 80% out, unfortunately not this year. Actually I am tired of talking about the weather. We have no option but live with what "Mother Nature" delivers. The sun peeked out for a few minutes around suppertime and it is predicted to be sunny tomorrow. It will be a great break for the birds and they really need some sunshine and dry weather. Some of the later arrivals have yet to see the sun shine in New Brunswick. I hope it isn't too much of a shock for them.
The birds finished their treatment for canker with Emtryl and I started their treatment for coccidiosis as a precautionary measure due to the damp cold weather. I finished ebanding the rest of the birds. I took the opportunity to examine them closely and was quite pleased with the general condition of the vast majority. Throats are a nice pink, weight is good and wattles are white. Droppings are better than they were at this time last year. They could be better but I guess they're as good as can be expected for this time of the year considering the stressful adjustment period the birds are going through and the weather conditions. During the last week 8 birds have been to sick Bay. Three started to eat heartily after the second day in and should be out tomorrow. Unfortunately 2 didn't make it. The owners will be notified shortly.
On Tuesday I scanned every bird individually through the clock to make sure they were all registered correctly. It was a long morning and of course I missed one. It took me a couple days to find the bird with the help of the owner. Thanks Daryl.
The sun came out after dinner but the day remained cool with brisk winds. The birds fought for positions along the windows and 2 doors to get some sun. The sun came out in various degrees for 3 days but it remained quite cool for the norm. It was back to cold rain today. I spoke to an 80 year old gentleman that has lived here all his life. Of course the weather came up and he told me he can't remember a colder and wetter May. It's hard to believe but the droppings improved during the last 3 days. One more young bird was lost this week due to sickness for a total of 3 birds. The birds will be let out the first morning the sun appears - whenever that is.
The photo on the left is a panoramic view from a loft window. It was taken May 20th of last year. The second photo on the right is a similar photo but only of the left side of the panoramic view and taken today. If you look closely you will notice that there are more leaves out on the trees last year 8 days earlier.
|"As changes in the dropping usually occur 1 - 2 days before an unwell bird starts to look sick to us, observing and effectively managing the abnormal changes in droppings does much to head off a downward turn in form".|
|"The main factor affecting the colour of a pigeon’s dropping is what it has eaten. Pigeons digest many of the pigments found in their food rather poorly and so these pass relatively unaltered through the system and colour the dropping".|
For the rest of the story go to: DROPPINGS INTERPRETATION IN RACE SEASON By Dr Colin Walker
|In lofts where these are a problem, probiotics can be used whenever E. coli or yeasts are seen under the microscope, when the droppings become green or green and watery, or when there are weather conditions that favour E. coli, in particular when the weather is cold and damp or humid. In such lofts, it is a good idea to give probiotics routinely as part of the loft’s disease management program, with the focus here being on disease prevention rather than waiting for disease to appear.|
For the rest of the story go to: USE OF PROBIOTICS By Dr Colin Walker
I woke up to another morning of cold rain, fog and a temperature of 6 C. Needless to say the May weather conditions have favored E. Coli. Yesterday I found vomited grain on 3 perches. Two youngsters were admitted to the sickbay and 2 came out. Eight youngsters remain and one has succumbed to sickness. It was not a good start to a new week. Finally, it is predicted to be a mixture of sun and cloud tomorrow. The rest of the week looks very favorable.
A week ago I soaped the last 2 flights of all the birds that had dropped their second flight. There were a couple dozen to do. On Sunday I let out the Le Tour team for their first time. It was after 3:00 and the skies were overcast with a very light drizzle. I used the occasion because I thought their feathers would be laden with moisture therefore it would be more difficult for them to fly. It worked for the vast majority because most had difficulty flying from the ground back up to the loft. However about 10 did fly quite strongly around the yard. A white one took off like a shot but it came back in about an hour. Of course birds landed everywhere but the loft roof. This is a yearly event. I am always amazed how they can land on a tree branch, fence post, railing and a ladder but can't land on the loft roof. I had to leave the light on in the loft overnight with the traps open because about 20 refused to come in and sat on the stock aviary roof just below the traps. I think there was a dozen still out this morning. I assume the rest went in??? On Monday we finally got a mostly sunny day. The birds were let out early in the morning and again some stayed out overnight. This time it was only 4. Today the birds were out early again and about 20 refused to come in for their supper. About 7:30 and out of nowhere and thundershower struck. It poured for 30 minutes - as if we needed more rain. You can imagine how they looked after 30 minutes of pouring rain. About a dozen chose to stay out overnight again.
Go to June 1st