Newsletter November 2013

Preventive or curative?

Recently I visited a pigeon breeder. It was an old appointment that had been repeatedly postponed. We changed thoughts about things that are happing in the pigeon sport. At a certain point we started talking about ‘the guidance of a veterinarian'.

I hear it so often, pigeon breeders tell me that they never actually go to the veterinarian, but they hardly cannot do it by themselves anymore. This last one is not completely true. Let me say it this way, it depends what you are looking for at a ‘veterinarian'. I believe that the average veterinarian has noting with pigeons, or he/she is willing to full up a powder for that what the pigeon breeder thinks his pigeons are suffering with. No, for that reason you don't have to visit a veterinarian. With the internet and the other ways you can get that somewhere else even easier.

But I also think the approach is wrong for those who talk about 'the vet'. The veterinary medicine hasn't stood still over the years. Also in this field a lot changed. So there are two forms of veterinarians. One is the cattle doctor who works mainly with the cattle. Number two is the companion animal veterinarian who mainly works with dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs. The probability that one of the companion animal veterinarians has more affinity with a pigeon is more likely. But just as the veterinary medicine hasn't stood still, the pigeon racing evolved. I see the pigeon sport as it is today as a top sport. Fortunately, there are also doctors who have mainly focused on the guidance of the pigeon sport. The pigeon breeder who I was visiting was referring to that of course.

But even in that group of pigeon doctors there are subdivisions. Most of the pigeons doctors are still mostly men and women who come from mainstream medicine. That is, they are especially keen on treating sick pigeons with medication. I want to qualify this as ‘sickcare'. There is nothing wrong with that because when pigeon breeders come to me with sick pigeons I will certainly not fail to use medicine if it can be cured. But I don´t see this as an end station but more like a departure point. It is important that the pigeon breeders become aware that the pigeons are not put in this situation where they can get sick easily. Or, at least prevent this as far as possible. To achieve this I try to emphasize that there is work to be done to ensure a preventive health care. Everything that can be done to prevent that the pigeons get sick should not be left out. By this preventive healthcare I include the preventive vaccinations against diseases which can be vaccinated. But also optimizing the loft climate through an optimization of the ventilation in the loft is part of this. Furthermore, this entails the advice to optimize the resistance of the pigeons as well as the food.

It is better to play with a small amount of pigeons who are fully guided then with a large amount of pigeons who cannot  be fully guided because of the costs.

On the end it will turn against the pigeon breeders. Fall is the time to start a preventive approach what can help to lay a solid foundation for the new season.

First of all a clear selection has to take place. Daring to select is also one of the important aspects of the sport.

Autumn is a season in which on the one hand the use of medication is renounced by the pigeon breeders because there are no races, but then also of course to help pigeon trough a good moult period. I hope you have guided your pigeons well in this. That is to say that the liver has the heavy task to support the formation of the new plumage good. Methionine, Lysine and Choline beverages such as Sedochol, Biochol or Bonichol are desired at that time. The sulfur-containing amino acids are very important in this period. I personally use and recommend a good pigeon tea to help cleanse the body. As mentioned, it is better to keep less pigeons who have been completely taken care of then having many pigeons who you can't care for optimally. Not only Bonyfarma but also firms as DHP, Backs and others use the natural forces as a starting point to guide the pigeons as much as possible. There are fortunately more and more firms with coordinated support to make a solid foundation in this period.  To make it a bit easier Bonyfarma introduced the Basic Package which is to give shape to this supported with minimal products. The next fairs are worth a visit, go walk around with another pair of glasses on and walk by different stands for products who support health instead of fighting diseases. It is certainly good that there are medicine that can be applied in case of disease, but we have to get rid of that wait mentality that lets us fall asleep and wait until the pigeons are sick before something is done.

You don't only ruin it for yourself, but also it is a source of misery for other pigeon breeders who do make the effort to optimise the health and fitness goals on the way to the start. By collective preventive action we may all help reduce the risk of infection in the travel baskets, so the misery with the remaining pigeons in many lofts, like what happened this year, will not occur again. Important in the preventive approach is that one works advised. As mentioned is vaccination against diseases, who can be vaccinated, a part of this. In practice, the various acidifying beverages are unproven or in combination with probiotics and good food. The old saying that death lurks in the intestines is still correct. Pigeons can be considered as the carriers of a wide variety of pathogens.

Many pigeon breeders visit me asking for a strong antibiotic to include Streptococcus, Staphylococcus or E. Coli. People should not have the illusion that you can remove this bacteria with giving a heavy antibiotics treatment.

The opposite is true. By frequently giving medicine against these bacteria you only select out the stronger ones, what makes which not only increasingly heavy resources should be deployed to still achieve the intended purpose. Next to that you will not manage to reach your goal simply because you engage in horseplay.

By giving frequent antibiotics you also destroy the healthy intestinal flora and the balance.

On the end one goes back and makes the pigeons more sensitive for infections, what the pigeons would have overcome themselves without all the used antibiotics. The pigeons are going to depend on the use of medicine. This is how it went the last 40 years. Of course it is not only the antibiotics who are to blame for the increase in diseases that we have seen the past 15 years. Indeed, in the case of illness, it is good that they are there. But improper and excessive use is something entirely different. Changing environment and reduction of the food quality have also contributed to their susceptibility to diseases of pigeons.

Al in al it is complex. However, if you keep your eyes open then you can see that there are several pigeon breeders that despite these difficult circumstances continue to perform well.

I got to know many of them as consequent pigeon breeders who don´t wasted any medicines, but make a good selection, by making sure there is enough ventilation in the lofts and stay close to nature. Professionals.

That's the secret of these pigeon breeders. For many, it is more pleasant to say that these pigeon breeders have a secret jar then to look in the mirror and admit that they themselves really leave it up to change too much and often behaving opportunistically.

Are there no secret jars? There are certainly products that can help pigeons perform better. And with that I am absolutely not talking about doping.

Only if they meet the first two pillars of the sport guidance, namely the elimination of diseases and then optimizing the defence so that the pigeons are no longer addicted to the medication, it is possible for the pigeons to help build on for the flights. You can compare it with the cycling sport. The time they only eat macaroni before a race, is long gone. No I do not mean all those stories about EPO and other doping products that severely tarnished the image of the cycling sport in recent years. I refer to the guidance by optimizing the bodily integrity that the teams trying to pursue. Supplements that have to prevent that they will have the hungry feelings during the races. Just as there will be teams in cycling or individuals that will continue to seek to circumvent or outsmart the doping controls, there will be figures like that in the pigeons sport as well. This is from all times. But that is not where I am aiming for. That is a problem that has to be discussed at another place.

Doping is in my opinion the provision of resources that causes demolition of the body of the individual because they damage the homeostasis and health permanently. In short it is downright undesirable.

What I aim for is to optimize the guidance of the pigeons in such a way that they can perform optimally during flights, without reaching out to resources that can be qualified as doping.

Sports Guidance aims precisely the opposite. Namely to ensure that the body is optimally supported, so that (heavy) performance as asked can accomplish. But the sport would not be the sport if there are no pigeons breeders, who want to skip the foundation that is needed here. These pigeon breeders see this sport guidance as a kind of "pill', that they have to give to buy the performance. But that is not how it works. If the base is not right, the funds intended for the finishing touch will not either.

The above axioms can be summarized as follows:

1. Guidance of the sport goes much further than just what powders and pills against diseases and illnesses. That is called pure healthcare.

2. After healing of acute diseases through preventive health, one should avoid it kicks back into the same trap. Through preventive healthcare should be prevented that you have to go back to sick care. Only by this way you can lay a solid foundation for optimal functioning.

3. Once the immune system and the health of the pigeons can expect optimal effect of support recourses which help bring the pigeons in top shape so that they can deliver the required performance.

Good Luck!

Peter Boskamp