Racing pigeons in the aviary
The freedom of pigeons involves some risks. This is why more and more fanciers, when they have found the “dream pair” which gives good youngsters, hasten to put them in the aviary. This couple finds there some pigeons bought pipants or adults, coming from colonies of great value and for which one does not want to run the risks of adduction. The confinement is therefore complete.
In this aviary, which we want to be as comfortable as possible, these pigeons will regularly receive everything that the fancier considers essential for good reproductive performance. It is essential that this aviary meets suitable living conditions for its guests: lighting, ventilation (the usual standards apply there as in the dovecote: whatever the temperature, rainfall, strength and direction of the wind, smoke must be immediately evacuated through the roof). That is to say that even open on the front, this aviary will often be insufficiently ventilated if openings have not been made on the opposite side: corrugations in the sheets, fanlights, large chimneys, etc.
Do not forget that respiratory health is at this price (especially in hot weather), not to mention the persistent and tough coccidiosis with their thin, poorly feathered and diarrheic coccidiosis. Upstairs, the floor will be in wood, on the floor it will be in cinder concrete, that is to say that the surface concrete will rest on 15 cm of clinker, which will insulate from the earth floor and dampen the variations temperature, sources of transient humidity.
Of course food is the object of all attention. Not only is the mixture rich but we also bring greens, grit, pecking stone, cooking salt etc. And it’s going very well. At least for a while. All those who have kept pigeons in such conditions know that the first setbacks appear after 4 years in the aviary, in particular on the females: they are obviously the ones who export the most, since they lay eggs. Every year some fanciers tell me that their pigeons, especially at the time of breeding, rush to the field as soon as the hatch is open, despite grit, pecking stone, greenery, vitamins, even bread soaked in milk, dehydrated vegetables, etc. . etc This means that a deficiency (a lack) is established very quickly in an organism, since these pigeons not only receive all kinds of supplements in the loft, but can also go to the field every day, during their free time, to compensate their possible shortcomings.
In the aviary, it is therefore much worse. Pigeons that rush to the field are generally cured by the addition of cooking salt (one teaspoon to coffee per liter of water for 3-4 hours then addition in the grit at 10-15 g per kilo), yeasts beer (amino acids vitamins B), fish meal (animal proteins) and especially trace elements (electrolytes).
The females who show problems after 4-5 years in the aviary, present in their vast majority of laying accidents: paresis of the oviduct causing the egg to stop in the canal or abdominal laying, in any case followed by a fatal peritonitis and if it gets out of it thanks to sufficiently early treatment, permanent sterility in most cases.
Why these accidents?
The grit and the classic minerals usually provide the phosphorus (the contribution of the seeds, “phytin” must be added to it) and the necessary calcium. Let’s not forget, in passing, the essential role of the sun, and vitamin D3 (formed in the body thanks to the sun) if necessary provided by regular polyvitamin cures (1 day a week) and vitamin A in the assimilation and use of these 2 minerals in the body. But these are not the only 2 necessary minerals: magnesium and manganese play a very big role in the processes of egg and embryo formation. Their contribution by the ration alone is poorly known, in any case very variable. To these two minerals, we must add what are called “trace elements”. Not all of them are directly involved in the reproduction process, but for example zinc, cobalt, copper, obviously at very low doses (of the order of a tenth of a milligram) condition the tone of the digestive system, that of the embryo, the quality of the shell etc. etcWe can therefore see that the addition of these substances can be a very important factor in the good performance and longevity of breeders kept continuously in the aviary. Some of these products will be permanently available (yeast, salted grit, pecking stone), others will be the subject of temporary distributions (trace elements every month, salted greens every week, etc.).
Dr. J.P. Stosskopf
If there is a place in the world where we have experience with pigeons that live in aviaries, it is the Natural Breeding Station. It exists 40 years and shelters in its 50 aviaries of 25 meters more than 12.000 pigeons. Breeding females, after five years of breeding, are sold and very rarely a health or egg-laying problem is reported. This is due to the fact that they live in summer and winter in well-exposed southeast aviaries, well ventilated, not overcrowded and optimal from the point of view of hygiene. They receive adequate and complete food and rarely medication.
Vaccination against paramyxo and a few treatments a year against trichomoniasis are enough to keep them healthy. And if there is still one or the other female who falls ill, she is simply eliminated.
[ Source:Article edited by Dr. J.P. Stosskopf – PIGEON RIT Magazine]
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