By: Henk de Brueijs
By: Henk de Brueijs
A few years ago I interviewed Dr.Henk de Weerd from Belgica De Weerd-Breda, Holland about s.c. “Head” Diseases , often seen in our pigeons during the racing season.
Henk, where can be found the cause of the s.c. “head” diseases of our pigeons?
One of the mysteries in pigeon sport??
One of the main reasons is the loft. It’s very important to avoid any form of draught in the loft. So, one has to check if and in what way cold air streams can harm the pigeons in their loft.
Draught s.a. cold air reaching pigeons for example from the roof to the floor in the loft gives an easy cause of problems with the respiratory system of the pigeons. If someone ask me “Dr. is my loft oké ?”, I only answer him “show me your pigeons and I’ll tell you how good or how bad your loft is”. At good constructed lofts the pigeons are just slippery like an eel with silky plumage, flush little feathers around the ears and the same in the neck and nape. Besides the pigeon must show white noses and eyelids (one of the first symptoms of the ornithosis complex is to be found on the eyelids; the white edge turns to grey or brown and swells. In case of repeated problems I always discuss with the fancier the construction, location and lay-out of the loft and this regarding to the draught, temperature, aridity, humidity and light in the loft.
“Certain fanciers place their pigeons during the winter period in the aviary; they call it an “oxygen-course” and moreover these people allege that their pigeons during the racing season are less suffering from the ornithosis complex”.
This s.c. “oxygen-course” is nonsense. One can’t built-up oxygen by placing the pigeons for a longer period in an open aviary, moreover the quality of the oxygen not shows any difference in the loft or open air. More important is the fact that in a open aviary one cannot find any draught so after a short time the pigeons shows already a better condition and are much less suffering from the ornithosis complex. Once the new season starts the pigeons have a slight better condition than the competitors and shall meet only later in the running competition the problems of the ornithosis. Every pigeon, even the best one can meet problems with the respiratory system. It’s about 25 years ago that one of the best fanciers in the province Limburg ( at the moment he is very successful at the overnight long-distance races in Belgian Limburg) visited me at the clinic. He won a few weeks before a rather tough provincial race from Bourges with headwind and very high temperature with a speed of 1000 mtr/m. His bird was the only pigeon with a speed over 1000 mtr/m. So, his pigeon was in an excellent condition and did not suffer from any respiratory problem.
Two weeks later the same pigeon homed from a short flight hours too late with a s.c. “fat head”. The one who knows the reason, please let me know.
Through the years I have learned that in pigeon sport the one does not exclude the other.
“What with a pigeon sitting with open beak and panting direct after training ?”.
If the fancier notice the problem as mentioned one has to take in consideration always the following: problems with the middle and/or lower respiratory system are caused most of the times by a wrong feeding system, the pigeons are too fat (even the more experienced fanciers are feeding too much) and last but not least the pigeons are aware of a bird of prey in the neighborhood. In this case the pigeon will pant and look upwards with a long stretched neck.
“What is your idea to inject the pigeons direct before basketing with the in the meantime well known cocktail of Lincospectin and Catosal?”
You can do so but for myself I never shall do the same…………..I’m not a fan of the syringe.
Some vets provide pills against “head “diseases which one has to administer direct before basketing of the pigeon. Do you recommend and do you have these pills also?”.
I don’t see the point of it if the pigeons are in a good condition and stay just one night in the basket. If you have to cure the pigeons at the moment of basketing than you are already too late or ………………………….
“Is the transport of the pigeons also important? “.
The transporters must be well instructed before the start of the season by the responsible people of the pigeon organizations. One has to secure as much as possible a good transport with the right maintenance. At the same time future of pigeon sport can be stimulated. Nobody is benefit from bad releases and races. This detail of our sport can be controlled and must be as good as possible. We also have to take in consideration that the media and certain organizations for the welfare of animals is watching us and in fact are waiting for a disastrous race to publish in a negative way about our hobby. Also cutting on the budget for this part of our hobby is killing pigeon sport.
“What is your personal idea about administer eye drops? Is this a must ?”.
Before the years that “doping” became more the less a household word in pigeon sport the use of eye drops was a trend. “do you mean the so well known “black drops” of René Genette, which were very popular in the fifties and sixties”? . No, these drops were used by the fancier to check the pigeon’s upper respiratory system. If the drops in the eye disappeared immediately one said the pigeon can take part in the race. They are free from ornithosis. The eye drops I’m talking about were those with corticosteroid and were used to stop the mould during the period end of July, August and September. The pigeons flew better due to the change in the hormonal housekeeping. Eye drops can be used in case of disinfection of the eye’s mucous membranes, the lachrymal canal, swollen and wet eyes and inflamed third eyelid.( this can be seen under the upper eyelid and has a pink color.)
Henk, the last question for today…………”are there certain products at the loft which can effect in a negative way the cause of “head” diseases?”.
Most of the times not; grit can cause problems in combination with tetracycline and doxycycline but these products are not used any longer in most of the products for “head” diseases.