May In The Loft

During this time of year in the sport, our attention turns to the old birds, especially to their health care and to their motivation for racing. In this article we are going to talk about a few things that you may want to think about during the month a May, including health considerations and racing systems.


If you’re looking to raise healthy racing pigeons, there are several things, that you should consider.

Canker Treatments
These treatments should be applied to three to four hours after returning from a race with another follow up treatment the next day. Canker germs are a serious threat to the birds and can be picked up from contaminated waters on the race course. When tackled agressively before the problem erupts, it can be reasonably handled.

To prepare your bird for the long journey, time-released supplements such as vitamin B, amino acids carnitine should be administered ahead of time, approximately 5-7 days before shipping, so that they are present in the muscles of the birds during pigeon racing. This added boost will help prevent stress in the birds. Carmine liquid (Versele-Laga) (carnitine) is a recommended additive as well as one Carni-Tab tablet (Colombine) and a Supra Pill (Colombine) to each pigeon on basketting night.

Canker Control at home
Using Turbosole to control canker in your own loft is also recommended for the health of your old bird. It can be safely used during racing, breeding and moulting periods. The serious fancier takes this important preventative step and any new racer should do the same.

Respiratory Infections
By using an eye loupe, you can check for slight respiratory infections. With this loupe, you will check the rim of the eye for bubbles of air in an excessively moist eye. If the eye is watery and has a number of air bubbles in the liquid around the rim of the eye,  that pigeon most probably needs a seven-day treatment of respiratory product.  The Australian Pigeon Company markets effective products called Doxyvet and Doxy-T for this very purpose. Additionally, you’ll want to remove the grit and mineral supplements when treating the birds with respiratory antibiotics.

Overall Health
To raise spectacular breeding pairs and babies, a wonderful product to use is Calcium/Vitamin D3 Syrup from the Australian Pigeon Company. This product works extremely well when paired with Pigeon Power. Together, they provide a great boost to the strength of both the parents and young. By mixing the calcium supplement with the Pigeon Power in water according to the directions, you can administer it to the breeders and their babies for optimal results.


Racing The Natural System

When racing the natural system with a hen and cock that are showing indications of pairing up, separate the two of them for several days before bringing them back together for 30-40 minutes prior to basketting. This trick will stop the hen’s cycle and thus put off the laying process. The forced separation will also increase the birds desire for each other. Allowing them to see one another for a little while before basketting will re-establish and reinforce the bond and their desire for home.

When using the natural system, try adding an egg to the nest of a pair of pigeons who have been sitting for several days, every other day until you’ve reached five or six eggs. Then on the night before basketing, take the cock and place him in a box or spare cage so that he cannot see his loft, his mate, or his nest.  For example, if you basket on Friday night, take the cock away on Thursday night. The hen will not realize that the cock is gone until it is his time to sit the nest the next day. She will be very hesitant to leave the nest, or even to eat, because of the added eggs and because her mate is not available to take his turn, she will become even more attached to the nest than normal. You may have to physically take her from the nest and feed her in a separate box so that she will eat and drink.  When taking the hen away, if time permits, let the cock into the loft. He will discover his nest unprotected and will hurry to take his turn on the eggs. Allow him settle on the nest for a few minutes and then take him away before allowing his mate back into the loft. Both birds will race extra hard to come home to protect those eggs when a question has been put into their minds regarding their responsibility for the nest.

On the natural system, when a pair starts to nest, remove one of the mates. This can be either the cock or the hen, but it is preferred to remove the hen. Let the cock take another mate, and then remove that mate. When shipping day arrives, let both hens in with the cock for twenty to thirty minutes, but don’t allow the hens to begin a heavy battle because they could lose form. Ship them all to the race. This trick can be used all season long to motivate either or all of the birds at different times.

Widowhood Racing

When racing the widowhood system, you may notice that the cocks appear to lose interest or the hens act as if they want to start mating with one another, switch the sexes. Allow the cocks to sit on the perches let the hens have the nest boxes. You will have to lock the hens in their box and  feed them in the box, but this can certainly energize a widowhood team and produce excellent results.

Another widowhood system tip is to lock a strange cock into the box with a particular cock’s mate and then let him see the stranger in his box with his hen before I ship. Make sure that the race will be less than 300 miles and not longer than six hours on the wing for such a motivational tactic because sometimes this tactic can backfire on you. Some cocks get so hyped by any additional motivation that they wear themselves out in the race basket the night before and don’t have any energy left when it’s time to fly home.

On the widowhood system, remove the bowls completely from the nest box and always show the bowl to the cock before the cock is allowed to see the hen at the beginning of the season. Then as the longer races come up, put the bowl in the nest box with the cock and let him get in it and start to call. Then ship him. Once all the cocks are removed, allow the hens into the boxes with the nest bowls and let them have their way. You can even put a few old un-mated cocks into the loft to steam up the hens before you ship them. Remember this advice: “Ship the cocks cool and the hens hot.”  This holds true for most races.

On the widowhood system, during a particularly bad race, if one of the birds comes home very late, lock that bird in its nest box (but not with its mate) for at least several hours or overnight would be even better. The race bird is worn out, and having to deal with an over-anxious mate will not do either of them any good. After a few hours of rest, put the pair together for just a few minutes, and then separate them again. This will tell your returned racer that, “Yes, your reward is here and waiting, when you are ready.” That pigeon’s sole motivation to race home may have been to see its mate. And after that performance, the reward is granted. But what that race bird needs most is rest. It’s a wise fancier who knows that this rest must be given.

Related Posts

19 thoughts on “May In The Loft

  1. You have to build the young pigeons immunity since they are weaned , stop give them preventive treatments…i give them only apple vinegar 4 days a week,2 times a week vitamins, 3 times a week “Probac 1000” from Dr.Brockamp ,1 time a week propolis (natural antibiotic from bees)…and i have no problems with them from long time, just in case one of them is getting sick just eliminate them… only this way you will build strong birds for your loft and forget about preventive treatments in case of trichomonasis !!!!

  2. New Solution for Canker / Trichomoniasis treatment

    Canker is the most common medical reason for failure in racing and breeding.

    Commonly used medicines are not able to control canker.

    As a pigeon veterinarian for 20 years, I have constantly been looking for new solutions to combat pigeon diseases.

    About 10 year ago, I discovered a natural product that killed Trichomonas parasites instantly, within 1 – 5 seconds, when the parasites were in drinking water.

    I treated hundreds of pigeons with this product, called CITROMED, however only 95% – 98 % of the birds become completely clean.
    Apparenly, parasites that have dug themselves deep into the flesh of the crop, gut, and internal organ of the pigeons, did escape this substance, and survived in the the odd unlucky pigeon.

    Still searching for something better, about 5 years ago, I found another completely different plant substance that didn’t kill the parasites quick, but after a few days, pigeons with bed canker become better and were cured completely after 5 – 10 days.
    This product, BERIMAX have been tested in about 100 lofts all over the world, and we have only very good results and feedbacks form veterinarians and fanciers form all continents.

    The Perfect Strategy to Keep your pigeons healthy during the Competition Season

    Is as follows:

    1. Unless visible disease: Don’t treat your breeders. Young pigeons need to be exposed to “friendly” types of Trichomonas parasites, in order to build immunity.

    2. Before your loft start racing: Treat them for 5 days with BERIMAX. This to ensure they are not carrying the parasite into the basket.

    3. Claim that IN THE BASKET all drinking water must be added CITROMED. This way no parasites will be transmitted from one pigeon to the next in the basket.

    4. Upon return, add CITROMED in the drinking water the following 1 – 2 days, to ensure that any parasite the pigeon may have picked up at the way home are killed off.

    5. If you see any sign of Trichomonas, slime, plaques, debris, or smell in the pigeon’s beak-cavity or throat, treat with BERIMAX.

    The best way to keep track on the infection level is to get hold of a suitable microscope, and learn to see the Trichomonas parasites.

    Anyway, by following the 5 steps described above, your will certainly make great progress.

    A small warning: Don’t mix Berimax and Citromed in the same water. This may reduce the effect of both of them!

    Ask your local feed / supplement supplier to stock BERIMAX and CITROMED, or order form or or (the letter site is only in Norwegian….)

    Have much success with keeping your pigeons healthy.


    Dr. Nils Reither, veterinarian

  3. To all the guys who relay on preventative medication,

    A friend of mine who was racing good had a bad season last young bird series.
    When checking up his birds with a vet he realised that E. coli was one of the problems, which is indeed a manage problem more than a primary pathogen.

    When testing this bacteria for susceptiblity it happened to be resistant to the golden choice against E. COLI: TRIMETROPIM+SULPHAMETOXAZOLE.
    And accord with this vet this tendency is coming more and more common.

    I leave a comment that took from one of the books I have read ” Every pigeon needs a perch but not every perch needs a pigeon”


  4. Hi everyone,

    The season in which my birds turned the dust away with all the races was precisely the year of cero medication.

    They were flying like hell, 45 minutes in the morning and another 45 minutes in the afternoon heat reaching the 95ºF. When I was about to let them out , they were flapping excited. Of course they were fed all the feed they wanted in 15 minutes twice.
    They just were on vitamins sundays and wednesdays.
    They were not road trained not even once. With only 25 natural yearlings and won 1st short distance, 1st middle distance, and 3rd long distance. 1st overall.
    1st & 2nd ace birds.

    With race entries of 2500 bird averages.

    After that wins had to quit racing for personal issues.

    1. Well done Jorge just wondering if you trained your birds down the road as
      Where abouts in the world are you situated? and are the returns good? do you fly this way every year?
      All the best,

  5. Interesting program , good reading.yes i use preventave Against resportary i think everyone uses somethink.It i great we have products like this to use.I would like to know what our flyers used in the old days ??.

  6. In my opinion Bacteria have become more resistant and more aggressive solely due to over use of medication.But I know that as long as antibiotic’s still work people will continue to give them to their birds to boost performance.People are very short sighted and only care about the now,not the future.The pigeon doesn’t have to be sterile to win races.A balance of good bacteria and bad bacteria is actually normal to find in the healthy pigeon and when this balance is continually disrupted by the use of antibiotics this is when natural immunity weakens,which in turn leads to more frequent treatments and longer treatments to get the same results,which further weakens immunity.I believe this is why so few pigeons are kept past the age of two years in the racing basket because they are unable to perform any more because their responce to medication is so poor it is no longer viable to continue.

  7. Great learning tools, keep them coming.
    Richard, I understand your thinking, but one has to remember, 80 years ago, hell even 40 years ago, a fancier never kept as many pigeons in the loft, the costs of raising lots of birds was high, a good pigeon feed was a luxury for many, over crowding in a loft is one of the biggest problem for sickness, and back then, if you had a sick bird, there was no second guessing, it was culled.
    Today we are lucky, or are we, we have medications to fix anything, myself, I try to keep fewer birds then most, so over crowding and sickness is a lot less in my loft, then in someone that has to many birds for the space they have.

    1. I have a small space.. 8×8 and must keep only a few birds. I agree with you 100%. I think that too many get caught up in big young bird teams and the a year latter they do it over again except now they have all those old birds. This article has good information. But I must use the old ways.

    1. Hi Mayra,

      I am afraid that soon or later you will have to fall in love with another more powerful antibiotic combination. Because the more you use it, the less it will eventually work. And not to metion that you are creating not only antibiotic dependant racing pigeons but super bugs.


  8. I know this is the modern way, but one has to wonder how 80 years ago so many records were set and yet these products did not yet exist.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top