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Monday, July 6, 2009



Dr RC Conradie (South Africa)

Since the early 90s we have been dealing with a disease syndrome we have, for want of a better description, called young bird disease
In these earlier days the young birds typically showed vomiting, food retention in the crop and green diarrhea as the most obvious symptoms.

In laboratory tests various viruses and bacteria were isolated. Adenovirus and E.coli were the main isolates. The syndrome at this stage developed the name of Adeno coli syndrome.

This disease appeared very suddenly with many lofts getting it at one time, sometimes all on the same day! It was not unusual for us to get many telephone calls from fanciers all on the same day all describing the same symptoms and, strangely enough on the same day as my own birds became ill!

With REST and treatment (to be discussed later) the youngsters recovered quickly and in the same year performed well. This is what happened in the earlier years of this syndrome but as the years have gone by the scenario appears to have changed.

Henk de Weerd of Holland described a different Adenovirus (TypeII) which affected the liver more than anything else and it was found in older birds and in birds that had young bird disease the previous year. It looked as though the bird’s immunity broke down when they were subjected to the stress of their second year of racing. In SA we probably had a similar problem. Detailed research and tests were not done in SA with the result that notes could not be compared with Holland’s test and research results

In October this year a group of veterinarians working in different bird and pigeon clinics in Germany released a scientific article on their findings on what they call young bird disease syndrome.
Forty five lofts with YB disease were tested. Their findings were as follows:-
CIRCO VIRUS was found in ALL 45 lofts.
HERPES VIRUS was found in 7 of the 45 lofts
NO Adenovirus was found in any of the 45 lofts

Other findings in these 45 lofts were an increased incidence of: -
1. E.coli
2.Other bacteria causing diarrhea and respiratory symptoms
5.Trichomoniasis (Canker)

The most severe symptoms were seen at 4 to 12 weeks. Main symptoms seen in this study were:-
Green to black diarrhea
No appetite
Delayed crop emptying
Reluctance to fly
drinking a lot of water

As mentioned before the most severe symptoms were seen up to 12 weeks but older birds were affected. This article does not mention up to what age the birds were affected with the above symptoms.

Our experience in SA especially in 2005 was that we felt that even two year olds were being affected, not with severe symptoms as above but with more vague symptoms like poor and late returns. An interesting example of this is a 700km race we had this year with a velocity of 1300mpm.It took members of our club about 40 minutes to fill the 30 positions. In earlier years we would have filled all 30 positions in a couple of minutes(at 1300 velocity)

In Holland, Belgium and Germany veterinarians doing research on Circo virus tested strays brought in by members of the public. These were birds that had been lost in races. They appeared healthy but nearly all of them tested positive for Circo virus. This virus may be one of the factors responsible for unexplained losses during training and racing and for slower returns as discussed in the paragraph above.

In SA this year we appeared to have an increased incidence of mild Paramyxo late in the season. You get the impression that because of all these viruses especially Circo virus the birds are not developing an immunity that is sufficient to last them a full 12 months.

Over the last couple of years we have been having more and more of a problem with Canker .Is this as a result of the organism having developed a resistance to the medications used or is it as a result of the fact that birds harboring viral infections do not respond to treatment very well? Possibly a combination of the two?

Birds with Circo virus and to a lesser extent other viruses will be more susceptible to anything going on in the loft. The symptoms seen will often be as a result of the other secondary infections rather than the Circo virus itself e.g. respiratory symptoms. Pigeons with these viruses, when vaccinated, do not develop the same level of immunity as healthy birds. Circo virus behaves like AIDS in humans-the virus also makes humans more susceptible to many other infections. Humans become more susceptible to TB, Pneumonia, Hepatitis etc.

To summarize then, what we SEEM TO have over the years is a change from your typical Adeno virus with vomiting and diarrhea of SHORT DURATION IN YOUNG BIRDS ONLY to a disease with a more prolonged course and affecting older birds to a certain extent as well. The vomiting and diarrhea is seen more in the young birds and more vague milder symptoms are seen in the older birds. In earlier years we found more Adeno virus and in later years more Circo and Herpes virus. Whether we must call all forms of the disease syndrome caused by the different viruses by the same name i.e. Young bird disease -we do not know!

Dr.Colin Walker from Australia is also of the opinion that the cause of the young bird disease syndrome appears to be Circo virus/Herpes virus type syndrome.

We therefore, in many different countries seem to have a disease syndrome where the symptoms have changed to a certain extent and the cause has varied from Adeno to Circo and Herpes virus. It is possible, though that the Adenovirus was identified first because it was easier to detect and it was only as a result of further searching that the Circo virus was found.

How do we treat these virus conditions?
The principles of treatment of your birds will be the same as the principles you use for yourself when you have Flu
If you visit a doctor when you have flu he will tell you to get into bed, (REST) give you vitamins and perhaps antibiotics
When treating our birds it is no different
.The basics of treatment are:-
1.REST.The longer you can afford to rest the birds the better. They will tell you when they are ready to be trained again by their behavior in the loft and by the way they circle the loft during exercise. As humans, if we continue playing sport while we have flu we will take a long time to get better. The same applies with the birds.

2. Isolation of the badly affected birds.

3. Disinfection of the loft, water and food hoppers. This does lessen exposure to the virus.

4. Immune stimulants (to boost immunity)
Viroban etc...

5. Probiotics. These replace the good bacteria that are lost during the vomiting and diarrhea phase and also those lost due to antibiotic treatment. They are also known to be able to boost immunity. Colin Walker of Australia is a great believer of using these products.
Liviferm etc.
If at any time during the year if you have no medication in the drinking water and you feel you MUST then you cannot go far wrong if you put probiotics in the water!

6. Treatment of the secondary infections.

a) Bacteria .As discussed above, an increased incidence of bacteria e.g. E.coli is found. in birds suffering from these viruses. Various antibiotics can be used eg.Baytril, .Amoxycillin preparations (Avimox, Longstim), Mediprim, Fosbac etc. Remember that these antibiotics do not kill the virus.
b) Trichomoniasis (Canker) is often found as a secondary complication. Treat with a medication that is given in tablet form so that antibiotics etc, can be given in the drinking water.Use Metronidazole preparations (Meditrich, Flagyl etc.) Ronsec and many others.

c) Many birds have secondary Candida which again worsens the symptoms of the primary virus. Use Medistatin on the food for 5-7 days.

d) Birds with these viruses will become more susceptible to Ornithosis and Mycoplasmas. These problems must be treated as the problems arise.

7.Other products used in the prevention and treatment of this condition are:-
Grapefruit seed extract
Apple cider vinegar
Hydrogen peroxide
Vircon S
Propolis etc.
The effectiveness of some of them is debatable. The recommendation of some of them is similar to the recommendation of the SA minister of health advising us to eat beetroot as a cure for Aids! We must emphasize at this point that the response to treatment using natural or more conventional remedies depends on the virulence (strength, danger) of the virus. For example, in man it is easier to prevent or treat a common cold (with vitamin C, garlic etc) than it is to treat Aids or Rabies purely because the common cold is less virulent than Aids or Rabies. The same principle applies to pigeons. Most of the virus infections that pigeons suffer from are far more virulent than the common cold. In other words the above products would treat and prevent a common cold in humans better than it would treat Adeno, Herpes ,Circo,Pox or Paramyxo virus.(They are more virulent than the common cold)
At this stage mention must be made of the use of Jik,Virkon,Virukill etc. These products disinfect the water and prevent the spread of the virus in the drinking water. They do not cure the disease in the pigeon. If this were the case we would drink Jik to cure our colds and flu!

8. Vitamins and electrolytes can be used where considered necessary.

In human medicine many different products are used in the prevention and treatment of colds and flu. Everyone has their own ideas as regards the prevention and treatment. If a single product was 100% effective it would be the only one on the market and the only one used by EVERYBODY. This is not the case. The same applies with the treatment of these virus conditions in pigeons. There is not a single remedy that is 100% effective. They all help the bird to recover as quickly as the underlying virus condition will allow.

Whether any of these products discussed above work or not depends also to a large extent on the inherent natural resistance that a particular pigeon has. Nothing will work for a pigeon that has a weak constitution. A bird that has a strong constitution will benefit from this aid but some birds would survive without any help which would be what would happen in nature (in the wild). We all know that some of us have a natural health and others are very sickly. Help from the immune boosters is more likely to help the naturally healthy people. For example a person that is naturally healthy that eats garlic may think it is the garlic that is keeping him healthy but it is probably more as a result of his natural health. Conversely a sickly person will think that garlic is useless because it does not help him...

There is no vaccine for these viruses. An Adenovirus vaccine used for poultry is used by some to protect pigeons against Adenovirus. As far as we know no SCIENTIFICALLY CONTROLLED trial has been done to prove whether this vaccine does protect pigeons against Adenovirus. It certainly would not provide any immunity against Herpes and Circo virus which are the main topics of discussion of this article.

While on the subject of vaccinations, pigeons with these viruses do not always develop a full immunity when vaccinated against Paramyxo for example. Due to this it is probably best to vaccinate birds against Paramyxo every 6 months and when babies are being vaccinated for the first time to vaccinate twice 4 weeks apart.

How do we live with these virus conditions in the future?

1. Some families of birds within your loft will appear to have more natural resistance than others. Use these birds more for breeding and racing, especially while these viruses are prevalent. Over the years you will develop a tougher type of bird???
2. Train your young birds on the road in the off season. With the stress of this training they may become ill. This would give them a chance to develop immunity in the off season. With any luck this immunity would protect them over the next racing season???
3. Build up a good strong team of old birds so that you become less reliant on the yearlings. Race the yearlings only when you have to. In this regard it would help if racing organizations limited the yearling races to the bare minimum so that fanciers would be able to rest the yearlings as much as possible. Young bird racing that some organizations have in January / February could also be discontinued if Young bird disease becomes a problem.

The future?

The birds that are becoming ill now will, if they race well be put to stock. These birds will HOPEFULLY pass on some immunity to their babies so that the disease will HOPEFULLY become less and less of a problem in future years.

The birds that were really very ill and had no inherent ability to overcome the infection have been lost. They will not be able to produce another generation of birds incapable of fighting off these viruses.



Once upon a time there was a fancier who began to win all that was before him. Week after week his results were the talk of all his peers. Even his later arrivals would have graced most of their lofts. The fancier was happy and all was well. But the fancier did not know that a visitor had come to stay at his loft. How could he? The visitor cannot be seen, cannot be touched, cannot be smelt, cannot be bought, only when he raced did the fancier know that the visitor was there. Then just when he was about to be crowned king, the visitor suddenly left and the fancier was ordinary.
As the weeks went by he tried all he could, but still he was ordinary. He borrowed books, listened to all but still he was ordinary. There must be something wrong with the birds he thought, some sort of illness, of this he was certain. So he treated, and again and again but still he was ordinary. The birds looked no different from his glory days but his results were not the same.
One morning after he had let out the cocks cleaned fed and watered them he moved on to the hens and did the same. Quickly he dealt with the young birds before finishing off in the stock loft. As he walked to the stock loft he turned to see his wife at the window, she just smiled and turned away. He left for work with the troubles at the loft still on his mind. On his return in the evening his chores at the loft were the same, this time as he came out of the young bird loft he turned to see his wife standing at the window again, she just smiled and turned away.
Later that evening she could see something was troubling him so she asked what was wrong? “ I cannot understand what the trouble is” he replied “ The birds were doing so well but now they will not race. I’m not doing anything different, but now they are ordinary”. She smiled the smile he had seen at the window, almost as if she knew what was wrong. “ What do you know?” He asked with desperation in his voice. “ What have you seen?”
“ You” she replied. “ I have seen you. Earlier in the year, before you started your new job I watched you tend to the pigeons. Your slow approach to all you did at the loft was of someone who enjoyed every minute he could being where he was. When time was on your side each minute was cherished with your beloved birds and they knew it. Now that your time is limited you dart around so quickly you even make me feel uneasy. How do you think those birds must feel? Maybe they feel you have not got the time for them any more.
He sat on the corner of the chair realising that all his wife had just said was true. How could he have been so blind, how could he have been so foolish as to let this happen.
He went to bed that night with his thoughts working overtime but he knew that in the morning there would have to be a change. His approach to attending the birds would have to change, it would have to be as it had been before he started his new job. It meant altering his system to allow him the time he needed, but he felt comfortable knowing his time would be spent wisely. In the next few weeks he embraced every moment he had at the lofts, and his birds embraced him. Slowly his performances improved and after a few months he was crowned king. The elusive visitor had returned to his lofts, but he told no one. One night at the clubhouse members were telling stories of another fancier from a-far who had decided not to breed any young birds and was spending all his time with his old birds. His performances were fantastic. The one who had been crowned king knew that the visitor had been there to, but he told no one. They told of a partnership where each one of the partners were responsible for their part in the day to day management, allowing more time for the birds and for the small details. Their performances were phenomenal. The king knew the visitor was there to, but still he told no one, for he now knew how to make the visitor come to his loft and he must never forget. He knew that the visitor only comes to those lofts full of happiness, contentment and well being.
He went home to the loft and his beloved birds, he knew the visitor was there because he could sense him. As he sat on the bench with the young birds all around his feet, he hoped that the elusive visitor would always stay. He thought that if he stays then he should have a name, so he called him FORM.

Dennis McDermott.



The length that each fancier is prepared to go to in order to achieve success is a matter of choice. There are those that will leave no stone unturned in their quest to gain optimum condition for their pigeons. Their management includes water programmes, feeding programmes and equally as importantly to them, vaccination programmes. On the other hand there are those who believe that keeping as close to nature will be as equally rewarding. In nature, as with all things in life, for every question there is an answer. With every attack from new viruses, bacterial infections and new diseases, nature’s immune system will eventually find a defence. Unfortunately, eventually is not quick enough for the competitive flier who wants his flock in top condition at all times. ‘Keep Your Pigeons Flying’ written by Leon Whitney so many years ago, but still the reference book for so many pigeon vets, makes the point of the fancier throughout his book. Natural immunity and resistance from disease will become stronger in the flock the less the system is interfered with. Good management is all that is required, so it would seem. Our flocks would be more than happy to live in perfect harmony warding off disease if only we had the time to wait. For instance at my late Father-in-law’s lofts are still nine pigeons cared for by my wife. Their ages range from Ten years old to Twenty years old, they are in perfect health and have never had one treatment in their life.
Years of evolution tells us that there have been very few diseases that have wiped out any one species. I find it hard to believe this will ever happen. In any species there will always be those few that will be resistant. The only thing that will be responsible for the disappearance of man or animal will be natural disasters or wars. It was said Myxomatosis would curb the Rabbit population, has it?
We have a world of information at our finger tips and access to advice from all kinds of experts in their field. Even these experts admit that there is so much that they still have not found the answers to. Infact the great Sir Isaac Newton once said ‘If I have seen further then it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants. For I do not know what I may appear to the world ,but unto myself, I am still just a boy standing on the sea shore of life, casting pebbles into the great ocean of truth undiscovered before me’.
The giants he referred to were the great minds that went before him. The people who’s discoveries led the way for him to question and develop their findings. Like all geniuses his theories were to prove many of his mentors wrong. In much the same way as some of yesterday’s revolutionary drugs and vaccines are now proving to be fatal .Very few people consider the long term affects from the use of antibiotics or medicines, especially the drug companies. The trial periods for drugs and vaccines have long been the subject of review every time a proclaimed wonder drug has had irreversible side affects. In the world of pigeon racing , horse racing or greyhound racing the turn over of stock is so frequent that to most, the long term affects of what they might have over-used does not matter. The long term effects are passed on to the next person and so on.
In every living thing there is a balance and when this balance is disturbed the body is susceptible to attack. Every move we make in our lofts is liable to upset that balance. Just separate the cocks from the hens for a few days and take a look at the droppings, the balance is disturbed and internally things change. Once a pigeons system is put under stress, it, as in all living things, is open to attack. A simple procedure like removing their young disturbs that balance. Racing our pigeons regularly puts them under stress and their system is vulnerable. Move any living thing from its comfort zone and the result is the same. Those fanciers, who find themselves having to use antibiotics regularly, find it hard to believe that success can be achieved without them. They have not realized that the antibiotic has all but taken the place of the pigeon’s immune system. Infact for a while, it becomes the immune system. The first administration of a course of antibiotics is followed by an unmistakeable rise in condition and very often followed by an improvement in performance. Provided of course there are no internal parasites. The rise in condition is understandable. When a broad spectrum antibiotic is used it leaves the system completely free from infection. With that it is safe to assume that a feeling of well-being will follow. After seeing this it is no surprise to see the fancier reaching into the medicine cabinet every time their flock look a little down in the mouth.
Loft management has a major part to play, being able to apply your system without disturbing the pigeons balance is the key. This is what sets top fanciers aside from those who struggle. To do this the fancier has to have the ability to have the trust of his pigeons. Too many disregard their pigeons as only pigeons. They have no respect for their intelligence. The inside of a pigeon loft is a whole community living side by side just like human beings. If you don’t believe me just leave your pigeons on the natural system for a year or so. Let them do as they please, pick who they want as a mate, let them choose to nest where they want. Then sit and watch. Not just for a while but for hours, day after day, I will tell you what you will see. You will see the jealous husband watching his mate’s every move, you will see the flirting wife when she is off of her nest, and you will see the young Adonis chasing every female. The bully of the community, the doting parents, the rebellious cock or hen who refuses to conform. You will see the parents who choose different partners, when the young are off hand. The educated youngsters that act sensible until they are put with others.
It reads like every day life. What makes us think that their life is any different from ours? What makes us think that a dispute with a neighbour would not upset them as much as it would us?
Paratyphoid seems to be number one on the hit list at the moment. Scribes are continually warning fanciers of its impact and they should not be ignored. For me the worry is over but for the majority of fanciers only time will tell. The disease is no stranger to me; we met way back in the autumn of 1984. After a successful season I began to notice the odd pigeon limping. I was slightly concerned but, as most fanciers do, thought it was the result of a fight. After a couple of days one or two yearlings had developed dropped wings. By this time I had already searched the pages of Leon Whitney’s book for the answer. From his description of the symptoms, I was 99.9% sure it was Paratyphoid. Purely by chance at that time, I was on a course of antibiotics myself, for a throat infection. The infection had almost cleared up and I still had a few tablets left. I decided to treat all the affected birds with a tablet each. Although the dosage was much higher than recommended and I could have cut the tablets into half or quarters, I wanted to see what reaction a massive dose would give. The dosage was 250mg of Ox tetracycline. Within a few days all but one pigeon was back to normal. One yearling with a dropped wing did not respond and was eliminated. By then Whitney’s recommendations had really got me thinking. For a start he says that even though the flock can be treated, it does not stop those cured from still being carriers. The drugs do not eliminate the carrier state. Birds may never become non-infective. In some cases the use of sulphur drugs was very effective but the pigeons only remained free from the disease for ninety days. In the next breeding it reappeared.
Since the bacteria can be transmitted via the egg and in pigeon milk, and crop fluids fed to squabs by their parents, one method of control, if the owner does not want to use medication, is to rest all the birds of a loft for a season and to breed the following year without introducing new stock. This will give the birds a chance to recover and build antibodies against the disease, so that they will not transmit it to their young.
I had noticed that the birds affected were only that season’s young and yearlings. I considered that the older birds had been building antibodies against the disease without me knowing. As anyone who has tried it will know, not breeding for a whole year seems to set a loft back two years. So I made the conscious decision not to breed from yearlings for a few years and see the outcome. I know this was not Whitney’s recommendation but it was a compromise that would allow me a continual replenishment for the old bird team. I also stopped introducing any stock. Infact not breeding from yearlings is a policy I stuck to up until I retired from the sport a few months ago. I saw no hardship in having two pairs of young from successful older birds than chancing young from yearlings how ever well they were bred. This programme has kept me fairly well protected from this dreaded disease since. I would be lying if I said I did not have the odd season with problems, I would also be lying if I said that I had never treated, but I never experienced the continual troubled season after season that some fanciers do.
I spent many long hours trying to fathom out how to recognise the carriers Whitney referred to. At that time very few vets around could help, so it was down to me to make my own analytic studies. I observered the birds very closely throughout the winter of 84 and made some notes. I picked four pigeons that showed signs different to the rest. I monitored their performances during the racing of 85, they failed miserably. I was careful not to let them rear any young or under sit any of their eggs. I eliminated them as the season progressed and looked for the same symptoms during the winter of 85. This time three pigeons showed the symptoms so I eliminated them immediately. What were these symptoms you may ask? Simple, droppings.
If you are satisfied that your loft is content and there is no inner unrest that would give rise to stress, then you can safely look for those pigeons who’s droppings fluxuate from normal to watery. Provided a diet is fed that keeps the birds droppings firm, then these culprits are found. Do not ignore them. This is easily detected in a loft where the birds live in their boxes, but not so easy in a section where perches are used. This takes a lot more attention to make sure that the birds responsible will not be mistaken. There is of course no scientific evidence to back my theories but, in my experience the birds that show these symptoms, on every occasion have been poor racers and if allowed to stay ,after treatment, are always the first to show signs that the disease has returned to the loft.
Inoculation programmes, along with the use of antibiotics maybe emerging as one of today’s requirements in the world of pigeon racing but it must not be seen as the be all and end all. The corner, that some fanciers I know have backed themselves into through the misuse of antibiotics, is one that many more will find themselves in if they don’t proceed with caution. I have always been a firm believer in prevention, rather than cure, but there is a world of difference between the odd treatment and total reliance. The widowhood and darkness systems are responsible for putting pigeons under far more stress and imbalance than the natural system. With the systems come extra problems and for the average less successful fancier, not having the answers to these problems means another poor season. They automatically assume their pigeons have some disease, misinterpret articles and listen to the un-informed and before they know where they are, antibiotics become as regular as tap water in their drinkers. Once we can accept that not every unsatisfactory performance is due to disease and needs an immediate course of drugs, then we can start to study the pigeons themselves. So if you find yourself reaching for that secret bottle a little too quickly, and need a little reassurance remember this. There are no vaccination programmes, no antibiotic administration and no specially formulated mixtures given to the migratarory birds that manage to fly thousands of miles each year.

Dennis McDermott.

Pigeon's Milk

Pigeon's Milk

This is what is produced by the crop of both cock and hen pigeons from the time their young hatch on the eighteenth day for about a week. It looks rather like fairly dry curds of milk (it only contains about 70% to 75% water, while cow's milk contains 92% water) and reminds one of bread crumbs, with which of course it has nothing in common. But this still does not stop fanciers from giving stale bread at the end of the incubation period "to bring on the milk"!! This is only one aspect of the problem.

The milk is a specific product of glands in the crops of male and female pigeons, just as cow's milk is the product of the udder. This implies a number of laws: firstly, the milk is produced at a specific period in the normal reproducion cycle (and cannot be "induced", as we shall see later); secondly, the chemical composition of this milk, which is relatively fixed, has no direct relationship with the feed given to the breeders. It is the organism itself which draws what is required from its own resources. After the eighth day of incubation, the wall of the crop starts to thicken and become congested, and the glands covering the sides of the crop gradually develop until they are ready to secrete the milk at the end of incubation. The volume of the glandular system in the crop increases by a factor of twenty between the laying of the eggs and the hatching of the squeakers. This is directly influenced by the genital glands and the pituitary gland which controls them. From the start of incubation, the cock's testicles will regain their size and fertility a few days after hatching. A similar phenomenon occurs with the hen's ovaries. So there is a definite correlation; the development of the glands in the crop leads to a physiological rest for the genital glands. This phenomenon is directly influenced by the pituitary gland.

Incubation triggers the production of a pituitary hormone, prolactin, which is essential for the development of the glands in the crop. These glands are capable of producing "pigeon's milk" from the sixteenth day of incubation. But that alone is not enough. As with a motor, a spark is needed for the whole to start functioning. The trigger for the production of milk is of a nervous nature: the sitters must feel the squab moving in the egg and pecking at the shell. If you give a pair at the end of incubation a newly-hatched youngster, it will only be fed milk at least twelve to eighteen hours later. So you must prepare in advance for giving them such a young pigeon.

Pigeons given other eggs for incubation will not have any milk when the "adopted" eggs hatch unless they have sat for at least sixteen days, and the new young pigeons, fed only on water and a few very rare seeds, will die very quickly.

On the other hand, if the sitters have to extend thier incubation because they are sitting on " adopted" eggs laid two or three days after their own, they will have milk normally when the young hatch. But extended incubation usually does not exceed three days. So changing the eggs demands the most careful attention if you want to avoid disappointments of every kind during the early days of rearing.

Pigeon's milk has the following composition, on average, according to L. Binet: water76.5 %, proteins 14%, fats 8%, minerals 1.5% and sugar 0%. This will of course vary from pigeon to pigeon, but only slightly. In comparison, however, cow's milk contains 4% of proteins and 3.5% fats. On the other hand, it contains about 4.5% of sugars (lactose). It is curious to note that those milks which ensure the most rapid growth are, of course, rich in proteins, fats and minerals (pigeon, rabbit) but are also very poor in sugars. It is well known that there are more or less successful rearers. The quality of their milk is naturally directly in question. According to analyses, its richness may vary by 10% to 12% from one pigeon to another. You must be convinced by the facts. A pigeon rearing young eats its ration of seeds. But it draws on its body reserves for the production of the milk. If its feed does not enable it to replace what has been taken to make the milk, the pigeon becomes thin and deficient, and if it continues, this will affect its racing or breeding performance in the future (delayed growth of the young, lateness of the following lay, fertility problems with the eggs, etc.). Of course, after the eighth day, when the milk has almost completely disappeared, it is the feed which is quickly regurgitated for the young.

The quantity of milk produced is also directly affected by the state of health of the parents. Anything affecting this also influences the milk, both in quantity and in quality. This is why, in an extreme case, newly-hatched young of parents severely parasitised by capillary worms can die within 48 hours, thin and with empty crops because their parents have no milk. They have died of hunger. The milk can also carry trichomonas, which proliferates in the upper digestive tract, so the young pigeon is afflicted by the parasite from the time of its first feed, if its parents are. This illustrates the need for anti-parasite treatments during incubation, shortlly before hatching, so that the parents have no time to become recontaminated.

Source : The Natural Winning Ways vol.10


By Jack Barkel
This article was first produced in 2002.

There are many roads that lead to success in this particular subject, and although they all have some measure of success, there are methods that cause the pigeons to be virtually useless as racers or breeders after their first or second year. I will endeavor in a series of articles to give advice on tried and proved methods by some of the Champions worldwide. Most keenness starts with the time just before the racing season when even those who tend to neglect their pigeons in the off season are aroused into trying to get their birds into condition for the forth coming races.
I will therefore commence my article, six weeks before the racing commences. About six weeks before the first race, (if you reside in South Africa) should be near to the middle of April and all birds should if they have been treated correctly be nearing completion of the moult ready for the winter which is right upon us. Because of the inactivity during the moulting season, and due to feeding high protein fats for this occasion, the birds have put on extra weight. To rectify this one needs to feed dehusked sunflower in the mornings and a feed of Barley only in the evenings. The birds will soon begin to exercise for long periods on this diet, and only then must a person start basket training. To force birds onto the road that are not fit is wrong, wrong, wrong, and must not be attempted at any cost, this sort of method does not make champions. It is also at this time 15th April necessary to medicate against: - Coccidiosis, Mycoplasmosis, Canker and to clear the air sacks.

Mix one teaspoon of Tylan, one teaspoon of Emptryl, six teaspoons of Terravit (not Terramycine, it must have the vitamins), you put one teaspoon of these mixed powders onto one liter of drinking water. You then add one dessertspoon of Sulfamethazine to this same liter of water and administer for Five days. These illnesses keep occurring as often as the common cold, so for one day every four to six weeks you must treat the birds with this mixture. This should keep these unwanted invaders at bay without building up an immunity to the medication, which is a big problem throughout the world. The biggest secret about conditioning a pigeon for a race is not how to make him peak, but on the contrary how to prevent him from peaking before the Saturdays race. We are now at the Wednesday morning before the first race; we have been feeding dehusked sunflower mornings and Barley in the evenings. The birds are still full bodied but as light as a feather, and are ready for a good feed with at least 60% Maize.
Wednesday is the day, back onto the good racing mix for Wed & Thurs, morning and evening and Friday morning a light feed of dehusked sunflower seed and clean water. This if followed correctly will make the bird peak on Saturday Morning, ready for the journey home. It is now Saturday and we are waiting for the return of the birds, always have warm water waiting for them, laced with electrolytes and honey or boiled sugar water. For Saturday and Sunday feeding, because of the exorbitant price of depurative in South Africa, I make the following mixture. Take a five-liter plastic bucket filled with Barley plus the same amounts of wheat, and mix together. Take a small soup bowl and put in twelve-heaped desert spoons of Torula or Brewers Yeast. To this you add one glass of FRESH Lemon Juice; this will take about six medium sized lemons. Pour the juice over the Yeast and stir until it looks like gravy, you then pour this over the wheat and barley and mix well in. Within two hours, there is no trace of the yeast and lemon juice; it has all been absorbed in the food.
The reason for this is simple, I do not believe in purging but purifying, therefore Epsom salts and Dicestal is old fashioned and has a detrimental effect on the pigeon. The modern scientific method is to purify the blood and get rid of the toxins, which build up in a birds system. All racers if not on a depurative of some sorts will become sluggish and cease to operate at peak performance.
We have now dealt with Saturday and Sunday, Monday and Tuesday Morning, dehusked sunflower again and evenings Barley. A normal ration per meal is one cup per ten pigeons, do not let them make you feel sorry for them, because if you exceed this ration, you can feel sorry for them when they have to fly home on Saturday, and sorry for yourself when your more strict competitor beats you once again.
When I raced in England, I used to give Mycosan T in the water every Monday, because our birds do come into contact with birds from unhealthy lofts. Mycosan T gives moulting problems in our climate so I had to change to Two teaspoons of Furasol and Two teaspoons of Oxyvital on five liters of water. I understand that these two African products are off the market for some mysterious reason, but that there are Substitutes. They were recognized as two of the best products in the world by there overseas competitors by the way ( Makes you think doesn't it ) One day per week of Garlic is also good for the pigeon, but I feel I must make you aware of one other very important factor. Pigeons that have regular medication in the water are known to decrease their water intake; any racing pigeon that has a reduction of 10% water over a period of a week will have a reduction in performance of about 40%. This can also knock you out of the prizes, so what I am saying is this, where we can put medication or treatments on the food, please do it this way and leave the water as clean as we possibly can.
In South Africa we fly approximately twenty-one weeks old birds, this program will be good for the first seven weeks with slight variations as the season gets warmer and longer. Depending on the interested reaction to this method, we can carry on through the whole season, with many scientific reasons for losses etc. Just to mention in closing, I feel that a bird should have as many sixty kilometer tosses per week as possible, and those who do not race any particular weekend must get at least a 150 kilometer toss to keep it up to scratch.
I also believe that static is more to blame for losses than illness. If the bakkie or car or truck that you use for training is not earthed for to dissipate static electricity and you do not degauss you pigeons, then you are up the creek without a paddle. This could be the first of many articles depending on whether it draws a reaction, for no person likes to compile articles without the acknowledgement that they are getting through to people in a favorable manner. I must state that for some this will shed a new light on the sport for them, whilst others will already either be using this or at least know all about it. I do this for the new starters in the sport, for we must be prepared to enlighten our new members into the hidden mysteries of the nature and science of our great sport and hobby.
Jack Barkel

Pigeon Eggs: Problems/Answers

(Reprinted from CedarValley Lofts Newsletter, April 2000 – Mike Ridler, Editor)
No matter how much care you take in raising your pigeons sometimes problems are going to happen the best step to
correcting these problems is being able to understand the situation and recognize the symptoms. The most important step in
making sure that you are having a successful mating is to make sure that you have healthy eggs. Healthy eggs and eggs that
hatch successfully is always very important. There are many factors that can lead to your eggs not hatching or worse not
developing properly. Below in the most laymen terms possible I will go over a few problems that you may encounter when
your birds are laying eggs. All of this information is gathered from renowned sources, Universities, Veterinarians, etc.
Soft Shelled Eggs
Soft-shelled eggs in pigeons can be caused by one of two problems. The first of which is the uterus, the second of which is
calcium deficiency. These egg laying problem areas are usually treatable. However, obviously age will play a factor. If you
have an older bird then you will sometimes as time progresses have problems with eggs. This is a fact of nature and there is
very little that can be done. However younger birds can still be worked with and treated to solve any egg related issues.
Calcium deficiency works almost the same as in human bones. If you do not have enough calcium in your system then you
end up having brittle bones. In the same token when you do not have enough calcium in your system (if you are a bird) then
you will lay eggs that have thin and very weak shells. If you are unsure as to whether your birds suffer from calcium
deficiency one of the most obvious clues will be rough and even chalky eggs or soft-shelled eggs. If you take the time to
inspect your bird’s eggs then you will be able to determine what is wrong by inspection. The best solution for this problem is a
calcium supplement. What this means is that you will then be introducing the calcium that the bird requires so that the eggs
will have the rigidity that they should have. Please be aware though that the uterus can also cause weak shells. What this
means is that you might not necessarily have a calcium deficiency problem. Make sure you are 100% sure of exactly what
the problem is before treating. Calcium is an excellent supplement to give your birds right up until they are laying eggs
because not only will it improve upon the soft-shell problem it will also strengthen their muscles for when they go to lay the
egg to prevent them from becoming egg bound. Calcium will strengthen the eggshells, the bird's muscles and its bones.
When you give calcium to your birds it is absorbed through the gizzard and the bird’s proventriculus. That is why it is also
important to make sure that the bird has a healthy gizzard. The best way to ensure that your birds will be able to absorb the
calcium is to provide them with plenty of dietary fibers. This will enable the gizzard to remain healthy and absorb the calcium.
It has also been shown that vitamin D assists in the absorption of Calcium so if when possible make sure that the
supplements contain both Calcium and Vitamin D to enhance the whole process. Be sure to give your bird a variety of
sources of calcium so that you are sure it is getting the quantities that it needs.
The Uterus problem is very complex and by no means is there a simple solution. In the creation of the egg inside of a
pigeon there are very clear and concise steps that the egg will go through. If any of these steps are missed, or rushed
through by the pigeons internal system then you will get eggs that are not fully developed. Spastic contractions in the uterus
will cause your eggs to not properly develop and the end result will be a weak shelled egg. Now although I already mentioned
that calcium is an important part of the pigeon eggshell creation, there is something else that you must be aware of. If the egg
is passing through the oviduct to quickly then the result will be that the shell will not get the salts it requires or the proper
"sitting" time. What this means is that the egg can still result in a week shell despite the amount of calcium in the bird. If the
uterus is spastic and/or one of the steps is skipped in the development of the egg then you will have definite problems.
Usually this is caused by an infection in the uterus or the ovaries. It is always best to consult an Avian Veterinarian for further
advice on how to solve the problem.
There are many different situations that can lead to the egg development process not completing properly. It can be caused
by infections that your bird has from different exposure to disease as well as bacteria. Another issue, which can cause your
bird to have problems, is if it has a hormonal imbalance. My advice would be to consult your local Avian Veterinarian for
further instruction on how to fix the problem. If you do not have an Avian Veterinarian in your area then feel free to contact Dr.
Warren Shetrone. You can contact him by going to CedarValley Lofts and posting a question in the Vets Corner. Although
sometimes bacteria/infections and or trauma can permanently cause damage to the uterus and the ovaries it is possible to
treat with the proper medication. The key is to be aware of the problem and make corrections immediately. If in doubt always
consult your vet. Dr. Warren Shetrone offers free consultations at CedarValley Lofts. You can go to the vet's corner and post
a question at any time for him to answer.
Although it is likely that you will never encounter a problem with your Pigeons not laying properly you want to be aware of
the problems that could exist in your coop. If a bird becomes egg bound then you will definitely want to keep your eye on the
bird. When a bird becomes egg-bound it can cause permanent damage to the uterus if you remove the eggs. Although it is
often necessary for you to intervene and remove the egg, be aware it may cause future laying problems. Watch your birds
closely and at the first sign of problems step in to make correction and solutions (For more information on birds that become
egg bound read the section called, “Egg Binding: Hens that become egg- bound,” further on down the page).
Development Stages of the Egg
The development stages of the egg are very important as mentioned in the section above which detailed the causes of soft-
shelled eggs. If eggs are going to develop properly then there are important steps that must be followed inside the Pigeon.
Most importantly copulation must take place properly. If the cock is rushed or not allowed by the hen to properly copulate
then the result can be infertile eggs. The cock must be given the proper amount of time to "complete the deed." If the cock
successfully mates with the hen then the end result will be a fertile egg. The sperm from the cock, which is the reproductive
cell of a male pigeon, combines with the ovum of the hen. The combination of the fertile sperm and the ovum result in a
single cell that is called an embryo. After the baby has hatched out of the egg, you can take the shell and place it on a dish. If
you look on the top of the yolk you will see a light round spot. This is called the germinal disc, true ova or the female egg.
When an egg is laid it is very difficult to tell if it is fertile but by looking at the shell after you can always tell. Below is a cross
section of a hen's egg. This cross section shows you the different section of the egg and its areas.
The Pigeon egg is very complex and is still very much a big mystery. The development of eggs is very complex and involves
many different stages and steps in its development. Each step is complex in its own right and plays a very important and key
role in the development of the eggs. Most importantly each step must be completed properly in order to develop healthy and
fertile eggs. The first step of an egg development takes place in the blastoderm. The Albumen is what surrounds the yolk and
protects what will eventually result in a baby pigeon. The Albumen is an elastic and shock-absorbing solid which is made up
primarily of water. When you combine the Albumen and the yolk you have the very beginning stages of life. The albumen and
the yolk are surrounded by two different membranes and are surrounded on the outside by a shell. This shell is what allows
for the exchange of gasses. It is also a means of conserving the food and water supply within the albumen and the yolk. This
gives you a very basic understanding of how the pigeon egg is developed and the steps that are involved. I don’t think that it
is necessary to go into any further detail because most likely it is not of importance to what you need to know. IF you would
like more information then I would advise searching the web for "pigeon egg development". You can find all kinds of great
information related to pigeons just by searching the web.
Common Egg Hatching Problems
There are lots of problems that can develop when your hens are laying and the eggs are hatching. The most common
problems are clear eggs, hens that become egg bound, babies that die right after hatching, and eggs that die before
A clear egg is a very serious problem, with a very simple answer. Clear eggs are caused when the eggs are infertile. During
the winter months the cocks do not produce as much sperm. So once the breeding season first begins the cock is at the
disadvantage of having a very low sperm count. The cocks "internal clock," as it can be called, tells it that it needs to begin
producing sperm for the upcoming breeding. Once this process of sperm development begins in the cock the sex drive drops
quite drastically. As well the cock will not breed as frequently or show as much interest in "completing the deed." Once the
cock’s sperm count is back up to its normal count then it is once again ready for the breeding season and the problem is
usually solved. So be aware that if your first few matings are not successful it could just be that it is too early and the cock is
not ready yet. Now you have to keep in mind that there are other factors that play into whether the eggs will hatch properly.
The temperature plays a very key role in the development and hatching of healthy eggs. If eggs are not kept warm by their
parents then they may begin to develop, but then die in the end. As well even the shortest cold spell can cause the embryo to
die inside the shell. It is very important to make sure that the parents sit on the eggs. As well if you know in advance that the
temperature could drop then it is important to keep the area where your eggs are warm enough that the result will not be
embryo death. Make sure that your eggs are being incubated properly!
Another issue, which can cause problems with the eggs, is aggressive handling or infection in the eggs. If your eggs are
jarred at the wrong point in the embryo development in some cases the result will be an embryo which does not develop
properly, or even at all. Infections in the egg are very common problems. There are many different things that can lead to
infections and cause the embryos to not develop, the first of which is pigeon feces. The combination of dampness, fecal
matter and nesting materials is a definite problem. The combination of these three items leads to bacteria growth and your
eggs becoming infected. As mentioned above when I went into infections in
the ovary this to can lead to problems with the baby's hatching properly. If the
bird has an infection in its reproductive organs then the babies may not hatch
properly. Now sometimes your babies can get infected inside the pigeon and
still hatch properly. However if the mother pigeon has an infection feeding the
newly hatched pigeon will result in it getting infected and dying within a few
days. To prevent infections in the nest and your babies’ death it is best to
keep the nesting materials in your coop as clean as possible. If you are
expecting babies and it has become damp in your coop it is very important to
make sure that the nesting materials are changed. This dampness and the
feces as mentioned earlier will lead to serious problems in your nests. Always
make sure that if you are having troubles with your pigeons not hatching
healthy babies that you treat them immediately.
Incubation/Caring of the Eggs
Once the hen has laid her eggs in the nest the cock will sometimes become
excited, running about the loft and bringing her more nesting materials. Once
the first egg has been laid it is usually a few days interval before you will see
a second egg in the nest. The incubation of a Pigeon egg usually lasts for
about 17 to 19 days although this time varies depending strongly on the
temperature and the climatic situations where the pigeon has nested. Both of
the birds will take care of the eggs and take turns nesting on the eggs.
If you watch you will notice that the cock will rest on the eggs for intervals
during the day. The hen will nest on them for most of the day and the entire
evening. Pigeons are very defensive birds and will protect their nests vigorously from intrusions human or otherwise. The way
that they will defend the nest is through cooing at you loudly, flapping their wings and pecking. Pigeons will at times allow the
owner of the birds (if he has domesticated them) to view the eggs and sometimes handle them. However they can still be
very defensive despite the relationship you have with the birds. When you are inspecting or tampering with the pigeon's eggs
you must be careful. If you pigeons are not use to your handling they can abandon the eggs, the result being that they will not
hatch. Pigeons have also been known to deliberately crack the eggs, or to drag the young out of the nest if it has been
tampered with. It is very important when the pigeons have young in the nest to not handle the babies too often or interfere
too much. This is not a part of the normal breeding and raising of baby pigeons and the end results can be negative.
Diagnosing Pigeons In the Shell for Problems
Often times when your pigeons are exposed to bacteria or infection they will die while they are still in the shell which is a
very serious problem. The questions that came to me were, is there a method of determining when the embryo has stopped
developing, and the egg is lifeless. There is not much point in caring for eggs that are not going to hatch in the end. As I
mentioned many times already there are many bacteria's that can kill a baby pigeon while it is still in its shell. The eggshell is
very porous, meaning that it is full of very tiny holes. This is how the pigeon embryo gets infected by disease and bacteria
from the parents and the nest through these tiny holes in the shell. One of the easiest methods of determining whether the
embryo is dead or not is called "candling." Because the shell is very porous and allows bacteria, fluids, infections, etc. to pass
through the shell, it will also pass light through it. If you examine your eggs at about three to four days with the use of a
candle you will see blood vessels which are visible in the egg. As time passes and you periodically check the egg, the
vessels should increase in density and the egg should darken in color as the embryo grows and takes up more of the eggs
space. The air sac inside the egg should stay about the same size. An easy way to determine whether or not the embryo is
not developing or has dies, is that the embryo is not growing, there is a large increase in the air sac in the egg or the egg
shell color has turned to a dull gray color. As well if the egg appears cloudy inside or the shell of the egg is transparent then
these are signs that the embryo is dead in the shell. For your own curiosity you can take a dead egg and open up the shell
carefully at the end that has the air sac in it. There is a very small membrane inside the shell that separates the embryo from
the air sac. If this membrane is not broken then it is most likely that the egg being chilled, or a drastic adjustment in climate or
temperature, caused cause of death. If when you look at the shell the membrane around the embryo has been broken then
examine the baby pigeon. If the death was caused by humidity in the nest then the chick will appear to be stuck to the side of
the egg. When there is not enough moisture then the baby pigeon becomes literally glued to the side of the shell and is
unable to break free of the shell. The chick will be fully developed but the liquid around the pigeon is usually very thick and
has a sticky appearance. Just as a point of reference bacterial problems which result in the baby pigeon’s death do not
usually occur in nests which are dry and where the eggs are kept clean.
Egg Binding: Hens that become egg-bound.
Many breeders have encountered a problem that is all too common in breeding pigeons. It is the problem of hen birds
becoming egg-bound. So for starters what is egg binding? Egg binding is when the hen bird is unable to pass the egg. This
problem is very serious because if not properly dealt with it can quite easily lead to the death of the hen. This problem has
many answers and theories and I can't really say which one is the right one. So I will do my very best to cover as many
aspects of the problem as possible.
Temperature: Many professionals believe that the temperature in your loft plays a very key role in whether or not your hens
will become egg-bound. Wild birds commonly only will breed in the early spring while the outside temperature is still very
cool. Wild birds very rarely seem to suffer from the problem of becoming egg-bound. This is why many people feel that
temperature plays an important role in whether your birds will become egg-bound or not.
Age: Another very predominant theory is the age of the bird. Many people feel that if the hen is to young or
If it is its first time giving birth (or laying), then the hen can become egg-bound. Sometimes the hen has just not grown
sufficiently enough to allow the passage of eggs. It is commonly thought that young birds do not provide the same quality
offspring, as older birds will. The age factor is very debatable because many breeders do not feel that age plays a factor in
whether this problem will occur in the birds.
Nutrition: Nutrition is very important when breeding birds, especially the calcium level in the birds. Most breeders make sure
that their birds are healthy and are receiving the necessary supplements required for breeding. Although most times it is not
necessary to provide supplements during breeding, it is however very important to supply your birds with multiple sources of
calcium. Calcium plays an important factor in the bird's health and the eggs development inside the bird.
If you do have a bird that is suffering from egg binding then here are a few ideas that have been brought to me to help
prevent this problem. First and most importantly, make sure that your hens are in a warm and quiet environment. This way
the bird is comfortable and undisturbed, so that they can concentrate entirely on passing the egg and not on distractions
around them and trying to stay warm. Although an immediate increase in calcium will not do anything for the eggshell
development (preventing soft-shells) it will help the bird's muscles. What this means is that it will make it much easier for the
birds to expel the eggs. “Calcivet” by Vetaform provides an ample quantity of the calcium birds need as well as d3 which
assists the bird in absorbing the calcium. This supplement is placed in the bird's drinking water or food. If your birds are not
eating or drinking it is safe to administer directly into the bird's crop. Another product by the name of “Poly-Aid” can also be
given to your birds to help build up energy reserves while the bird is trying to pass the egg. Another solution is to massage a
small amount of vegetable oil around the vent of the bird. This will help to soften the mucus membranes around the vent and
help the hen to pass the egg successfully.
Washing of Hatching Eggs
According to the Mississippi State University Poultry Department washing of eggs before hatching is a very big no-no.
According to their research they have found that many breeders think that visual cleanliness of eggs will increase the
productivity of their breeding rounds. Although they do agree that clean eggs are better then dirty ones they strongly urge
people not to wash the eggs. The reason is actually very clear. The shells of eggs as I mentioned earlier are very porous in
nature meaning that they will absorb any moisture, bacteria, etc. When you wash the eggs it actually aids the bacteria in
absorbing itself through the eggshell. Their recommendation is to make sure that the nesting area and the coop are kept
clean so that bacteria levels in the nest and the coop are kept at low levels. Eggs have many natural defenses built into them
that prevent the growth of bacteria and keep it from moving through the eggshell. When you wash the eggshells not only are
you going to remove the bacteria but you are also going to remove these natural defenses. Any bacteria's that are in the nest
will be able to penetrate the eggshell much easier once you have washed away these natural defenses.


Remember first that it will not guarrantee a win for the bird but a
less stressing flight home!! Win or lose, my priority is to see
my "valued" racers back home.

Materials needed:
1. Get the same number/side of flight..kung 6th flight sa right wing
ganoon din ang ipalit..never sa left side kung right side papalitan.
Kumuha ng flight na pamalit sa K na buhay pa, para matibay hindi
brittle. Mas mahaba muna ang kunin kaysa sa papalitang flight.

2. Maghanda ng "stem implant" material at least 2 inches in length.
Ito yung "flexible solid plastic" na ibabaon mo sa loob ng flight.
para matibay.Iwasan yung may butas sa gitna dahil madaling mabale.

3. Maghanda ng "quick drying glue" (Mighty bond ok na)

4. Scissors.

STEP 1. Gupitin o bawasan ng dahan dahan ang broken flight hanggang
umabot sa part na may "hollow" o butas sa gitna. Approx. 1 1/2
inches mula sa base ng pakpak. Isukat ang "stem implant" at ihasa o
bawasan ito hanggang ito ay maipasok, at least 1 inch sa loob ng
broken flight.

STEP 2. Kunin ang "replacement flight" at tignan ang "hollow" part
nito sa base at isukat ito sa broken flight kung tama ang haba ng
nakuha. Cut it to the desired length needed but priority should be
given to the lenght of hollow part kasi doon isusuksok and kabilang
side ng "stem implant" natin. At least 1 inch din ang pwedeng
pasukin ng plastic natin. Mas mahaba mas matibay..tama ba yun

STEP 3. Isubok isuksok ang "stem implant sa" replacement feather at
ang kabila sa broken flight. Dapat magtagpo ang joints o dulo ng
dalawa habang nasa loob ang "stem implant". Make final adjustments
until desired flight is attained.

STEP 4. Apply glue to the "stem implant" and insert it to the
replacement flight. Wipe out excess glue and let it dry.

SREP 5. Insert the other end of the "stem implant" of the
replacement flight to the broken flight..first do not apply glue.
When all is well with you, apply the glue on the "stem implant" and
insert it to the broken flight. wipe out excess glue immediately and
apply baby powder around the joined flights to avoid accidental
sticking on flights.

NOTE: I prefer doing this at night so that the bird and flight will
settle well.
Do not follow the books that advises using pins or toothpick
glued alongside the stem of flights or just applying glue on slantly
cut doeasn't work as well as the one I prepared.
The success of the splicing lies very much on the "stem
implant" and glue that you use. I was successful in using a cut up
part of a coffee stirrer but you may have some better materials.
Just bear in mind that it should be light, flexible and strong. Test
it to destruction first.