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Young Bird losses - a known cause and something we as members can try to address

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Submitted by Stuart on Sun, 22/09/2013 - 23:38

 

 

 

 

 

During the meeting to investigate the cause of the poor race from Leicester a few weeks ago one of the key factors identified as contributing to the difficult race was the high temperatures, Easterly (dry) wind which dehydrates the pigeons quicker as they fly and also gives less than perfect (hazy) visibility and a late liberation.

 

I raised the following points to the delegates in the room and the Officials of the WDA with a view to sharing information available from studies carried out worldwide on young bird losses and their cause. One of the main factors that effects orientation/homing ability is dehydration. Young pigeons like any young animal (including humans) are less able to regulate their body temperature than adults and as such are more prone to dehydration, add to that their inexperience in the transporter and stress of a night away then they quickly dehydrate.

 

Only 5% dehydration can cause pigeons to cease effective brain function which obviously has a knock on effect to their homing ability, 15% dehydration can result in mortality.

 

One thing to consider for 2014 and onwards is to copy the actions of the KBDB in Belgium and the NPO in the Netherlands when the temperatures exceed a specific level.

 

1) Reduce the number of youngsters in a pannier by 20%

 

2) Leave the top two rows of racking empty to assist in the circulation of air/prevent the pigeons overheating (as heat rises the top rows are the hottest place on the transporter).

 

3) Liberate prior at 8 am (if fit) to ensure the pigeons are home before the full heat of the day

 

This would only take place on maybe 3 or 4 weeks of the young bird season when temperatures are excessive and would need to be factored into the cost of baskets over the season to allow the WDA to declare "excessive heat and implement measures 1) and 2) above.

 

We cannot continue to blame the Convoyer/design of the WDA transporters etc. and then not take steps to remove one of the biggest cause of losses.

Surely a few pence more per pannier over the length of the season is preferable to replacing youngsters lost on the hottest days when dehydration is at its most likely which we could have attempted to address.

 

Stuart

 

Some background info below,

 

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The Effect of Heat and Humidity on the Racing Pigeon

 

Because racing pigeons do not possess sweat glands, control of their bodies’ heat and hydration is regulated through their air sacs. Cooling occurs during respiration as moisture is evaporated from the lining of the air sacs. As the pigeon uses its moisture, or fluid, to cool itself, the loss of fluid can lead to dehydration. .

 

Dehydration

When the racing pigeon works to keep itself cool, it begins to pant. This panting increases the air flow through the bird’s air sacs, evaporating the moisture and cooling the bird. The resultant loss of moisture can soon lead to dehydration if the bird does not replenish its fluid stores through drinking water.

If there is no water available, the bird can’t replenish its fluid stores, so it can’t cool itself. A condition called “secondary hyperthermia†soon develops. This condition will rapidly lead to death.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration

 

The effects of dehydration can be seen when your racing pigeon is even just 5% dehydrated. This level of dehydration can occur within twenty-four hours of 25C (77F) temperatures. When the bird is 5% dehydrated, it becomes quiet and fluffs up. Fluffing is the bird’s attempt to cool itself by raising its feathers away from its body to increase air circulation.

 

At a dehydration level of 10%, the bird becomes increasingly quiet and even more fluffed.

 

When dehydration increases to 15%, there is reduced blood flow circulating to the vital organs, including the brain. The racing pigeon’s level of consciousness becomes impaired. There is a risk of death at dehydration levels of 15% and beyond.

 

Environmental Conditions to Watch For

 

As a racing pigeon fancier, you need to be watchful on race day for weather conditions that can increase the risk of dehydration in the racing bird.

 

Temperatures higher than 25 C (77 F) result in rapid dehydration in the absence of water.

Low humidity increases the rate of fluid loss as less moisture flows through the air sacs.

High humidity decreases evaporative cooling, increasing hyperthermia.

Head winds cause extra exertion which increases the CO level of the blood. This increases the rate of respirations which increases the amount of fluid loss. This, then, leads to dehydration.

 

Prevention of Hyperthermia and Dehydration

 

The number one prevention measure you can take to keep your racing pigeon cool and hydrated is to provide water. Offer water from the start of basketing until arrival at the race point the next day. This way you will have a fully hydrated bird at the time of the release.

And provide water upon the bird’s return. The bird will readily drink, especially if there was no water along the race route. Drinking upon return will quickly restore lost fluid, re-establish hydration and cool the bird.

 

While it is important to race pigeons during clear, sunny days, it is also very important to make sure it is not incredibly hot out as there is a high risk of dehydration. That is why it is so important to have water available at all times.

 

Pigeons do not have sweat glands, instead the cool themselves down by panting. The bring in air, and moisture that cools their body down, as well as using their fluids in their body to cool down as well. Dehydration happens when they use up all of their fluids and they can’t replace it with water. This causes a huge problem. Because if they do not get water soon, they can die very easily.

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So what should you be looking for ? The signs and symptoms of dehydration can be seen early on, so you can catch it before it gets too serious. When a pigeon becomes 5% dehydrated, it will puff up. What the pigeon is doing it raising the feathers away from its body so it will increase the air circulation and so the insulation effect that is happening. Around 15% is when it gets really dangerous, from here on and upwards, the chance of death is a reality. Blood flow is reduced, and organs are not getting the oxygen that they need. The pigeons level of consciousness may start to dwindle, so may be able to tell this by looking at them. They will be extremely quiet and look uneasy.

 

A temperature that is 25 degrees Celsius and above, you need to make sure your racing pigeons have access to water at all time because the chance of dehydration is high. For race days, as long as they have drank a good amount of water before the race starts, they will be fully hydrated and will be fine. But I wouldn’t try any long distance races on days hotter than 30 degrees Celsius. Obviously Water is the best way to prevent dehydration.

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also an article here that supports the previous two sections of text. http://www.auspigeonco.com.au/Articles/Effect_of_heat.html

.

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This should be taken notice by all members because IMO this is the reason for a poor young bird season ,its got little or nothing to do with our race controller he lets the birds up but then doos over heated all day and night until release in a lorry come out with a large number dehydrated ,confused ,and hindered in the ability of homing instinct kicking in .We ,You !! are the fowk that could rectify or help to sort this by changing our young bird programme to a later starting date ,and i must add piling young birds into a crate under hot conditions is asking for disaster .Now i am sure other fowk will have their opinions on this but keep it sensible and dont get this into a personal bicker.

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Piling young birds into a crate is pretty strong language,as far as I can recall our fed this year has not asked for more than 25 birds which is by no means excessive.

Please also bear in mind not all members are having any worse returns this year compared to previous years.

Regarding leaving top two layers of lorry empty it seems like a good idea but we also have people making the point that we should be loading top to bottom every week

I have always been in favour of early libs but there are many who are not so keen.

Finally i agree let's have a debate not a slanging match no need for RAISED VOICES

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When I was a lad... even middle aged, if the temperature got as high as "20 degree's it was on the BBC news. In the papers and a media discussion for a good time. Now about 32 degrees, are we saying that that doesn't won't affect the pigeons? Indeed doesn't point to have a agenda for later y/b races! Indeed all races. Quite easily done, without losing any races.

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My biggest issue is birds in basket being crammed just to save £11 extra for another basket, plus I think the Geraldy basket should have no more than 26 or less so inexperienced birds have more chance to get to the water but it is always about money and can't see it changing

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The diet the birds receive immediately before basketing and, more importantly, in the event of a holdover can also contribute to dehydration.

Protein requires more water for digestion than both carbs and fats.

Your on the ball again my friend

It plays a major part

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The diet the birds receive immediately before basketing and, more importantly, in the event of a holdover can also contribute to dehydration.

Protein requires more water for digestion than both carbs and fats.

What category does tic beans come under?

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Possibly why I struggled so bad on Saturday then. As my birds are on the beans. Previous week a had 46 from 51 on the day and this week it was 27 from 54. Most returned the following day though so wasnt too bad. Any books/ articles worth reading regards feeding as I need to learn more about this

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Possibly why I struggled so bad on Saturday then. As my birds are on the beans. Previous week a had 46 from 51 on the day and this week it was 27 from 54. Most returned the following day though so wasnt too bad. Any books/ articles worth reading regards feeding as I need to learn more about this

There are tables of relative feed values of individual grains on the Internet.

The manufacturers of pigeon grains often describe their mixtures on their web site and how best to use them. Bamfords Top Flight site is quite helpful.

If you search PIPA there is some good reading there.

Be aware that there are many proteins and that is why grain manufacturers recommend a mixture of several grains to provide a comprehensive selection of proteins.

There have been many good races won feeding beans there is nothing wrong with feeding beans.

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Dehydration, especially in ybs, is the biggest cause of losses in early races ( apart from Bop ) The birds receiving a drink before liberation is paramount and the importance of this cannot be emphasised enough to convoyers. The space in a crate to allow birds to circulate to get a drink is also very important . How do we make birds have a drink? I think races over 300 miles the birds should be given a tiny feed of seeds a couple hours before lib. This almost guarantees birds will have a drink after they have a pick. The problem is with ybs?at early races though, how do we force them to drink before being liberated?

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Dehydration, especially in ybs, is the biggest cause of losses in early races ( apart from Bop ) The birds receiving a drink before liberation is paramount and the importance of this cannot be emphasised enough to convoyers. The space in a crate to allow birds to circulate to get a drink is also very important . How do we make birds have a drink? I think races over 300 miles the birds should be given a tiny feed of seeds a couple hours before lib. This almost guarantees birds will have a drink after they have a pick. The problem is with ybs?at early races though, how do we force them to drink before being liberated?

 

I have just finished basket training 12 later bred ybs in 2 baskets after 2 nights in basket I sat watching which ones took a drink a few times and then removing them i,m now left with 2 in the basket that still have not drank but they eat through the basket wire s but won't take a drink ? Can't do much more ,stupid creatures .

Still think 28 birds is to many for ybs .

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I have just finished basket training 12 later bred ybs in 2 baskets after 2 nights in basket I sat watching which ones took a drink a few times and then removing them i,m now left with 2 in the basket that still have not drank but they eat through the basket wire s but won't take a drink ? Can't do much more ,stupid creatures .

Still think 28 birds is to many for ybs .

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sprinkle a little seed on top of the water colin when they try to eat the seed they taste the water

Done that Walter , even empty the trough several times and refill ,but think they were just bullied away from the water and nervous now but shows what can happen in a pannier.

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