The aim of any health program is simply to keep the birds healthy. Most fanciers don’t want to waste time or money on unnecessary or incorrect treatments yet at the same time doesn’t want to compromise the health of their birds by overlooking any beneficial treatment.
Programs need not be unnecessarily complex. Mistakes in health management in the long term cause teams not to achieve their full potential and so for a program to be successful it is important that the fancier understands not only what he is doing but also why he is doing it.
For practical purposes, the pigeon year is divided into various stages, and so what should we as fanciers are doing at these various times to manage our birds’ health.
Post weaning Program – 4 – 8 weeks of age
Principal aim: To allow a controlled exposure to disease organisms so that the youngsters can develop a strong natural immunity to them. This is achieved by providing a stress-free environment and by avoiding the use of medication if possible.
The routine use of medication during this time should be avoided. During the first few weeks after weaning, the birds are being exposed to a whole range of potentially harmful organisms. A youngster in a well-managed loft, however, does not become sick but rather through this exposure develops immunity to the organism. Provided the youngsters are well in themselves, a low level of diseases such as wet canker, respiratory infection or Coccidiosis at this time can be regarded as beneficial in that it reinforces the growing youngsters’ developing natural immunity. The use of medications at this time simply interrupts this exposure with the result that the birds’ level of natural immunity is not as high. For this reason, a youngster is only treated if a health problem progresses to the point where the bird is sick in itself and individual bird treatments rather than flock treatments should be given. Flock treatments are only given if there is evidence of a spreading infectious disease or more than 5% of youngsters are affected. Health problems that appear during this time are categorized into one of four types.
For a youngster to mount a good immune response and, in the process, form a strong natural immunity following exposure to disease organisms, it must be stress-free. Stress compromises the function of the immune system. The avoidance of stress in the post weaning period involves weaning batches of youngsters together as groups, being hygienic, avoiding overcrowding and dampness and ensuring that the birds’ full nutritional needs are met.
During this time mineral and grit and preferably a picking stone (pick stone) should always be available. A water-soluble multivitamin, e.g. Omniform, can be placed in the water for 1 – 2 days per week, while a probiotic, e.g. Globifly, in the feed for 1 – 2 days per week helps maintain a full beneficial population of bowel organisms, ensuring full digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Seed oil additives, e.g. Form Oil Plus, can be used to advantage and increase the energy and calorie content of the seed mix. They can be used either by themselves or with combination of B-Pure. Garlic Oil is of particular benefit during this time because it is not only nutritious but contains the compound Allicin, which is a natural immune stimulant. From after weaning until start of training it is recommended to admister Herbolan 4 times a week alternating with two days of Ecocure and one day of omniform in drinking water while in feed garlic oil with digestal for two days and garlic oil with b pure one day and form oil plus with globifly for two days is recommended.
Shower with ideal bath salt once a week is also mandatory.