Can we keep the pigeon lofts too clean?, well sometimes,I think so. It's a matter of life stages and the job at hand. In my stock loft at the beginning of the season I want the loft to have had a good clean through to ensure all is OK for winter breeding and by clean through I mean scraped, hoovered and disinfected, followed by the flame of a blow torch to eliminate mould spores as best as I can. This is due to the often damp atmosphere in November and December, which is when I pair up my Breeders. The Roundabout lofts get the same treatment a month later as I pair them on the first of January. This not only spreads the workload but gives darkened youngsters chance to moult right through before paring. I then have two rounds of youngsters one month apart ready to go into the young bird loft early February onwards. My young bird loft is facing south east and bone dry, consisting of three sections. Two identical sections with 60 box perches at either side of the middle section which has some nest boxes and plenty of perches. My first round out of the Stock Loft go into one side and the second round out of the proven Racers (not all are allowed to rear) and the second round from the Stock go into the other side and the Stock are then allowed to rear a third round which will go into the middle section.So, three sections of youngsters about a month apart in age are put on a deep litter which has now been down for years, never changed, only topped up. It consists of a 7cm layer of wood chipping's, 10cm of good Barley straw and of course plenty of DRY droppings from previous years, I can not emphasise too much that it has to be bone dry to work as intended.Now I can tell you some youngsters are going to go bad on this, because it is full of all sorts of pathogens both good and bad and I initially feed in the trough plus some scattered around in the deep litter. They learn to look for more and can often resemble chickens scratching around looking for food. But when they become challenged by the pathogens within they have to build their immune system to be able to live in my loft and its micro organisms and I know if they can survive in this they can survive the challenges training and racing will bring. Training and racing youngsters is initially very stressful and this stress lowers the immune system which could allow diseases to flair up but with my youngsters their immune system has been built so high that any lowering due to stress has a minimal effect, often not even noticeable. Once the youngsters are all flying a strong as each other I allow them to mix and I often have Fanciers comment on how well they look and accuse me of having a secret potion or two. I suppose I have, but it's in the deep litter not a bottle, because once all is living in harmony with the environment it creates it's own perpetuation by the birds re-ingesting dry droppings via their feeding and scratching. It's akin to a good probiotic in my view and as cheep as wood chips!
Can we be too clean?
5/7/2011 02:32:59 am
Hi Chris, I agree totally with the deep litter. When Geoff moved his birds from High Littleton to Peasedown St John, he bagged up the deep litter and brought it with him. As long as it is dry it is the best environment for the birds.
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I have been racing pigeons for 25 years now and gone through from Sprint to middle Distance National racing. I have had many successes and also made many mistakes over the years.