The Alberta Classic

The Alberta Classic was born through initially organizing and conducting a series of 4 young bird races in 1998. The best performances in all 4 challenges were rewarded with the top prizes. This format was changed somewhat in 2003 when it was decided to keep all youngsters who survived the young bird races for competing again the following year in 2004 as yearlings. It surprised me that 6 of the first 10 positions were earned by birds who also occupied one of the first 10 positions as young birds.
The responsibility of caring for other fanciers' birds has proven to be quite stressful. Although almost all birds arrived in good condition, we did have a few who arrived with chronic respiratory disease and a few others with salmonellosis. However, most appeared very healthy. Still, what could not be seen externally is the immune status of a bird. The ever present circovirus selects the immunologically weak young birds that consequently develop "young bird sickness" (YBS) and perish or are permanently weakened. Once this challenge abated, the inevitable losses during training tosses and races imparted a bitter taste to what would otherwise have been an enjoyable hobby. These then are the reasons why the yearly Alberta Classic Derby took a break during 2005.
Update: (May 28, 2012)
One should above all be certain of the diagnosis "young bird sickness". The following is useful only if "young bird sickness" is present, i.e. the bird in question has the crop distended with water since the liquid is blocked from passing into the intestine and being absorbed.
I find it useful to prevent the birds from eating any feed vomited during the night. (Such feed is likely contaminated with the micro-organisms responsible for such vomiting.) This can be accomplished by having the loft so dark at night that the birds cannot possibly find any vomited feed. Then let the birds out into daylight (into an aviary, for example) before flooding the loft with light, check the loft now empty of birds and remove any vomited grain. Should one find any vomitus one would need to also find the probable candidate(s) to be given individual treatment in the evening, a bird that is puffed up and not interested in its surroundings, a bird that does not come to the feed trough or the one that does not come in for the evening meal. Feed the birds some pellets after calling them in the morning and 30 gm grain per bird but only in the evening after their exercise and shortly before darkening the loft. Any bird not eager to fight for its place on the feed trough at this time would be suspect of being ill.
A specific antibiotic can certainly be effective against the micro-organisms responsible for the swelling of the intestines if it is not delivered too late and could still be absorbed by the bird. The prognosis used to be poor once the intestine was closed already due to spasm of the smooth muscle in the intestinal wall since it allowed neither feed nor fluid (with any dissolved antibiotics) to pass. The bile would then flow in the opposite direction and could be seen in the water with which the crop was filled. In spite of the crop being full of water the prognosis was that such bird would be condemned to die from dehydration.
There is now a method that allows us to re-open the intestines, i.e. to treat the symptoms of YBS, and this allows the young bird to recuperate.
  1. Empty the crop of most of the fluid.
  2. Infuse 30 ml strong fennel tea (to which may be added the proper amount of an antibiotic to which the offending micro-organism is sensitive). The use of an antibiotic is rarely necessary.
    • Fennel tea relaxes the smooth muscle of the intestinal wall. This property makes it useful to be employed against bloating and also against colic in infants.
  3. Use fennel tea (made from 4 TBSP ground fennel per 4 litres water) as the drinking water of all birds in the loft for another week.
    • Repeat as often as necessary but especially after one sees some droppings that leave a lot to be desired. The inclusion of antibiotics for loft treatment is rarely necessary.
Do not feed anything on the day of treatment. The following day feed 1/4 oz depurative mix, the following day 1/2 oz depurative mix, and the following days 1 oz of a light mix once a day.
The most common cause of death among small children at the turn of the twentieth century used to be dehydration caused by diarrhea. Professor Ernst Moro, a pediatrician, found that he could lower the death rate dramatically about 1908 by feeding the children a simple carrot soup and this recipe became the standard regimen until the development of antibiotics at about 1940.
By far the major cause of diarrhea is an infection by micro-organisms that multiply in the intestines and excrete various toxins. This scenario causes an increase in intestinal motility and massive excretion of semi-digested food and fluids.
Dr. Moro had no idea why this simple soup was so beneficial. It took modern science to uncover the secret: Various pathogenic micro-organisms attach to receptors on the intestinal wall. The preparation of the carrot soup splits the sugars present in the carrots into very small oligosaccharides which in turn are very similar to the intestinal receptors. The pathogens attach to these oligosaccharides and are safely excreted before they can cause any problems.
Although no longer used against diarrhea in children this soup finds application against diarrhea in various livestock and chicken. It may be beneficial to prevent "young bird sickness" and even treat it in its very early stages. It may also be used again against infections by antibiotic resistant micro-organisms and is still used with raising pigs and chicken thereby saving the use of antibiotics.
Recipe for 40 pigeons:
1 kg diced carrots
2 l water
Let the above simmer for at least 1 hour (this time is important), add 1 tsp. salt and divide the liquid into 3 equal portions. Use one portion (ca. 700 ml) in the drinker (mixed with 1900 ml water) for 3 consecutive days.
Should the birds already be sick it may be best to feed just some pelleted feed for a day or two instead of grain that may be too hard to digest or feed germinated grain that is not moldy. I would also purée the soup undiluted and feed 15 ml of it at a time with a syringe instead of using only the water.
Video in German: http://www.hr-online.de/website/static/flashplayer/mediaplayer-5.2-mod-2.swf?file=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.hr.gl-systemhaus.de%2Fflash%2Ffs%2Fallgemein%2F20111014_karottensuppe.flv&width=384&height=306
Need to know the percentage of protein, fibre, carbohydrate or fat in the mixture?

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