Management at the 1999 Alberta Classic

In 1999 your young birds were arriving daily for three weeks, making any kind of medication program difficult. The biggest problems by far may not be some exotic new diseases but the good old timers canker and salmonellosis, of which canker is the most challenging. To do an effective job while the little guys are arriving, one would have to treat for four weeks which would not be appreciated by the first ones to arrive. To solve this problem we'll do the following for the year 2000: any bird arriving will spend the first five days in a small quarantine loft where they are medicated with Emtryl or some other suitable product. This will also allow me to keep a closer eye on them. After these five days they will be put into the big loft and should do well. If I were to send birds to any derby, I would consider vaccinating them against PMV (at least one well-known fancier did this and can be done as early as 3 weeks of age) and salmonellosis.


microscopeA microscope is a very useful toy for diagnosing some ailments such as coccidiosis, worms or canker where nothing in the throat may be visible to the naked eye. Alternatively, it comes handy when one can't even remember the time one bought that pound of Emtryl without an expiry date on it. Throat swabs should be negative after treatment with Emtryl for 2 - 3 days. Otherwise, one may be dealing with out-dated, ineffective Emtryl or trichomonas resistant to Emtryl. In the latter case, throat swabs are usually still negative. A culture of a crop wash would show these trichonomas and this culture could also be used for sensitivity testing.

May 30,1999: The birds are gradually returning to health. The treatment with Emtryl (1tsp/gallon) was completed. It does look like that we had a mixed infection to begin with, as is so often the case. Indeed, it should be surprising if all these 248 birds had only one problem! Lucky that some showed the symptoms of CNS involvement, characteristic of salmonellosis and PMV. It is my understanding that there would be a lot of water on the floor with PMV which we did not have. The antibiotic used is amoxicillin(280mg/pound of feed, the kernels of which should be of approximately uniform size) which I coat the feed with. Into the water I put "Electrolytes Plus" as well as some live yogurt. "Electrolytes Plus" contains a good mixture of vitamins which should help these birds at this time and the live yogurt replaces the lost bacterial flora with some beneficial one. The water additives will be continued for a couple of days after the penicillin is stopped.In spite of these trials there are many more birds taking to the air now and we had the first fatality yesterday, flying kamikaze style right into a fence. Hopefully we won't have too many of these problems.

June 4,1999: The birds look well and are active. The water is still receiving "Electrolytes Plus".

June15,1999: One of the birds was sick today. A crop swab revealed canker. Strange, it's just 3 weeks ago that I finished a 5 day course with Emtryl. Some of these bugs may be resistant to Emtryl.

June 16,1999: Nystatin and a bit of yogurt will be on the feed for a couple of days and Ridzol-S and vitamins in the water for another 5 days.

June 22, 1999: Just some vitamins and yogurt in the water now.

June 24, 1999: Just clear city water and grain.

June 30, 1999: Electrolytes Plus will be added to the water for a few days.

July 4, 1999: Stopped with Electrolytes Plus. Metronidazole(167mg/lb of feed) and Nystatin(220 000 units/lb of feed) for 6 days.

July 11, 1999: Just electrolytes plus & yogurt for today.

July 12, 1999: Ivomec ( 5ml/3lb corn ).

July 13, 1999: Polytonin A Complex for a few days until

July 18, 1999: Clear water.

July 19, 1999: Polytonin A Complex.

July 20, 1999: Clear water until

July 22, 1999: Polytonin A Complex until

July 25, 1999: 1tsp bleach/gallon of water.

July 26, 1999:Metronidazole(1500mg) + Nystatin( 2 million units) + Emtryl (1tsp) per 9 lbs feed until

August 1, 1999: Polytonin A Complex until

August 7, 1999: Clear water until

August 8, 1999: Polytonin A Complex until

August 13, 1999:Vit. C (1g/4l water) until

August 14, 1999:Polytonin A Complex for 12 days.

August 17, 1999:15 ml sugar + 3.5 ml Emtryl + 1 500000 units Nystatin + 1.5 g Metronidazole are added to 9 lbs feed for 6 days.

August 23, 1999:The canker treatment was completed today. The depurative mix laced with these drugs has a depressant effect on the birds. We added 40% corn today.

August 24, 1999: Today they exercise like the select elite they are. What a difference a couple of days make! 50% corn today.

August 25, 1999: The barley is replaced with some extra corn.

August 27, 1999: 1g Vit C /4l water.

September 15, 1999: Stayed in basket all day with "Chinese chalk" on the floor.

October 1, 1999 for 6 days: 1.5x106 units Nystatin + 1.5g Metronidazole / 9lbs of grain plus 3/4 tsp Emtryl / 4l H2O to get rid of a small problem some late comers brought back.

October 7, 1999: Polytonin A Complex for one week.

In general,

the birds are fed at least twice/day ad libitum. The water is given at least 4 times a day, served in a previously dry drinker, and is discarded after 10 minutes since the communal drinker is a major vehicle for the spread of disease. The youngsters receive an open loft during the day in the first month. After all, these birds need to look at this as their home and not as their prison. Once training starts, this schedule has to be changed as control is necessary at that time in their life. Any treatments are directed toward the flock as a whole. We do what we can to stem the outbreaks of epidemics but special and individual treatment cannot be given as this would not be fair to the others which do not need such special care. We are trying to let the cream rise to the top, to let the fittest shine.
Part of me would like to do no treating at all and let the fittest survive but this inclination needs to be tempered as we do want to do some flying.
A similar inclination exists as to letting the young birds do as they please until training starts. Again, temperance is needed here. Some may be a bit timid and therefore would require more time than we have to finally get going .

June 9, 1999: My friends Frank and Pat got my permission today to chase them off and what a sight to see that many birds in the air. This will be repeated for a few days now.

June 12, 1999: 90% of the birds go up by themselves already. There are just a few left which need encouragement. One of them does not know that he is meant to fly. He is healthy but "glued" to the roof.

June 17,1999: The birds are let out twice a day and called in a couple of hours later with some feed. Kilpatrick's mineral, which contains salt, is always available. Fresh grit is offered once/week.The feed is a basic mix of ca. 3 corn, 1 barley, 1 milo, 1 oat groats, 1 wheat, 1 field peas. The percentage of corn is increased to 50% as racing begins. Now that they are older we remove the long feed troughs and use the shorter ones. A bit of competition even along the feed trough is probably beneficial.

The full mix is fed the day they return from a race and Polytonin A Complex is added to the water. After that day the corn is removed from the mix and barley is added until a few days before the next race. They are thus fed a "depurative mix". One can literally see the youngsters blossom after the period of deprivation(i.e. "depurative mix") with the addition of corn. There is always some feed left in the trough after feeding is terminated.


June 20, 1999: AM: 2 miles: Sunny with cirrous clouds, no wind. Release at 10:05 AM; Arrived at 10:25 AM; I could see them circling from home because they look like a dark cloud.

June 22, 1999: AM: 2 miles: It took them 5 minutes to come home.

June 23, 1999: AM: 4 miles: Partial cloud with strong head winds - 10 minutes.

June 24, 1999: AM: 4 miles: Partial cloud - 10 minutes.

June 26, 1999: PM: 4 miles: Partial cloud - 15 minutes.

June 27, 1999: AM: 4 miles: Partial cloud - 10 minutes.

June 28, 1999: AM: 7 miles: Partial cloud - 18 minutes. This is the first time that none needed to be chased out of the basket and also the first time that a single bird arrived half a minute before the big group.

June 28, 1999: PM: 7 miles: Mainly sunny - 15 minutes.

June 29, 1999: AM: 7 miles: Partial cloud - 15 minutes.

June 29, 1999: PM: 7 miles: Partial cloud - 12 minutes.

June 30, 1999: AM: 7 miles: Partial cloud - 10 minutes.

June 30, 1999: PM: 17 miles: Partial cloud - 60 minutes for the first group of 5. Others arrive singly or in small groups. I would be surprised if all came home.
Only 138 came back today, including the guy which doesn't think he's meant to fly. The little smoky blue hen which was ill and is still a bit mopey was among the first 5.

July 1, 1999: A day of rest. Open loft. Another 57 birds came back, all singles.

July 2, 1999: A day of rest. Open loft. Some more came back today. We now have 197 birds back.

July 3, 1999: A day of rest. Open loft.

July 4, 1999: AM: 17 miles: Partial cloud - 35 minutes for the guy which doesn't want to fly: 36166 DDDM 99 (this bird got ill a few days later and died). The others came after an hour, as singles or groups. All returned.

July 5, 1999: AM: 17 miles: Partial cloud - 33 minutes for all. A real good toss. Open loft for the rest of the day - excellent exercise. It was only yesterday that they had no desire of flying. " What a difference a day makes!"

July 6, 1999: AM: 17 miles: Clear - 30 minutes for all. Another good toss.

July 7, 1999: AM: 24 miles: Another good toss.

July 9, 1999: AM: 24 miles:Clear - a good toss.

July 10, 1999: AM: 24 miles:Clear - 50 minutes.

July 11, 1999: AM: 50 miles:Clear & hot - 2 hours in large groups. They didn't need to be called in today.

July 16, 1999: AM: 24 miles: High broken cloud - 42 minutes.

July 16, 1999: PM: 24 miles: Broken cloud - 38 minutes.

July 17, 1999: AM: 24 miles: High broken cloud - 36 minutes.

July 17, 1999: PM: 24 miles: Broken cloud - 30 minutes.

July 18, 1999: AM: Rain. A day of rest inside the loft.

July 18, 1999: AM: 90 miles: Variable skies, light tail wind - 102 minutes.

July 22, 1999: AM: 24 miles: Just a few clouds - 36 minutes.

July 22, 1999: PM: 24 miles: Broken cloud - 35 minutes.

July 23, 1999: AM: 24 miles: Broken cloud - 35 minutes.

July 23, 1999: PM: 24 miles: Broken cloud - 34 minutes.

July 25, 1999: AM: 24 miles: Broken cloud, light head winds - 40 minutes.

July 26, 1999: AM: 200 miles: Broken cloud, light head winds in the beginning, getting stronger as the race progressed. Some birds did not like this wind. 137 made it home for points, some more arrived the following day. 5 hours and 17 minutes for the winner.

July 31, 1999: Excellent exercise this morning which means that the birds recuperated well and that "healthy youngsters fly more than enough". 160 birds made it home from Unity. Some of you haven't lost a single bird yet and I do hope that your luck ( ? ) continues.

August 1, 1999: AM 24 miles: Clear - 35 minutes.

August 4, 1999: AM 24 miles: Clear - 35 minutes.

August 4, 1999: PM 24 miles: Clear - 38 minutes; they arrived in groups.

August 5, 1999: AM 24 miles: Clear - 32 minutes.

August 5, 1999: PM 24 miles: Partial cloud - 34 minutes.

August 6, 1999: AM 24 miles: Partial cloud - 33 minutes.

August 7, 1999: An inside day of rest.

August 8, 1999: 50 miles: Some sun, some cloud, some rain, some fog - 80 minutes. My friend Frank and I drove 700 miles and couldn't get more than a 50 mile toss out of it, and that with worries.

August 9, 1999: PM 24 miles: Partial cloud - 36 minutes.

August 12, 1999: PM 24 miles: Partial cloud - 26 minutes.

August 13, 1999: AM 24 miles: Cloudy - 30 minutes but kept on flying after reaching home.

August 14, 1999: 300 miles: Sunny for the first 30 miles, heavy fog for the next 120 miles, sunny for the last 150 miles. Light head winds all the way. I was very surprised to see the first ones arrive after 8 hours on the wing, a super time for the race conditions.

August 21, 1999: 24 miles:Sunny with tail wind: 25 minutes.

August 25, 1999: AM 24miles: Cloudy: 34 minutes.

August 25, 1999: PM 24miles:Partial cloud: 36 minutes.

August 26, 1999: AM 24miles: Partial cloud: 35 minutes.

August 27, 1999: A day of inside rest.

August 28, 1999: 410 miles: Clear with a tailwind throughout: 7 hours

Total number of miles training: 871 miles

Total number of miles racing: 1000 miles

Minimum number of miles travelled returning home: 1871 miles

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