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Lofts, The Better Practices In Maintaing Better Health
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I would like to share with you a few things that I have noticed and experienced in different lofts, in different countries that I feel are worthy enough observations to mention.

When I was racing the birds back in Ireland, there wouldn't be a week go by that you wouldn't hear that a fellow member wasn't racing or training because his birds were not looking right, and down with some form of sickness.

I have seen fanciers destroy literally sections of pigeons, after spending hundreds in medications and veterinary advice, and then opted to destroy their entire race team and missing out on a full season to start a new the following year.

When something like this happens, just look at the thoughts that cloud our minds.

  • Blame that stray that was hanging around
  • Blame the local training trailer for having dirty baskets
  • Blame the club members for letting a sick bird slip through
  • Blame the conveyor/transporter for having an epidemic onboard
  • Blame the fancier who owned the few birds you just brought in from blackpool
  • Blame your kids for not cleaning the loft and making sure the birds had clean water
  • Blame your kids for carrying the sickness in from his friends loft
  • Blame the pet shop for supplying you with a bad bag of feed
  • Blame the NE wind for blowing into your loft front
  • Blame the products you are using because your birds are now worse off

There is nothing worse than to start ones season out with a sickness and as you already know we blame the world for our own lack of knowledge when the true answers to many things are staring us in the face.

I am writing this because I want to share with you a few things that I personally have experienced and will help improve on your bird’s health.

A lot of the lofts in Ireland and the UK are solid built structures, solid flooring, built off the ground but never less they still are wooden floors, dry or wet are simply a haven for sickness, a lot of the lofts are also enclosed because of the amount of rain and built to accommodate the yearly climate. Now the strange thing about this is that when building a loft we don’t really give it much thought as to how other countries tackle the weather problems when building lofts because we all think our own climate is harsh and trying to come up with ideas to combat that.

Well guess what? I am living in the USA 12 years now, 9 years in California for the last 3 years in north Texas where we reach extreme heat waves of 112 °F = °C 44.44, many of you may have experienced this kind of heat, but for those of you that haven’t to give you an idea, I also breed and show Staffordshire bull terriers and imported a few top dogs from Northern Ireland, when I took the dogs out of their crates in the airport because of the long flight, I noticed the dogs with were whimpering and limping, at first I didn't’t know what to make of it but soon figured out that the dogs feet were burning and couldn't’t stand the heat, I also lost one dog from heat stroke, so getting back to the pigeons, when I let my birds out for a quick fly in the morning, they land and run in to get off the board and to tank the water.

The other side to this is I am living in an area called tornado alley, where for a few months of the year we have thunderstorms and cloud to ground lightening like I have never seen the likes in my 35 years in Ireland, we have winds 70-80 mph carrying hale the size of golf balls, in Ireland the hale was less than a pea, we also have tornados come right through and flatten everything in its path, even the small ones running on the ground at 45mph caused major destruction, I personally have experienced two bad ones that came within 3 miles of my home and was enough to grab my family load them into the car and drive like the dickens, enough to put me under the table, we also flash flooding and up to 6 inches with every rain storm, we also have extreme colder weather in the winter, with temperatures dropping bellow 0.

My point in all of this is that, the Irish weather doesn't seem so harsh when you compare the two, so getting back to the loft, I built a loft the way many of the USA fanciers do, I have to tell you, I have never experienced any sort of sickness in my birds in California or Texas and with humidity levels high enough to grow bacteria over night and still no sickness and even bringing in birds from various lofts…still I never had one instance of sickness in the birds where I had to take out the bottle of medication to treat.

This is something that one can’t help but look at, because back in Ireland and the UK my birds and fellow members birds seemed to be always in contact with some form of sickness and I personally feel that 99% of this is because of the loft and the flooring, I can’t put it down to anything else because I am not into giving the birds a whole lot of products, I only give grapefruit extract in the birds water and that’s it.

The wire flooring is an absolute must as far as I’m concerned because I haven’t had a sick birds in years which is really hard to digest but it’s the absolute truth, a wire flooring with a driven belt or you can use a draw type system that you pull out in front on wheels. allot of the fanciers back home tend to go for a smaller wire flooring because they are trying to keep out mice and rats, the problem with the smaller wire or grids is that they also needs to be scraped and if they need to be scraped then not much point in having a wire floor, keep your old wooden one, your wire floor needs to just big enough for your birds to walk on without feet falling through, there will be no mice or rats if there is no food hanging around or no dark hiding places for them to breed.

keep your loft off the ground and open that you can see under it at all times, many fanciers start off with the right idea in keeping their loft off the ground and then using it as a storage area, all this is doing is incurraging rats and mice, keep your loft ground area clean and free from as many hiding places as possible and you won't have a mouse problem. Don't give them a home.

A lot of the USA fanciers and some of the biggest breeding studs have a chicken or two under their wire flooring to eat up the grain that falls through but you can also do what I did and make up catch trays under the feeders.

I have family members Ireland and the UK that have spent thousands on custom designed lofts your typical widowhood loft with ventilated fronts and pots on top with custom ceilings for every section, every year they are battling with some form of sickness. We all care for our birds the best we can and there's nothing like watching your birds of a sunday morning, cocks clapping through the front driving his hen or a team of young birds on the lawn grouped together in a bath, but there's nothing worse than to see birds going light and falling around the place with loose droppings which I'm sure all have experienced at some point, some more than others.

For me a dry loft with lots of natural light, an abundance of fresh air with the correct type of wire flooring is the key ingredient in maintaining excellent health, it has done it for me for many years in the USA in all sorts of weather conditions and not a sick bird to treat.

Keeping them healthy!

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Ray Delaney:

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