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The Truth Behind The Theories?...
Author: Liam O ComainTitle: The Truth Behind The Theories?
Date: 2005-10-18 19:04:22Uploaded by: webmaster
Losses are inevitable, otherwise as I have stated in the past if all of our birds were to return we would lack the space to house them. Some of the losses arise from bad management, the peregrine, the gun, and so on. Now there are losses which the fancy can tolerate, if at times reluctantly. But what has been happening for sometime now is not acceptable especially when we witness and hear the reports of thousands of birds yearly disappearing in training and racing.

It is acknowledged that overcrowding creates problems for it creates stress which leads to a reluctance to return home to where one has to fight for a perch, or a turn at the drinker, or the feeding trough. Stress does create strays and, more importantly, acts as a trigger in causing disease and it is my contention that at least where the majority of young bird losses are concerned the culprit is a respiratory disorder. Yes, inspite of the various theories circulating about the possible or probable causes of racing disasters in recent years we are blinding ourselves behind the theories and missing the truth. For I see birds being basketed for training or racing on many occasions carrying signs of respiratory disease. The symptoms are a dirty wattle or a tendency to one, a swollen or watery eye, whitish liquid in the throat and a rattling or husky sound emanating from the throat. The noise I have detected on a number of occasions when reaching for a bird that is about to be rubber ringed. Of course to enter such candidates in a race is irresponsible behaviour, for to win races what is required is condition based upon good health. But alas there are too many 'fanciers', and I emphasize the latter term to distinguish this group from the authentic sports persons, who basket and hope for the best. Realizing or not realizing that their sick candidates are making healthy pigeons sick or at least the possibility exists that they will pass on disease.

When I was a teenager I ran for an athletic club and my favourite event was cross-country racing. I recall from then the advice of our coach to ensure that while training prior to a race we kept well wrapped up and covered our heads in order not to catch any respiratory ailment. Even the best runners could not race with such complaints. The truth of the coach's advice was confirmed when one witnessed the best of runners literally giving up while mucus blinded them. Even in the professional sports today how many sports persons participate when they have a cold or respiratory infection. Then why ask so much of our thoroughbreds when they experience similar sickness?

If this thesis is accepted it requires a responsible response from the fancy. If such a response is not forthcoming then the continuing losses will add gist to the mill of those who look upon the sport as distributing feathered itinerants to dirty the streets and the buildings of our environments. In fact it is my contention that any bird suspected of respiratory sickness based upon the signs above should not be allowed into the company of those diagnosed without sickness. A voluntary effort by each and every fancier would of course be best but if that is not the case then the powers that be must act on behalf of healthy pigeons and their responsible owners.

Liam O Comain

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