Article 1

By Jack Barkel
See the video
"It's All In The Eye"

There are many roads that lead to success in this particular subject, and although they all have some measure of success, there are methods that cause the pigeons to be virtually useless as racers or breeders after their first or second year. I will endeavor in a series of articles to give advice on tried and proved methods by some of the Champions worldwide. Most keenness starts with the time just before the racing season when even those who tend to neglect their pigeons in the off season are aroused
into trying to get their birds into condition for the forth coming races. I will therefore commence my article, six weeks before the racing commences. About six weeks before the first race, (if you reside in South Africa) should be near to the middle of April and all birds should if they have been treated correctly be nearing completion of the moult ready for the winter which is right upon us. Because of the inactivity during the moulting season, and due to feeding high protein fats for this occasion, the birds have put on extra weight. To rectify this one needs to feed dehusked sunflower in the mornings and a feed of Barley only in the evenings. The birds will soon begin to exercise for long periods on this diet, and only then must a person start basket training. To force birds onto the road that are not fit
is wrong, wrong, wrong, and must not be attempted at any cost, this sort of method does not make champions. It is also at this time 15th April necessary to medicate against: -
Coccidiosis, Mycoplasmosis, Canker and to clear the air sacks.
Mix one teaspoon of Tylan, one teaspoon of Emptryl, six teaspoons of Terravit (not Terramycine, it must have the vitamins), you put one teaspoon of these mixed powders onto one litre of drinking water. You then add one dessertspoon of Sulfamethazine to this same litre of water and administer for Five days. These illnesses keep occurring as often as the common cold, so for one day every four to six weeks you must treat the birds with this mixture. This should keep these unwanted invaders at bay without building up an immunity to the medication, which is a big problem throughout the world. The biggest secret about conditioning a pigeon for a race is not how to make him peak, but on the contrary how to prevent him from peaking before the Saturdays race. We are now at the Wednesday morning before the first race; we have been feeding dehusked sunflower mornings and Barley in the evenings. The birds are still full bodied but as light as a feather, and are ready for a good feed with at least 60% Maize.
Wednesday is the day, back onto the good racing mix for Wed & Thurs, morning and evening and Friday morning a light feed of dehusked sunflower seed and clean water.This if followed correctly will make the bird peak on Saturday Morning, ready for the journey home.It is now Saturday and we are waiting for the return of the birds, always have warm water waiting for them, laced with electrolytes and honey or boiled sugar water.For Saturday and Sunday feeding, because of the exorbitant price of depurative in South Africa, I make the following mixture.Take a five-litre plastic bucket filled with Barley plus the same amounts of wheat, and mix together. Take a small soup bowl and put in twelve-heaped desert spoons of Torula or Brewers Yeast. To this you add one glass of FRESH Lemon Juice, this will take about six medium sized lemons. Pour the juice over the Yeast and stir until it looks like gravy, you then pour this over the wheat and barley and mix well in. Within two hours, there is no trace ofthe yeast and lemon juice; it has all been absorbed in the food. The reason for
this is simple, I do not believe in purging but purifying, therefore Epsom salts and Dicestal is old fashioned and has a detrimental effect on the pigeon. The modern scientific method is to purify the blood and get rid of the toxins, which build up in a birds system. All racers if not on a depurative of some sorts will become sluggish and cease to operate at peak performance. We have now dealt with Saturday and Sunday, Monday and Tuesday Morning, dehusked sunflower again and evenings Barley. A normal ration per meal is one cup per ten pigeons, do not let them make you feel sorry for them, because if you exceed this ration, you can feel sorry for them when they have to fly home on Saturday, and sorry for yourself when your more strict competitor beats you once again. When I raced in England, I used to give Mycosan T in the water every Monday, because our birds do come into contact with birds from unhealthy lofts.It gives moulting problems in our climate so I had to change to Two teaspoons of Furasol and Two teaspoons of Oxyvital on five litres of water. I understand that these two African products are off the market for some mysterious reason, but that there are Substitutes. They were recognized as two of the best products in the world by there overseas competitors by the way ( Makes you think doesn't it ) One day per week of Garlic is also good for the pigeon, but I feel I must make you aware of one other very important factor.Pigeons that have regular medication in the water are known to decrease their water intake, any racing pigeon that has a reduction of 10% water over a period of a week will have a reduction in performance of about 40%. This can also knock you out of the prizes, so what I am saying is this, where we can put medication or treatments on the food, please do it this way and leave the water as clean as we possibly can.
In South Africa we fly approximately twenty-one weeks old birds, this program will be good for the first seven weeks with slight variations as the season gets warmer and longer. Depending on the interested reaction to this method, we can carry on through the whole season, with many scientific reasons for losses etc. Just to mention in closing, I feel that a bird should have as many sixty kilometre tosses per week as possible, and those who do not race any particular weekend must get at least a 150 kilometre toss to keep it up to scratch. I also believe that static is more to blame for losses than illness. If the bakkie or car or truck that you use for training is not earthed for to dissipate static electricity and you do not degauss you pigeons, then you are up the creek without a paddle. This could be the first of many articles depending on whether it draws a reaction, for no person likes to compile articles without the acknowledgement that they are getting through to people in a favourable manner. I must state that for some this will shed a new light on the sport for them, whilst others will already either be using this or at least know all about it. I do this for the new starters in the sport, for we must be prepared to enlighten our new members into the hidden mysteries of the nature and science of our great sport and hobby.
Jack Barkel

018 292 1747 083 252 4883

Questions & Answers to this Article


A, Take one small segment or clove per litre of water you wish to administer, scald it first in a cup, so that it will start to brew, then pour this into your main container. I mix mine at 5-small cloves or portions to 4.5 litres or one gallon of water. Garlic capsules administered individually or garlic oil over the food leaves your water clean, and does not run the risk of a reduction of water intake by your birds, which is also a very important factor in the racing season.

Greg Finch writes and askes, Great articles and very interesting reading, I really appreciate your sharing of information I have two questions for you if you don't mind. Thanks in advance and keep up the great writing….It really is appreciated.

Q, You have mentioned the use of garlic in the water(which I do use).Is there any harm in using garlic on a daily basis?(Sure doues make the loft smell good and keeps the flys out).

A, The only harm that I foresee is that a pigeon takes in less water if you have changed the taste from fresh water. Should a bird take in less than 10% of its normal required intake it can reduce its performance up to 40%. May I suggest that if you decide to use more than two days of garlic, that you use garlic oil over the food.

Q, You also stated that 1 cup of food should feed 10 birds…. Is that one cup of food daily or twice daily?

A, I should have said, one cup of food twice daily…Morning and Evening. The widowhood flyers usualy feed one heaped desertspoon of food to each pigeon, twice daily.

Q, Hi Jack, I certainly hope you continue this great information site. When you make up the depurative mix, what is the actual reason for the brewers yeast. I have tried sunflower seed, not appreciated by the birds at all but as you indicated and I probably do (spoil them, just a bit.) I don't know what the calorific value of sunflower seed is but your advice to try it is good enough for me.
Alan Barnes

A, Hello Allan,
To keep the birds on a depurative type mix, you unfortunately deprive them of some of the essentials that you would find in a normal diet e.g:-Phosphor , Thiamine B1. Riboflavin B2, Pyridoxine B6, Pantothenic Acid, Niacin, Copper, Manganese and Cobalt. The Brewers yeast has an abundance of these and also has a calming influence on the birds. Many top fanciers feed them in pill form, but I prefer it in the food. I myself take at least three brewers yeast tablets every day to assist my personal well being. The sunflower seed when dehusked is a good digestible food rich in protein and oils, also contains phosphor and Vitamins excluding vitamin "E" which of course the wheat which is half your mix is very rich in this vitamin. One must dehusk it and use immediately.
Best Regards,
Jack Barkel

Hello Jack,
Q, Read your medication program with interest. Your recipe is for one liter of solution. Is this stock solution that you then add to the water at a future time, or is this the concentration of the drinking water that you give to the birds?
Yours in the Sport,
From central Illinois, USA
Mike Palanos
Hello Mike,
A, No, the mixture of the powders , Tylan Emtryl, and Terramycin are the Stock Powder. One teaspoon of this mixture on one litre of water together with one desert spoon of Sulphamethazine (which is a liquid) is a daily dosage for fifteen to twenty pigeons, depending on the heat of the climate. May I say that these articles should be coming up weekly and No 2 is already there, so one needs to go in live on a weekly basis to read each new article. All questions like this one will be greatly appreciated, as it will keep these articles alive, and help statements from being misinterpreted, as I try to explain. I hope you have read article two with illustrations. Thanks for your support.
Yours in Sport,
Jack Barkel

Jim Muckerman of Missouri wrote."I read with great pleasure your article on the allpets url". Just a couple of questions come to mind.
Q. When medicating…. Do you recommend pulling the grit and when do you put it back.?
A. Yes, I recommend taking out the grit and salts and returning it 24 hours after cessation of the treatment.

Q. With reference to medications and the mention of Oxyvital, which is not available in the USA, would you recommend that we above the equator use Mycosan T ?
A. Yes, Mycosan T will be excellent for the USA and the Continent, it should not effect the advancement of the moult as it does in similar climates and seasons to South Africa.

Q. When you mix the depurative, how many birds does you mixture treat and can it be decreased for a smaller group.
A. Yes, you can decrease it proportionately to meet your requirements,I prefer to give all my race birds the depurative treatment whether they competed that week or not, but 20 birds get two normal size cups morning and evening. I think it would be better to adjust your mix to last your particular team for no longer than two weeks. You will soon work out what is the adequate mix for your particular team.

Q. Will these articles be weekly or daily or just how often?
A. I will endeavour to submit a weekly article, with a question and answer similar to this one. John Cline of California wrote, " I sometimes find it difficult to find sunflower seeds and it often smells odd like it was dirty or old.

Q. Is there a substitute for sunflower seed?
A. Yes a person can use safflower, but unfortunately, in South Africa although we have the means and climate to grow it, we have not the means to harvest it as it grows on a thorny type of plant. The demand of safflower does not warrant the importation of such machinery or the production of such a crop, as sunflower is grown and harvested here extensively without any major problems.

Q. I eat soup with different size soup spoons, please define the size or measure of the spoons you use.
A. A teaspoon measure is 5-grams if powder and 5-millilitres if liquid, A desert spoon measure is 10-grams powder and 10 millilitres liquid.

Dani of Oregon wrote,: Hi My Pigeon Grandpa! The site is wonderful, I hope it just prospers and prospers for you. I am sure your friends will be making the counter grow a million times more.
Q.Q. If I can't get these things here in the USA what do I substitute for……….. ( TERRAVIT)
A.A. Dani, Terravit is Terramycin with added vitamins, the alternatives are listed under tetracyclines, there are many alternatives, as your dealer will be able to inform you which are available in a particular area, but please remember these products will create a need for a multi vitamin build up, if they do not contain a correct dosage of added vitamins as does Terravit. Any of the Tetracycline's are excellent for Chlamydia & Mycoplasmosis.

Syd Randall of Australia wrote, Hi Jack, I have a few questions.
Q. Do you place any importance on the length of flights when racing and training.
A. From the first to the sixth primary flight I pay little or no attention, but for the 7th 8th 9th & 10th, if I had to train or race a bird in this wing condition, I would only send when the flight was missing or was three parts grown with the next flight ready to drop out.

Q.Q. Is the cup you refer to the standard 250ml size.
A.A. Yes Syd, if you ladle 10 to 12 desertspoons into the standard cup of wheat or barley, you will see that it more or less is full. A pigeon in racing form should not eat much more than a desert spoon for each meal. For dehusked sunflower you must multiply by two if fed to the birds with the loose shells still in the mix as I do, when dehusking my own. Your question on suitable substitute for Terravit was asked by Dani also, so will not repeat the answer.

Q.Q. What would it cost to purchase your video in Australian Dollars
A.A. Syd, this question I can not answer, I suggest you contact:  and she will be able to give you all the particulars on this matter. If you have no success on this one, then I will contact her for you, but I do prefer you deal with her direct.

Written and compiled by Jack Barkel 2000/05/19 The above replies are the opinions of the author, They are not necessarily the opinions of others connected to the site.

ALLPIGEONSL.gif (11407 bytes)

Jack Barkel