News and Updates
FRIDAY 2020-08-07

   All the birds now have their e-bands. There are 417 participants. The birds handled well. Most are on their 6th flight with a couple on seven and a few only on number five. We have placed the settling cage back on the landing board, also their bath tub. While they bathe, they can re-connect with the counry side from up high. The clocking system has been checked out and we feel confident all systems are go for the release of the birds on the 16th. 

   We are having the Master Breeder award this year. Bernie has already bought his yearly award plus has decided to have a raffle for a youngster off his breeders for those who participate in the Master Breeder award. Pick a bird and send the number along with a cheque for $ 100 to the Salem Special to enter, today. We will post a list of those who are participating starting this Sunday. 


FRIDAY 2020-07-31

    The tentative date for the removal of our lock down is August 16, 2020.  A new chapter will finally begin. The birds are in excellent shape and we look forward to getting them out and up the road. On the Monday coming up, the birds will get their electronic bands. 

    I have made the odd error while writting the refund checks. Please check yours carefully and let me know asap if I have made one on your cheque. It would be good to sort this out sooner than later. Once I am busy with the birds, all other projects go out the window. I can only do one thing at a time.

   I have been informed that CFIA has found lofts that had issues and may very well be the source of our problems. These issues were brought to the forfront by concerned fanciers. I thank those who had the courage to help. 



  The birds are doing well. So far so good. None show any signs of PMV. Time is now moving quickly and shortly our quarentine will be over. We will be putting the ebands on in the next week and scanning them into the program in preparation for their release.

  All the refund cheques have been completed and taken to the post office for todays pickup. We have also mailed out revised invoices for those of you who have not yet paid. Please remit before we start training. Thank you.



   As of July 22, 136 refund checks have been mailed. Rick


     Sorry for not writing sooner. So many of you call, I forget to keep the rest informed. I have also been busy filling promises made to my extended family and with the lock down, this was the perfect time to help them. What I hadn't thought of was the amount of driving time needed going back and forth to Toronto and area. Five hours on the road everyday is a killer and when I get home all I want to do is sleep. 

     The birds are doing well. Linda will do a video today and we'll put it on the facebook site. Before the birds can be released, we have to have 60 days of no deaths. Nothing has died since June 17 when I cleaned house. I have not been told officially when the release date is but one of the vets accidentally reminded me that we were at the halfway point last Friday. That would make the release of the birds about August 20, give or take a few days.

     When they are released, I have to clean and I don't mean just clean. The place has to be torn apart. The floors have to be removed and replaced and every spot has to foamed with a cleaning agent, scrubed, power rinsed and then sprayed with Virkon. Between each step, everything has to dry. The manure will be buried and all equipment on site will have to be disinfected before it leaves the property. That includes us I think. 

     Before this happens I have asked that the birds be allowed to leave the loft and have open hole for a few days to re-establish where home is. After this, they will have to spend a couple of days in our trailer. When all is said and done, we will release them at the edge of the property and then beging the season.

    Sending out the checks has been a slow process. Checking when each person paid, what they paid and then checking what is left takes a bit longer than I thought it would. Over 75 have been sent out. We have been a bit tardy but we'll try to complete this task this week. 



   The Canadian Food Inspection Agency are in the process of contacting all fanciers who entered the Salem Special race series. They have asked that I speak to you as to what their agenda is. Not very many of you are willing to provide them with straight answers. I think you are afraid that you to will be shut down if PMV is found in your loft. You might be but that is a small price to pay for stopping something that can be so devastating to so many.

   They are not searching to destroy, they are searching to help stop PMV and restore the health of your birds. Even if you haven't had PMV but another problem is ruining your breeding and racing program, they will test your birds{ for free} and help find a solution. If you had a problem in the winter or spring, tell them. So far the only answers they have heard are my birds are healthy. Your problems in the last year or two are important to not only them but for all of us. Someone has PMV and passed it along. The symptoms vary and mimic other diseases so chances are you don't know you have it. For my sake, other one loft owners sake, your fellow fanciers sake and for your own sake please answer the questions from CFIA with the long answer, not the short.



    The birds are doing well. There haven't been any sign of sickness for the last while and the birds are strong and healthy. None have died for 2 weeks. When we get the OK to release the birds { sometime in August} we will, after a short time of loft flying, train the birds out quickly so we can have three races. There are 417 birds in the loft. Depending on the weather for the distances, we will have a short [100-150] race, middle distance [200-250] race and a long [300 to 350] mile race. 

     Payout for the short race will be 1st - free entry to next years race, 2nd to 5th, free perch fees to next years race.

     Payout for the middle distance race will be 1st, 2nd and 3rd -free entry to next years race. 4th to 10th, free perch fees to next years race.

    Payout for the long race is 1st   10,000 -   2nd  7,000 -   3rd   5,000 -   4th   3,000 -  5th  2,500 -  6th  &  7th   2,000 each - 8th, 9th & 10th  1,500 each - 11th, 12th, 13th & 14th   1,250 each - 15th thru 20th   1,000  each.

    Best bird over three races wins 1,000.00



     Inventory was taken on Friday as the birds were needled for PMV. The new list did not match what we had on the computor. We have spent the last couple of days cross checking the birds and we have found that the missing birds were part of the group removed last week but they were not registered on the bird list. We will complete our audit and have the full list up soon. Rick


   I am asked questions everyday so I will try to answer them all here, sort of like a conference call.  

   First, the pigeons that were delivered to us showed absolutely no signs of being unwell. There were a few cases of to many birds in a box and some had their air flights delayed or redirected and they showed signs of dehydration but no, no sick birds.

   The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has been super helpfull in providing me with information re the spread of the disease including the time line for incubation, clinical signs to look for, how it spreads and how quickly it spreads. They have also brought info on vacination to the table including how to do every step properly.

   The incubation period of PMV is about two weeks. The last group of birds I collected was on the day and evening [200 birds] before our lockdown. Most of these birds were not vacinated by their owners. The received a shot by us in the morning { Friday} and we were closed down at 5:30 PM that day. These birds were in their own section away from the rest of the flock. They stayed healthy, showed no signs until two weeks after arrival. Then, a few each day became listless, drank to beat the band and quit eating. Also, some started to show signs of the nervous disorders. They started dying in the third week here. With this info the it's easy to pin point the approximate time infected birds first arrived in the loft.

   A few birds died, mostly the super young, within three weeks of being in the loft but groups of ill birds started to appear the last week of April. Dying began in May with Dr Rubin insisting we send birds to Guelph University by the ninth of May. The deaths were just a few per day but being constant, we had to know what the problem was and not just throw medicine at it. It wasn't that hundreds of birds died overnight, it was just a steady here was one, there was another. The worst was after the middle of May when the birds [ and there were lots] collected near the end of April and week one of May became ill. They died in larger numbers.   

   When CFIA finally decided that recovered birds and birds properly vaccinated in the first place were not carriers and were not a threat to the poultry industry and could race at the end of a suitable lock down period, they allowed us to remove the very sick and those with neurological problems large enough to never be able to fly properly. This will hopefully help eliminate the virus, shorten lockdown and let us race in the fall. The birds were vaccinated yesterday which they say helps quicken recovery.  

   Discusions with the CFIA vets and with Dr Rubin and Linda and I re the proper way to vaccinate has brought several points to the forfront. First, it now seems it doesn't matter which vaccine you use. All are based on the La Sota serum. What matters is how you transport, store, and how you use the product. Keep it cool at all times including the shipment of the vaccine. Once it has warmed up to room temperature, in two hours it no longer works. Argue with them if you like, I'll listen. When you need to use it, draw what you need from the bottle and replace the bottle immediately back in your fridge. When  the vaccine reaches room temperature you have two hours to vaccinate and then throw the remainder not used out. Don't put it back in the fridge. Secondly and even more important, vaccinate your youngbirds at 20 or less days of age. Allow them time to build some resistance and then vaccinate again. Wait at least 15 days after their first shot. Keep them home for 15 more days. This gives the vaccine time to work its magic. If you look at the bird list on our site, you'll see who followed these steps. Also note, we didn't loose birds off the roof who were 50 plus days old. Older birds are not harder to settle.

   I made a mistake. The virus did not originate in Germany. It has been found there. The virus originated in China/Australia. It is believed the birds may have been smuggled into the country from that area of the world. I say also check in the USA.

   This virus didnot start in chickens. Chickens simply couldn't survive with this strain of Newcastles.

   My decision to return race fees and give some perch fees back did not please everyone. Some, who were prepared, think you who lost your birds should suffer the results of what you did or rather of what you didn't do. There is more to racing in a one loft than grabbing a few youngster off the floor and sending them out. There is a need to prepare them for life in the mob. A large part of me agrees with them. You only learn from the mistakes you make, at least that is what seems to happen to me. I admit, I broke my own rules by being to quick to want to do what I felt was right. Being tough requires you to be a badass and that I find hard to be. Consider, all of you who lost birds, yourself lucky. Learn the lesson well. This I will not do again nor will others.

   The birds in the loft are well. They are very active. With the baths in the fly pens, drinkers in the hallways and grit in different locations the birds move about the loft daily. Sun in front in the morning and sun in the back in the afternoon also gives them a reason to move around. Most birds are on their fourth flight. Some older ones on 5 and 6. Those who cut the last three flights of your birds and pulled them, they are about a third of the way back in.

   Hope this helps a bit. Wish us all luck.



     The Canadian Food Inspection Agency head office's mandate to trace the source of the Newcastle virus is swinging into gear. I have had to provide a list, in order, of the first three weeks of our pickup schedule. This is when they believe the virus entered the loft. They now also wonder , because of the constant moving of birds between fanciers, if more than one loft is the source of the problem. They have stated that every loft will be tested. They have also informed us that their US counter part has been contacted and I believe they will also test the US entrants. 

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