News and Updates

   I have received portions of the final report on our situation. We will be allowed to race the birds when all is well. The time frame we have to wait is constricting but within our reach. Racing will not happen until the middle of September and we are working on a schedule/payout for a shortened schedule and I will post it shortly.

   Today we have received permission to remove and eliminate the birds in the loft that will never be able to race. This will speed up the time frame of when we can open up the loft. It is not a job I want to do but it has to be done. Tonight, check the bird list to see what has survived.

   Tomorrow and everyday there after, we will keep you informed of how we are moving forward.



    At the end of the day, Thursday, I received the results on the last lab tests regarding the virus in the birds. It does not bode well for the continuation of the race schedule. All chickens injected with the virus died. It is potent. The virus arrived in Canada from Germany and they are afraid of what it might do to the poultry industry if it were to spread. There will be a meeting of the CFIA board in Ottawa the first of next week that will decide our fate. When I know, I'll let you know.


2020-06-10 UPDATE

   The overall health of the birds slowly improves. Five hundred are ready to go racing. About fifty are still ill. We have had three days with no deaths. Each day, another recovers enough to be returned into the genral population of the loft. In the main loft area, they can have a bath every day plus stretch their wings flying the hallway and visiting the aviaries. I am still waiting to hear from CFIA regards future racing. It should be in the next day or so that they will make their decision. I will let you know the minute I hear from them. 



   Nothing like a disaster to bring out the best in [almost] everyone. I asked folks to let me know what they did that kept their birds alive and the response has been fantastic.

   The products they used were brought in from all over the place. All are illegal in Canada. Don't know about the USA. CFIA [government] knows what we are doing and understand the dilemma we face. I asked what we could do and after some research on their part, they came up with an answer. The vaccine for chickens, Newcastle PMV 1 with the bronchial additive provides the protection our birds need. The turkey vaccine, they say falls short. I know Oscar used the chicken vaccine and his birds survived the onslaught.

   All who ordered their vaccine say it came packed with dry ice and was cold. When the vaccine reaches room temperature it needs to be used asap. When the job is done, the balance needs to be disposed of. Once warm, putting it back in the cold is not the answer.

  The  products used varied but the method they used was almost always the same. The birds were given a shot at 20 days old. They were given their second shot at 35 days of age. They were sent to us when the birds were 50 days old. Some gave them a third shot and some doubled the dosage needed. They had their reasons and I don't know whether they were right or wrong. 

   These birds had the strength to fight off the Virus from the moment they entered the loft. Others who weren't prepared did not have the time to build the imunity needed.

   I hope this helps you to prepare for the following years. A lot of us, myself included, do not go to these lenghts but they are obviusly needed for our birds to survive a dilemma. In a perfect world we shouldn't have to prepare for the worst. We now know how wrong we have been.



   Today, Linda took video's of the birds from the outside of the loft. You'll have some idea of the shape the birds are in. Check her Salem Face book page. There are still the last group that are fighting the infection and loosing but more and more are bouncing back. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency answered another question on Friday.

   The chicken vaccine available in Canada does provide protection to our pigeons. It must read Newcastle PMV 1. The turkey vaccine does not! Also, with the help of your vet or a farm medical supply house, you can bring in out of country vaccines. Cost does become a factor.

   To not learn from this dasterdly incident would be a crying shame. I donot ever want to go through this again. With the help of those whose birds survived and also of those whose birds didn't, we will learn what works and what doesn't. First person who volenteered some info was Dale Zehr. He got his vaccine from Big Andy, did the birds at 20 days, 35 days and sent them to me at 50 days of age. I did them a week later with the Turkey vaccine. All his birds[14] are still alive. Big Andy's birds were done the same way and also arrived at 50 days old and 6 out of 7 are still here.

   As I hear from others, I'll pass it on.




   The health of the birds continues to improve. Yes there are still birds that succumb to the disease but a lot are improving day by day. Four hundred and fifty are in good health. Sixty more become more active everyday and now fly to the top perch. The rest have away to go. We have 560 birds left in the loft.

    CFIA has established a probable time line of when the disease entered the loft and began to spread. They will now begin to try and trace back to the source.

   The Canadian Food Inspection Agency { CFIA } is in contact everyday and was here this week. Things are still in limbo as two more tests need to be completed. These will determine how dangerous our situation is to the poultry industry in our area, in Ontario and to the rest of Canada. One question that I had has been answered. When the birds recover and are healthy, they do not shed the Virus and will not do harm. 

   It will be June 10th or so when all the results are published. Untill then, we wait.




   The birds alive as of last night are now up loaded under the wincompanian " Bird" tab. If it is alive, it has a green dot at the end of the line. There will not be any more dots added to the list but there will be dots removed each day. Sorry to say that. 

   The disease is slowing down. The birds in sick bay are almost all back on perches and the green slime has stopped but, unfortunately, the last groups collected are now showing signs of illness. It takes about two weeks being exposed to the virus before the birds become seriously ill. Hopefully this quits in a couple of weeks.



    In the past, we had crosses to bear. Last season, a new loft and trailer sent us on our way up ending us on as high a note as you could want. Great races with great returns ending with birds in such excellent condition we could have done the whole series again. This year we were sure the stars had aligned and so did you. The number that signed up and sent birds was staggering. We turned folks away. After the lockdown we still had some show up and we were forced to return them.

    We felt that with Dr Rubins help, nothing would go wrong. Then Mother Nature showed up and said" here, hold my beer. I am going to show you what a disaster realy looks like." And she did.

    Let me tell you what 700 pigeons dying in a matter of days does to your outlook on life and your enthusiasm. It makes a bottle of rum for breakfast mighty appealing. 

    The dying has slowed to a trickle and what we have left are three distinct group of birds. There are those who came thru without as much as a scratch. There are those who took a turn for the worse but quickly bounced back. There are those alive but with nervous disorders or so thin they may not come back. As I do inventory, the healthy ones will be done first. From good to not so good. The good may reach 400, the bad are the last 100. We will do inventory starting today. On wincompanion, under the tab' Birds' you will find a green dot behind your birds info that shows it is elligable to race. That dot will be behind all birds that are alive. This will take me untill the weekend to update. Please have patience. I will post when I have completed my job. As birds die, we will remove their dot.

     All is not conclusive yet. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has test that will not have results till the first of June. Worse case, if the virus is aggresive, all birds will be euthanized. Best, if chickens will not suffer, the birds will be allowed to race. CFIA hopes the latter will win out. So do we.

    Linda and I, with the help of a lawyer and accountant have come up with a plan to move forward. All race fees will be returned. Those who paid but did not send the birds will get some perch and taxes back. All adjustments will be worked out for each team and sent out shortly. Those whose birds arrived after we found out about the Virus will have all their money refunded. Those who haven't paid owe us perch fees and taxes.

     Perch fees and taxes will stay with us. When the birds are given the green light, we will train and hold the race program with of course, the needed adjustments re time, etc. We hope that all races can be flown. You will be flying for bragging rights only. There will not be any prize money this year. We will have pools and we will be creative end try to find something to please you all. We hope to have the tent and hope we will be able to provide a meal.

    Linda and I are overwhelmed by the phone calls and emails wishing us the best and telling us to not lose faith and continue on. You have no idea how important these messages have been to our mental health and well being. We thank you for your kindness.

Linda and Rick

SATURDAY, MAY 16, 2020

     Please read this carefully infact read it twice. I donot enjoy giving you this news. This is not just happening to me. It is making the rounds. 

    It started about 4 weeks ago in our one loft. A couple of birds looked dopy and listless. The next day more and so on and so on. A week later, one died then two then four untill sixty or so had died. Dr Rubin and I were sure it was a virus. Treating the birds didn't help. The symptoms were those of Circo-virus. On  May 10th, Dr Rubin decided that we should take five birds to Guelph for testing to make sure of what we were dealing with. Monday May 11 birds were sent off and Thursday May 14 preliminary results were reported to us not by Guelph University but by the Candian Food Inspection Agency. What they had found was not Circo Virus but PMV-1. PMV can be both neurological and intestinal. In our loft we found a small number showing nervous disorders. The intestinal version, CFIA called wasting away disease and what happens is they sit and stop eating but not drinking and within a few days they fade away. There is absolutely nothing that we can do to save them. Some recover, lots don't. The mortality rate is high. Not every bird in our loft is infected in fact, 40% are in excellent shape and ready to start training. Two hundred or so, the last group collected show no signs at the moment and look and handle well. The loft has been divided up and the birds are sorted into these three groups.

   I querried CFIA re our vaccinating the birds and mentioned that most fanciers did their own at home. Was this not suppose to stop these infections? The Winnepeg Lab which handles all major outbreaks dismissed the effectiveness of the vacine available to us in Canada. They stated that at best, it was useless. 

   What started our problems was, in plain English, brought on by one or more lofts who have or have had this problem at home. CFIA has taken the names of all who have birds in our race and I believe they will try to trace the source of this problem. The strain we have is aggressive and does effect chickens. They do not want this to spread. Be prepared for a call.

   Friday evening, CFIA showed up at our house and loft and we are now in lockdown. No birds are allowed to enter. None are allowed to leave. They are not allowed outside. They can sit in our fly pens. I have a very strict protocal that I have to follow which includes a shower after every visit to the loft and washing my cloths after every visit. I am not allowed into my personal loft nor are we allowed to race. Humans can also catch this disease and I plan on following all the rules.

   Lockdown will last at least untill the end of July. If the disease is brought under control and the birds regain good health, CFIA has said that we will be allowed to race in the fall.

   So here is where Salem Special stands at this moment:  A decision on whether to race will be made by the end of July. By that point, we will know who has birds, who hasn't and how I am going to handle the fall out. If there is a complete shut down, race fees will be returned. Since I suspected a problem on Sunday, May 10, 2020, any teams collected after this date will have all their money returned, that is perch, race fees and taxes.

   At present we sit tight and hope for the best. the mortality rate today was much lower than in the last two days. We need a miracle.


« Previous 1 2 3 4 [5]6 7 8 Next »