Questions and answers in Corona times. #COVID-19 #StayHome #StayHealthy
How many pigeons (old, yearlings, young) are you planning to fly during the 2020 season?
We race under two different names, the Lotte Eijerkamp team has 52 widowers ready, while Hans and Evert-Jan Eijerkamp have a team of 14 cocks and 76 hens, prepared for the 2020 season. Around 80% of these are yearling. We weaned about 300 youngsters for the lofts of Lotte and Hans and Evert-Jan Eijerkamp.
How are the pigeons being fed these days?
We now feed old pigeons a light feed to keep them 'calm' while we have switched the young birds from a breeding mix to a lighter flying mix. They are now starting to train better every week. We weaned the first youngsters in early February, and we weaned the last youngsters two weeks ago.
What about training? How often?
The pigeons train voluntarily at home and have done so for the past 5-6 weeks. We paired our pigeons in January. Several weeks s ago; we changed them to widowhood. Once a week, we allow the partners to see each other for a day. Seeing each other motivates the birds and prevents the hens from pairing. We have not road trained the pigeons.
Are you darkening now?
We have darkened all the old birds. Until this year, we had never darkened the cocks. But this year, due to the Coronavirus, we have. As the start of the season is not in sight, we will continue doing so for the time being. We darken the pigeons for 12-14 hours each day. We also darken the youngsters using two systems. At the Lotte Eijerkamp lofts, we darken from 4 pm to 11 pm. These youngsters wake up to a natural sunrise. The youngsters at the Hans and Evert-Jan lofts are darkened from 5 pm to 8 am the following morning.
Any additional or fewer illness problems?
The youngsters have had a light e-Coli infection. Just as they have had in the previous years, but otherwise they are in excellent health.
What is your typical system at this time of year? What is the difference now?
Usually, we would have had two races, and all the birds would already be in full training mode. Now that the shutdown measures were extended to 20 May in the Netherlands, it is crucial to keep the pigeons calm. We certainly do not expect to race before mid-June, and so we must adjust our usual routine. Of course, it is a shame, but our health comer before all else. We hope that we will have a 'normal' program for the youngsters so that at least we can train them, so we have a basis for selecting. All races with the old pigeons will also be considered.
We all hope that these bizarre times will soon come to an end.