1. HAWK Management Idea – get a red, remote-controlled drone!
a. I have not done this yet, but here’s my plan
b. Get just a basic one on Amazon with a range of at least 300-400’
c. Before I turn out my birds – whether babies for roof settling, or an early stage of routing – fly the drone up over all my surrounding, 60’ trees – to “brush back” any hawks
d. On training days – race to beat the birds home – or, if they’re beating me home at this stage, fly the drone before going on the training toss – I use the Bill Tadlock training method: no further than 35 Miles, and ONLY release the entire group … no “trickling in” of single-tossed birds
e. Options I’m considering
i. Suspend a toy, double-sided mirror from the bottom of the drone – maybe after a month of using only the basic drone
ii. Watch for some light-weight, remote-controlled noise maker – as an added “threat” – and in case the hawks lose some fear of the drone over time – as they do with stationary owl decoys, et.
iii. Use an inexpensive camera eventually to observe the hawks preferred path of retreat – hopefully to backtrack them to their nest…
f. That’s it for now – what strategies can you add?
2. Breeding Principles - very clear when you read about the methods of champions - and test different principles yourself.
a. Both crossing and close breeding work - it's all about the quality of the breeders.
b. Bring in the best you can, every year
c. Pedigree with 1st place winners (or breeders of winners) close in and throughout the pedigree
d. Test them: one year, 8 babies from 2 proven breeders
e. Polygamously breed your best to your best - no compromise, but to test the new stock in part
a. Select for natural health.
b. But don't be afraid to bring lesser health into a mating or two in exchange for say, super performance, then select for super health. Canker
c. Overview - this is my latest thinking/practice on health and medications. I hope you find it helpful - and by all means, call if you have questions or concerns!
d. All birds are generally treated at, including Fall Breeder Preparation
e. Year Round
i. Probiotics - 5-6 Days/Week. Reasoning: research is clear on the need. Source: Foy's, Pro Bios: "Favored by Clair Hetland, former owner and pharmacist; plus it's the freshest (most turnover in inventory) of the several brands we carry."
ii. Paratyphoid/Salmonella - Enrofloxin (generic of Baytril) - October for 14 Days; all birds on the property. Reasoning: most everyone around the world is doing something like this, there is an increasingly global flow of birds through different environments; and all this is strengthening the strains of Salmonella and raising the risk of Paratyphoid in more of the birds unless aggressively treated. Source: a friend gave me a large container manufactured in Mexico.
iii. Canker - after the Enrofloxin as antibiotics can create conditions more favorable to canker. Reasoning: most everyone is doing this, plus The Duif Chronicles (2 volumes, Great Value sold by The Digest) show just how many Europeans treat for canker on average I'd say, about 6 times/year. Source/types: from Foy's, mainly Metronidazole (Flagyl), and Ridzol 25% (I understand from a good source that the former 10% strength is now ineffective against current strains of canker; and Ridzol is still not harmful at the 25% level).
a. Canker - rotate the types, but about 2 out of 3 months during breeding season I prefer the milder, Metronidazole (Flagyl). In September I will use Emtryl, taking advantage of non-breeding season/temporary infertility in cocks it creates, and taking advantage of the perceived higher potency of it on canker. I used to keep canker pills on hand - I do not anymore with the new program above. I used to believe apple cider vinegar and a dry loft was all I needed to prevent canker - I found the hard way that's not true for me.
b. Worms/feather mites, etc. - Moxidectin. Reasoning: again it's surprising how many birds from so many environments flow into our lofts. Worms and feather mites are so subtle and yet so damaging. Source: I buy the horse product, Quest gel from my local feed store, mix it with a fork in warm water in a big, 8-cup measuring "cup" until I can see it's all dissolved, and then place a cup of mixture in each of 8 nearly full milk jugs. (You want to pre-fill the carrier containers like that because the Moxidectin will foam up so much otherwise.)
c. Cocci - about every other month I will treat to "maintain" Cocci levels at a healthy level by giving Sulmet as prescribed on the bottle which I get from my local feed store. In the non-breeding season in August I treat with Corrid/Amprolium. Again in November, just before mating up, I will treat with Corrid/Amprolium again.
d. As Needed
i. Canker - I now generally cull any birds with obvious canker or with signs of possible gut canker. As most fanciers do, if I have a very, very special breeder showing signs of canker I will give that entire pen a strong treatment for canker, based on what season, etc. (see above reasoning for which types of canker treatments).
ii. Rinse waterers about once a week with apple cider vinegar.
iii. Scrub waterers with ~ 5-10% bleach/water.
iv. Fresh water with no additives about once a week.
e. No Vaccinations - my partner/handlers vaccinate for PMV only; I do not; and have not for about 15 years. This included no pox vaccinations.
i. I'm considering getting the squab feeder/mild substitute materials Foy's offers. I did have an abandoned, two day old that other day I gave yoghurt liquid to via an eyedropper - right now I'm going to stick with that. Yoghurt separates into a little water on top over time. The eyedropper didn't handle the yoghurt, only the separated liquid - and the squab bounced right back underneath a pumper that was in synch age wise.)
4. Best reading material: The Duif Chronicles, both Volumes I and II - sold by the Digest - an absolute bargain at any price!
4. Team (full group) Training Tosses ONLY!!! SO many reasons…
a. Single and small group does not simulate the race release “flock” experience.
b. True “breakaway” birds’ behavior is, in part motivated by breaking out in front of a flock – not just heading for home.
c. Hawks can just “take a number” while waiting at your loft for single/non-flock, tossed birds to trickle in.
d. Authority: The Ideal training release strategy, per the late, great Bill Tadlock is this:
i. “You MUST get them to, Break like Heck for Home!!”
ii. And it DOESN’T matter where you release – on the race course, or even the opposite direction, and finally
iii. “IF they circle at the release site, it’s most likely Cocci.”