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TEXAS PIGEON ASSOCIATION

Tips to Cut Down on Emergencies at the Show!
by Jeff Hubbard, TPA Director

Crates. Crates get misplaced or stolen at shows. It is a sad event but never the less, it does happen. So make sure to write your name, address, telephone number and club affiliation on your crate.

Carry a small bag of pine shavings with you. These can be purchased at any pet supply store. The small bags don't take up much space but come in handy if your bedding gets wet or accumulates a large amount of droppings during travel.

Feed and water. Birds will generally be given access to food and water, courtesy of the host event. However most birds, especially the smaller breeds, do much better if you bring feed which they are accustomed to -- and maybe a couple of handfuls of small seeds or pigeon treat.

Pack along a few clear plastic cups or Dixie cups that are appropriate for the breed you raise and show. Most shows provide one size of cup and they are not suited in most cases for every breed. Some large cups don't allow smaller birds adequate access to feed and water. And some small cups are just that: too small in terms of the amount of feed or water they can hold for the larger breeds.

Carry a small plastic quart milk jug so that you can have access to water for your birds. It might come in handy if you need to give the birds a drink on the road or -- if you do like I do -- mixing electrolytes with the water. This prevents the birds from dehydrating quite so bad during travel and while at a show that is more distant or lengthy in nature.

Electrolytes. Athletes use them to prevent dehydration. Electrolytes can be picked up from pigeon supply houses. My favorites come in little sachet packets and are produced by the NATURAL company from Belgium*. They can be purchased through Siegel's at www.siegelpigeon.com or 1-800-437-4436. If you don't have time to order through the mail prior to going to show, pick up a bottle of Pedialyte at the grocery store in the baby food section. Pedialite is a liquid form of electrolytes that you can mix in the water. They market a plain Jane variety that has no flavoring (clear).

Bird security. Again, it is sad but often if you don't take proper measures, you will leave yourself open to misfortune.

There are two ways I have seen used to secure birds in the show cages at the shows. One is to purchase small lock, the tiny ones, and to latch the bottom of the show coop door to the bottom of the show coop frame. This makes it harder for someone to steal a bird because they will have to either cut the lock or lift the entire set of show coops in order to steal a bird -- probably creating a very large noticeable commotion before nabbing the bird.

Another way of offering some security is to secure the door to the frame with plastic zip (cable) ties. Zip ties can be picked up at most Wal-Mart's or hardware stores. Just make sure you have a pair of wire cutters or a sharp knife so that you can remove the tie to access your bird.

Most serious show persons carry a small plastic tool box or fishing tackle box with a single tray to hold the following supplies:

  1. Nail Clippers
  2. Emery boards for filing beaks
  3. Syringe with some aquarium tubing that fits over syringe tip in order to force water into birds that won't drink
  4. A small wash rag or dishtowel for wiping birds' feet.
  5. A soft toothbrush and small bottle of Johnson's Baby Shampoo in case one needs to do some emergency cleaning of a bird.
  6. Wooden clothespins for attaching food and water cups to coops, thereby holding them in steadier upright positions.
  7. Some Vaseline for cleaning up the legs and feet of the birds, and adding shine.
  8. Small scissors for trimming when allowed on your breed.
  9. Tweezers for plucking that one feather that takes precision work to make things right.
  10. Dixie cups or plastic cups for feed and water containers for your breed of birds.
  11. A small pocket notebook for jotting down notes on your birds or quickly getting the address of people you meet at the show.
  12. A black felt tip marker for writing on coop cards.
  13. A bottle of LYSOCUR eye drops** available from Siegel's Pigeon Supply. Great for popping a drop into the irritated eyes of a pigeon from dust, shavings, or fighting with other birds at the show.
  14. QUICKSTOP™ available from the pet store which allows you to quickly stop the bleeding if you cut a beak or toenail too close.

This doesn't cover everything one might want. Some people have a secret ingredient they like to add into their show box. You might find other nifty ideas while talking to other exhibitors.

The bottom line is that you can prevent some of the so-called emergencies or drama in the show hall by being well prepared. After all, emergencies are often just those things that are unplanned for.

Have a wonderful show season and good luck on carrying home the GRAND CHAMPION trophy.


*The NATURAL brand electrolytes are Siegel's item number 0327 and cost $5.95 plus shipping.
**The LYSOCUR eye drops are Siegel's item number 7019 and cost $8.50 plus shipping.

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