Mihai Țurcanu – champion, breeder and President of the Botoșani Pigeon Fanciers Association

8 January 2020

Marathon pigeons are distinguished by their genetic qualities, we could say they are being gifted with spectacular DNA.

However, as humans are, several elements are essential for good health and extraordinary results.

In terms of pigeon health, the most important aspect is hygiene. Particular attention is paid to cleaning, it is the first mandatory criteria to be respected, first of all to prevent the appearance and development of the various possible diseases in the pigeons, but also for the treatment phases of the diseases encountered among them.

We list below the main diseases faced by pigeon breeders:

Salmonellosis is a contagious disease, with a high risk of spread among pigeons. The danger of spreading this bacterial infectious disease is more common in the cold, autumn-winter season. This is why the salmonella vaccine is included in the vaccination plans required for pigeons.

Pigeon Paramyxovirus is an acute viral infection, commonly found in pigeon farms, which can spread very easily. A mandatory vaccine is given annually against this virus.

Trichomoniasis (also known as Canker), the most common disease in pigeons, occurs especially during the breeding season. In treating the disease, it is necessary to consult a veterinarian who prescribes a medication that is correctly adapted to the severity of the disease, which will help to enforce the pigeon’s immune system.

Respiratory infections often occur in marathon pigeons, which is why keeping the respiratory airways clean is extremely important.

Not in the form of treatment plan, but very important for the success of a marathon pigeon is its nutrition. In addition to corn, millet, wheat, even barley, recognized for the role of gut health after exercise, pigeons need a higher content of proteins and vitamins.

Therefore, in the competitive season, both the food from Beyers and the one from Versele-Laga are preferred, these having the role of replacing the necessary vitamins, phosphorus, calcium in the body, in balanced doses, to increase the performance of the pigeons.

Because there are many products on the market, but also different ways to maintain the health of marathon pigeons, we asked for recommendations even from breeders, and received some treatment schemes that experienced breeders use in their farms:

Ionel Dobre: ​​“For Salmonella, I use Salmo PT from Pharma van der Sluis. For paramyxovirus, I do not use the same vaccine year after year, but I alternate them. I use: Columbi 2, CheVita and Newcavac, and alternate them, each year I use a different one. For the respiratory system and trichomoniasis, I have three treatment schemes that I change from year to year – Ornispecially from Weerd’s Belgium for airways, combined with Spatrix administered for trichomoniasis, then at the next step I replace with Tollisan TKK for trichomoniasis and Broncho Sprint for the airways. ”

Another treatment combination recommended by Ionel Dobre is Trichomonas Cure and Ornithosis Cure for the respiratory system.

“For recovery, I use Med. Tollyamin. It has the role of compensating for the loss of muscle mass and weight in a very fast rhyme. ”The treatment can be used in periods of growth, but also of mating, with extraordinary results. Also for the recovery period, Dobre brothers use product combinations from BelgaVet, and the product mix makes it their own, combining several products with high content of electrolytes, amino acids, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, taken separately and combined for optimal results. The products they use are: Biceptorax BVP 200 gr – pure amino acids, Vita-Peka BVP 1l – complex of many vitamins for a quality plumage, silky, Pro-Biolec BVP 200 gr – especially for intestinal flora.

An antibiotic substitute, Energy Drink BVP 1l – with a high concentration of sugars, it is a very good recovery after racing, Electroliten BVP 400 g – eliminates toxins from the body and helps to rebuild the minerals consumed during the competition stages and Minerals BVP 500ml – used especially for young pigeons also during the mating period. “The recovery treatment becomes more expensive if you buy them separately, but the results are also good,” says Ionel Dobre.

George Vochin: “I take all the pigeons for analysis in the Netherlands, two or even three times a year, and an analysis costs about 25 euros. The only ones you should take are breathing analysis, but I do all the tests regulary. And I take them to the Netherlands because I trust and I am satisfied with their services. I’m sending my pigeons to two doctors, Tollisan and Giantel. Nowadays it is very difficult to have good results, you invest a lot in the pigeons, it is hard to stay up in the top.  And with pigeons, it’s just like at the humans, cancers and all kinds of diseases have appeared, and with food it’s the same.”

This way, George Vochin protects their health and ensures that the pigeons are clinically healthy and able to maximize their yield at the next competitive season.

Gheorghe Preda: “I take test, every year, the salmonella, paramyxovirose, smallpox vaccine also for yaoung and mature pigeons, I make them those vaccines during the spring, and for the young pigeons, after giving them the salmonella vaccine three times. , I stop taking that vaccine again.

For recovery, only when they come from the competition I use electrolytes, on the first and second day.

Florin Vartolomei: “I use Tollisan. Three weeks before the first baseline stage, I give my pigeons Tollisan’s Broncho Sprint for respiratory health along with the Tollyamin vitamins (5 days before the first stage). After the first stage, I give them all for 3 days, Broncho Sprint and vitamins. For the next step I give them TKK from Tollisan for trichomoniasis together with the same vitamins from Tollyamin, preventively, also 3 days. The winter treatments begin on December 1st, the first one is for disinfestation, then for trichomoniasis and coccidiosis, with a 10-day break between them. Then I start treatment for 11 days for salmonellosis, I use ParaStop. After that I start vaccinating them for paramyxovirus and salmonellosis. The disinfestation treatment is the most important forpigeons, normally it is made at 3 months, I do it somewhere every 4 months, both internal and external disinfestation. It is very important to keep them healthy, so they can fly. I make them disinfestation with Levoplix – a Romanian product.

Ioan Feștilă: “I do not use a salmonella vaccine, nor do I treat my pigeons in winter.

I treat them only during the season and I use the whole program from Travipharma. This program is made by Gerard Schalkwijk, and the products are Dutch. I have kept them on these treatments for at least four years. In winter, for example, I use a natural treatment with Lugol and Forte Vita for trichomoniasis and coccidiosis. Then I’ll make them Knoflook, which is made of onion and garlic. I especially use food, according to my criteria, quality, endurance, performance. We have been doing the food mix for two years and we sell it.

I do not advise pigeon breeders to give many medicines to birds in the winter. For a bird with the weight of 200g, 20-30 medicines is far too much.

Claudiu Roman: “In the winter, before I vaccinate my pigeons, I use a disinfestation and trichomoniasis protection, then I vaccinate them against paramyxovirus. Last time I used products from Tollysan. In the competition season, I also use products from Tollysan, I treat them against trichomoniasis and respiratory tract problems. Every three weeks I repeat their treatment. The food is from big bags. Now, for example, I’m using Verselle-Laga, Champion Plus. But I have also used Polish food for the last two years. Either one is good for my pigeons.

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Mihai Țurcanu – champion, breeder and President of the Botoșani Pigeon Fanciers Association

8 January 2020

MarathonPigeons.com: You have pigeons from families with a strong DNA in your portfolio. What families do you currently own?

Mihai Țurcanu: The number one for me is the Kipp family, on the line of King Barcelona that I own and have been working with since 2005. The best example would be Dutch, a female directly from Jan Kastelijn with 100% Kipp & Sohne blood, the daughter of two grandsons of King Barcelona. She is the grandmother of three national champions and the great-grandmother of Queen Madona, champion in 2017 with a score of only 1.47 points in the marathon category. Queen Madona is the daughter of two grandchildren, from Dutch. I can say with responsibility that te winners of at least 30 places in the national top 10 are descendants of this exceptional female.

The second strong family that I am working on right now and showing good results is the line of Cor de Heijde, not only on Klamper but also close to Klamper blood. It all started in 2012 since the acquisition of a breeding grandson in 2003.

The third line I rely on and try to cross it whenever I can with those on Kipp and Corr is based on the Florizzone pigeons from Van Luc Coppenolle. It all started in 2016, when I won the first place at Young Bird National Championship, his mother coming from Copenolle blood. After that, I had the opportunity to purchase a son directly from Blinker, together with Ionuț Dragușin, son who unfortunately died in the meantime but not before reproducing a number of seven sons and daughters.

At this moment the price of such a bird is about 10,000 €.

I also have the pigeons on the line of Jan Aarden, namely the blood of Vulpea, which belonged to Relu Iurieți, and which flows through the veins of many pigeon specimens. I must point out that I keep these lines in a very close breeding method so that a pigeon can be found 25 times in a pedigree and the copy looks perfect.

I have a very good collaboration with Ionuț Dragușin who has shown that he is a very good champion and we exchange pigeons. I have a very good collaboration with Relu Iureți, I analyze in detail and if I feel he can help me, I always go and take with pleasure pigeon specimens produced by families who brought their champions together.

MarathonPigeons.com: What has been the most valuable acquisition so far, which has rewarded or exceeded your expectations?

Mihai Țurcanu: Not the most expensive, but the most valuable is the female I named The Dutch (Olandeza) because she had the Dutch ring, since 2003, I think it was for the first time when Heghedus came with more modern pedigrees at auction. I bought Dutch in 2003, who was from the line of King Barcelona. ​​Behind him were all the famous Kipp pigeons that were night fliers, which made his name famous worldwide for over 20 years.
The book of Nicolae Stanciu, the Masters of the Sky, was a real inspiration for me, and among my first readings were the ones about the farmers who kept growing champions. And from there, somehow, I created my strategy for future reference.

A year later, I bought a son from the sister of the Dutch pigeon, came from a line breeding with King Barcelona and I made that pairing, Dutch with Jan, (from Jan Kasteleijn) and from there came out three sons who gave me three national champions.

For example, the 2017 Champion comes from two Dutch grandchildren, I named her Queen Madona, meanwhile a Queen Madona appeared, but because she had a record score at two stages , of only 3 points, one 7th place National and a place 2 at the age of 2 when she came out champion was 1st place palmares Madona and it was normal to give her the name of Queen Madona.

MarathonPigeons.com: How important is ethics in this performance sport?

Mihai Țurcanu: I could place it on the 1st place. Because we are united under one shiled, one umbrella, people of all social classes, democracy must prevail, but some game rules must be established, because otherwise there are rising wishes of becoming champions without merit. And I think that means everything. That’s how some pigeon breeders, if they are not patient, increase their value and try all kinds of ways to help their pigeons. If it is a strict discipline, these fake champions can be avoided.

And in any measure of verification, everyone must line up, because otherwise you can’t be a good breeder and can’t have credibility in front of those who want to buy a valuable bird from you.

The same thing is happening with pigeons, too, if you are not strict and do not impose discipline, you will never have results. No one has performed without being a perfect coach.

MarathonPigeons.com: What are the most important criteria for a champion title?

Mihai Țurcanu: Good pigeon families, correct pairings, health. In the beginning the three: home, race, table – are the most important: the house to provide them with an appropriate climate and to be protected from diseases, the breed because you can feed them the most expensive and qualitative food, but it does not matter if that they are too genetically weak. The whole group helps a bird that has a good genetic background to show off its qualities. We need to provide the bird with everything it needs to put its muscles and mind to give the best results.

MarathonPigeons.com: Can you perform without passion in this field?

Mihai Țurcanu: I don’t think so. Because passion must be there in everything you do. If you are not passionate, do not buy pigeons; if you are not passionate, do not sacrifice family money to give to the pigeons; because we have to admit, pigeon sport has become an expensive sport.

Now everyone is talking about ventilation, air circulation, brightness or darkness or live feeds. We cannot waste days, especially at the marathon, waiting and it is important to be informed so that we do not miss important situations in which a marathon pigeon could achieve high ranking but it goes unnoticed because we are not paying attention.

I think you become a pigeon fancier out of pure passion.

MarathonPigeons.com: What are the most common problems that you find yourself intersecting with in this sport?

Mihai Țurcanu: The reluctance of fellow pigeon breeders to invest in the transport of pigeons. It seems to me the biggest mistake, because we spend resources outsourcing the transport, and when we have to collect the money for our own transport, everyone refuses to pay.

We also must admit that, at least in the region of Moldova, the transport of pigeons is deficient. It is made with cars that do not provide minimal welfare for marathon pigeons. I give you an example, the transport of pigeons to Madona, where we launch pigeons. If it happens to be 3 rainy days and a big truck goes past our cars, the pigeons are compromised. So all the pigeon growers are trying to keep their pigeons dry for 4-5 days before the competitions so not to let that powder on their wings go away, to make it easier for them to glide through the air. This way, if there is rain on the journey, the pigeon can’t cope. And if transport takes 3 days on rainy weather, when these pigeons get there, they have no chance of getting a title at that stage, especially those who are on the traffic side. You can’t be fair to everyone, as long as you have transport conditions like these.

For the transport of pigeons should be given a national law, or it should be a provision in the RNS. Even if it sounds expensive. Although nothing is expensive, a pigeon requires an investment of 500-600 euros in high-performance electronic watch, another 500-600 euros per year for food, but when you have to pay 200 euros to rent an efficient transport, you are no longer willing to spend that money. Either the breeders are not yet open minded, or they consider it not theirs, although the associations are organized according to the law of the NGOs and all are owners on a purchased asset. Yes, there are people who make a business from this, they are pigeon carriers.

As a simple exemple, at least half of the money paid by the Association that I run, goes into the pocket of the worker that has invested in cars, whether they are efficient or not, and offers the transport of pigeons. But I do not think that they are the best solutions, the ones that are on the market today, and then the quality difference in transport is no longer made at the level we would like.

MarathonPigeons.com: What plans do you still have as President of the Botoșani Pigeon Fanciers Association?

Mihai Țurcanu: I’ll tell you a story. Somewhere in 2004 I became President. Until then, everyone, breeders from Botosani went and visited a rare pigeon that arrived in the national exhibition. Subsequently, through analyzes, through the decisions we have taken, it has come to the performance here in Botosani, that we get many titles of national champions.

I want to keep the rod up also from the transport point of view. Because I made some decisions 3 years ago. After this, there was peace in the Association and it grew a lot, from 60 members, when we decided to take this decision, there started a selection process. In three years, the asocciation reached 170 members and an average of 6000 marathon pigeons per contest. It is a good figure, I say, and made up of many young people.

This is what I enjoy most, if in the Western countries the disappearance of the elderly is noticed and no young growers replace them, in Botosani the situation is better. This year we are proud to be the 3rd place on National Marathon Grand Prix, with a young pigeon fancier who is registered in Association for only 3 or 4 years.
What I desire most, is a modern transport system and the Botosani Association to be on everyone’s lips, as an example of good practices.

We want an upward trajectory, not an electrocardiogram.

Pigeon fanciers want to talk to their colleagues, to share their thoughts, strategies, because basically, there is nothing to hide. If there were magic formulas in pigeon breeding, those with a lot of money would have no opponents in pigeon competitions. Here we are all equal, whether we are doctors, engineers, drivers or farm workers, the passion connects us, and the best pigeon always wins. You also need a bit of luck, that’s clear.

I wish you a Happy New Year full of remarkable results!

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