Importance announcement must read
Cairns PMV outbreak December 2016
Latest information update to pigeon fanciers ..Rob Marshall has just call me in relation to the current virus . He stated that we have PMV virus. He has advised us to vaccinate all birds which have not been infected . And stock birds which have not been infected. Obviously infected birds don't need to be done as they will build the immunity however treat for salmonella and E. coli. The virus should last at least 6 weeks. He is going to e mail some documentation which will distributed amoungst flyers. I will let you know when it arrives. Graham Quinn has also been contacted by Bio security they were informed by an unknown person stating we have sick birds. Birds to be locked down . Cheers Rob
Rob Van der Veen Cairns Club President
Dr Rob Marshall Report on the Virus affecting WA .
FINAL REPORT Adenovirus outbreak in WA By Dr Rob Marshall
Introduction The recent outbreak of adenovirus infection in Perth Western Australia is of great concern for all Australian pigeon fanciers due to its rapid spread, high level of mortality and no potential for future protection from vaccination. This report presents a blue print for future outbreaks, which are likely to reach the Eastern states of Australia at some time.
Outbreak Narrative Sickness and death appeared within 48 hours of race birds returning from the first race of the 2016 season. They had been exposed in the race transporter to the virus from lofts that had experienced the disease a week or so earlier. The origin of infection appears to be linked to deaths in pigeons from lofts that shared a tossing trailor some 2 to 3 weeks prior to the first race which was not reported to the PRF committee.
Pigeon Racing Federation of WA (PRF) executives acted immediately to diagnose the exact cause of this disease outbreak by sending body specimens for analysis to veterinary pathologists at the Western Australian Department of Agriculture who quickly eliminated as its cause Avian Influenza, Newcastle Disease Paramyxovirus and other serious viral infections of danger to humans and the poultry industry.
Pathologists in Western Australia and Sydney also microscopically examined body organs. WA pathologists examined birds that had died from the disease whilst Sydney pathologists examined birds that were euthanatized after exhibiting typical symptoms of the disease. The combined results of these microscopic investigations presented a view of the disease, which formed the basis of the following disease control strategy.
Within three days of the first death a strategic plan had been implemented by PRF to control the disease, which included standard biosecurity measures of disease containment and the start of Sulfa-Trimethoprim antibiotic therapy for race and stock birds of all in-contact and affected pigeon lofts.
Diagnosis of the Disease Department of Primary Industry WA pathology results revealed viral inclusion bodies suggestive of pigeon adenovirus infection whilst Sydney results showed no such inclusions but severe necrotizing hepatitis (liver cell destruction and death) and inclusion bodies consistent with pigeon circovirus and pigeon herpes 1 infections. Possible causes of necrotizing hepatitis include toxic or ischemic diseases, or infectious agents such as pigeon adenovirus (PiAV), fowl adenovirus (FAV), pigeons circovirus (PCV) and pigeon herpes virus 1 (PHV1). PHV1 and PCV have been previously recorded in Europe as being associated with pigeon adenovirus infections. These diseases were also present in birds that died first during the WA adenovirus outbreak.
Direct toxin exposure was dismissed and eliminated any possible failings within the pigeon transporter. A tentative diagnosis of pigeon adenovirus infection (PiAV) was made given the random nature of hepatic necrosis (liver cell death) and presence of intra-nuclear inclusion bodies. There are two forms of adenovirus recognised in pigeons referred to as Type 1 (PiAV1) and Type 2 (PiAV2) adenovirus infection.
Liver lesions in submitted birds were consistent with adenoviral hepatitis. Review of current scientific literature1, 2, 3 confirms the symptoms and WA pathologic findings are consistent with Type 2 “necrotizing hepatitis” pigeon adenovirus infection (PiAV2) whilst Sydney pathology suggested “classic adenovirus” (PiAV1) signs of severe intestinal as well as massive liver damage and concurrent infections with PVC and PHV1. From these findings it was concluded both pigeon adenovirus disease (PiAV1 and PiAV2) entities were occurring concurrently in the WA outbreak.
Adenoviral diseases of poultry are found worldwide but PiAV1 and PiAV2 have not previously been experienced in Australia.
Avian adenoviruses are categorized into 3 serogroups, and multiple serotypes within each group. 1 To date, 7 different serotypes of group 1 FAV have been identified in pigeons, and in addition to these FAV serotyoes, specific PiAV strains have been found. 1 The PiAV serotype of the WA outbreak is unknown.
Pigeon strain-specific adenovirus tests are not available in Australia but diagnosis can be made according to typical symptoms and microscopic organ changes seen in birds that have died from the disease. Similar control measures and treatment plans are followed for PiAV1 and PiAV2.
Information about Pigeon Adenovirus Diseases - PiAV1 and PiAV2 Adenovirus infections are usually not highly pathogenic in most animals and usually regarded as secondary disease induced by one or many other inciting factors. A few adenoviruses, such as PiAV1 and PiAV2 are considered exceptions, as they are highly and primarily pathogenic.
Pigeon adenoviruses are responsible for two distinct clinical entities (PiAV1 and PiAV2), both causing serious harm to pigeon lofts.
In the WA outbreak both clinical syndromes of pigeon adenovirus infection were noted: Type 1 pigeon adenovirus disease (PiAV1) or “Classic adenovirus” and Type 2 pigeon adenovirus disease (PiAV2) or “Necrotizing hepatitis”. Both these forms have not been previously recorded in Australia.
Type 1 Adenovirus disease was first identified in 1984 as a distinct pigeon disease entity in Belgium. This classic type adenovirus is a major disease in Europe nowadays seen as a seasonal problem thought to occur in young birds under stress from a multitude of issues whilst they are preparing for their first
races. From October 1992 a new adenovirus-related disease entity in pigeons called Type 2 Adenovirus was observed in Europe.
Pigeon adenovirus infections are highly contagious spreading through cross contamination in the common baskets by droppings, drinking water and air. PiAV1 is only observed in pigeons less than a year old. In contrast PiAV2 may occur at any time throughout the year and affects pigeons of all ages.
Type 1 Adenovirus (PiAV1) Symptoms noted with WA Outbreak Classic symptoms of PiAv1 were noted in returning race birds and subsequently in exposed birds in the loft. Late bred birds were most affected by the disease. Vomiting was the first sign of infection, which started to appear 48-72 hours after the birds returned from the race. Vomiting continued for 36 hours and was followed by dark green slimy diarrhea that continued for 2-4 days. During this time birds were fluffed up and severely depressed.
The disease spreads quickly through the loft with 100% of birds becoming infected within 2 days of its introduction. Clinical signs usually disappear within one week in most pigeons as the adenovirus is quickly eliminated by a healthy immune system. The disease may become prolonged as a result of secondary E. coli infections especially in overcrowded flocks and those suffering other disease problems.
Antibiotic treatment was initiated to manage secondary toxic E.coli infections that are often responsible for death of pigeons with this form of the disease. Antibiotics are often but not always recommended in Europe where the disease has been established for more than 20 years. Some European veterinarians recommend an approach that stimulates recovery by natural immunity. Veterinary diagnosis should be sought regarding an exact treatment plan because PiAV1 infections resemble PMV, salmonellosis and hexamitiasis infections.
Antibiotics were recommended during the WA outbreak to reduce mortality from secondary infections related to PiAv1. Sulfa-trimethoprim was administered in the drinking water for 7 days and measures to boost immunity and limit stress were instigated. A different approach may be taken in future outbreaks.
Most PiAv1 infected pigeons recovered within a week. Mortality rate in most lofts was about 1-10% with most deaths occurring in late-bred youngsters. Some lofts recorded 40% mortality. Droppings and vitality returned within a week. However some birds had continuing diarrhea. The virus and secondary infections may have permanently damaged the liver and intestines of these birds.
Type 2 Adenovirus (PiAV2) Symptoms noted with WA Outbreak PiAV2 can infect pigeons of any age. The symptoms of PiAV2 differ from that of young birds with PiAV1.
Pigeons suffering from PiAV2 in the WA outbreak died suddenly with no apparent signs of illness. This form of adenovirus moves more slowly than PiAV1 and may take up to 6 weeks to pass through the loft. Therefore new deaths may be experienced over a period of 6 weeks. Measures that boost immunity and limit stress especially regarding cold wet weather and overcrowding are recommended to help limit deaths in stock lofts. Mortality in affected WA stock lofts has been limited to 10-20% but one loft experienced 50% losses. In Europe PiAV2 has been reported to occur during the breeding season.
Anecdotal evidence suggests well-managed lofts and females are less likely to be affected by PiAV2 whilst scientific research suggests there is no correlation between the occurrence of the disease and the pigeons’ physiological condition, sex and presence of stressing factors.
Treatment Plan The current WA outbreak involves both PiAV1 and PiAV2 infections.
Pigeon adenovirus infections may inflict rapid and severe damage to the intestine causing massive loss of proteins and electrolytes, which causes mass multiplication of normal intestinal bacteria (E.coli) to reach toxic levels that cause vomiting, green slimy but sometimes yellow watery droppings, and death within a day or so as the secondary infections overflow into the liver and other internal organs. Other complicating infections such as Streptococcus, Staphylococcus and Hexamita may also need concurrent treatment as these may also be involved with pigeon adenovirus infection.
PRF has implemented a treatment plan that applies to all infected pigeons irrespective of whether PiAV1 or PiAV2 is involved. The aim of the plan is to protect unaffected stock and race birds from the harmful effects of secondary E.coli infections, to support a rapid and complete recovery of exposed and sick birds capable of being cured and to identify and cull those with irreversible liver and intestinal damage. Unfortunately there is no cure for the sudden death associated with PiAV2 and some stock birds will be lost.
PiAV1 usually passes within 3 weeks whilst PiAV2 may persist for 6 weeks.
Recommended Treatment Protocol During the first week of an outbreak expect multiple deaths, vomiting and green slimy watery droppings. After 7 days the number of deaths and symptoms should start reduce. Droppings and bird vitality then return to normal preinfection appearances.
Scrape clean and flame or liquid disinfect loft daily.
Remove dead birds for incineration and sick birds to isolation for intensive treatment.
Keep birds inside the loft for at least 2 days after deaths have ceased.
Do not loft fly until birds are wing flapping on loft floor and eager to resume flight training. .
Start to medicate all birds in drinking water with antibiotics (SulfaTrimethoprim) for 5-10 days even when signs of adenovirus have not appeared if your birds have been exposed to the disease in any way. This treatment should save many young birds and accelerate recovery as it controls the secondary E. coli infections that accompany pigeon adenovirus infection. Antibiotic treatment continues for at least 5 days after which time it can be halted when there is no longer any vomiting and droppings have returned to normal for at least 3 days.
Penicillin antibiotics and anti-canker treatments may be recommended under the advice of a veterinarian for lofts that fail to fully recover within 2 weeks. Enrofloxacin (e.g. Baytril or Enrotril) should be excluded from this treatment plan unless advised differently by an attending veterinarian.
A well-balanced light food mix should be supplemented with protein (e.g. Turbobooster), B-vitamins (e.g. E-powder) and mineral electrolytes (e.g. Bloomford - Fvite) to overcome the deficiencies created by the intestinal E. coli infections. Remove mineral and shell grits from loft as these will be over-engorged by recovering birds and cause potentially fatal gizzard impaction and sour crop problems.
An immune stimulating programme should be introduced for 4 weeks at the conclusion of the antibiotic treatment. This may include probiotics, bowel cleansers and herbal remedies.
The disease should pass through the pigeon loft within 3 weeks after which time loft training can commence. At this time a light purge with Epsom salts (1 teaspoon per 8 litres of drinking water) should aid flying vigour. This remedy is also used to expose birds that have not fully recovered from the sickness and may suffer the potentially incurable harmful effects of intestinal or liver damage. Weakened birds may become fluffed up and have watery droppings. It may be necessary to cull these birds.
It is suggested that some pigeon lofts may become susceptible to illness associated with E.coli, streptococcus, staphylococcus, Hexamitiasis and the common respiratory diseases as a result of this outbreak. The same health programmes used before the outbreak are used to manage these diseases.
Changes to this treatment protocol may be made as more is known about the progress of this disease within the Australian context.
Recommended Treatment Protocol For Birds Failing to Fully Recover Most birds will recover from adenovirus infection even without the aid of antibiotics. Antibiotics however will help many birds recover from the effects of secondary infection. Some birds will not respond to the antibiotic treatment and die whilst others will continue to show watery droppings and other un-wellness signs. There are several possible treatment options to follow for these birds that fail to respond the initial course of antibiotics. Our recommendation is to continue antibiotic treatment for another week under the advice of an attending veterinarian. This may include combination antibiotics to treat infections other than toxic E.coli. Birds that fail to respond to these additional treatments within 2 weeks are best culled as the likelihood of their full recovery is low and the
infections they harbor are a threat to the continuing health the rest of the race team.
Thoughts About 2016 Race Season It is proposed that racing may resume in 3-6 weeks after consultation with PRF membership, as infected birds should be protected from repeat adenovirus infection. Those pigeons with permanent or persisting liver damage may never achieve race form in the future. It is possible that sudden deaths from PiAV2 may continue to occur up to 6 weeks after the initial outbreak.
Future of Adenovirus There is little doubt that both forms of pigeon adenovirus infections (PiAV1 and PiAV2) will recur in future years and most likely in young birds at the same time each year. Because young late bred pigeons are at most risk of disease it is proposed if PRF members agree that the first 6 weeks of 2017 racing be restricted to old birds and young birds that have completed their moult to a level of at least 8 full main flight feathers on each wing. This approach may reduce the likelihood of another similar massive outbreak by allowing young birds to develop some level of immunity before they enter races over the following years.
Protection of Eastern States from Adenovirus National bodies for racing pigeons and show pigeons are approaching government departments to ban movement of pigeons from WA to eastern states for at least 6 months. References: 1. Marlier D, Vindevogel H. Viral infections in pigeons. Vet J. 2006;172(1):40-51. 2. Vereecken M, de Herdt P. Adenovirus infections in pigeons: A review. Avian Pathol. 1998;27(4):333-338. 3. Himmel L et al. Necrotizing Hepatitis in a Domestic Pigeon. Vet Pathol. Online First Jan 23 2014
Hi my name is Joe Jackson and I have had racing pigeons all my life. I hope this web site can help you better your pigeon game or help you start in this wonderful sport.
Yours in Sport
Article for “The Australian Pigeon Fancier “
Rockhampton Flier Joe Jackson and the revival of Extra Long Distance Racing.
Joe Jackson is the most successful Long Distance Fancier Rockhampton has today, and is without doubt the most successful competitor Rockhampton has ever seen over the long and very long races..
Joe has had racing pigeons all of his life, his father became a legend of the area, and since his untimely death Joe has taken his place in the pigeon racing world. Joe is a fancier with passion. Through his passion for the sport, Joe created a website under Mount Jackson Lofts. The website is listed as http://www.mountjacksonlofts.com/
Joe’s uncle “Bill Rumpf” introduced his Father Rodney Jackson into racing pigeons in the 1960s. His uncle Bill raced in the 1940s and 1950s in Rockhampton and his name remains on some of the old trophy’s still in the Rockhampton Racing Pigeon Club. Rodney Jackson built his first loft in Rockhampton at his Park Avenue address, and was typical of most loft constructions of the day.
Moving to Mount Morgan Rodney built a loft that was able to carry more pigeons and was a more permanent structure. Through his life in the “Bush” Rodney developed many skills and was particularly experienced in Carpentry. The photo shows the Mount Morgan Loft.
Rodney extended the lofts during 1989 and again rebuilt sometime in 2000. So skilled was Joe’s father, he also built a horse drawn carriage which he used.
Other photo’s show lofts that was used by Joe at Mount Morgan before moving to Rockhampton.
The Jackson race lofts in Rockhampton is of the basic type that he grew up with, however he has adopted a more modern approach to security and controlled loft temperature.
Joe’s real bond with the birds started when he was around 11, he found a youngster that hatched out in the flyers loft and noticed that there were no parents looking after it, so placed it with foster parents. What Joe did not know until many years later, when in his 20s, was that the youngster he saved, later that day died under the foster parents. His father realized he was interested in caring for this baby, found a replacement youngster and lead him to believe it was a miracle that he had saved the baby. Joe’s interest in racing pigeons grew from there. Encouraged by his father, joe began his “apprenticeship” in the art of keeping and racing his pigeons.
The racing pigeons had a calming effect on Joe as a child and continues to this day. Through his teenage years he began doing bookwork and getting clinical with documentation. “The bug had really set in.”
Some of Joe’s highlights in his teenage years were winning Young Bird Champion at the Racing Pigeon Show in May 1989, judged by Ted Lewis from Mackay, and winning the Junior Two Bird Derby from Jericho, a distance of 276 miles or 442 kms. In Joe’s opinion the worst part about these early years was the high number of racing pigeon losses, Joe’s attitude and approach to his goals to this day was influenced by the vast amount of unexplained losses that happened in those dreadful times. Joe’s father was much loved and respected by him could not explain the losses. Racing his pigeons in the mountain ranges 40 kms away from other fanciers was a tough business. The heavy losses led to forming a partnership with Norm Milner of West Rockhampton in 1993 to 2000, which won a club championship for Norm Milner in 1994 and many other remarkable successes. In 1997 Joe and his father began racing again from Mt Morgan and trained their birds on the South Route to 450 miles 720 kms. Just six weeks after their last race, Joe’s father passed away on 11-11 2001. He remembers his first round youngsters were just 3 weeks old in the nest at the time of his dad’s death, and at 58 it wasn’t planned. As difficult as it was, Joe moved on and raced pigeons for the first time without the valuable help from his father and great partner.
The bloodlines Joe keeps these days are many and most are tried on the line and have merit in being kept. There are no “free” perch in Joe’s loft and he has adopted the saying “fortunes favours the bold”. The families he is currently testing are the Koopmans, Heremens, Hofkens Janssens crossed , Brent Cavill SCF, Van Custens, Silver Shadows, Captain Cleggs, Van loons crosses, Scott Frame Gabbys plus some old Brisbane blood. Joe does not believe in standing still and is constantly experimenting with new bloodlines and older bloodlines. Between his Father, his Uncle Bill, and his own choices have tried a lot of bloodlines. One of the keystones, he believes is to never look back, he makes a well thought out decision and move forward.
Joe keeps no set numbers, usually 15 pairs of breeders and have at times had up to 50 pairs. He also have raced numbers from 70 to 300 birds. These days he keeps about 130 race birds, and feels that number is just about right for the size for his current loft. He also insists that there is always two perches for every pigeon. Additionally, he installed 30 breeding boxes in the racing compartments to provide incentive for those who wish to pair up.
All the birds are kept together and after the breeding season, may be separated just to get them back to normality. The race teams are usually trained together and are worked together most of the time. The main aspect Joe is very particular about is the moult and feels that the race birds moult better when separated.
Joe has never viewed forced loft flying as a critical conditioning exercise. His race team have the freedom to relax and exercise as they see fit. When he wants the birds to stay out, they are locked out for an hour sometimes more leading up to tossing. He studies their health, identifies weaker birds, and looks for signs of form. As Joe works shifts his birds can be let out at any time of the day and leaves and returns to their perch quickly when Joe requires them to. An important aspect with training is that the birds must respond to him and should be waiting for him. Sometimes there is a very fine line, but to be successful you need to find it. Leo Heremen DVDs is a must watch in terms of feeding and method.
Before racing begins ,there are 4 stages in his method that he considers important.
The first stage incorporates preseason health, and then getting the mob started and road training up to racing standard.
Before he starts any training, he must have the birds in sound health and have completed their body moult. Once he gets those priorities in order, he then begins pulling the team “into gear”. He gets the pigeons mobbed up, which usually takes two weeks. If he notices that there are birds reluctant to train, he inspects them for injuries or health issues and takes action to fix the problem or put them aside so they do not hold the team back. Once those important issues are addressed, he is ready to commence road training. Before road training can commence, the team must be working away from the loft for at least twenty minutes.
Road training begins at 15 kms and before moving on to further distances, the pigeons must be homing in one mob and in good time. Joe also removes any damaged or sick birds from the team at that point. Then on to 25kms, and then 35 klm, and to 45 klms and to 75 kms. The target distance is 100 kms at least one week before the first club race. By now, Joe tries to have about 20 road training exercises prior to the first race. Joe insists on having a clean, healthy race mix and feeding system, he ensures that his birds are getting vitamins two days a week, and the same for probiotics and grits.
The other three stages of his training can be seen on his web site.
Joe races both Hens and cocks equally as well. He has no preference of hens or cocks, for him they display different behaviours, however the good ones stand up when needed.
A “Widowhood mix” is fed to his racing team during racing. In the off season, he finds the most economical and best grain. Last year he got Dunn peas off a farmer from Bundaberg and have sourced grain from Pro Fowl Feed and Grain as well, which is tested by Dr Rob Marshall. It is important that the grain is of high quality and free of weevils and mould.
Joe uses a range of minerals and grits, like McMahon grits, BVM powder from Mineral Energy, Beyer’s Protein powder. He also uses Sulphur powder and is currently testing other mineral blocks. Vita stress is a good product as well. Acid Pack 4 way Probiotic used during racing. He has also used 3 Wise Men Product from Bird and Pet. A race booster FORCE 12 + DMG from APFA. Joe is certain about honey and believe it is a must for pigeons .
Parasite products such as Prazole tablets are used once a month in the off season to build immunity, and bathed in Cydectin Oral Drench for Sheep weekly, recently he has gone to Eprinex in the drinking water.
Oregano is given once or twice a week and assists with respiratory prevention, birds that develop respiratory problems outside of this are carefully examined and consideration given to their value, before medical treatment is given.
During breeding, Joe recommends treating for canker using Turbosole for 4-5 days a month. He treats against Coccidiosis for two days a month using Baycox and or Keystat and helps to keep this in order. The use of Apple Cider vinegar and probiotics assists to keep the pigeon’s bowel and droppings in good order.
Vaccination of Pigeon Paramyxovirus (aka : PMV, PPMV, PMV1 -Pigeon) is now allowed and is very important for the welfare of the pigeons using Poulvac ® Newcastle iK Vaccine (Inactivated). Also vaccinating against Pigeon Pox is also a must. In Recent years he has been vaccinating for Salmonella as well, which he has been getting from Dr Mark White Sydney.
Starting in March Joe begins a health program which is designed to help alleviate the necessity of using heavier medication during racing. He gives his birds 5 days Tiamulin, 5 days Triple Vet or Triple X, 5 Days Sulfa AVS, Probiotics used in between 2 days , Worm with Prazole tablet, Lice treatment Cydectin weekly in bath, and or Eprinex Monthly in drinking water, 2 days Baycox or Keystat, 5 days of Canker treatment.
During the race season Resfite-Baycox-ACV-Turbosole, mixed at recommended doses, usually when birds come home from short races , and or long tosses.
Monday, beginning after the fourth week, an additional day or two of one of the following (Sulfa AVS, TripleX, Linco Spectin), Keystat , canker R tabs , and worming. Birds with the additional treatment would not be raced until the following week. Three weeks before a special event Joe treats selected pigeons with Baytril for 4 days and treated for canker on the 1st and 3rd days. Veterinarian help is called in cases of severe sickness .
Yearlings that show promise is usually kept for racing as a two year old, that way his best birds are the ones to teach the young yearlings the ropes. The pigeons that do not meet his set standard are removed from his team. In the event that a pigeon is removed for poor performance, Joe looks closely at the offending birds family of brothers and sisters performances as well.
Performance is Joe’s guide. Young pigeons, if kept for stock are for maintaining the parent’s bloodline, which have in their racing have done exceptionally well. All birds chosen for stock duties must have super health and fit Joe’s preferred confirmation. Joe agrees that good pigeons come in all shapes and sizes but the traits he prefers are those who have round pectoral muscles and weigh as light as a cork. He also likes to see good length in the breast bone of cocks. Eye sign and wing theory are just that, is his opinion. Joe conforms to the Throat theory by Paul Halterman , who features on the secret of champions video series and is one theory that is worth having a go at. He agrees with the theory and believes the throat is the motor for the pigeon and so must be perfect or near to it, particularly when it comes to breeding.
In the Sport of Pigeon Racing there are many that Joe admires. Locally in Rockhampton ,h e makes mention of fliers like Danny Curry (Rocky Premier lofts), Noel “The Rock” Ballinger, and Ray Jennings.
Queensland further afield, Brian Daley from Brisbane easily takes the cake. Brian’s efforts in the distance races are second to none. Others in Queensland that deserve special mention are Noel Randall, Russel Beatham, Joe Reeves, Craig Porter and Len Vanderlinde. Country flyers that also have his respect are Rodney Lowe from Townsville, Michael Frame from Millmerran.
Nationally Joe admires the VHA champs David Wetering and John Van Beers. Special mention also to Jack Vanderlinden who owns and runs Adelaide Premier Lofts South Australia, who has produced exceptional birds and kick started many lofts around Australia.
Internationally the legends of the Sport are hard to go past, Gaby Vandenabeele and Gerard Koopman. Their birds have left a remarkable result in Australia.
Changes in the pigeon racing game is always occurring, the current trend of new fanciers new to the sport are born out of the internet. The easiest way to communicate and sell pigeon racing is through the net. Like most sports in Australia, they sell themselves through good marketing and advertising. Local councils are also making it hard for fanciers to develop themselves in their own back yard as what has just developed last year is a newly formed National Body to address governing bodies’ problems. Joe believes Governing bodies need education on both history and current climate of pigeon racing. There has been successful codes of practices developed throughout Australia that have improved housing and keeping of racing pigeons. Joe believes these codes of practices need to be adopted by councils that are outside Racing Pigeon Federation jurisdiction. Joe’s opinion is that The newly formed Nationally body is a breath of fresh air for pigeon racing in Australia.
The Blue Chequer Hen below "Ella Bella" is the new pride of Mount Jackson lofts and in 2015 won the 705 mile, [1128 km] race. She has become the champion and new record holder for Rockhampton arriving home 07.40am on day two of the race, and rang up the velocity of 1251 m/m., the quickest velocity for 700 miles in Rockhampton’s history, she was 1 hour and 48 minutes in front of second place. Her sire is Van Custen bred out of Kev and Jan Pearson birds and Dam is straight Heremen from Steve Pradella birds, both parents have been great performers for Mount Jackson lofts in the last two years.
As for his overall record, he has won 34 races, come second 27 times and 28 thirds.
2014/2015 has been Joe’s highlight years by winning the East Coast Championship between the Taree 5000 and The Qld 10000 in addition to the” Premier” Rockhampton club’s seven hundred mile race.
Joe’s best bird in 2014 was "Red Man" and is one of the best pigeons flown in the Rockhampton combine. Racing was hard and club returns averaged just 10-15 % all year. Red Man was placed 7th Combine Ilbilbie 217klm, 350 birds , equal 1st Combine Proserpine 367 kms, 250 birds winning by a margin of 44 m/m . Ayr, 527 kms , 1st and only bird on the Day in the Three Bird derby in the Ripa club. Red Man is bred out of Joe’s 700 mile Hen “Condo Girl” .
On the 24th August , the RIPA Inc club flew Condoblin 700 miles , Joe clocked “Condo Girl “ No. 60 MJL 12 Red Cheq Hen to take 4th club, which is a daughter of his second Pigeon home No 24 MJL 11 Mealy Cock. No 60 is a granddaughter of "Sue" to "Hussie" (which are the parents of No 24 and also a full brother to Scott Frame 2nd Fed from Thargomindah ) and "Find the Hope" to a Daughter of Ian Howard Innisfail Winner.
Other Highlights over the years , was in 2011 ARS syndicate In Townsville clocked a Mount Jackson bred Hen from Goondiwindi 685 miles, only two birds home late second day.
In 2010 a Special Combine between Sunshine Coast and Rockhampton Flyers from Yass 807 miles . Only 4 birds home from the event, 3 belonging to Joe and the other was from Ray Jennings. "Proud 10" which is the first pigeon ever to fly over 800 miles into Rockhampton after 100 years of racing pigeons in the area , it is a very special achievement.
2010 Long Series Race Champion RRPC ,1st Coonabarabran Open 560 miles RRPC, was won by 8 hours , only two birds on the day , both in the night and belonging to Joe.
1st Moree Open 420 miles , 1st Three Bird Derby RRPC from Moree 420 miles .
In 2009 Joe entered birds into the One loft Races in Taree 5000 and Gympie (QLD 10000), gaining 8th Place Overall Australia against some of Australia's best fanciers.
Joe entered his pigeons in the RIPA club North Series against 18 flyers. He was Runner up club Championship and runner up Long Series , also equal short Series Champion with Arthur Arnold.
In 2008 Joe competed in One Loft Races Taree 5000 and Gympie 10 000, gaining 8th Place and Won Second Place Gympie 10 000 winning nearly 3000 dollars.
The same year he flew with the RIPA club on the South route and won the long series of races and not competing in the last race. Joe was placed 2nd Moree Open 669 kms, 1st Goondiwindi Open 572 kms, 1st , 2nd and 5th Goondiwindi RIPA Breeders Plate, winning over 1500 dollars., 1st Moonie Colored Bird race 483 kms, 1st Moonie Open race 483 kms, 1st Condamine Open 397 kms, 1st Condamine Two Bird Derby 397 km
In 2007 he competed in the Mallee Classic One loft race, gaining 3rd place, and over all Ace Pigeon Australia and 2nd overall Ace Pigeon QLD. Club Champion, Long Series Champion, and runner up short Series Champion, South, down the Coast against 15 flyers.
Without a doubt his last race is the most memorable. The picture is of his two Ella Bellas . One being his daughter, and the other the 700 mile champion.
Over the years Joe has struggled to get club racing past 600 miles . Until 2008 Rockhampton had only flown over 600 miles twice, the first time was from Mount Isa 720 miles in the 1970s, which proved unsuccessful. 1995 was the year Noel Ballinger got two birds home from Newcastle 660 miles on the third day.
In 2008 Jimmy Smith and Joe co-ordinated a race from Cobar 620 miles to Rockhampton and 510 miles to Gympie . Des Lovell won the race on the third day in Gympie, only bird in race time. Ray Jennings ended up getting 4/4 and Joe got 8/24 birds. Despite being a tough event, he took heart in the fact birds kept coming. Again in 2010, a 800 mile race flown with the Sunshine Coast fliers, got pigeons out of race time but proved that the long distances can be achieved and only needed a little more work to prove that point.
At this point of the interview with Joe, his passion for long distance racing was evident, way past the possibility of homing race birds from that distance, he was convinced that the glory days of long distance racing as our forefathers knew, was certain to be achieved once again. It was difficult to keep up with his enthusiasm and asked him to put into words, his own thoughts. Here is what he had to say:-
The Birdsville event in 2011 was a year for Ray Jennings on two fronts, which I’ll explain in a minute. I was committed to distance racing and decided to put my faith in planning for an Event first which Birdsville is 714 miles to Rocky , and 880 miles to Brisbane and working backwards. I personally did not fly the event, but Paul Hawkins and I committed to the event and roughly 90 pigeons were sent plus 50 belonging to one person from Rocky. Only two bird’s homed in race time. The winner was Brian Daley on the second afternoon with a two year old hen, and second was Ray Jennings on the third afternoon with a two year old hen. Rays Birdsville Hen created the longest race flown in race time recorded in Rockhampton, a truly great achievement. Finally some luck to distance racing and the planning paid off. As I said Ray had another achievement by winning the Qld 10000 which was also a tough event. I didn’t fly the Birdsville race, because the lead up race Eromanga 510 miles Ray and I flew was a disaster, only 8 birds home on second day. Eromanga proved to be a wakeup call, but I knew Ray could pull off Birdsville. There is a story with the Birdsville Hen , which may interest some readers. The Birdsville Hen was a two year old when flew her mighty race, but what most people won’t realize is that she was a stray that Ray trapped the year before . Sometime in October 2010 , I attended Ray’s place to inspect his Yass hen. During the visit I recall Ray trapping a pigeon with the same colour life ring as the Ripa ring 2009. Anyhow Ray’s first thought was, it was one from Yass , but when he checked the number it was a LPRC ring, initially myself made some enquires and left messages with the Lockyer Valley Pigeon club . What I found out was the TDPF (Toowoomba Fed) flew their last race from Charter Towers not long before the now known Birdsville hen arrived at Rays place. I remember with Ray , we both inspected the Birdsville Hen and both agreed she had not been well looked after , by the holes in her feathers and lice on her body she was in shocking condition. Despite our best intention the owner did not communicate with Ray or me. Fast forward 6 months and the Birdsville Hen madeher new home hers. I think during the training we believed the Birdsville hen would falter and not come home in training tosses, we were proven wrong when she turned up from Eromanga 510 , one of only 4 birds for Ray. After the shock had passed, we concluded that Ray’s birds had handled the smash race well. The Birdsville hen was born and she proved everybody wrong. Again several attempts to contact the breeder of the Birdsville Hen had failed and again Ray and I were stonewalled. I believe her youngsters will leave their mark as with Ray,s Eromanga Cock. Attached is a picture of the Birdsville Hen shortly after arriving home. :
The praise given those results by Joe was indeed a testimony to long distance racing in itself.
Finally, the RIPA club agreed to conduct a race out of Condobolin 710 miles in 2013. Despite some hiccups and in-house management problems, the RIPA members threw everything at Condobolin and a huge mile stone was achieved. All of Joe’s work was coming to fruition and he expressed gratitude to the club for “giving it a go”. The race was a success and though Joe was not placed in the race, he was very pleased to home his race birds on the second day.
Forbes 2015 in Joe’s opinion was the coming of age , 710 miles, new record set , 13 birds home second day. His love for distance racing well and truly now certain to happen at club level.
This year 2016, the Rockhampton “premiers” has Wilcannia, 716 miles in it sight. There is no doubt in Joe’s mind that success will come from that race.
As for future plans, Joe wants to keep testing the birds at the distances over 600 miles and hopefully successfully race 1000 miles in good time in the not so distant future.
Daniel Pianto sent Joe a time piece of Vin Blanden holding Kalgoorlie Girl. Becker’s families donated the photo to Daniel.
Being the author to Joe’s magnificent work, it cannot be left unsaid about the effort put into making success of his RIPA club. As secretary of that club in 2009/2010 he arranged and organised the most successful Breeders Plate Race Sales in Rockhampton’s History. Raising over $25,000.00 for 900 birds. To achieve this he personally conducted two pick up runs from Townsville to Brisbane, just a month apart, and covered a distance of 7000 kilometers in doing so. He done this in his own time and at his own expense. Such was his love of pigeon racing and the will to see his club prosper. This is what he had to say:-
When visiting Brisbane, I stayed at the home of Mark McKinnon and during those stays I learned a lot from him. From those visits I learned of the history of Brisbane long distance pigeons. Mark’s extraordinary knowledge of the “Old Brisbane” blood is at the same level as his relationship with the great distance racing men of the QRPF which includes his own partnership with Noel Randall. From Mark, I learned the finer points in setting up pigeons for long distance racing. While visiting Mark, I had the pleasure of meeting Barry and Gwen Hutchinson which I will never forget.:-
In December 1997 Joe, with his father Rodney, met with the Australian Pigeon Pioneer, John Hartley Thomas. From the 1920’s to the 1980’s John flew his birds at Moonta Mines South Australia. From this meeting Joe and his father obtained Grooters and Peddie Blues. The era John flew in was also flown by Max Foy and Jas Peddie. Joe was 21 and John 91 at the time they met and Joe was more than impressed with John’s determination to race his pigeons. Joe was fortunate enough to get some old books and time pieces which is displayed on his website.
In completing this article, Joe offers the following advice to new fanciers, both young and old:- always remember that “fortune favours the bold”
Joe Jackson has defied all the hardships through club disputes and difficult times. He took up the ball and carried on after the untimely death of his much loved father. His undisputed passion for long distant racing drives him and no doubt he will reach greater heights in the sport of pigeon racing which he is so passionate about. He also, during his short stay with the RIPA, became the hard working Secretary that was moving members in the right direction to achieve good things and build the ground work for better things to come. Joe was disappointed that the internal conflicts that created difficulties, did not allow their members to take advantage of what he had to offer. Joe has much to offer pigeon racing in Queensland, and, more importantly, his home town of Rockhampton.
In informed opinion “watch this space”.