Q: I vaccinated 1 week ago for pox - I used the brush on method. I am afraid I vaccinated too close to race day. We will be starting on August 7th. Prior to the pox vaccine my birds were training great - 1 mi. a min.. Now I have experienced some losses and my birds have slowed down. Respiratory and canker are in check, I know that the vaccine took - could this have slowed them down and be responsible for some losses? I have them out about 30mi. If so, how long do I wait to continue training? Please advise -

If in fact it is the pox vaccination that is giving you your problems, then your troubles should be over soon. Pox puts the birds into a fever stage prior to appearing as lesions and bumps. This is when birds get lost and stressed severely.

When you vaccinate your birds for pox, you create a similar situation, only in a minor form. Therefore, your critical period should be over soon.

You say your birds used to fly one minute per mile. When making the judgment that they are not training as well, let's be sure that weather conditions have not changed for the worse. This time of the year, in the Midwest when we experience high temperatures with high humidity, the birds are under a very stressful situation. Add to this your reaction to the pox vaccine -- you are now setting yourself up for other health problems.

You mentioned respiratory and canker, definitely the most common problems to stop your birds from performing. But both of them can come on very rapidly when birds are stressed. Let's say in 48 hours your flock can go from healthy performing birds to birds that are in trouble.

Also the speed that your birds are training at -- birds generally fly at about 43 miles per hour when there is no tail wind. When birds go faster, they normally have a helping wind. Take the wind away and add heavy humid air and heat and they will now be flying substantially below the 43 mph speed.