When I first wrote this aritcle, I had not named the ingredient. Since then, after testing for several months, I have named the ingredient Five Star and it is now available for purchase.
While researching material for my next article on probiotics, I came across several recent studies describing a novel "all natural" ingredient containing excellent anti-microbial properties. As I contemplated the health benefits that this ingredient would provide to our racing pigeons, I became more and more excited by the results of these studies. However, I wanted outside verification about the validity of what I was reading so I contacted the lab which makes several of the ingredients I use in my Max Immune Plus and Show Stopper products. To my surprise, the lab had been working on a manufacturing process for extracting this "all natural" ingredient, in commercial quantities, and had just recently ran their first batch of the ingredient.
During our conversation, we discussed how we might be able to improve the effectiveness of this "all natural" ingredient, by blending it with several other "proven" all natural ingredients, which would give broad spectrum coverage against many pathogens. Our desire being that such a blend would be able to address many of the health problems encountered by our racing pigeons, in one easy to use product. I immediately arranged for the lab to ship me some of this "new" blend of ingredients and have been successfully testing it in several lofts across the country.
This new product, contains the novel "all natural" anti-microbial ingredient described in the scientific studies, blended with several organic acids, mycotoxin binding agents, and a pH buffering agent. The presence of the buffering agent allows us to increase the overall percentage of organic acids in the blend without adversely affecting the health of the birds.
If you have read my newsletters, you know that there are health risks associated with maintaining an acidic condition in our birds. These risks exist because an acidic environment is more conducive to yeast and fungal outbreaks (which can often be worse than bacterial infections). However, by including this buffering agent we not only achieve acidity levels far and above what is normally obtainable with other acidifiers, but we also discourage the growth of fungus and yeast, which normally flourish in an acidic environment (pH of 2 - 5). Of course, the inclusion of the mycotoxin binding agents assist the "pH buffering agent" in controlling the fungal and yeast populations.
Now, you are probably wondering why not just use apple cider vinegar to inhibit "bad bacteria" growth, it is healthy, natural and cheap? The most compelling reason is that you would need to put so much apple cider vinegar in the water that the birds simply would not drink it. You would need to put nearly 9.5 ounces of apple cider vinegar in a gallon of drinking water to equal the effectiveness of our product in killing off the disease-promoting crop, stomach and intestinal bacteria. As you know, the birds simply will not drink water with anywhere near that amount of apple cider vinegar. And, the high acidity (low pH) would encourage yeast and fungal populations.
When you use our product, with its acid buffering action, you are finally able to get the high concentrations necessary to kill off the bad bacteria strains without adversely affecting the birds health. Do not get me wrong, I am not trying to discourage you from the occasional use of apple cider vinegar, I am only pointing out that there are "so many products today" that include acidifiers in them, that we need to be aware of the cumulative effect of all these acidifiers in creating a sustained acidic environment in our birds which may promote conditions favoring increased fungal and yeast colony growth.
It is not your fault, it is just that many manufacturers of pigeon products intentionally put acidifiers in their products and now we (as a sport) are experiencing increased occurrences of fungal and yeast infections in our birds with their associated health problems. Unfortunately, many fanciers are unaware of this rising risk and often misdiagnose fungal and yeast infections as bacterial, protozoal or viral infections.
Not only can fungus and yeast populations damage the digestive system but they can also cause secondary problems that a fancier might never suspect. For example, when fungal populations are allowed to go unchecked, and environmental conditions become optimal, high populations of fungal spores in the warm damp droppings can "bloom". When this bloom happens, unseen clouds of spore float about in the loft causing respiratory distress in the birds and knocking them off form. A fancier may misdiagnoses the source of this respiratory distress as bacterial and medicate the birds with antibiotics, which may further knocks the birds off form.
When you misdiagnose a fungal or yeast infections as a bacterial infection and treat with an antibiotic which specifically targets bacteria, you not only fail to inprove the situation but you wipe out many of the "good bacteria" which naturally help keep yeast and fungal populations under control. The end result is, the condition is made worse not better!
The new product that I am introducing, not only kills off the bad bacteria but it also kills off the fungi and yeast that normally thrive in a acidic environment. This is a new function in pigeon health, as you are now able to use one product to kill off the bad bacteria (does not target the good bacteria) and to also kill off the fungi and yeast that normally thrive when other acidifiers are used.
You might be wondering how this product can target only the so called "bad bacteria" but not adversely effect the "good bacteria". To put this as simply as I can and still tell the story, I will say that there are certain bacteria that we call “pH-sensitive” meaning that they cannot tolerate a wide internal and external pH gradient. Among those bacteria are E.coli, Salmonella spp., C. perfringens, Listeria monocytogenes, Campylobacter spp., and many other strains that can adversely affect our birds.
Organic acids in their undissociated form (non-ionized form) are able to pass through the cell membranes of bacteria, where the acids dissociate (ionize) in an alkaline medium to produce H+ ions, which lower the pH of the cell, causing the organism to use its energy in trying to restore the normal balance. Bacteria that are “pH-sensitive”, will fail to restore intercelular balance leading to disruption of many metabolic functions and increasing osmotic pressure on the bacteria cell, which is incompatible with the survival of the “pH-sensitive” bacteria.
On the other hand, the "good bacteria" strains, are much less “pH-sensitive” and are able to grow at relatively low pH, which means that they are more resistant to organic acids than other bacterial species. Therefore, when we deliver the proper mixture of pH buffered organic acids we are able to adversely effect the bad bacteria while maintaining the good bacteria colonies in the birds.
There is more to the story. This product not only has proven anti-microbial activity against bad bacteria strains (e coli, salmonella paratyphoid, streptococcus, staphylococcus, clostridium, etc), and fungal / yeast infections, but through another "all natural" ingredient group which we had added, this product is also effective in reducing many pathogenic protozoan populations (coccidiosis, giardia lamblia, canker, etc.), and certain viruses which enter the bird through the digestive tract. This effectiveness against protozoan and viral populations, is achieved by including unique all natural ingredients that interfere with these pathogen's ability to absorb certain nutrients.
Even though this new product if effective against the pathogens listed above, it does not adversely effect the good bacteria colonies present in our birds. Quite to the contrary, the good bacteria strains actually thrive in the presence of this product.
I do have to advise you that this product has a strong acidic smell to it and needs to be handled with more care than my other products. As a preventative, the correct dosage is one teaspoon per 50 birds on the feed, twice a week.
I have not officially launched this product, nor given it a name. However, if you are interested in using this product, please call me (949-496-4825) and we can talk. Of course, we have now named this product Five Star. You can read more about how cost effective Five Star is here!
Racing Pigeon Products Index
Racing Pigeon Auction
Racing Pigeon Enthusiast Newsletter
Racing Pigeons for Sale