Ducks Unlimited
Sunday, 25 February 2018 08:31

An OkPinion - The best way

Written by Alan Fielding
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If we really must pinion birds, and there are often very good reasons for doing so, let’s consider doing this by a less invasive and somewhat pleasanter method – namely by the use of nitrogen.

Nitrogen (N) a colourless, odourless, tasteless gaseous element – melting point – 209.90C boiling point – 195.8C can be bought from outlets such as BOC (British Oxygen) and Air Liquid throughout NZ. (See contacts below).

The liquid boils off rapidly as a gas, into the atmosphere – therefore it must be kept as cold as possible at all times. A quality thermos flask is essential to obtain the nitrogen with, from the supplier. Keep it out of sunlight, away from any heating sources preferably low down in a fridge – or better still in a freezer. When travelling with it, you simply can’t have enough insulation around.

Nitrogen is frequently used by medical practitioners to control or eliminate various undesirable skin developments such as warts. It’s extremely low temperature when liquefied has a burning effect and thus kills off such growths very efficiently. Pain levels from this treatment are stinging but easily bearable. An improvement on surgery (sometimes butchery?). 
Application should be by means of a long shafted cotton bud capable of reaching deep into the flask. GPs nowadays normally use a sophisticated and expensive application gun. Nice if you can afford it!

Step one: Remove almost all the length of the shafts of a few of the outer primary feathers – one wing only, of course. (Yes – it has happened!) Cut the shaft down to just above the blood line.

Step Two: Kill off the “roots” of the feather by applying the liquid nitrogen liberally. You may have to repeat the procedure once of twice, taking it lower each time.

Younger birds tend to give easier and better results, so if possible pinion them sooner rather than later – but with this method it is never totally too late.

Killing off the base of a few feathers to prevent any re-growth is in my book much better done by this method rather than by invasive (minor as it may be) surgical methods affecting the carpels and risking infection and possibly attracting predation.
Alan Fielding
BOC New Zealand
988 Great South Road,
Penrose, Auckland,
New Zealand.
Ph:0800 111 333.
Fax:0800 229 923.

Air Liquide New Zealand Limited
19 Maurice Road,
Auckland 1061.
PO Box 12846, Penrose, Auckland 1642.
Telephone: +64-9-622 3880
Fax: +64-9-622 3882
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