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of Harrow

by Keith Mott


This is the incredible Dorin Melinte story. The story of his very short time in the sport, but with him winning many premier positions at the highest level from the outset. Dorin was born in Romania, not far from the great Nadia Comaneci and no one in his family liked pigeons, even after he had fallen in love with them, and he said that hurt him. He had a few birds when he was a young lad, which he obtained from a fancier who lived next door, but had to pack them up after a few years because his parents didn’t like them. Dorin was a very keen amateur boxer at the age of nine, but had to pack that sport up on emigrating to the UK in 1999, but tells me he really enjoyed boxing and thinks he could have been successful. Some years later, in 2011, Dorin was in Spain on holiday with his family and their attention was draw by a batch of pigeons, including race rung birds, that lived on the local beach. Dorin and his son, Vlad- Denis, fed the birds on beach every day and being bitten by the pigeon bug, on their return home decided to get some proper racing pigeons. They looked on the internet and found Mr. Riley of Enfield, a local fancier who was selling a family of pigeon and they purchased their first twelve birds for Dorin to start his pigeon racing career at the age of 30 years old.


Dorin started racing in the Harrow club with young birds in 2012 and won his first race that season. His first season's racing saw him with several premier positions, including 28th, 37th open NFC Fougeres (4,350 birds). The original stock birds bred winners from the outset and one pair in particular have bred several premier racers, including Dorin’s champion cock, ‘Cezar’, and his nest brother, ‘613’, which was the cock that won his first race and broke his novice status. The families from Mr Riley were Gaby Vandenabeele, Jos Thone, De Klak and M. Van Lint, and after breeding his first team of youngsters, Dorin decided he needed a new bigger and better loft. He met his friend, Lucian Costache, at that time and he helped him build his first proper pigeon loft. The loft has housed lots of good winners over the last three seasons and Dorin would like to say thanks to Lucian for all his help and wishes him the very best of luck with his own pigeons! The Riley pigeons have won from all distances from the outset for the Melinte loft, including: three times 1st Federation and 1st Combine La Mans in the 2013 season, and 1st, 2nd section BICC Perpignan International. Dorin has become very interested in the long distance races from the south of France and northern Spain and says this new interest has made him aware of great fanciers like Mark Gilbert, who performances in the National and Classic races are ‘World’ class. When he first started up he can remember giving his birds lots of different medicines, which he says was his first big mistake and maintains this practice of giving the birds pills and potions when they are not ill is spoiling our beautiful sport. Dorin still races in the Harrow club and his smart ‘L’ shaped loft is 10 metres long and has five sections. He is not a fan of deep litter on the loft floor, so has a grill floor, which is cleaned out regularly, and he maintains good air flow is the main factor in good loft design.


Dorin raced only yearlings in 2013, his first full season in the sport and in the Harrow club won: the Combine Averages, Old Bird Averages from France and the Old Bird averages. In the Inter Counties SR Federation and UBI Combine the Melinte loft won: O.B: 1st, 2nd Federation Blandford (1,974 birds), 15th, 18th, 19th Federation West Bay (2,249 birds), 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Federation Kingsdown (1,725 birds), 10th Federation Blandford (1,675 birds), 11th, 16th, 18th Federation (1,690 birds), 11th, 18th, 20th UBI Combine (2,621 birds) Honiton, 6th Federation (1,105 birds), 26th UBI Combine (1,929 birds) Falaise, 1st, 18th Federation (740 birds), 1st UBI Combine (1,302 birds) Le Mans, 44th UBI Combine (856 birds) Poitiers, Y.B: 4th Federation Blandford (1,474 birds), 6th Federation Blandford (1,363 birds), 13th Federation Honiton (937 birds), 1st, 2nd Federation Tours (59 birds). This very hard young bird Tours (295 miles) race was run in conjunction with the British Barcelona Club and Dorin recorded the only two birds on the day in the Federation. Some other highlights of Dorin’s first full season were: 25th, 35th section, 26th, 38th open NFC Carentan (3,330 birds), 14th, 23rd, 42nd section, 39th, 62nd, 92nd open BICC Alencon (4,797 birds). A fantastic loft performance!


The Melinte pigeons are raced on the roundabout system and the old birds are fed on two Versalaga mixtures, ‘Superstar Plus’ and ‘All Round’, being knocked up together in a 20% / 30% ratio. They are given ‘Matrix’ minerals after every feed, which Dorin thinks is very important. He tells me he never medicates his pigeons, apart from the annual PM vaccination jab and they are exercised around the loft for an hour every day, weather permitting. He tries to get the out of the loft twice a day to keep their fitness up, morning and evening, but this is not always possible with his heavy work commitments. Dorin never trains his old birds before the first race. He told me, ‘I have become very interested in long distance pigeon racing and 2014 has seen me have very successful racing season, racing in mainly long distance National and Classic races. With the long distance in mind, I pair the birds up in January and I breed a pair of young birds from each of the racing pairs, as I only own five stock birds. I never start with more than ten to twelve pairs of racers at the beginning of the season and I race them like this till they go past 400 miles. For the long distance, I increase the food with fat only on the last five to seven feeds before basketing, depends on the forecasted severity of the race and on their return from the long races I recuperate the race birds with ‘Recupfast’ obtained from Jos Thone’s online shop. I try to race right through the to the last International race with the BICC and Perpignan was my last race for old birds in 2014.'


The Melinte young birds are put on the ‘sun rise’ system which is a type of darkness and they get darkened from 16.00hrs until gets naturally light the next morning. He feeds the youngsters on ‘Junior Plus’ with 20 % barley and increases the food when they cross the English Channel. After the channel races they get ‘Recupfast’. Dorin tries to send them to every young bird race if possible and always pays more attention to the babies bred from his best producers of first prize winners. Every year in late February or early March he tries to get a youngster from a loft which looks to have young bird sickness, so his young bird team catch the sickness off it and get the now annual problem over with, so his birds are clear by the time racing starts. Dorin says, they always get over it in 3 to 4 days after he sees the symptoms in the loft, which is when they don't fly for at least 30 minute on loft exercise and they sick up their corn after feeding. He starts the season with no more than 24 young birds and starts training when they start to disappear for thirty minutes from loft exercise. They start training at six miles, progressing in ten mile stages up to 60 miles, where they stay for three tosses and then get two weeks rest before the first Federation race. Dorin maintains that, in his opinion the ‘darkness’ system is essential if you to want to win races with young bird. If they are not on the system the youngsters' feathering will fall apart when racing starts and he thinks that the moult is very stressful time for a pigeon. He gives the babies extra light towards the last races in September to delay the moult until after the last race, which is the open race with BBC from Tours or Ancenis.


Dorin only owns five stock birds, three of which are the originals from Mr Riley and they are all paired up in early December. With the sole purpose of enhancing his long distance family, he recently purchased Champion ‘Unique’ from Balici Pavel in Romania. This fantastic cock is a history maker in Romania, being the only bird to fly Berlin (600 miles plus) five times and score five times, including 6th open in 2009. In the 2012 season ‘Unique’ flew Berlin twice in the same season to win 9th open National (3.900 birds) and three weeks later 37th International (350 birds). This great cock is proving to be a ‘gold mine’ at stock already, producing good racers for the Melinte loft including, ‘Unique Junior’, winner of 10th section, 21st open BICC Agen (514 miles) as a yearling in 2014. Dorin also purchased a hen that had flown Berlin twice in the 2012 season and she recorded 17th open. One of Dorin’s top stock pigeons is the ‘Red Cock’ and he has bred several of the premier racers over the last couple of years. The best racing cock in the loft was named by Dorin’s young son, Vlad-Denis, and he has named the champion blue cock, ‘Cezar’. This great pigeon is a champion in the truest sense of the word winning: 2013: 1st Federation Kingsdown (1,725 birds), 2nd Federation Blandford (1,974 birds), 11th section, 34th open NFC Cholet (6,537 birds), 18th section, 24th open NFC Messac (6,495 birds) winning £730.00: 2014: 1st section, 7th open BICC Perpignan (624 miles), 41st section, 150th open NFC Tarbes (550 miles). ‘Cezar’ has an outstanding sister in the form of ‘616’ and she flew the English Channel nine times in the 2013 racing season, recording several premier positions including: 99th open BICC Agen (514 miles). Two other top hens in the racing loft are: ‘The Le Mans Hen’, winner of 1st UBI Combine La Mans (1,302 birds) in 2013 and the beautiful blue chequer, ‘The 636 Hen’, winner of: 2013: 124th open BICC Agen (514 miles): 2014: 4th section, 33rd open BICC Barcelona (714 miles), 2nd section, 8th open BICC Perpignan (624 miles). A wonderful loft of racing pigeons!


Dorin is a self-employed grab lorry driver and he tells me his family help out with the pigeons a lot, especially his young son, Denis, who is addicted to first place. His wife is a good biochemist and she is very helpful with his many questions about the pigeons wellbeing and health. Dorin said, ‘I have only been in the sport three years, but I am very happy with my progression over that short time. I first won my club, then the Federation and then progressed to winning the biggest prize, 1st open Combine, which was a wonderful thrill. I think my biggest thrill was in 2013, when I recorded my sole entry pigeon from Barcelona (714 miles) and that was a brilliant feeling! In the 2014 season I managed to score in the top ten of the National results, with 7th open BICC Agen, 7th open BICC Perpignan and then went on to win 1st and 2nd section BICC Perpignan, clocking the two birds in four minutes from the 624 mile race and then won top positions from Barcelona and Tarbes. My good blue cock, ‘Cezar’, has given me a wonderful buzz over the last couple of seasons and what a fantastic pigeon he is? He is racing machine, winning a list of premier position at all distances, including 1st Federation Kingsdown through to 1st section, 7th open BICC Perpignan’.


He takes no notice of eyesign when picking out new stock birds, dismissing the theory as rubbish! When bringing in a new breeder he looks for top winning pigeons or pigeons bred from a long line of premier winners. Dorin rates Terry Haley of the Boxmoor club the top local fancier and told me, the ‘Watford Wizard’ sends his pigeons to any distance on both the North and South Road and wins the Federation and Combine. Dorin says he is not an expert on the breeding side, but pairs the best to the best, and this produces winners for him. He likes to breed late breds and his 1st UBI Combine Le Mans winning hen was a late bred in 2012. They are started off training in the January of the following year and he has produced some good racers using this method with late youngsters. Dorin maintains that a good moult is very important and the next year’s races are won at that time of the year. He increases the protein feeding to help the moult and doesn’t separate the sexes for the winter period until the moult has finished. He wants them happy and stress free for the moult.


Well that’s our article for this week! Congratulations to Dorin and Denis on their brilliant racing success over recent seasons. Really outstanding! I can be contacted with any pigeon ‘banter’ on telephone number: 01372 463480 or email: keithmott1@virginmedia.com


TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT (ww.keithmott.com)