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George Baird of Cambuslang, one of Lanarkshire Federation bright young star


1. Please Introduce yourself and how you got in the sport?
My name is George Baird 29 years young and got my first latebreds in 2010 although I moved house that same year and had 2 races 2011 with ybs then managed to get a compound which meant another move and another club so started competing 2012 ybs.

          

George receiving the SHU yb champ award             -             George proud Dad with son Rory George Baird

I was looking for a new hobby when I came across my fiance’s uncle Jim Cullen who is a great fancier himself although at this point I never knew this. As most fanciers do when you visit them he showed me about his lofts... I was only over visiting Jim to show him a problem I had with my new pup and before I knew it I had a plan to build my own loft. Jim says “ Build the loft I’ll sort you youngbirds” I was working very long hours at the time and working all weekends so sometimes I was working into the dark building my first loft a small 12x6.

As I grew up in Glasgow’s east end I did have a brief spell flying pouter pigeons with my younger brother which was good fun.

2. Among your results what are the real highlights?
It’s really hard to answer this question as in my opinion I have still so many boxes I need to tick off my list. I suppose winning the West Section yb averages competing against large numbers or winning the West section 6 times including twice back to back would have to be up there, I really enjoyed timing on the shift with a yearling hen bred Jim Cullen from a very hard Carentan race 460-470 miles 10th open fed that hen gained.. What a buzz seeing her coming over the trees. Also winning the SHU Performance YB champion gave me great satisfaction. But overall my first section win with old birds from Kettering was in my eyes my best achievement so far.. I really wanted to show I could do it with old birds too.

3. Do you hold any official position and if so do you take an active part, if no what are your reasons?
Not anymore I was fed delegate for my club and club president but with having a full time job and 2 young kids mixed with my compound being a six mile round trip from my house it’s really a miracle I find the time to race pigeons itself. I remember once I was watching my daughter as my fiancé was out working when I got a call to go to an emergency meeting at 9pm (laughs) after that I knew it’s not something I could keep up with.
4. Do you compete for averages?
I wouldn’t say so I tend to just do my own thing, 2015 was the first season I went to all federation races coming 9th combined Average and west sec yb average winner 4th overall ybs. This year my son was born I only managed 10 ob races and 4 yb races. Family first


5. How do you race your pigeons and how many? Weekly numbers
2015 season I started with 11 cocks and 20 hens... I had a disaster of a training toss with the cocks or It would have been 20. So I normally float around that number 20 pair for instance. I have 21 boxes. 40-50 ybs is just about what I can handle anymore I’d be over run I think. I normally only send the cocks the first 2 or 3 races on a standard widowhood then bring the hens in and they go most weeks after that both sexes total widowhood then pair up for the longer races. However this may change. Ie just cocks or just hens. I would love to have a go at just widowhens. Ybs are Darkened and I train 3 weeks before the first race every day up to the first race and if time allows I will go the full programme. Normally by that time of the season I’m shattered and juggling school holidays, pigeons and work.
6.What are your lofts made of and how big are they?How many sections ,Size ect

Nothing fancier here Tom... Yb loft 12x6 loft with aviary old bird cocks loft 16x6 with Perspex front and the hens 10x4 with Perspex front.. all have pent roofs.


7. How many stock birds do you keep and do you breed off your race team also how many pigeons do you think that you need to breed off any individual stock pair each year to see if they are quality producers?
I have room for 28 pair of stock pigeons but right now I have 10 pair, recently acquired some quality bred pigeons from Jim Cullen or it would have been 6 pair. As discussed Ive only been in the game really 4 years so still trying new things in the stock loft although I doubt that will ever change... The last 2 seasons I have kept my Simon Parkinson pigeons pure bt this year I’m trying something my good friend from down south Ryan Gadsdon and his father do every year in the stock loft. They change mates every year, So I’m doing that this year and also more or less 80% will all be crosses. I do breed off the race team always they wouldn’t be in the race team if they weren’t worth taking a baby from. Last season for the first time ever I had been asked to sell some babies so I sent a kit of 10 down from the race team south at what I call working mans prices £25 per pigeon which I got some great feedback from and looking forward to what they will do as yearlings this year. I have had some very good pigeons from my race team and will continue to take babies from them.

Top yearling cock targeted for the gold cup 2017


8. When do you pair your pigeons?
The last few years it has been boxing day and there is no real reason for this other than I have a bit of time on my hands before I go to my mums for dinner and I enjoy a few hours at the lofts peace and quiet. I’m thinking of putting my old birds back together on eggs for ten days before the season to see if it improves my results... Something the Macaloney boys do and we all know how they race.


9. Do you move the hens with the young birds?
The last two seasons I have and it has made a great difference I think. I can move ybs at 18 days no prob with the hens, I just put bowls on the floor with all the babies and all the hens muck in and help finish them off... I actually tried a yb at 14 days last year, it’s parents went down later than the rest and me being impatient I moved the yb and it was just fine... I read a Belg fancier done this with 14 day babies every year so tried it. As I take a few rounds from stock pigeons I don’t move the ybs with the hens as I ain’t splitting the parents.


10. What criteria do you set down for the pigeons you winter with your thoughts on the following seasons racing and breeding?
I used to just winter what was left but when I actually started putting thought into it and removing the bad eggs my results improved big time. I don’t care if a pigeon doesn’t score in the club fed or nat. All I ask is the pigeon be either first to the loft or come with the first pigeons and show it’s trying.. Pigeons that are latecomers consistently don’t stop here long.... I remember speaking to John Duthie he said I work my backside off 52 weeks a year I’m only asking them to work 12... I thought fair comment.


11. Do you have any grills fitted in the floor or in the boxes, are there any advantages to using them?
No grills fitted here although I would like them maybe in the future just to cut down on time.

        

Self built stock loft at my house                      -                   Sire and Dam of Hayley’s comet


12. vaccination programme for the pigeons ?
Just the compulsory vaccine every year nothing else.


13. Do you attach any importance to grits and minerals or can the pigeons get what they want they are out of the loft?

I do like to give them a handful of Matrix after their pm feed but not after a Wednesday. Black mineral when breeding but nothing else.
14. Do you use any floor dressing or do you clean the pigeons out daily?


Old birds scraped out everday during the season but off season once a week as I mostly see my pigeons in the dark or not at all when my mate John Paton helps feed and water them for me which is a great help. Youngsters used to be scraped out daily but not now. After watching a couple of DVD’s one being Freddy Vandenheede and the other Dennis Blakey from the UNC I changed... Freddy has straw on the floor and Mr Blakey cleaned out before they were moved into the loft and I think it was one or two weeks before the yb season and left again. So the last two seasons straw went down and no scraper was used and I can honestly say I’ve raced the best ybs I have ever raced. I don’t know if the youngsters were more content but I just left them to it and they performed.

 

Yb Setup ready for darkness        -        Some 2016 babies


15. Do you like to have plenty of room for the pigeons?
Yes 100% although I don’t like them to have large spaces as I like them tame.


16. How do you feed, and what do you feed them on?
I tend to muck about with feed quite a lot and came to the conclusion good pigeons win regardless I know plenty of fanciers they all feed different but they are all at the top of the sheet. I like to try give a high protein mix Sunday Monday the rest of the week is just a standard widowhood mix. Saturday after a race they will get a light mix


17. In water on return from race and day
Water on return from the race on the Saturday I will have a strike in the water also Sunday. Then it’s just clear water. I have mucked about with other things but never stick to it. I think strike is a fantastic product.
18. Do you measure the amount that you give to each race pigeon, or are they fed according to the individual pigeon?


Hopper on the floor until they stop eating with vigour then it’s removed..Thursday night they get 30 mins with the hopper and also Friday afternoon then no more.


19. Are Your pigeons allowed any free time outwith training/racing
No not really to dangerous with BOP floating about. Maybe a Sunday occasionally for a bath if I’m going to be there but that’s it.


20. Do you consider there to be any advantage having a racing partnership?
I think having a partner you can trust would be a massive asset. On my own with kids etc it’s dam hard sometimes up at 5am jump in the car down to the lofts etc... part of the reason I’m toying with the idea of racing one sex.


21. To term a phrase are you a full time pigeon fancier?
Well they are on my mind 24/7 but I certainly ain’t a full time fancier. The mrs will say I am! bt sometimes I’m at work and don’t get to see the pigeons come home etc. So no I’m not that lucky
22. How many weeks do you think a pigeon can maintain it's form on the widowhood system for both cocks and hens?


I’ve had a few pigeons come well for 3 or 4 weeks but this is more so down to me and not the pigeon.. There are fanciers who can get a lot more. I have scored with pigeons at the start of the season and the end.

My Kettering section winner bred by Jim Cullen he was outstanding 3 times in the top positions within the fed sadly lost at Billericay


23. Whenever I have visited a loft fanciers always look at the pigeons eye. Do you consider that the eye has any importance
I don’t know enough about eyesign to even begin to answer. what I do like is a nice bright healthy eye.


24. If you Fly Roundabout/Celibate how do you stop your hens pairing to each other
I don’t really bother too much about it..On return from race they get their cocks for a few hours sometimes the next morning I split them. But if they pair they pair they will still be sent to the race regardless.
25. Do you think a pigeon has the capabilities of racing both short and long distance races.


Absolutely there is many examples of this mind you mostly distance pigeons sprinting and doing the distance. I’m sure If I looked i’d find sprint pigeons winning at the distance... Alan Darragh from over the water had two nest mates the same season one won an RPRA sprint award and the other was in the top ten from the kings cup.


26. Which is the more difficult, establishing a team of sprinter's or distance pigeons and why?
Without a doubt it is a distance team harder.... You can literally buy sprinters and they will win from the first yb race..although to get a sprint team to win consistently like the top guys I’d imagine would be years of work. Distance you got to wait and you may only get one or two proper distance races a year to try them at. I’ve been too the last three gold cups and by god It’s a severe kick between the legs when things don’t go right. But I’ll be there 2017


27. What happens when you are racing either widowhood or the roundabout when you have a bad race and lose a few from one sex, how do you continue with those pigeons who have lost their mate?
Nothing changes just keep sending.


28. Sprinter or distance?
I love all racing and have pigeons that are middle distance and then I have pure distance but as I said I’m crossing everything. I’m looking for a pigeon I can use start to finish


29. What families of pigeons do you keep?
I keep various families although I don’t really aim to buy or bring in a family I just like good performance pigeons from fanciers. I purchased 10 latebreds from a top fancier in the MNFC by the name of Simon Parkingson who has became a good friend and jesus they paid for themselves straight away.. First year SHU Performance YB Champion this hen won 3 top fed postions including back to back section wins. I put her to stock were she is now producing the goods. But what I will say Jim Cullen or Uncle Jim as I call him now (laughs) sends me over youngsters every year which have won me 4 section prizes and numerous top positions. These are from his own family which have won all over for other fanciers too. Jim must be regarded as one of the best stockman in Scotland for winners reported to him including national wins


30. Some fanciers go out and purchase good quality winning pigeons but never appear to make the grade,
A mixture really I think. Not all pigeons wins no matter what they cost and the other side of the coin is they might not be the best fancier for those pigeons. Some pigeons will work with one fancier but not another etc. Also I think if you can breed 50 ybs and at 2 year old stage you have 4 handy pigeons from that crop your doing very well.


31. What product do you feels makes a difference to your birds
I like to use a product called nazaline three weeks before the first race then maybe a week or two before a big race. It cleans the airways of any junk gunk or dust whatever.


32. Which of the two sexes do you consider is the most important when it comes to breeding?
Both!! It takes two to tango...but you will get a cock or hen who will produce good pigeons no matter what they are paired too.


33. Some fanciers like big hens for breeding does the size of the hen make any difference to the quality of youngsters that she breeds in your past experience?

Not for me I just breed from them and see what the youngsters do


34. Is there anything that you have not won in the sport that you would like to achieve?
The next box I would like to tick would be top the fed (been 5th twice) and I’d love to start winning at national level.


35. Who do you consider to be the best fanciers in the Country and for what reasons?
Doesn’t really get much better than the partnership of GWP Mac years and years or performances they have behind them. In my club we also have a fancier by the name of Willie Millen, one week I was sure I topped the fed against around 7000 for Willie to come up the club with four in front of me 1st 2nd 3rd 4th fed and it’s not the only time he has done it. Then Uncle Jim multiple times top ten in the SNFC with section wins behind him and a no nonsense approached I’ve learned a lot from Jim although he does let me make my own mistakes. I would also like to thank a fancier from England called Ryan Gadsdon the info I’ve received from this fella is incredible, younger than me but he is a class fancier along with his father... Look at what he has won on the north road there ain’t much he hasn’t. Another fancier I rate highly is the young Maverick Lewis Mcalley from Avonbridge. He’s something else and is always trying new things a true pigeon addict.

Red alert my first ever section winner bred by Jim Cullen


36. What do you think can be done to take the sport forward
Honestly don’t know fixing the bop issue would be a start but how do we do this? I do think big money races would help with a lot of press.


37. When it comes to breeding do you line-breed or use a first cross or just pair winners to winners
Aim for best to best all the time and winners to winners in the race loft bt I don’t have 20 pair of winners so most pick their own mate


38. Do you breed off the top racing pigeons that season after the racing has finished, do you breed late bred youngsters and what do you think of those later bred
I don’t intentionally breed latebreds but I always end up with some from my best which I give away or swap with mates etc

Some of the results I’ve achieved
2015 SHU performance young bird champion
2015 west yb averages

1st section 1744
1st section 2097
1st section 2301
1st section 2296
1st section 1709
1st sect
2nd section 2301
2nd section 976
3rd section 2296
4th section 2296
5th section 2767
5th section 1424
5th section 169
5th section 2566
6th section 2296
6th section 1646
6th section 1424
7th section 2296
8th section 1205
8th section 1205
9th section 589
10th section 1424
11th section 2296
11th section 708
11th section 242
11th section 2301
12th section 562
12th section 1349
12th section 2301
13th section 2102
13th section 2301
13th section 242
13th section 1783
14th section 976
15th section 2301
15th section 589

5th open 6762
5th open 6650
7th open 2066
7th open 4721
10th open 615
11th open 5845
12th open 4252
14th open 3614
17th open 3004
24th open 1909
27th open 5617
38th open 1909
43th open 841
56th open 841


 


 

 

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