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Having a busy spell with one thing or another now with plenty going on and at the moment I am enjoying penning a few notes. Went to the Rudheath WMC to see a panel that was organised to raise funds, there were not as many as I expected to see. Years ago, these used to be good events in the area and were well supported but like nearly everything else they have dropped off. I was talking to a fancier who was telling me he had a conversation with a local fancier who said he had been told not to go, makes me wonder why anyone would listen and be told what to do in such cases. The event was organised by Malc Hewitt, Anthony Evans and Kenny Burke. The original panel was swapped around for one reason or another, whether this made any difference to the eventual outcome we will never know but what I will say is they were a good panel. The four members of the panel were Chris Knowles as Chairman, Roger Sutton, Brian Lee and Paul fowler, all excellent winning fanciers. Yours truly was compare for the evening, at one stage I was going to chair the panel but due to changes I suggested that Chris did the job. All panellists had plenty to say but the surprise of the evening for me was Roger Sutton. For those who don’t know Roger he is normally a rather quieter than most and I had not seen him as a fancier to sit on stage and have a lot to say. How wrong you can be, he certainly surprised me and was very good at talking on stage and filled in many gaps regarding the way forward for the sport especially with Brexit coming our way. As anyone who has seen Chris on a panel is aware that he researches the sport a great deal and a fancier I go to for information from time to time and is good on stage. Brian Lee did pass on a few subjects and caused a few laughs during the night, but he does have a good knowledge of the sport and gave good answers. Paul Fowler is a part of the highly successful Fowler family team from Leek who are a genuine top winning loft therefore there was always going to be some good views coming from Paul.


The first question and one that was always going to be raised was about Brexit and racing from the continent. Chris and Roger were the two who handled this one very well and if all goes as expected there should be no problems with channel racing. Personally, I have thought a great deal about Brexit and am one of the many who can remember how well the UK went before going into Europe. If people in Europe want to buy anything from the UK, they will find ways around anything, they always do. There is a lot of scaremongering going on by the people at the top who are only interested in their own welfare and not the welfare of the country. Companies have said they are going to leave the UK if we leave Europe and then we find out they were going to move anyway. The problem in the UK is there are far too many people at the top who are well educated, have the money but in most cases have no common sense. Anyway, there’s no point in me going on about it the politicians cannot agree between themselves so what chance does the average person have. Roger and Chris did let everyone know so no doubt members felt better knowing there should be no problem with channel racing.


A question that I have asked many times came up, can an individual pigeon race and win from 60 to 600mls plus. The general feeling is that this is down to the fancier’s themselves, it is all about preparation. However, the consensus was that pigeons that can do this are few and far between. To cover the distances between 60 and 500mls was more achievable by many pigeons and therefore more likely to happen.



In the modern day of pigeon racing vaccinating pigeons is always going to be a topic of conversation and on this evening that was going to be under discussion. We always want to know what the best way is to keep our pigeons healthy, some believe the way forward is to let the pigeons build up their own immune system. I am not sure about this, but I do believe that if you use the right natural products you will protect your pigeons against many things that occur in racing pigeons. Member’s of the panel feel that the best way is to prevent through vaccination, but Brian Lee was saying that he had dealt with David Coward-Talbott who works with Belgica De Weerd and he has found this a good source of help with keeping his pigeons healthy. Overall the panel’s view was that it is better using a preventative and vaccinating all pigeons in the lofts and not just the race team. This includes the stock birds who pass on protection to their offspring in the first few weeks of their lives and then when they are moved, they need to be vaccinated to extend that initial protection. A product that was recommended to use was cider vinegar in whatever form you choose, Roger did mention that Vior was a good product and was used by many. Another product that seems to be in use by many is Virkon-S as a preventative against problems in the lofts.



We then moved onto racing and a subject that I have always taken an interest in is distance racing from the likes of Tarbes in the National. I was interested when I sat listening to the views on this race because I have said on many occasions early morning libs are not good for the pigeons. The view I had was also put forward from the panel because the pigeons are reaching the coast at nightfall from places like Tarbes and have little chance of reaching the other side before it is too dark, then where do they go. Years ago, there were many good races from Pau with a mid-day liberation and the pigeons came back in pretty good condition. However, I am aware that there are fanciers in the south who would rather have them liberated early so that they can get them. The question we ask on that one is, “How many do fanciers get on the day from the NFC longest race, even the shorter flying members” If a handful get over what has happened to the others who leave the French coast but don’t reach their home loft. There are far more pigeons lost today from the 600ml plus races than there were with the mid-day liberation, ask yourself WHY. Even most shorter flying fanciers are not clocking on the day, so why not revert to the more successful racing system as used in the days of racing from Pau. I was surprised and pleased with the views on this subject because this is somewhere that the sport needs to change because the changes, they made for the 600ml plus races have not worked very often.



Still with channel racing, this is always going to be brought up because the fanciers present are racing into the North West from across the channel. How many times would you send a young bird across the channel racing into the North West. They were agreed that if the young birds are right, they will do two channel races comfortable. Roger did say that he likes to send his young birds across the channel, the pigeons appear to be better for the races he competes in later in their lives.



The panel then moved onto feed which is always open to discussion because there are so many mixes about which causes confusion for some fanciers. Feeding is a science in the modern days of racing pigeons and is based on how and when you use proteins. When racing pigeons hard they need to be supplemented by the right food. They need a good premier mix all the time when it comes to the longer races. It was also pointed out that fit pigeons do not eat as much so if you keep an eye on them there is a good indication regarding their fitness. I personally supplemented the corn with a range of natural products that I used most days on the corn or in the water and they suited what I was doing.



Does it affect young birds being on the darkness both as youngsters and during the yearling stage. Again, a subject that the panel felt that if they are bred right there should be no problem. It was also pointed out that with the darkness system fanciers do not need to breed early to get them in the right feathering for the longer young bird races. If you breed at the normal time and not early, then put the young birds straight onto the darkness system and they are right for the full young bird programme.



This is just a brief on the evening questions, but I would like to thank the panel who gave up their time and it was nice to see Paul Fowler again, a fancier who I reported on many years ago and their lofts are still in the same location. There were some excellent young birds presented by fanciers that were auctioned by LJP. There was also a pie, pea and chip supper which went down well. The organisers would like to thank everyone for attending either as panellists or in the audience.



I had a call from Bill Carney about the eye-sign photos that appeared in my notes a few weeks ago. Bill way saying that in his opinion they were quality pigeons and they were, he even picked out the pigeons for certain jobs and he was right. We went on to discuss eye-sign shows and how the likes of Blackpool had been hijacked by fanciers breeding for eye-sign just to show them as compared to natural eye-sign in racing pigeons. Bill was saying that he would not judge at the likes of Blackpool again because of the way some eye-sign fanciers have gone, and that is no good for a loft of racing pigeons. Bill went on to say that you can spot manufactured eye’s because they are flat and have no character about then. If I had a manufactured photo, I could point it out, or better still get Bill would point it out. But personally, I would rather see the pigeons in natural light because that is when they show up the best. No matter what anyone has to say about eye-sign there are those who would argue against it and that is because they have not studied the subject enough to see the full values. There are some good specialists on eye-sign in the pigeon world but prefer to keep a low profile because of the attitude most have towards the subject.



Mick Barlow, Paul Fisher and Carl Turner in Blackpool

Carl Turner will be able to racefrom across the channel now

Carl Turner at Mick Barlow's loft


He keep’s popping up on the email system, he being, Carl Turner. “Hey up Stranger. Just thought I’d put pen to paper now that I’ve got a bit of time on my hands in my new job lol. I’m purchasing individual sprint birds again in the hope to maybe just race young birds (if I’m allowed in a club) and breed top quality close to the tree youngsters for the fancy too. Currently have a few top-drawer direct Patrick Boeckx Sagan stock and Leo Heremans 003 lines along with a few new names set to light up the Belgium and Dutch scene soon. Had my annual pilgrimage to Blackpool too staying with Mick Barlow and having to show Paul Fisher how to drink on the Saturday night lol. I managed to catch Paul Fishers number one pied stock hen that got out whilst we were a little lubricated on the Saturday night which he was so thankful for lol ha ha (see pics attached Fisher 1/ Me & Mick, The 3 Stooges). Noticed that it was Bulk this and Bulk that which I’m sure happens every year with pigeons. As with most fanciers it amazes me how a small team flier suddenly has hundreds of direct offspring hitting the shelves of our sport. I think personally it’s better to have a pair of young birds off 10 TOP fliers off their top breeding pair and not have 20 birds from one flier’s top 10 pairs. How many lofts can say their tenth best stock pair breeds the equivalent standard that their number one pair of breeders does. Also buying birds online etc when they are older than say 3yo to me is daft. They would not be for sale at that age if they were top breeders. The only chance for an older bird to be purchased successfully is via an entire clearance sale. I’m hoping to start breeding for myself either 2020 or 2021 as I need to finish off my own house extension first which has gone on for a couple of years now and even, I’m getting fed up of its inactive usage as a building. It was just a period of uncertainty I was going through in life which I’m sure we all go through. But sitting back and evaluating and adding to my life things I once enjoyed (pigeons) and reducing the things I perhaps didn’t enjoy as much (going out with the lads, believe it or not) has led me to where I am today. Mortgage free at 45 yrs old, new career path, well paid and less stressful (really important) and I’m now looking forward to life once more. Will keep in touch over the coming months but will for now include a few pics if that’s ok and will maybe see/or will have seen a few of you at the Hope House Hospice sale in Wrexham. I attended the first one 20 years ago and will definitely be at the last one run by Dave but sincerely hope someone takes over the running of such a very worthy charity cause. All the best to you all in this coming racing season. Regards. Carl Turner” As always I don’t necessarily agree with Carl, but he always has something to say. Regarding purchasing pigeons over 3yo, this is something many do and breed winners from them. People sell pigeons because they do not suit their system but Fred down the road can breed winners out of them. Pigeons bred right in the right hands have every chance of starting a winning line, even if they have not bred for their previous owner. There are extremely good fanciers about who win no matter what birds they have in their lofts. There are also pigeon keepers who are happy to send to the races, win or lose they are happy, they see pigeons as their hobby which is what the sport needs. Carl, I see on the photo that you have at last found the pigeons that are better suited to you he he.


Mr & Mrs Mark Cliffe on their recent wedding day

Mark Smith with Ruth and bridesmaid Susan Lee

I was talking to Mark Smith on the morning after the Wedding of the Year. Mark and Nicola Cliffe gave a good party at their wedding in early March. Mark Smith was saying that there were about 120 at the church and a few more at the reception. We wish them all the best, Mark is a nice chap and always happy to help, I did hear that he fell asleep at the reception, mind you that’s nothing fresh for Mark because after a few pints he goes into relaxation mode which I have seen him in before. Word is this was a wedding with a difference and those present had a good day out.


Brian Lee on the golf course before the wedding

Les J Parkinson. 11 Rushton Drive, Middlewich, Cheshire, CW10 0NJ. 01606836036 Mobile 07871701585. Email elimar908@btinternet.com web site www.elimarpigeons.com


Chris photos


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