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Moorehouse & Hayden of Rathnew, County Wicklow



of Rathnew, County Wicklow

INFC 2009 Kings Cup Winners

Interviewed by Brendan McGrane

Please introduce yourself and tell us how you got started in the sport.

My name is Thomas Moorehouse. I started in the sport of pigeon racing at a very young age with my father Paddy Moorehouse, dating back to 1977; it could be longer. I enjoyed flying with the largest racing organisation in the south of Ireland, this being the Irish South Road Federation, winning an amazing 55 x 1st federations opens. Yes, you read it right. I was south road fed champion many of times, then in 1999 I moved house to Rathnew, Co. Wicklow and did not race for a couple of years. However, I got back into pigeons as I could not live without them. I now race as Moorehouse & Hayden, the Hayden being my son-in-law John Paul.

Tommy Moorehouse and John Paul holding Tommy's Boy, their Kings Cup winner

What club do you race in and how many members are there in it?

We race in the Rathnew club, which is very competitive with 16 flying members, and we are members of the East Coast Federation.

How do you race your pigeons and how many do you keep?

We race all our birds on the natural system, old and young birds. We have about 20 pairs of old birds and around 80 young birds for racing, and we also keep around 25 pairs of stock birds.

Can you tell us what are your lofts made from and what sizes are they?

Our racing loft is around 40ft x 7ft, is made from timber and has a tiled roof. This is for old birds and young birds. We have two garden sheds for our stock birds. Both are 8 x 10ft and they also have aviaries on them.

Tommy's Boy, winner of the 2009 Kings Cup

When do you pair up?

We pair up our stock birds at the end of December and our racers are paired up around February.

Is Young Bird Sickness a problem for you? If so, what do you use to treat them with and have you any advice?

Touch wood, it has never being a problem for us.

How do you feed your racers, stock birds and youngsters and do you measure their food?

All our birds are hopper fed.

Do you attach any importance to feeding grit and minerals?

Yes we do. We feel they are most important and feed them fresh every day.

What do you think of the vaccination programme and do you think that it affects pigeons long term?

We have always vaccinated our birds and we see no problems with them.

Do you think there is an advantage in having a partnership?

Yes. It is half the work and makes life a lot easier.

Sire of Tommy's Boy, the King's Cup winner

Tell us about your best pigeons and performances.

Winning Rosscarbery twice, finishing 1st and 2nd open and winning the open by a clear 8 minutes, remembering that the Irish South Road Federation is predominantly a Dublin-based organisation with it being, more weeks than not, a trapping match. I also recorded 29 fed cards within the top 20 of the fed in a combined three-week period with over 10,000 birds competing each week. Now to the Kings Cup. The first time we entered was in 2006 and we were 3rd south section 5th open recording a vel of 1222 for the 396 mile fly, winning a nice sum of £4031 and the McCloud Cup for the first fancier to time a yearling in the race. In 2007 the birds had to be brought back after an outbreak of bird flu. In 2008, due to weather conditions the birds were once again returned to Ireland. 2009 was the second time we entered what is described as the biggest race in the Irish pigeon racing calender. Champion Tommy's Boy, as he is known, had a hard prep as he had an unbelievable five channel races in 2009, flying Talbenny 94 miles twice, Bude 163 miles, the INFC Yearling National Sennen Cove 202 miles, before going to Plaudren 388 miles for the Kings Cup. He flew the 388 miles in 7 hours 48 min on a velocity of 1416, winning the most sought after cup in Ireland, the King George V Challenge Cup.

Some of the stock birds

Is there anything you have not won in the sport that you would like to win?

Yes, we would like to win the Yearling National and the Friendship National; we have done the rest.


How often do you exercise your birds?

We exercise our old and young birds every day if possible but not on race day.


Do you use deep litter, floor grills or clean out daily?

We do not use deep litter or floor grills. We prefer to clean out daily.


How far do you usually train your birds?

We start our old birds off at ten miles and work them up to fifty miles and our young birds start off at three miles and work up to fifty miles.


What are the main bloodlines that you race?

Soontjens and Van Loons.

Some of the loft's inmates


Are there any fanciers that have helped you?

I owe a lot to Steve Fenech, Andy Gregson, Gerry Delaney and my very good friends Sid Collins, Tommy McClean and Paddy Snell (the king of the channel).


Do you use any preventative medication?

Yes. We will treat them for canker before we pair them. We like the Deweerd products. We also treat for cocci and respiratory.

Are there any special treatments that you give your birds?

No, there are no special treatments in our lofts.

A cracking team of birds


If you could use only two products, what would they be?

We would use garlic and vitamin B12 as we think that they are very good products.


What were the last two things you put in the water or on the food?

The same as above. In the water B12 and on the food garlic oil.


Do you race your birds every week?

If we think our birds are OK and on form then they go every week.


Do you ever think of competing for averages?

Not really because if our birds are not right we don’t send them.

John Paul holding a YB fed winner from Tramore 4500 birds, Paddy Snell holding 1st fed Tramore 4000 birds, Tommy holding 1st fed Pilmore Beach 3900 birds and Johnny holding the Kings Cup winner Tommy’s Boy.


Do you race your young birds hard?

No, we have not raced them hard in the last few years


Do you treat pigeons differently for national racing?

No, all our birds are treated the same.


What do you think can be done to improve our sport and bring in young and new members?

Well, we do need new members. Things are going so dear, but if we all helped someone out we would get new fanciers into our great sport.


Anything else you would like to add?

Yes. We would like to wish everyone good luck in 2012.