BIG PRIZES WITH A SMALL TEAM
A loft profile of
GERALD HONEYFIELD of TONYPANDY
1st All Wales Amalgamation Messac 8,000 birds
1st Fed 4th All Wales Combine Maidstone YBs 2007
1st All Wales Combine Folkestone YBs 2009
The subject of this report is one of the sport’s quiet men. A fancier who rarely gets a mention in the pigeon press and yet over the years has put up a number of top class performances in top drawer competition. Gerald’s latest “big win” came on Sunday 13th September 2009 when he clocked a young chequer cock in the 200 mile young bird Folkestone race to win 1st Tonypandy Central H.S.; 1st Rhondda Valley Fed and 1st section 1st Open All Wales Combine. The Combine winner is closely related to Gerald’s winner of 1st Club; 1st Fed 4th Combine Maidstone young birds in 2007 as they share a similar source via birds gifted by Tonypandy club mates Watkins, Son & Cockcroft. The 2000 Messac Amalgamation winner also has a similar source, with the additional cross of a Janssen cock bred by Gerald’s good friend Ike Evans of Clydach Vale.
The Honeyfield set up is a modest self built range of lofts situated at the rear of Gerald and wife Kath’s terraced home. The main racing loft measures 16ft x 14 ft and is divided into six sections, three of which are used for the 50 or so youngsters reared each year a section for 20 widowhood cocks and a further section to house the widower’s hens. A central trapping section allows access to all other sections. The racing loft is raised seven feet off the ground and the stock birds are housed beneath, at ground floor level with an additional corn and basket store.
Careful consideration has been given to the ventilation within the lofts and great use has been made of louvers and large wire covered sections in the loft front. These are in turn covered by sloping screens which allow a steady flow of air into the loft without a drop of rain gaining entry.
The racers and stock birds are usually mated over the Christmas / New Year period and the young bird team, once weaned is placed directly on the darkness system. Once the youngsters are away the cocks are on widowhood and rarely see their hens again before the end of March when they receive a couple of training spins out to 30 miles with the Gwyn and Mike Collins’ transporter. The usual breakdown / build up feeding system is employed and all corn is obtained from Graham Pearce of Trehafod , most of which is marketed by A.E. James & sons as their “Countrywide” brand. The darkness youngsters are also fed on the same mixtures with the addition of various additives. All birds regularly receive Aviform products and unless something is wrong, no bird is ever routinely treated for any of the common ailments.
Gerald's Blue Cock, winner of 1st All Wales Amalgamation Messac
The 2007 winner of 1st Fed 4th Combine Maidstone young birds is a fine medium sized blue cock. His parents were gifted to Gerald by Watkins, Son & Cockcroft and contain the bloodlines of the partner’s Brussels National and Combine winner along with Desmet Matthys bloodlines via Alain and Dirk Van Den Driessche.
The 2009 Folkestone Combine winner is a small to medium sized chequer cock, once again bred from a stock pair gifted by Watkins, Son & Cockcroft. This pair also contains the bloodlines of the partner’s Brussels National winner and also some Willy Thas Federation winning bloodlines. The Combine winner was raced weekly prior to his big win, as Gerald thought he was a hen. It was only in the week leading up to the Lillers race that he started to show his true credentials and was then immediately pencilled in for the 2010 widowhood team!
The winner of 1st All Wales Amalgamation is a really magnificent old gent. Bold headed and noble looking, he immediately catches the eye. He is bred from a Janssen cock gifted to Gerald by Ike Evans of Clydach Vale. The Amalgamation winner’s dam was a pencil blue hen bred and raced by Gareth Watkins for whom she won 29th Open National Carlisle as a young bird before being gifted to Gerald. She is bred from an A.H. Bennett Van Bruaene cock, whose sire, “Champion Andre” won 22 x 1sts for Albert Bennett. The son of Andre was then paired to a sister of Geoff Cooper’s Champion “John” a multiple prize winner in NFC races for the Cooper’s High Littleton loft to breed the Amalgamation winner.
It seems from reading the foregoing, that many good birds are obtained as gifts – this is certainly true in the case of Gerald Honeyfield. Well done mate, all your friends are as chuffed as beans for you!