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The Joe Murphy Column - 20-11-20

The Joe Murphy Column

Received a lot of good comments on my articles regarding Walter Boswell’s thoughts on the 2020 racing season; one in particular was from Kevin Dyson of Somerset who wrote; ‘Hi Joe, just read your piece on Walter Boswell excellent read I really enjoyed them and got some tips. Keep up the good work and I hope your well. Other fanciers phoned and I’m glad you ALL enjoyed them. As I said previously it is hard to keep the column going on a weekly basis, especially at this time of the Coronavirus situation. I have been working on gathering information on the Dewar Trophy Winners (Scotland’s Bird of the Year) which will have been in existence since 1973 so in 2023 this will be 50 years. Robert Cormack of Winchburgh has been on the select committee for quite a number of years and I was fortunate to join this committee last year. While going through the SHU Trophy winners for 2020; I was telling Robert I’m going to write a book on these Dewar winners and he kindly gifted me his folder on SNFC result which date back to 1950. This was like winning the lottery to me as I’m a stickler for details. I have spent hours looking through these results and it has brought back great memories of some of the great fanciers within our sport and I mean ‘GREAT’ fanciers who have graced our sport up here in Scotland.  Some other information I have gained up to now on the Dewar Winners and Runners up; has been incredible and as a pigeon man I have thoroughly enjoyed correlating this information. So fingers crossed that I’m able to carry out this task of composing this book: God Willing.  


I received an email from Les Wellburn from Middlesbrough with his thoughts on young bird losses, see below.


Put your youngsters on the Dark, many youngsters are lost as invariably they are deprived of fresh air, sunlight at a stage in life when they need it most, then they DO NOT PROPERLY EXERCISE ROUND  the loft,  and so do not learn where they live, or build up flying strength etc. Even worse wait until after longest old bird race scatter them in a desperate attempt to catch up. If you don’t believe me look at how many young birds you have bred and how many you have at the end of the young bird season, even worse how many do you have of those same youngsters after the second season - Not Many. Some fanciers sell off their darkness youngsters annually (see Step Four).


Enter in the local breeder buyers, and bring in several candidates to race, and mix them with your own stock, then add further to the problems by breeding another round or two off your own birds, within a few weeks you will have major problems, as Vet – Schroeder Tollisan, ‘Says you have bought the diseases latent in other fanciers stock as well, and once you have problems it is very difficult to address’.


Following Steps One and Two - ALWAYS - leads to getting Young Bird Sickness a major issue today and is very difficult to control or cure some go to the local quack or get some dodgy gear off the internet. Frustratingly what seem to put them right one year fails to work the following year with some fanciers to calling it a day citing YBS as the reason for throwing the towel in.


Go out annually and buy in the latest and greatest strain, with fancy pedigrees and winners in the distant past then watch as annually they go down like ninepins, then  discard them with a few ###### expletives, go out and get the next super strain to repeat it over and over again. Instead of breeding off your own birds that have come through the young bird season. BUYER’S BEWARE!!!


The modern way is to train in a straight line towards first race point: repeated over and over again until pigeons are dashing home after 20/30 minutes seems great. Until you ask the same birds to fly in races taking 1 - 2 or more hours, they go down like ninepins, Even worse if they set off in the wrong direction they will go as trained, in a straight line, never to be seen again taking the rest of the convoy with them.


Don’t basket youngsters overnight or train them to drink when in the basket, another cause of losses.


Clashing there seems to be no coordination across the country, when hundreds of liberations are taking place; Flying North, East South and West the Homing World shows some but not all of the liberations taking place. Perhaps we could try South Road to liberate AM; North Road to race PM; or South Road on a Saturday, North Road on a Sunday especially with YOUNGSTERS until they get the hang of it. Here in the North East birds were liberated to arrive after 12’o clock midday; we had good returns maybe just maybe; they avoided all the earlier liberations and had the sky to themselves, and that they also learned to drink in the baskets so were fully hydrated to fly home.


Employ a Convoyer who has never kept pigeons, to take and release your pigeon’s sure fire way to lose your pigeons. Also get the same Convoyer to release birds, when it is too EARLY and too COLD below 10 degrees centigrade another sure fire way to lose your birds old or young birds. Many fanciers do not understand that liberating when the temperature is below 10 degrees centigrade has a major impact on a pigeons homing ability. SEE BHW Letters page 25th September 2020.


Then when poor races happen, don’t bother to have an enquiry and to question what went wrong, this could point your convoyer in the right direction; NO just carry on and repeat the same mistakes over and over again losing thousands of youngsters annually.


When  you survey your depleted youngsters losing perhaps 50% or more, resolve to breed an extra 30/40/50 next year in a loft not fit to hold 50 and repeat steps 1 to 10 all over again.


Obviously Darkness, Breeder buyers and many of the others listed are here to stay, but we need to take a closer look at how we manage our birds: perhaps we could use the winter months of 2020 to explore what is best practice. We need to take a closer look at how we can improve the current situation on managing our birds.

Convoying / Clashing are also critical to any success in the welfare of our birds what is best practice is there a code of conduct we could all use?  Otherwise the games up as the losses we are sustaining cannot carry on or be justified.

Dealing in FACTS not FICTION

Thank you Joe, for allowing me to express my thoughts in your column: yours Les Wellburn from Middlesbrough.

Good Birds

I start this week with a red chequer cock SU16P7231 raced by Tom McLeod of Tranent who should win his SILVER AWARD as he has won 3 times from over the channel. As a yearling he was entered into the Bedhampton inland national a distance of 360 miles winning 105th section B 399th open from an entry of 6065 birds sent by 634 members. He was then sent to the Ypres race with 440 members sending a convoy of 2320 birds competing and he won 42nd section B 121st open flying 426 miles. He was back at Ypres in 2019 and from an entry of 2483 birds sent by 434 members and he won 19th section B 24th open. This year he was entered into the only channel race of the season from Reims a distance of 548 miles and he won 17th section B 70th open from a convoy of 1490 birds sent by 313 lofts.  We now come to a fanciers I have covered over the past few years the Port Seton loft of Sinclair Thomson & son. Their checker pied cock ‘Alfie’ SU16P7351 who has now won 4 times from inland nationals going back to when as a 2 year old he won 10th section B 116th open Buckingham flying a distance of 286 miles from a convoy of 2941 birds entered by 441 members.

Alfie see text

He also won 1st section B 1st East Section 1st open SNFC Maidstone from an entry of 3001 birds sent by 444 lofts in 2018. He was back to this same race point in 2019 and he was once again to the fore winning 10th section B 24th open from an entry of 2957 birds sent by 421 lofts. This year he was entered into the only inland SNFC race of the season from his favourite race point Maidstone and from a convoy of 2894 birds entered by 351 members he won 13th section B 39th open. He now requires one more inland section certificate to gain his SNFC Bronze Award and knowing the skill of Sinclair Thomson barring accidents ‘Alfie’ will pull this off next year. I now come to another top fancier in David Jamieson who is flying to his new location in Linlithgow; his chequer hen SU15CA2518 raced to East Calder in 2016 and won 11th section D 123rd open Littlehampton flying a distance of 372 miles against a convoy of 4482 birds entered by 510 members. She then went to Maidstone in 2018  from an entry of 3001 birds sent by 444 lofts she won 10th section D 179th open flying 364 miles. Last year 2019 she was sent across the English Channel to Ypres a distance of 436 miles to her loft and she won 30th section D 202nd open from an entry of 2483 birds entered by 434 members. Then this year 2020 she was sent to Reims a distance of 565 miles and she won 8th section D 39th open from an entry of 1490 birds entered by 313 members.  Staying in section D I noticed the name of J Urquhart of Larbert who has a blue bar cock SU16AV3526 that has now won 3 times in the national. As a yearling he won 90th section D from Bedhampton a distance of 376 miles from an entry of 6065 birds entered by 634 lofts. (It’s interesting to note the amount of pigeons that raced from Bedhampton in 2017 that keep cropping up on the national results) In 2019 the blue cock was sent to Buckingham a distance of 301 miles to his loft and he won 18th section D 382nd open from an entry of 3876 birds submitted by 465 members, he was also entered into the Roye race the same year but failed to make the open result but did lift section pools. Then in 2020 he was set up for the Gold Cup race a distance of 574 miles and he won 10th section D 60th open from an entry of 1490 birds with 313 members contesting. I count the birds I report on this this feature as very special pigeons who are bred and raced by their owner to compete at the highest level by competing and winning in the Scottish National. On looking into the Auction sales on PIPA I wonder what the above would fetch; nothing like what I have just seen on the web that’s for sure.!!!!


Crazy World of Pigeon Sales

Just this week another phenomenon sold named ‘Pebbles’ she won 1st Super Ace & 1st Grand Average plus 1st Normal Ace. These placings made her the best pigeon ever in the Victorial Falls one loft race. The pigeon bred by Jason Brown stems from pigeons that already participated in the race in Zimbabwe. ‘Pebbles’ will now move to Germany, where she will go to stock the buyer paid 95,000 EURO for her. As I write this article the auction of Gaston and Kurt Van De Wouwer who are selling their entire pigeon collection. This marks the end of an era for pigeon racing in Belgium and Gaston and Kurt have had a highly successful career, winning numerous national ‘Ace’ pigeon titles plus 1st nationals. And the impact that their fantastic ‘Kaasboer’ dynasty has left on pigeon racing across the globe is nothing short of spectacular. They are selling every single pigeon, not a single one will be left in their loft in Berlaar. Today 11th November lot one ‘New Kim’ is sitting a 1-320-000 EURO’S. Yes ONE MILLION PLUS EURO’S.



I have just heard that Jimmy Jackson from Dunbar formally of Haddington has passed away on the 9th November. Jimmy won the SNFC Rennes race in 1985 with ‘Howden Gold’ flying a distance of 540 miles. Jimmy had jewellers business in the town and he and his good friend Bobby Caruthers from Bonnyrigg went into partnership and formed a ‘stud’ based on the very best of Scottish National birds; and they were very successful in this venture. He and his wife Isiah moved to Dunbar and his loft was situated at his dear friend Davie Scott at Gifford farm. From where he won 1st yearling national from Arras; he was 2nd open in 2017 and 3rd open in 2018. He also bred and raced his good young hen ‘Miss Mander’ who won 4th open SNRPC Peterborough and the following week won 5th open SNFC Buckingham. Unfortunately Jimmy’s wife Isiah died soon after they moved to Dunbar which was a big blow to Jimmy and the family. I have always found Jimmy to be a true gentleman and a very genuine fancier who would help out anyone who asked for his assistance. I’m sad to say we in Scotland have lost another all time ‘Great’ as this is what Jimmy Jackson was. To his daughter Avril and son in law Ken we send our heartfelt condolences; Rest in Peace my old friend; Joe Murphy  

 Joe’s Joke

Three sisters aged 92. 94 & 96 lived in a house together, one night the 96 year old fills a bath puts her foot in and pauses, she yells down the stairs ‘Was I getting in or out of the Bath’. The 94 year old yells back, ‘I don’t know I will come up and see’. She starts to climb up the stairs and pauses; then she yells ‘Was I going up the stairs or coming down?’ The 92 year old was sitting at the kitchen table having tea, listening to her sisters; she shakes her head and says ‘I sure hope that I never get that forgetful’. She knocks on the wooden table, for good measure. Then she yells ‘I’ll come up and help both of you, as soon as I see who is at the door’.

Three old ladies see joke

Please continue to keep the news flowing; to Joe Murphy Mystical Rose Cottage 2 Flutorum Avenue Thornton by Kirkcaldy KY1 4BD or phone 01592 770331 or Email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. REMEMBER THE J IN THE MIDDLE or you can also view online editions on: - - Pigeon Racing the Basics! - or

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