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Nice and Clean





by John Clements

‘Nice and Clean’ is a phrase common to my sister. “That is nice and clean” she will say “Get it nice and clean”. When the vacuum cleaner came back from the mender’s her response was “it’s nice and clean”, not that it had a new filter and a new drive belt and the thing now worked much better in her mind things that are ‘nice and clean’ work better. Needless to say her car is nicer and cleaner than mine but she has more trouble with hers than I have with mine. This nice and clean does not automatically work in pigeons. What we should say is this loft is nice and dirty but the pigeons look really well.

From the pigeons' point of view, especially if your aim is the extreme long distance, a big flat knife invading their net boxes and disturbing them twice a day is not what is wanted. The youngsters reared in a nest box with droppings built up around the nest bowl are more likely to be well reared, less likely to have ‘Young Bird Sickness’ and have a better immune system than those that are cleaned twice a day.

If we want to get the most out of our pigeons when they are tested to their limits in really long hard races ‘Nice and Clean’ is not the way forward but piled up clean droppings are. Most fanciers take a too materialistic approach to their loft and to their pigeons. This materialistic approach is based on the fact that a pristine clean loft is more likely to sell pigeons than a dirty one but when it comes to the very long distance, the contented loft is more likely to triumph. I once timed an eight year old hen from Tarbes (709 miles) to be 4th Section L and 33rd Open vel 1035ypm 3808 birds. Up to now no one from Stockport  has ever timed and eight year old flying over 700 miles and as far as I know not many of her age have ever been timed in Section L.

The inbuilt immunity acquired over the years of her life enabled her to perform as she did. A whiff of antibiotics in a pristine loft would have been her Waterloo instead she triumphed at a distance most birds would have given up at as soon as they reached the channel. She is called the Dax Hen because she flew Dax with the International twice both times on the second day winning some International pools. In the old times she would have been the kind of pigeon that would have been chosen to be an auction ‘Reference Bird’ but Reference Birds unfortunately have now gone out of fashion and are now no longer encouraged by auctioneers.


Elimar - August 2014