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Fashioninpigeons 30-05-18

Fashions in pigeons


John Clements



Now that channel races are beginning to swing many fanciers are thinking about trying long races themselves but if one of the North West Chat Lines is anything to go by most do not have a clue how to go about it.


The pigeon world is notoriously fickle and for the most part governed by the fashion of the day. If questions about long distance racing were asked five years ago the name of Brian Denny would have been one of the first mentioned. Today he hardly gets a mention. Other more fashionable names have replaced him simply because people like to be connected with fashion and what commonly is being talked about.


If there is one thing that everyone should learn it is to not be distracted by fashion because fashion is a poor substitute for genuine research based on meaningful results where the difficulty of the race is known and the standard of competition is also known. Here in the UK we have a decided advantage when it comes to finding real long distance pigeons simply because ours on the South Road have to fly across the sea to get home. This sea crossing acts as a weeding process to all pigeons that have to fly it. This weeding process becomes more extreme the further into France the liberation happens to be simply because as the pigeons fly through France the flocks gradually get smaller so by the time the pigeons have to cross the sea the flocks are reduced to perhaps one or two pigeons. Only pigeons that are prepared to fly and cross  alone succeed under these circumstances. Other countries do not enjoy these conditions where the course, by it’s nature,  finds quality and natural ability.


So, the conclusion to all this is to do your research in detail before buying but if at the same time you can buy and as a bonus get some good advice from the same person then you should be up and running on the right path but you still have a long way to go.


Long distance conditioning is based on a plan and a method  - the method whether it be widowhood - ‘Round about' or a mixture of the two should be designed to get your team in top fitness for your Target race. Fitness combined with motivation for the target race is the basis of all plans.


This plan, if it is executed correctly, should also demonstrate the degree of fitness the team is in at any one time up to and including your target race. Fitness or condition is a  developing process of gradual improvement. Improvement is visible and noticeable to the fancier himself. There are various sign that give us a clue. If the pigeons fly high in the sky when exercising that is a sure sign - if the pigeons begin to range - that is another - if the pigeons begin to flick about with excess energy as they fly that is yet another but the willingness and the want to fly  is a basic necessity. All these signs merge gradually as the team gets fitter. The signs can be noted one by one at each stage. The whole process in summer months usually takes four weeks but the weather, warm or cold - rain or sun, can and does have an effect on timing.


Of course the real necessity is to have good pigeons. What you want especially in National and International races is to have individuals that are able to navigate alone and do not mind flying on their own as opposed to those pigeons that are only comfortable flying within a flock.

Flock pigeons are abundantly more common than individual navigators. This ability can only be demonstrated in actual races. From my experience pigeons that have the ability to navigate alone can do so from the yearling stage of their lives and this facility stays with them for their whole career.


One type of pigeon that demonstrates this facility more than any other are those rare politically unusual birds that are awarded an NFC Certificate of Merit. These pigeons do not have to win outright in every race they enter but the sheer consistency of their performances is a clear indication of what I am talking about. The Certificate of Merit idea was a sophisticated idea  that somehow got through the system the first prize ideas that dominate British thinking.


If you have the financial resources to obtain progeny from such birds jump at the chance but alas they hardly ever come onto the market and for the most part do not get much publicity, nevertheless, as I said at the beginning of this article try to avoid 'media fashion' and local chat when making decisions about buying stock and instead concentrate on consistent results by individual pigeons. It is from these kinds of pigeons future champions will descend. Owning and racing a such pigeons is always going to be an absolute joy that will go down in pigeon history when first prize winners are long forgotten. In my local area Tommy Carr’s Red Cock was such a pigeon. ‘Pigeon History’ not pigeon fashion is really what the sport should be all about.