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The Mental Processby John Clements 07-02-18

The Mental Process


John Clements


There is a large group of fanciers, perhaps the majority, who do not let their pigeons out during the winter. The reasoning behind this policy is that by controlling their liberty the owner can also control the physical wellbeing of his birds and keep them safe from the cold bleak months of winter.


All this is very well  and is a good idea as far as it goes but as well as the physical condition  there is also a mental condition going on at the same time. Keeping a pigeon locked up  out of harms way does have it’s downsides.  One of the downsides of this locked up winter policy is the protected pigeon is denied the experience of foul weather so when foul weather and difficult conditions do occur (even in summer) the pigeon has little experience of it.


The other downside is perhaps more essential. A pigeon at liberty around it’s loft gradually develops a mental affinity with it’s local environment. . This environmental mental familiarity is the very stuff - more than anything else - that eventually  brings the pigeon home when the going gets tough. Scientists refer to it as imprinting.


Not all pigeons get this mental imprint to the same degree  - certainly not all pigeons get it in such a strong enough way to improve their tenacity during long flights  but without liberty those that can be helped from gaining the  necessary determination are also denied. . Such pigeons  are thus downgraded by their owners to a lesser distance where physical condition alone is enough to bring them home. In really long hard races the physical is not nearly enough. The pigeon needs mental strength as well.