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Back to Basics The Loft Set Up





by John Ghent

Welcome back! I am sure you have all been very busy ridding the garden of the Versele Laga corn, ordering your beans from the farm for next year, outing your self-cleaning nest boxes and cutting back to the best 12 pigeons that you have... well, maybe not but from the emails I have had some of you are already at this stage and have no need to change to get "Back to Basics". In this issue of the series we are going to take a look at some loft set-ups which will suit the basic style of racing, aiming at extreme distance or marathon, mainly Palamos, Barcelona and Perpignan as well as Tarbes, Pau and St Vincent.

My set up

Palatial palaces are not required for pigeons. My own set up has varied several times already in the short time I have been back in the hobby but I think I have finally cracked it. A simple two-section set up, one self-built trap on the front which with an anti-cat flap allowing 24/7 open hole, a little more garden than I had previously and I feel much happier. There is ample room for the 30-40 pigeons which I have at the minute as you will see from the photos attached.

Another fancier who keeps it simple is Bill Young from the Isle of Sheppey. Bill likes things nice and easy and races to a 10x6 loft on open hole. Bill tells me has just put up a small 6x4 stock loft to house 3/4 pairs of stock. Bill races with the BICC in the Internationals and tells me for the last two years he has focused on Pau and Agen. With results such as 39th BICC Agen in 2014 and in 2012 Bill won 76th Agen and 92nd Pau. In 2015 Bill is hoping to have a crack at Barcelona with the BICC with his small team of long distance warriors!

Bill's loft

Now here's one for you, Les Jones. Why do I say that? Well, some you of pigeon stattos will remember the Jones name as Les topped the NFC from Bordeaux in 2006. Since then, two nippers have come along, Les' work hours have increased and the birds have had to take a back seat. We all know that once the bug is there it is hard to shift and with the encouragement of the long distance legend that is Marley Westrop, Les re-started with a few select birds and has been building a long distance over the last couple of years or so. He gave away his main racing loft when he cut back in 2009 but kept some old favourites in a 12 x 6 loft which is now the race loft. Using this year as an example, Les kept the cocks and hens split, trained from any direction and then paired up 4 weeks before Tarbes. They had some inland races and 2/3 channel races in preparation except for one hen, then the yearling team went to Tarbes. First pigeon was the yearling hen with no previous channel racing, amazing isn't it, and the result was 6/6, not as quick as Les would like but nevertheless they are all here to fight another day.

Les Jones' loft

Tony Fiorentini is exactly the sort of person that the original article was written for. Tony contacted me to tell me that he was back in the sport after 20 years and had become very disillusioned with it all on his return! The amount of pigeons for sale, medications available and various different methods coupled with some mobility issues for Tony made him wonder if it was all worth it. However, a few little tweaks and Tony is looking forward to embracing 2015, cutting down his numbers with his "unique" style of loft! The photos attached are his prototype, I am really looking forward to seeing the finished article!

Pictured above and below, Tony's unique loft style.

Finally, Ronnie Dodd of Kirkby, Liverpool. The next few words are from Ronnie himself who should be an inspiration for all small team fanciers. "Hi John, Ronnie Dodd here, I'm just contacting you to discuss about the pigeons. I have had pigeons over 40 years and realise that after reading your write up I am in the same situation as yourself. I had 9 old birds to race and 20 young birds for the season. I clocked in the MNFC Bordeaux race from 600 miles and scored 10th Section, 64th Open. My final race I sent to the NFC Young and Old bird national and finished 6th Section, 82nd Open with a yearling hen. Just wanted to let you know you're not on your own."

Ron's certificate

Well Ronnie, the last few weeks have proven to me that I am not alone and maybe there is still some life out there for us simple fanciers, who sit in hope on a warm July evening, just waiting. Waiting for the single entry to alight on the loft to make the season one to remember.

So this little article shows that small is beautiful, you don't need a lot of pigeons to succeed at the distance and next time we are going to take a look at some of the methods used by fanciers past and present on the "Back to Basics" regime.

For now, that's your lot, apart from this.

"Going back to basics strengthens your foundation."


John Ghent

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83, Newport Street




Elimar - December 2014