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Parkinson L J 26-01-18

Parkinson. LJ 

Many years ago, most of the then older fanciers in the sport would say "You should let nature take its course" referring to the breeding season. Some would go as far as to say, "I only pair up when the crows are building at the top of the tree's" referring to the height that they build their nests, this being an indication that the weather was changing for the better. When I was young I would hear all sorts from the older generation and probably today's younger members of our society are hearing the same and many years down the road will be spreading the same or similar messages. You don't take that much notice of them until you become a member of the older generation finding yourself saying those very same things as the years roll on. There were a few that my father used to say but in a world of political correctness they are better left in the past even though they were funny at the time. "Political correctness" yes, a couple of words that mean so much to many yet cause so much conflict between people. We now have a world where you can say something quite innocently but there is always someone listening in who will be offended and blow it up out of all proportion, most people are so hyped up. Then there are those who complain because they want to make a name for themselves and there are a lot of those about. Don't know how they would have gone on 40yrs ago when most people were more relaxed about life. Anyway, that's enough on that subject we are better staying with pigeons which are in general less of a problem, or at least they can be.

The seasons have changed that much, does it really matter how early we pair the pigeons up. In the modern day of racing pigeons there are even young birds ready to move in late December and I thought I was early in the 80's when we were waiting for rings the second week in January. I remember one year the weather was really bad and we ended up going to Bob Hall at Knutsford on a cold very foggy night because his club rings had arrived and ours had not. The fog was really thick we were going along at a snail’s pace, I think it would have been faster to have walked. As the years went on I started to only breed early off the stock birds if they were for someone else and I would have mine in April. As my years have increased I have looked back and thought about all those years of having lights in the loft and going into the lofts with a torch in all weathers to make sure they were all covering the young birds after the lights had gone out. The young birds used to race well but as yearlings too many were lost which is why I started to have mine out of later rounds. Over the years I did find that I lost far fewer birds by breeding that bit later than those bred over Christmas and into the New Year. It was a similar case in 02 when I used the darkness system for one of only two occasions, the young birds looked a picture, as far as that year was concerned the only difference was there were so many feathers knocking about at the start of the summer. Then as yearling's they were OK but as soon as I put them across the channel which is what I raced for they went down one after another. When I looked in the loft after racing that year there was one yearling hen left and she had not been across the water. It's all right rearing early young for what is a natural darkness but with the current darkness system you don’t need to breed early. If all you want are the shorter races the system is OK but when you are aiming for the long distance’s I have found that the two don't mix as well as they need to, that is unless you have the space to keep them to one side for 12 months. I always wanted to get the yearlings out to about 350mls and then as 2yo's I could send them to the likes of Tarbes nearly 700mls.  

Going back to Gold Ring races I was talking to Adrian about the best way to run such races and he was saying that they have a very good race. What they do is have a £5 ring instead of £10 because this gives the fanciers more encouragement to buy rings but also gives a bigger chance of getting more to the final race with more fanciers entering. There are so many good young bird races about if you are just chasing money and that’s what these young bird races are about. I am still thinking that too many pigeons are ruined through chasing money in the end of season young bird Gold Ring races. Having said that the sensible fancier is careful and only pushes a percentage of the young bird team to the bitter end. This then allows them to retain another team and look after them in their efforts to establish a good old bird race team, a team that have not been pushed too hard and not been turned off putting in good performances later in life through too many times in the basket. These are things we can write about each year and hope that a few pointers help fanciers to go forward and look after their young birds in a positive way because they are the future of any loft. We all have our own ideas of what we want to do with the pigeons, but the art of winning is searching through all the information and putting a system together that suits you. You must make sure that you can work the system to the hours in the day that you have available. Then it is not hard work because if it is you will soon get fed up going to the loft every day and not achieve the results that you were hoping for at the turn of the year, consistency is what we need. We all start off with good intentions of what we are going to do, the point being is those who stick to it are more often than not the winners. The only time you will know if your New Year’s ambitions have been reached is when the last race of the season is flown. Then when you get to that stage you should be looking after the pigeons and making sure they have a good moult because that's when your following season starts. Whatever we do in life is a never-ending circle and we are always looking for more. With the darkness system some fanciers appear to get them through a good moult while other’s end the season with some carrying nest flights and that is not what they need.

I had a call from Kerry Reid at the Royal Cheshire Show informing me that my name had been put forward to take care of the pigeon section. When anything like this happens, I do ask what happened to the previous person who did the organising. I was told that unfortunately after two months of trying they could not make contact and needed to get things moving. My next question was, "Can you send me the agenda" so Kerry emailed me the programme, which was a bit of a surprise. When I looked at it my first thought was, "what a lot of classes there are". Straight away I thought the way forward was to reduce those numbers and make prize money better, but I would need to look at what they were doing first before I do anything. It looks like prize money is 1st £1.50, 2nd £1, 3rd 70p, it crossed my mind that the days of having that kind of prize money was when I first started in the 60's in fact it was probably better prizes even in those days. However, I do think there are far too many classes and if they were cut down they could pay more out. I am left wondering if there are so many classes that they expect them to attract more entries into the show. When you think about it these shows are where we should have a good turn out because there are so many people in attendance. We need to show off what we have in the pigeon world and shows such as this are where we need to be but as with everything else it is finding the people to do it. We will have to see what happens but if the previous organiser does not do it we shall look at the show and who knows what else I will let myself in for. This Show has the title “Royal” and they don’t all achieve that in a lifetime. 

Les J Parkinson.

11 Rushton Drive,



CW10 0NJ.

Tel: 01606836036 or Mobile 07871701585.

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