LES J. PARKINSON'S
There is a great deal of discussion about the use of drugs in racing pigeons. The problem is the interpretation of them and they way they are used. I recently had a call from John who is well up on the use of drugs, and when I say drugs I am of course referring to non prescription items. There is a product that we have been using for quite some time but John was telling me that this is not licensed to be used in injection form here in the UK. The problem the every day fancier has is the rules and regulations and in particular the small print that very few of us read anyway whether it is to do with anything that we may come across. The next problem is most fanciers would not even think about whether a product was licensed to inject when it is already being used as a one spot and by the way is legal. I know this line of thought is splitting hairs but if everything is correct there will be someone out there thinking they can get one over on fellow fanciers which I totally disagree with anyway but it does happen. Yes there are products that are licensed to be used one way and it is legal but used another way and it is not. I am sure that the use of drugs in pigeon racing is on the rise, why, because there can be quite a lot of money involved and it is a fact of life, where there is money involved there are people who are going to go to any lengths to get their hands on it. John went on to say that the probable way forward would be to have pigeons tested on race nights for illegal drugs use. However even though I think that is going one step too far after we have prepared our pigeons for a race to test them on a basketing night it could be done without seriously affecting the performance of the pigeon. We could of course have a few pens on clean paper where they could be put for a few minutes prior to basketing for the race and hope that we could get a dropping from them.
One thing I do agree on and that is there is no place from illegal drugs in pigeon racing and by this I mean performance enhancing drugs. I have seen pigeon fancier handle pigeons and comment about the fact that they are aware that the pigeons have been on something; this can come out in the texture of the feathering.
What did come out of the phone conversation was that even the vets do not know everything, mind you when it comes to racing pigeons apart from the well established fanciers who does? Most of what is done by government departments surrounding racing pigeons is done by people who do not have the basic knowledge through experience with racing pigeons. I know through first hand experience what it takes to get pigeons to Australia and having spoken to Mark at the quarantine station the pigeons do show signs of stress when they are blood tested and have been treated in the way the rules say they should be. I think this system is one step too far but we have to stick by the rules and regulations laid down by the authorities.
Going back to the use of products to clear depluming mite my latest email is as follows: "Dear Les, I read your article in the BHW dated 10th January regarding the Irish fancier with mite problem. Forget injecting with ivermectin. The only product that is guaranteed to work is Bennzyl Benzoate which is a cream you can buy cheaply from any chemist. I guarantee that in a few weeks after applying to the area effected which is mostly the breast it will clear up once and for all. I obtained this very useful advice from the book written by Barry McNicholas called Loft Stock and Barrel. I hope this helps your Irish reader. Regards Mike." As we very often find out there is more than one road to Rome.
The Middlewich 5B recently held their AGM when there was a good turnout in fact it was a near full house; anyway the delegates were all re-elected so a quick fly through on that one. There was a minor discrepancy on what was a well presented balance sheet but that was soon sorted and I am confident there will be no problem with that one. There were two propositions that were defeated after a discussion and the meeting was closed. There was a meeting after the AGM when a couple of issues were raised including going back to individual races for the two local clubs. The club will also be having a breeder/buyer to be held on the 23rd March so if you want to enter any then this is a good race to be in. I have had a few conversations with Mark Smith about the local clubs and he was saying that he is going to spend some time looking at the way forward for the Middlewich 2B a club that Mark like his late father is keen on. In recent years Mark has been taking a lot of interest in the club and like his buddy Robert Carson is keen on making moves forward for the local fanciers, in all fairness there are a few who go that extra yard or two to keep the local clubs going. For the other local club the Middlewich FC I had already secured £75 per race prior to this meeting for the four channel races and with the birdage fees it should get to the £100 per race mark which is not bad for the local club. The sponsorship is from the Kinderton Hotel in the town and Elimar Pigeon Services. So who knows who else will come on board?
Another club that has come under discussion recently is the North West Classic Club and Chris Knowles was also telling me that he is rejoining the club. I was talking to Secretary Mark Cliffe, this was after I had heard about his car accident and his better half Laura who had been in hospital. Mark was telling me what had happened and that they were both getting back to normal and we wish them well. Mark was also telling me about the future events for the club starting with the AGM that will be mid to late February and he tells me that everything will be out shortly. There is also the prize presentation that will be held at the Kinderton Hotel on the 15th March so if you want to have a good night out where there is good food then call Mark Cliffe or any of the officials for a ticket. There will be more news on this in my next notes because the two Mark’s are calling at the Kinderton to sort out what they are going to set up for the evening. Also Mark has provisionally booked rooms for those who want to have a good night and stay over without any problems of having a few drinks and driving. It's this activity that is getting me more and more interested in the local club flying and last year apart from three channel races we had a go at the Middlewich FC and that is probably what will happen this year. I am also considering not flying in the NFC this year in fact that is 99.9% not going to happen which is even surprising me because that has been my main club to compete in for most of the last 12yrs. But considering a few months ago I was not planning on racing this year, even though I was pleased with them last year for some reason I am now looking at the pigeons in much the same way that I used to 20yrs ago. Once the racing season has finished there is a lot that goes through our minds and changes are very often on our minds.
Still in the local area I have the race programme for the South West Cheshire Fed which starts on the 19th April at Cheltenham with a couple of points not yet set but will be in the same area. The following races are from Mangotsfield/Bath, Frome, Wincanton, Yeovil, Portland, Mangotsfield/Bath and Carentan on the same day. Wincanton, Frome & Fougeres again on the same day, Yeovil, Mangotsfield/Bath & Messac, Frome, Mangotsfield & Niort which completes the old bird programme. The young birds start on the 26th July from Tewkesbury then 2 x Cheltenham, 2 x Mangotsfield/Bath, Frome, Yeovil and ends on the 13th September from Portland. This is a good programme for the young birds and I always remember a fancier from the past once saying to me “The young birds are not yours until they have raced from one of the coastal race points to here in the North West” That was something that did not happen in the MFC last year but needs to happen this year no matter how many birds are entered.
Photos taken at the Macclesfield show and presentation day - courtesy of Chris Knowles
Roger Bowers and Paul Beck
This pencil w/f won old cocks for Paul Beck
Roger Bowers and Chris Knowles
Chequer cock, winner of the young birds class
Phil who now looks after the stock birds is really keen on the pigeons now and I was talking to him about what he is going to do this year. He was saying that his dad Peter had mentioned about going round and helping with the pigeons in Long Lane but Phil is a bit like me in as much as if they are not in my own back garden I don’t have the same interest. So Phil is looking forward to racing young birds in Cross Lane so there will be another loft where there are three generations of fanciers racing pigeons in the club. He was also telling me that the stock birds are hatching well and looking forward to watching them grow.