What a year we are having, not only in the pigeon world but life in general, the lockdown is affecting a lot of people more than they are letting on. We are fortunate in as much as we run the Elimar site all the year round so there is always something going on. Also, with talking to so many people we get an idea of how people are feeling. We have both had our jabs, so they are out of the road and I have to say I am pleased that we were not affected by them as others have been.
Where are we up to with pigeon racing, well there is no point in saying too much because that can change from one week to the next. I do know that there are a lot of fanciers training, and with the good spell of weather we had in April this was the ideal opportunity to get them on the road. I know it has not been as warm as we would like for training but at least it is possible to get some done, probably more than enough to get them into the early races. I was talking to a fancier from Belgium, and he was saying if it were left up to the Belgium’s they would let us race from there, but the French are a different people who do not like the English. I was amused to hear a fancier saying that he is not going to drink anymore French wine as his personal protest to what they are doing to stop our pigeon racing. There are some good wines made here in the UK now, they are rated much higher than they used to be.
I am hoping that everything is sorted for the young bird season. Going back to training I hear that some of the Southern fanciers are already training for the north road but are being hit by BOP which as expected is not going down very well. We, the pigeon world, are not having a very good spell at the moment, let’s hope things start to pick up before too many start to pack up.
Hi Les. Just been re-reading a wonderful book, 'Pigeon Racing & Widowhood Our Way' by Ken Kippax. He expressed his opinions and seemingly preference for 'any age' races as opposed to just young bird races only. I was intrigued by this and had mixed feelings about it but, (to me), it would depend on whether we see young bird racing as education or proper full-on racing? Any thoughts, Les? Thanks. Keith.
Hi Keith. Everything young needs educating, and it is those who won't be educated who mainly fail in life, there are a few who come good in later life but percentage wise not many. No matter what you look at they are all the same whether people or animals and there are a lot of different species in the animal world. They all need educating and in pigeon racing it is those who educate them when they are young and in the best way who win. You can make it too easy on young birds through any age training and racing and this can lead to "Followers" those who can only follow the rest and there are a lot of those about, but they enjoy what they are doing and that means it is less stressful and more enjoyable as a hobby. Regards. Les.
Hi Les. Thanks for your thoughts. On re-reading this I was originally with you on being too lenient on young birds but reflecting on it today and in light of the number of losses there are in both young and old bird racing, I feel if a few old birds were showing them the ropes it could perhaps be beneficial? (I'd try it, personally). Mind, back in the seventies when I had birds, we didn't have the vast array of ailments that seem to be prevalent today or the BOP problems in the numbers faced by our birds today. I am half tempted to try 6 or 7 cocks on widowhood in my retirement just to give it another go, not sure it would go down well with my current neighbours, sadly. I read you are up and running again with pigeons, I knew you would, it was only a matter of time. Regards Keith.
Hi Keith. You will find big changes to those of the 70’s and change is what keep’s the world moving, stand still and you are left behind in everything we do and not just pigeons. As we get older, we find that technology keep’s overtaking most of us pensioners and we rely more and more on the younger generation of our families to sort things out. Also, as we get older it becomes harder to change and you do not remember some detail as we would like. The world as a mass is getting bigger all the time, but it is becoming smaller through technology which makes everything more accessible, order today you have it tomorrow in most cases, so we move on. I believe some pigeons also move on because as they get older, they learn the ropes in racing home, they learn to pace themselves as many of the human race do in distance racing. Like the human population a few pigeons as young birds learn the game much quicker in the same way as our younger generation do, we cannot all be the same. As we know families of pigeons can be in the hands of a patient fancier who breeds them to cover distances and that fancier becomes known as a distance fancier. We also have sprint to middle distance fanciers who teach their pigeons to be fast by training hard from the word go. If you swapped those lofts around by giving the distance fancier that team of sprint birds to look after, 9 times out of 10 they would fail. This also applies to the sprint fancier with the team of distance birds, it is all about the breeding and work that fancier’s put into their pigeons, distance pigeons do not need so much training. Most of what we do is all about education but as we know in life there are those who are the exception to the rule. From time to time when we are racing, we come across a pigeon winning where we least expected it too, but they do. Going back into the 80’s we had a pigeon called “Joe 90” he was a chequer Krauth bred around 400/600ml plus pigeons. There were 3 brothers’, but “Joe 90” was different from the other two, he started winning from the start and went out up to 350mls, what you would call a sprint to middle distance pigeon. He was the best pigeon I have ever had at that distance and could be relied on year after year, that is until the cat clawed right down his back. He had the perfect line coming into the town and he always came down Warmingham Lane, unlike most pigeons that come over the salt factory and then across into Middlewich. Being from the Krauth family they were brought in for the channel races, so it was a surprise to see this cock come good. His two brothers were 2nd & 3rd Niort 480mls on the same day with only 4 in race time, one of them was also the best yearling in the Fed out of Nantes 412mls a couple of years earlier. The end of that year we moved so they did not get another chance to race which was just one of those things that happen in life. “Joe 90” was a different pigeon from the other two and he had what was called a “Hollow Back” by one member when he marked him as a young bird. The other two were more like the distance pigeons I have been used to handling over the years. The sire was the “North Road Cock” from David Johnson of Audlem. We had seen David around and he asked us to go and see his pigeons, so one Sunday morning we popped over to take a look. The first pigeon I set my eyes on was the “North Road Cock” so asked to handle him, as soon as he was in my hands, I looked at Elizabeth. I saw David smile and he then told me he had won 12 x 1sts and raced both the north and south routes winning both ways. We looked at more of the pigeons and Elizabeth asked if she could handle the “North Road Cock” so David caught him again. I was surprised when Elizabeth asked David if he would sell him, she looked at me and smiled, she knew I wanted the pigeon, I was about to ask David how much he wanted for him and Elizabeth beat me to it. David mentioned a price which in those days I thought was a bit high, but between them they agreed, and she said that was a present for me. Elizabeth asked if I had a hen to pair it too which I had, she was a good length blue hen from Malcolm Hewitt. Anyway, the point being that if pigeons are bred for the distance, they will in general do it but pigeons for the sprint to middle distance need more educating and that is through training. At the end of the day people have their own way’s of educating their pigeons, some do better than other’s which is always going to be the case no matter what we do in life.
Les J Parkinson. 11 Rushton Drive, Middlewich, Cheshire, CW10 0NJ.