My Barcelona Dream Part 18
A small correction from my last article. It said Part 18 but in fact it was 17 so apologies for that. So??.
?. the excitement and build up continues for the race aimed at this year. As you all know I am aiming at Poitiers with the BICC this year and it’s all go. I will come back to how this is going later.
It’s only been a short time since the last article. But things as you know move fast and lots happens over a short space of time. Firstly, lets update on the disaster that was in my stock section first. I knew from the outset this year that I had far too many birds in the section with 38 pairs. Even though I knew this I just carried on and resulting with a lot of issues in birds settling to where their nests are etc. The issues were mainly from the hens after having laid and not knowing exactly where their own box was etc. The result being that when going into the wrong box mayhem happened. Eggs broken being the worst and honestly very little injuries. Thankfully injury because of fighting was my biggest worry about this but got luckily away and only broken eggs as mentioned. As this was an ongoing problem for about 3 to 4 weeks after pairing I simply gritted my teeth and got on with it. On looking back and thinking about it really, we all know there are too many birds in the section however as it has settled now a different approach to settling should have been used. In all honesty I think the cocks had not fully settled themselves to their boxes before the hens were in and the pecking order was not fully established and so the problems of fighting and damaged eggs mentioned happened.
I am happy to say I am through this period and all birds are settled. You can view a video on my YouTube channel with the link if you like. With the birds settled I ended up with 15 youngsters that have been given out and the now have 23 hatched in the next round of which probably 10 will be sent out as promised. To add to this, I have repaired all the others and have 20 pairs laying eggs at present and this will be most of my young bird team. I will when the 23 mentioned are weaned be doing the bull system with about 8 hens. These hens are from the Nic Harvey birds I have and will be all be put to a cock out or Musgrove Persistent (5x Barcelona). I also have a rather special intro arriving shortly but will write more about this in coming articles. These youngsters will mostly be kept but I also did promise a friend a couple so will give him them from these specifically. I am aiming to have breeding finished by end July early august and am planning to breed a few to sell at the shows again. I had a great response last year when I went after a disaster the first time and would like to do it again.
I may also do another show that is held a few weeks after the Dublin show in Lisburn and would see how that went as well. So, with breeding all settled, and things finally going well and can let them get on with it and focus on the build-up to Poitiers with the BICC on the 9th June.
Plans are all go here for the preparation of these birds. Firstly, I have to say I have never attempted 565 miles with pigeons in my life mostly because in Ireland our feds in Dublin do not have races of that distance. Some of the fanciers in Northern Ireland have and do regularly fly near enough this distance for their locations.
I joined the BICC and am delighted to be taking part for the first time this year. I received my pack a few weeks back thanks to Carol Francis. When I was reading through it I got a fierce shock. I have been spouting on about doing Barcelona International over the last 3 years at a distance of 850miles. Honestly, I got this measurement from a friend who lives not far from me who mentioned he had distances done for himself. He lives about 2 miles from my house. I was going through my measurements from Carol and the BICC and my jaw dropped when I discovered my true measurement is 916 miles from the Barcelona race point. Just let me state for the record I was flummoxed that I was now not asking the birds to do 850 plus whatever dog legging etc. they do en-route to home it was actually 916 miles plus the doglegging. I would estimate that in total for one of my birds to get in from the Barcelona International it would actually fly more than 1300 miles. Anyway, after the initial 5 mins of shock my mind went back to the mind blowing achievement that would be and the drive is even more there. So back to Poitiers.
Preparation to date has been as follows. The cock birds were given about 2 trainers approx. 50 miles and the hens got 5 I think from 50 to 70 miles.
The cocks have had 4 races to date Thurles (88miles ish), Pilmore Beach (120miles ish), Mallow (130miles ish) and Castletown (180miles ish). The hens have had 3 races as all the above except the first one. I have not trained the birds midweek since up to this 4th race. The birds have then been paired up after this and the hens were laying eggs for the 5th race so I did not send. The birds were loft flying every day and the Poitiers birds that were paired up were great to watch chasing each other around the lofts. The other birds that were not paired were maintained on roundabout for 2 more weeks and have now been paired up also and will race the next races as such.
As with most naturally raced birds I have decided to do a bit more road training before the big event. They will be trained with local lads through the 2 weeks before from 14 to 28 May on the 31st May my work is taking me a distance of about 100 miles from home. This will be the final toss for the birds before basketing for Poitiers on the 6th June when all should have scalds in the nest. Then it’s up to the birds. I have done what I can and hopefully they are fit and keen enough to come across the 656 miles to home in Dublin from France. The biggest hurdle here will be the 70 or so miles on the last leg for them coming to Dublin. Hopefully the incentive of their young will be enough to bring them on and get home. I would love to see a day bird from this race and it is doable at that distance but again the water can be an issue. More realistic is second day birds for me if any at all. It’s again a big ask of the feathered friends of mine but like I always say fingers crossed a couple are brave enough.
Should I be lucky enough to get some home I may indeed send them back a month later to the Le Mann race and will think about that after I have gotten over the Poitiers first weather success or failure.
As for the birds in the lofts there are at present 8 2yr olds, 3 or 4 for Poitiers and 30 or so yearlings, 4 or 5 for Poitiers. I plan on sending to the Yearling National with the INFC and 3 French races we have here in Ireland also. The Millar Gold Cup, St Malo, The Kings Cup, St Malo and the Friendship National. I will be sending 2 or 3 yearlings to each of these races and feel confident of getting returns from them given the present condition of the birds. So, it really is a case of watch this space.
I am hoping to winter 4 or 5 2yr olds to become 3 next year 2019 to have a crack at Barcelona for the first time. Also, I will have about 20 to 25 yearlings to become 2yr olds. These will be supplemented with about 30 yearlings. With this team I hope to have a crack at a couple of the other internationals as well in the hope of achieving returns in race time. That’s a story for another time however but will happen as plans are already set down by me.
So, with breeding settled and going well finally and preparations for the main race of my season nearly there it’s really exciting I can tell you. I will finish with the inserted photos. These are all of candidates for Poitiers. With some luck and a lot of determination and incentive for them some will make it home. If some of them do there will be unplanned late breds at Safe Haven Lofts from the bird or birds that manage to get home. The first photo is of the Gay Couple as I call them. The cock to the left will be going from this pair. The second is The Cleary Cock. He is from neighbour Peter Cleary. The 3rd and 4th are double grandsons of Padfield’s Invincible. Both 2yr olds so ready to go. The 5th is a pair which are half brother and sister out of Nic’s Addiction. Both are 2yr olds and I think the cock will most definitely be on his way. Lastly is a pair again here is the Cleary Cock and with him is the hen he is paired to and she is from My Louella pair and is full sister to the hen that did so well for me in the Gran Canarias One Loft Race 2017 series.
Until next time
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