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My Barcelona Dream Part 15

My Barcelona Dream Part 15

This article was written just after the Dublin Show in November 2017. It wasn’t sent off immediately as I was planning to add to it. That is not going to happen now so here it is. Its already time for the first article of 2018 any way and we are in the run up to the Blackpool Show. I would like to start by wishing you all a Happy New Year and Best Wishes for the coming 2018 Season Breeding and Racing.

So a week after the Dublin Show. I have been reflecting on the experience and comparing to how things went last year. Last year the birds were bred too late for sale at such a show and also bringing birds still going through the moult and still squeaking in some cases. This happened simply due to my inexperience and naivete about what fanciers want. I did think it would be a no brainer and that as fanciers were looking for my birds they would buy regardless. The birds brought this were a far cry from last year and in all fairness I did agree with comments made about the youngsters brought last year. So a lesson learned and a successful show this year. I look forward to the experience next year and will hopefully breed some for sale again. For those who bought birds at the Dublin Show from my stand I am thankful and wish you all the best with the birds you got and hopefully they will breed some successful birds for yourselves. I did not sell all the birds in fact I sold half. I myself am quite happy with this and had the prices marked for all to see. Some thought to expensive others thought they were worth the money and paid. I myself set the price I thought they were worth and was happy that they sold for it. It’s all a learning curve for me and I will make some changes next year. But the age and type of bird will be exactly the same.

And so the focus is back on that time of year we all love which is breeding. For me my linebreeding program is in full swing. This year I will have 4 lines that are all going at the same time being line bred from performance pigeons that have flown the Barcelona International. These are the Padfield’s Invincible line, Frank Kay, Marco Wilson, Polish Connection and the Donaldsons as well as Louella Aardensand birds from John Halstead I will be developing all as families. So in actual fact 7 lines that will be bred from performance pigeons from 710 miles out to 1000 miles. It’s all patience with breeding programs. You have to wait and see how each generation of youngsters  come on and when they are yearlings you do what you can to pick the best to be used for the line. In this for me the most important is that I am looking at the shape and size as much as the character of the birds. Remember these yearlings are only in the breeding lofts for 6 months and then back on the road. This means it is critical that I pick the best I can with the others being raced and these that are in the stock lofts join the race team for the 2 year old stage. Some may see this as a mistake and that the birds have to be raced in order to pick the best for the breeding programs. Well I would point to all the exceptional champion breders that are oout there that have never seen a basket. We have to remember that many roads lead to Rome and that this is simply my way. I do one day hope to be using in the breeding program birds that have flown at least 600 miles. Eventually I would love, as the aim, to have one having completed Barcelona in race time for breeding. Untill this point I will work with what I have. All the birds bred have the genes I require which means they can be passed on. In this regard as mentioned my job id to pick the best I possibly can to use breeding from what is bred. I have not planned to bring in many this year but I have brought in 4. 1 of which is the check seen in the pohots in the article here. He is a sont of Nic Harvey’s Musgrove Persistent, 5 x Barcelona. An early bred youngster from 2017 but already handles well. He is on loan from Nic so I think I will be putting him on a bull system through the year to all the related hens. The others that have come in are here due to a bereavement. The were selected because of the lineage. They would be from the Brian Denny Lines of Tuff Nutt. So all in all looking forward to the breeding.

I am at present housing about 80 birds oldbirds and young flying out. I have a good number of each line to hopefully pull out thebest I can for the breeding program. I know to date at the start on december some peoplehave already paired up and are breeding and ringing youngsters at the start of december as the rings for 2018 have been released early. For me this is not an issue yet. I am at present designing new colapsable boxes for the stock section. I am doing this as this year I removed the boxes because I had planned to change them. Then I put both cocks and hens in the section and left them be. They have ben there now for nearly 2 months now and my stock section is like and avery with a cover on. On one end it is fully wire and closed on all sides with the wind howling through. The birds are in such condition that I decided to design collapseable boxes so that in coming seasons I can do exactly the same and leave the birds be to get on with things. I will hopefully have this done for the next article and will show some photos. At present and as always they are fed to appetite however they are now an 60% barley in the mix as are all the birds and are in, as I said, exceptional condition. So once the boxes go in this month I will be all set to let the cocks pick out their boxes and all will be there young cocks and old to select tthemselves. Once all settled I hope by the time Blackpool comes around I will then be ready to pair. So going forward breeding will be a good time and then as we must thoughts will turn to racing if theyhave not already.

I have done nothing but think about the racing  for 2018 and am already planing for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Some of you may think this rediculous but for me it is a must wht the long term goal in mind. Pplans have developed and been changed over the last couple of years from the birds to be raced all pushed on and on to naw really taking a more reaxed approach. I have come to the conclusion that the birds that are going to be able to the the mammoth from Barcelona to Ireland either have it or not. My job then is to make sure I get them to that stage by not simply throwing them away on the Irish sea which I feel I did this year at St Malo and the Miller gold Cup. So moving forward the plan is now, and can be changed again if I want, youngsters will not be raced except for the few I may or may not train and get ready for nationals. Yearlings apart form those used in the stocklofts for 6 monthe will all be raced to skibbereen and half of these will then be split in three teams to send to the 3 French races, the Miller Gold Cup, the Friendship National and the Kings Cup. I would think there will be about 5 sent to eacrh of these races. 2 year olds including those that have finished the yearling stage and those removed from the stock lofts again will be raced out to Skibbereen. Then 10 of this overall team will be sent to Poiters with the BICC. I have also decided if I am able to have a go at Le Mann a month after this. So fingers crossed I can pull this off. In only sending hald the team of each year to the required distancesit will mean I have some birds always coming through the years in order to eventually have a crack at Barcelona and the other Internationals. At 3 year old again half will be sent to Barcelona hopefully and again half being held back till the following year. This then over the 3 or 4 years will allow me then to build a team of relativetly untested but birds that will have had race experience. Some may see this as folly and in some ways it may be. I know from my experience growing up in Ireland and racing into france from here that I could easily send all my yearlings or 2 yr olds to the 3 mentioned French races and loose them all or only get one or 2 home. Then that leaves me with lss of a team to bring to the next stage. However with this way I have mentioned I will always have birds that reach that stage and can then always do my best by them to get them fit enough for the task. Some will say they need experience of crossing water first. I personally do not believe that as we know as long as they are fit healthy and are bred for the job that the further we go the more difficult it becomes no matter what experirnce the birds have had before this. Added to this is the fact that most extreme distance birds get very little racing in their carreers up to the distance events. Why shoud the birds sent from Ireland be any different. So with that in mind some of the birds I aim at the internationals although have experience racing will not have seen either of the channels they will have to cross. It will be an interesting comparison from here to see which succeed first, those with the experience or those that know home is that direction regardless of what is underneath them.

So the breeding plans are set up. Pairings are done in my head and I know what birds will be paired to what, for the most part. So its onwards we go to the the Blackpool show and meeting a few of you lovely fanciers I have had the pleasure of being in contact with over the last couple of seasons. Something I must say I am looking forward to. A few pints and a lot of chat as well as the look around to see the different offers available. I myself am not going to buy birds and have only just had only birds coming this year arrive however you never know where it will go when you arrive. In the next column I will lay out the matings and then discuss racing and the method I will be using. I will not do it now as to be honest I’m not sure what way to do it? Natural, roundabout or what? or maybe a mix of both? The pictures are one of the set yp for the show in Dublin in Novenmber. Have to say I had a great day chatting and also selling a few birds. The check in the picture is already mentioned and lastly the Pied Cock is a 2014 bred bird that is a Grandson of Padfields Invincible and also a double great Grandson of Invincible Spirit that has been kept for stock.

Until next time

Michael

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