My Barcelona Dream Part 10
We are now heading into deep winter a time when most fanciers are looking towards the mating of their birds around Christmas time. For me it’s a little reflection time on how to move forward with the Barcelona Dream. It is surly a time to take a step back and contemplate the mistakes of the last season and if you can pinpoint where you went wrong you can remove this mistake from future plans. For me this year was a real learning curve in more ways than one. Let’s take the most recent event that may still be fresh in some minds. This would be the Dublin Show. I spent some time advertising through articles and also on Facebook. I am not a big stud and really have limited birds available. For me the Dublin Show was a first time attempt at selling birds. Although I have been attending most of my life as a spectator. I had built up a lot of excitement in myself about having a stall and it came down to a real low. I have been thinking about this over the last couple of weeks and feel there are several reasons for it.
I will offer my own ignorance and inexperience as the main reasons. I assumed that with the interest in these birds fanciers would be happy to buy them and take a chance with the birds no matter the age. This by far was my biggest mistake and one I will not repeat again. Most assuredly a learning experience. Most if not all the birds I had at the show for sale were too young to spark the interest of fanciers. Honestly if I think about this I actually fully agree. When buying a bird you like to have an attraction to how it looks first. Then you may handle it and if you are satisfied with it from here you may part with your hard earned cash. In most cases, for my birds, this was not the case, simply because these birds were too young to first give the confidence to a fancier to want to handle them and others were still in the body moult again not offering this confidence to fanciers. Whilst talking to fanciers throughout the day this came to be the most common thing mentioned to me. Birds in these sales have to be in tip top form and also ready to mate. Most fanciers at this time of year are looking to bring in new introductions for the stock team and this is not what I was offering. Like I said lesson learned. I may have a go next year I do not know yet, however birds that I bring out then, if I do, will be well matured and ready to go hoping to inspire some fanciers to part with their hard earned cash.
As a reason for this happening my inexperience led me to breed birds too late in the season for sale and for the use of other fanciers. I included would have come to my stall and felt that these birds were not right for sale. Too late to breed from and then too late to be raced as yearlings. This all means they would have to be left to mature until at least April or May before they would be of any use to fanciers. So lesson learned I will be moving on from this with a round of extremely late bred birds that will even in my loft have to be left to mature a bit before going on the road. So my immediate plans for these birds is as follows; they will be left to mature and fly out with the other birds in the loft. They will then be trained from April onwards to give some fitness and will have 2 races before being stopped. These will hopefully be 120 miles and 170 miles and whatever returns will be left until the following year. This is something I am looking forward to now also. I have never had so many late bred birds or birds bred so late. This will be interesting. And as with everything this plan may change.
As disappointed as I am about how the sale went I was actually delighted to chat with so many fanciers. It was nice to put faces to the names that I have been chatting to over mail and Facebook and also txt. As well as that there was a lot of talk about the difficulty in getting birds to time from Barcelona to Ireland. Whilst I have to say I understand most people’s misgivings about sending birds to Barcelona from Ireland this does not deter me. In fact it spurs me on. I know that this may take some years to develop the type of bird capable of enduring this task. Make no mistake this is an endurance test for the birds not just a race. My aim is not to win this race, the main aim is to have birds return in race time, aiming at 4 days. This will be difficult enough as it is. Into the U.K. this can be done at 2 days I think it is reasonable to hope for 4 days. It will be done ..in time.
On a more positive note I’m sure after all the reflecting and changes and also new introductions fanciers bring in preparations are hard under way for mating. Hoping that next year a special youngster may be produced. I am no different in this regard although I am making changes to how I am operating through the breeding season. I will not be using the BULL system for my main breeding program this year. I will be mating all birds up to produce nothing but grandchildren of Barcelona performers for racing use. This will be done in family lines. The Musgrove birds will all be mated in such a way that all again are grandchildren of performers out of Barcelona from the lofts of Nic Harvey of Taunton. Thanks to Nic my most recent introduction is a young cock bred out of Musgrove Insanity (3 time Barcelona) x a son of Musgrove Persistent (4 times Barcelona). The bloodlines in the loft are only improving. This cock will be paired on the bull system for 2 rounds with only 2 or 3 hens. It will not be used on all hens. I will produce about 30 birds of Musgrove decent for use in the lofts. From here I will use the children of Padfield’s Invincible and pair them to their nieces and nephews that are double grandchildren of Padfield’s Invincible. Again I will have about 30 to 40 of these. There is 2 pair of birds from John Halstead and I have been recently informed by John that a sister to one of the hens topped the section for him this year. Frank Kay birds from Yorkshire I have 2 pair. Two of which are full brother and sister to Frank’s second bird from Tarbes this year. These will be paired to a sister to his first bird from Tarbes and her present mate will be paired to the hen of the nest pair. Again I will be looking to produce about 20 of these. This amongst others such as Dave Delae’s birds and the Polish Connection will give a good strong youngster team to back up the coming yearlings.
For me pairing will be around the end January to mid February. I’m looking forward to this immensely and will relax and enjoy it. Pairing for me is a good time and a time when I encounter little to no problems because of the system I use. Also I am confident of the parentage of the young produced because the birds do not mix until eggs are laid. At this point fertile eggs are fertilised by the wanted sire. Ensuring parentage is important to me because I like to be 100% sure what line the youngsters are from and not a guess. In this way if a good bird is produced its full lineage can be traced back in the known line. In some cases the assumed sire may not be the actual sire and this for me can be problematic.
Until next time
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