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My Barcelona Dream Part12

 

My Barcelona Dream Part 12

 

So we left off with the good news regarding the Gran Canarias OLR that I did well in. These birds were for sale until the 30th May. They did well in the sale but for the task the birds have completed the birds went at very reasonable prices. Upon finishing the birds made various amounts within the auction. The highest being ?1,750 I think and the down. Reasonable prices for the accomplishment of the birds.

 

So it is now mid June. The race I have been aiming for all year is on the 23rd of June. St Malo Miller Gold Cup. The birds have been doing well for me and by that I simply mean they have been returning. The feeding I am doing would not get them to win as all season the aim has been for them to keep their body weight for the Miller Gold Cup upcoming. I started the season with 28 birds for racing after only loosing 2 in training. My training consisted of 4 tosses from 40 miles for the cocks and 7 for the hens. The hens got more only because they did not go to the first race.

 

The birds were allowed to pair naturally from the 15th of March. They were left together for about 3 weeks and those that had eggs and those that did not were then separated. This is where I started to feed for racing and get fit for racing. They were flying around home at this point about the 10th April for about 45mins morning and evenings. Hens and cocks separately. This was as expected and then 2 weeks before the first race the cocks were given 3x40 mile tosses. The following week the hens got the same and then the last 2 days before basketing for the first race hens 1 day and cocks the next. So at this point I was all set to send the team of 28 to the races after only loosing 2 birds in the training. In all honestly I was quite pleased with this as these were mostly late breds and were the birds that were unsold at the Dublin Show due to my own mistakes. Basketing of the Friday night and after handling the birds on the Thursday I was not happy with the hens, their body weight for me was an issue and not wanting to throw them away I decided not to send them. That being said I had 19 cocks to send so still a good team. That race I lost 1 more and as we know the more we send the more likely we are to lose them. From this perspective I only worry about those that get home, even if it is after 3 or 4 weeks, it is the long game that counts here. The race happened and the birds returned, the cocks that did, have received to date no more training. The hens were given 3 more 40 milers the following week before they also raced. And the decision to leave them home the first weekend was definitely the right one as the following week racing against the cocks I had 3 hens home before the first cock. Interesting enough when this happens and really made me think about how sometimes we send birds regardless and not think about the bird itself. For me I am not aiming to loose birds but am aiming to have them return.

 

The birds were then entered into 3 from the following 4 races and then it was to Talbenny 1. To this I sent 19 and had 13 home. That same week then I got back 2 birds that had been missing about 3 and 4 weeks. Both of which still had race rubbers and were filthy. I am hoping that this means they were out for the duration and not in a loft. This for me is what I want. After losing 6 from Talbenny the following week I sent 9 back. I was intending to send 10 but missed 1 so he remained home with 4 others I picked to go directly to St Malo on 23rd June. From Talbenny I got 5 from the 9 sent home and so these will all be going to France giving me a team of 10 in all to send. I have really got a good feeling about these and in honesty expect to get some from France. The problem as we all know is birds into Ireland from French points find it very difficult. I will be surprised if nothing makes it home but really I do want to do well here as this was my aim all year. In preparation for the race from France the birds were allowed to pair for some added motivation and will be sent sitting about 8 to 10 day eggs and some will only be on 4 day eggs. Those hens that do not lay by the Friday before basketing will not be sent. I am hoping that they all do lay, as I would like to be able to send all though. They really look in good condition and also considering the mistakes I made last year they are like very different birds and really are from the same lines all. Hopefully the feeding has been good throughout the year to allow them to achieve the possible.

 

Talking of feeding, throughout the season it has been as follows. I have been using Gerry Plus and Superstar Plus style mixes from the Corn Store here in Dublin. To this I have added cow beans. The mix is done as 2 parts Gerry 2 parts superstar and 1 part beans. 2 or 3 different oils were put on the food and then Vitaminor was added to dry it a little. To this I also added approx. 200gm of Hormoform to it and mixed well. Sunflower Hearts were fed ad hoc to the birds nightly from the 3rd race onwards. They were fed 1 heaped table spoon per bird 2 times daily and as the birds increased in fitness it became difficult to get them to eat this consistent amount. To the point where I found it difficult to get them to eat 1 table spoon full per day each. This is where the hearts were added. The only change in this before the French race is that I am adding peanuts in the week build up to basketing. They will be fed them every 2nd day as much as they want in the evening feed and topped up with their regular mix. Between races the birds received no road training and only were flown about the house daily for exercise. The only day they did not exercise were the day of basketing and the day before. This was carried on right through to the second Tallbenny when allowed to pair after and left on open hole from 6am to 7pm.

 

In all honesty they are really in top shape and I have my own hopes that some of them will as yearlings they will complete the task I have set for them. I have never sent so many or had such high hopes for returns from France but I feel it will be good this year. In the next article in a few weeks I hope I will have some positive news regarding this and will not all be just talk. We do all know how the channel races from the U.K. and France into Ireland simply swallows the birds right up. Here is fingers and toes crossed and good returns next week. When it’s all over the focus then goes on to the youngsters. That is not that I haven’t been looking after them or giving them due care, I have been and as I really have only had 10 youngsters up to 3 weeks ago and now have 50 it is looking very promising this year again.

 

I will tell you more about my plans for them in the next article along with the promised update from the St Malo Miller Gold Cup race.

 

Until next time

Michael

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