My Barcelona Dream Part 13
The Millar Gold Cup and my plans is where we left off and have to say things did not go well. I left for holidays myself 5 days before marking for the race I have been aiming for all season. The one I wanted to do well in with all up to that point about wing time for the birds. All the preparation was in place the birds had paired up nicely and were all except 1 pair sent on 8 to 10 day eggs. I left the care of the birds to a very good friend of mine and he followed the same routine I did until marking. For this I really appreciate his help. The birds as far as I am concerned were primed and ready and I would really do nothing different the next time I send except hopefully be there myself, something that could not be helped this year as a holiday was booked well in advance, something we live with as fanciers and something I am very happy with. Anyway birds were sent with the convoy of 3800 birds in total to St. Malo on the 21st I think of June and expected release on the 23rd June early morning. This did indeed happen and what a shambles of a race it turned out to be. Apart for me losing my 9 birds with relative inexperience fanciers sending birds with 3 times completed this particular and heading for gold medals etc. lost them as well. Form the overall convoy of birds as far as I am aware to date there was 11 in race time recorded with a further 2 after race close. I am not going to speculate or point fingers here there are enough others that are doing it. Also the organisations involved are doing an “investigation” in order to see what the reason for such a disastrous race in the first place. I’m sure the reading of that will be quite interesting. The thing I am doing and have done is now to move on and accept the losses. I have no other choice and now my attention turns to other yearlings and the youngsters.
The yearlings are those that have been in the stock lofts form January until now and these will be the start of the old bird team for 2018. These have been placed in the old bird race section and will be allowed to nest and settle into a moult. They will not be allowed to rear any youngsters though. This will hopefully go smoothly and there should be no issues. I have 6 pair in there at present with at least another 2 pair to go in for racing next year. These birds will hopefully be able to make a 600 mile race at some point next year and that will be the main target for these birds. Time will definitely tell on that score and we shall see what happens there. For now it’s about them being happy content and getting through a trouble free moult. With this settling down the attention then goes onto the youngsters.
Before setting off on hols I had not control of the youngsters. They are still quite young even now and in all honestly they are ranging from 3 months(about 8) to 6 and 6 weeks old. They are starting to kit together now well in the sky and I am happy that this is happening even though a lot are still squealing. At this point there is about 48 and to say I am happy with them is an understatement. If they continue as they are going I should have no problems. These are a mix of birds described in my earlier articles and are all but a handful grandchildren of birds to have competed in the Barcelona International. Something that is at the front of my thoughts considering that it is actually happening this coming Friday as I write this article. So knowing the race this coming weekend is where eventually some of my birds may one day end up it is with a lot of interest that I watch the space for returns. Before this can happen a lot has to go on. In this year the year of their birth very little will happen. The 50 odd that are mentioned here will be allowed to grow and fly fit around the loft. They will have an open loft for about 3 hours every evening and will as youngsters do fly well as long as they are healthy. The health of these birds is paramount and the most important thing at present. I will let them grow and will as long as fit and healthy be sending to their first and only race in Sept. This will be the SRF Mallow or Pilmore Beach. A distance of 130 miles approx.. to me. So loft to race without training for these 50 odd. An experiment of which I am sure as long as flying for up to 2 hours a day they will have no problem in doing the 130 mile race. I have had a few chats with some people about this and they think I am a bit over the top expecting youngsters to do this. There is a very good reason that I intend to do this this year and it is simply that the birds I am breeding are one day going to have to fly the Barcelona International. As youngsters I am not putting stress on them at all but for this one training toss. I say training toss even though it is a race because for me that is all it is. I am not going to send them to compete but only to get home. I will be doing this at the tail end of the season when they will hopefully have gotten through their body moult. They are not being kept on darkness and so are already moulting and should be done and ready to go when the time comes. As they are not mixing with other birds in the training basket they should not have any sickness. This is the one thing I dread, the mixing of birds especially youngsters and accidentally picking up something out training or racing. Hopefully this is something I will avoid doing it my way. And as I said they are only kitting up now so the time is needed to prepare them and ensure fitness is there before this goes ahead. There is one other race I will be entering and it is the Youngbird National from Talbeny with the IHUNFC. I have about 8 birds that are of the right age and they should do a turn there and get home as well. That is something I am looking forward to as well and is still a ways off yet.
In the breeding lofts all is nearly done. I have some birds that are 10 days old in the nest from the second round for myself. Some of these will go to friends because I cannot keep them all. I have also had some of the hens separated for the last 3 weeks that had older youngsters. These are now being repaired to produce double grandchildren of Barcelona birds and grandchildren that will have multiple time Barcelona performers for grandparents. In one case the youngsters will have grandparents that have done Barcelona no less than 7 times between them. I have given a lot of these birds out before so am looking forward to seeing what I get form the parents this time. I will be doing this with the Polish imports those birds I have from Padfields Invincible form The House of Aarden and the Nic Harvey pigeons I have. One particular cock I have is from a 3 times Barcelona Hen when paired to a son of a 4 times Barcelona Hen. Now there is a mating I will be looking forward to producing young from.
The pictures inserted are of some of the yearlings that were breeding in the stock lofts and are now out flying again. These have a serious job in hand next year. Some of these are double grandchildren of Padfield’s Invincible others are from Nic Harvey’s Addiction lines and others are from the likes of Marco Wilson that has to fly over 850miles to get a bird from Barcelona. So definitely bred for the job, whether they can achieve is another thing. The other pictures are of some of this year’s youngsters. Most that have the white through would be grandchildren of Padfield’s Invincible and are bred for some of the yearlings seen here also. The Darker is a most recent addition from the Polish connection and the first check tipt youngster is the same way bred as the bird that did so well for me in the Gran Canarias OLR recently.
To close this article and also by the time it goes to print the results from Barcelona will be well posted and we will know who all the successful people who gained positions are. I myself will be watching out for in particular Nic Harvey of Taunton as I have a good relationship with him and he actually has a hen, Musgrove Persistent, going for her 5th time competing in this race. What a performer should she do it again. Amazing enough to have done Barcelona 1, 2, 3 and 4 times but 5? WOW?. That will be some achievement and a credit to Nic. Good luck to all taking part in the International from Barcelona and hopefully in the not too distant future it will be me also.
Until next time
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