My Barcelona Dream Part 26
Wow Wow Wow Wow where do I start? Who could have foreseen what Brexit would have done for pigeon racing? For UK racing the powers that be have done all in their power to find a solution to the problem of not entering France for release of pigeons for racing into the UK. For us in Ireland that has not been the case. We are still EU and don't have issues going into France. The biggest issue for us fanciers in Ireland wanting to race with the BICC has been coordinating efforts to make sure we can race together call. Due to unforeseen circumstances and the powers that be not finding a resolution to the situation of UK entities entering EU countries the fanciers in Ireland who are members of the BICC did decided to have independent French racing under 32 Counties International Pigeon Racing. I understand that the given situation is not ideal for many fanciers in the UK having to race their pigeons North Rd. I do hope there will be a resolution to this problem in the coming year, 2022, and hopefully that would mean back to European racing from the UK. The biggest issue at present for UK fanciers who like to race the International scene is that now it is impossible for them to take part in these major international events that are not only recognized within Europe but around the world. So to move on from here we have to carry on with the situation that we are left with and be as flexible as possible as the situation changes.
So with all the toing and froing and ups and downs there was no extra racing from France into Ireland. What we have done is eventually arranged to race with the BICC from Guernsey and I will talk about this more later.
My season progressed as expected to do I started my old boards on a roundabout system and raced throughout the season with that method. Initially the boards were only separated about a week before I started racing. On top of this some of them were still raring young boards. This meant that as the boys were training and consistently on the roundabout system I placed the youngsters on the floor themselves being able to eat and learn how to drink as the parents came back from training. With the babies weaned and training happening the birds were trained out to 40miles. The birds were trained on and off hens on cocks on alternate days. This carried on for several weeks starting with approximately 16 miles as I said walking 40 miles. The boards had approximately 10 tosses each out of this distance before the first race of approximately 120 miles from Pilmore beach in cork. The boards were worked on the roundabout system to be honest with you the way I have my last set up this worked an absolute treat. While training on alternate days the hens for example one day would loft fly for approximately 2 hours am whilst the cocks were sent training. On the next day it would alternate to the hens going training while the cocks were flying out. The feeding at this point before racing was 50% barley and 50% super diet. Carried on right up to the week of the first race after the young were weaned. On the week of the first race the feed was changed slightly on the Monday. Monday evening the birds got 50% super diet and 50% Jerry+ this was the same for Tuesdays feed morning and evening. On Wednesday morning and Wednesday evening feed AM that was the same as Tuesday and Wednesday evening the feed was 100% Jerry+. On Thursday the feed was 100% Jerry+ morning and evening. Friday morning a 100% Jerry plus on Friday afternoon approximately 1pm Canary seed mixed with foreign Finch mix. The birds were then allowed to run together at about 3pm until basketing time of approximately 4:30 pm. For the first three races it was only the older birds that were raced starting like I said at 120 miles out to approximately 180 miles. The idea behind this was to get the older birds racefit for the bigger races. When the 180 mile stage was reached we were at Skibbereen in Cork. The following week was the first channel race for my fed which I did not send to however I sent all birds in the loft yearlings and older birds to the land race on the same day. This race was Pilmore Beach in Cork at approximately 120 miles. This was the start of racing for the yearlings gaining their experience to race home. All birds then continued racing weekly back out to 180 miles. At this point decisions had to be made about what we did for racing with regard to crossing the channel or not. I did send to one Penzance channel race, I sent one hen, against my better judgement on the day that turned out to be known as black Saturday in pigeon racing. All in all on the land my birds although were not fed to compete but to make sure they got. I was always aiming for them to gain experience build their knowledge and make it home. The intention was always to stop the yearling birds after 180 miles and so I did. With this in mind it has now left me with approximately 20 yearlings to become two year olds for the 2022 season.
At this point a decision had to be made about what happens with the older birds. This was around the time that the BICC had confirmation that they would be able to race from the island of Guernsey off the coast of France. At this point the older boards have been at rest and laugh flying for approximately 3 weeks.
With confirmation of the BICC going into guarantee Ireland for a race plans were set in motion for all of the BCC Irish section members to take part should they wish. So plans were set in motion to use the Donnycarney Racing Pigeon Club for marking the boards. And the build-up was on. At this point I would like to say a massive, massive thank you to the Donnycarney RPC for allowing us to use their club as a BICC marking station in Dublin. How's the morning of basketing approached the excitement was building and that is the morning dawned we had 20 Irish members of the bee ICC set to send to this race. All in all 18 members sent 69 boards to join a convoy of 5263 to be liberated in Guernsey on Saturday the 10th. In all fairness the atmosphere while we were marking the boards was one of excitement and anticipation and I think it was felt by all who took part. The boards were then transported to the UK to meet the BICC transporter and then onto Guernsey. Again for another massive, massive thank you must go to John (Sheppy) Shepherd for allowing me the use of his van to make sure the pigeons got to meet the BICC transporter.
Unfortunately for us and Ireland there was a holdover from the day of liberation and the boards did not get out on the Saturday but were then released on Sunday. To say the weather in Ireland on Sunday was not racing pigeon weather would be an understatement there was heavy rain from the southernmost point in Ireland on the East Coast right up to the north of Ireland as its most northerly point. When we heard of release at 7:20am Sunday morning we never thought that there would be any birds home. For myself on Monday morning as per usual I headed off to work. Imagine my surprise and excitement when I landed home to find one of my birds from Guernsey had been clocked from the Guernsey. For me it was extremely exciting I'm justified all of the work I had put in not just in the racing season but in the off season trying to prepare the boards as best I could to compete where I wanted them to compete. The hen that returned home from Guernsey has now been given the name Safe Haven Loft's Musgrove Misty. More than that I'm sure you can guess that Musgrove Wizard himself is actually her Sire. The dam of this pigeon is actually a daughter of Musgrove Wizard meaning this hen is an inbred father x daughter mating. This hen is full of the blood lines from Nic Harvey out of Taunton. Nic has been sending me direct children of his Barcelona pigeons for many years now. I would like to say another massive, massive thank you at this point to Nic Harvey for sending these birds. There have been setbacks along the way and questions about whether or not I should base a family of pigeons on Musgrove Wizard himself. I think this one arrival justifies my faith in his breeding and more to that I do hope and will work on proving a family of pigeons from him over greater and greater distances.
For me it's a very different experience preparing training and conditioning birds to compete in one specific race rather than have them fit healthy kept moving for a full season at the highest level sprinting. I take my hat off to those who are at the top of the Sprint racing game because there is a lot of work staying at the top. Trying to prepare birds for specific races is a different kettle of fish altogether. Initially the boards are all treated the same feed training motivation etc then you have to try to pick out the nuances that may give any single one that little edge apple stock an example of this is I had one yearling hand who laid an egg and had been sitting the egg for approximately 5 days. With the condition and motivation to get back to the egg she was showing I decided to slip dummy eggs under her morning and evening for the next four days resulting in her eventually having 8 eggs in the nest bowl to cover. She was a yearling lesbian hand who had paired up to an early bred youngster and both were taking turns on the nest. On the morning of basketing she was removed from her eight eggs sent on her way to Guernsey also.
With Musgrove Misty returning she now is only the second pigeon in the history of the BICC to be clocked to win the Irish Section of a National Race. What makes this victory all the sweeter is that shortly after Musgrove Misty was clocked another bird was clocked in to Larne for L O'Neill & Sons. This pigeon a yearling hen is also closely related to the pigeon that they clocked in the Friendship National the same weekend. Bothe Hens pictures are inset. The first being Safe Havens Musgrove Misty, 1st Irish Section BICC Guernsey 2021, the second is Gracie Girl, 2nd Irish Section BICC Guernsey 2021.
I would also like to add at the time of finishing this article there have been 5 gallant birds to return from the Guernsey race to their respective homes in Ireland. The initial 2 and then one for Martin Walsh Donnycarney RPC, A second for L O’Neill & Sons and one for Cleary & Carabini of Eastwall RPC.
Until next time
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