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News From Scotland




Reports by Joe Murphy

I mated up my birds on the 11th February and only had a problem with one pair as the yearling hen would not mate up. I have an old hen that has stopped laying but is still very proud and she took to the cock no problem, and I will just have to use them as a pair of feeders. The rest of the birds have settled down well and are going in and out of their boxes no problem. I let a pair out into the aviary and lock them there and then let another pair out in the loft with their box open. Then after 30 minutes I go in and lock the pair in the loft back into their box, open the window to allow the pair from the aviary in and they are back into their box and then continue with another 2 pair and so on. I have feeding bowls in each box and a water bottle on the outside of the box (which they can get to no problem by sticking their heads through the spars). Once I’m happy they are all settled to their boxes and the hens are due to lay, I will open up the boxes a few at a time and put a bath in the aviary so they bathe prior to going down to nest.  I just take my time and fill in my day and I intend to put new nest felts into the bowls within the next day or so.


Save our Sport


Received a phone call from Phil Buckton of Malton FC in Cheshire regarding my article which contained the problems we are having with rotavirus. Phil also had problems with this in 2018 when he had some young birds vomiting and despite treatment with Baytril they died. Like the rest of us all adults were unaffected. Phil paid for autopsy to be carried out on the youngsters and the most significant findings were acute necrosis in the liver which resulted in death. Another finding was cellular cuffs surrounding the spleen that demonstrated vacuolation (which means they formed into or containing one or more vacuoles or small membrane-bound cavities within a cell). However, this could not reach a definitive diagnosis, however they are consistent within pigeon rotavirus infection. My thanks to Phil for this information and all the work and expense he incurred trying to help out his fellow fanciers and we wish him well for the 2020 season. Regarding the lady who wrote asking me if there was a vaccine injection for rotavirus the only information, I could find was on the NHS which as for babies!!! Which read as follows; Rotavirus vaccine overview An oral vaccine against rotavirus infection, a common cause of diarrhoea and sickness, is given as 2 doses for babies aged 8 and 12 weeks, alongside their other routine childhood vaccinations. The vaccine is given as a liquid straight into the baby's mouth for them to swallow.

What is rotavirus?

Rotavirus is a highly infectious stomach bug that typically strikes babies and young children, causing an unpleasant bout of diarrhoea, sometimes with vomitingtummy ache and fever.

Most children recover at home within a few days, but nearly 1 in 5 will need to see their doctor, and 1 in 10 of these end up in hospital as a result of complications such as extreme dehydration.

Since its introduction into the vaccination programme, the rotavirus vaccine has prevented more than 70% of cases.


So reading the above NHS review it would seem that DEHYDRATION is the problem, and that is what could be happening to our young birds as they go into their first race in a transporter and do not know how to drink in a basket or crate. Therefore, with the stress of being in the basket overnight and released the next day the first think they do when they come home (or stop off on the way home) is to find water. This then coincides with the above symptom’s diarrhoea, vomiting, tummy ache and fever. How many fanciers take the time to basket train their youngster let us say 75% and the other 25% don’t bother saying, ‘They will learn in the transporter’ and this is the problem. As soon as my babies are 20 days old, I take them away from the parents and put them into crates and feed and water them in them until they are ALL eating and drinking. I take them out every day and sit them on the top of the crate and handle and talk to them and let them flap their wings about. All it takes is time and YES, I’m lucky that I have the time to do this whereas people who are working do not have time to do this. But the most important thing is getting your young birds to DRINK in the basket and this can maybe help ALL OF US. If this simple task helps eradicate rotavirus (young bird sickness) then it will make ALL, our lives a lot better. I mentioned the above with my friend Brad Foster from Canada while on the phone and he sent me an email with his thoughts; The 4 months or so I have written about the sport needing to change in more ways than one. I have sent out articles on sickness outbreaks in our sport along with the bad politics that has been going on for evermore people are leaving our great sport every year and in some places the sport has come to an end. At the club and combine level and federation level and in these places one loft racing has taken over the sad thing is not everyone can afford this type of racing. Don’t get me wrong it helps to keep our sport alive and that is a good thing but change is needed and quickly, but clubs combines and federations need to change first off. Fanciers with sick pigeons should not be allowed and we all know the reason for this because you are just giving the sickness to someone else. This is very easy taken care off along with disinfecting the baskets and the birds drinking water on the trailer or transporters. It is time at the club level that pigeon racing becomes fun again and is not all about winning and selling pigeons, Also the groups that control these clubs think about everyone if we get right down to it we need all the members we have in most places just to get by. So, let us start by looking at this great sport through different eyes instead of burying our heads in the sand. People need to speak up for changes in the sport staying silent are not helping. I hope that some that read this will start to take a look around them and see the truth for what is and say I can help change our great sport for the better. Until next time yours Brad Foster’.

 Trip to Belgium


My dear friend Guy Reed of the Isle of Wight phoned and it seems as age comes upon a lot of us:, and the noticing of the speed at which time passes also seems to be a common opinion amongst those of us in the latter part of life’s journey. Guy wrote, ‘I am no exception, as I managed another trip to the Fugare pigeon show at Kortrijk in Belgium on the 7th February 2020 and realized it is their 10th show already!

Bernard & Tim in deep conversation



Normally I would travel with a couple of pals, but this year the BICC dinner and the Fugare unfortunately clashed. However, recently meeting up with my younger sister at our father’s funeral, an arrangement transpired that my sister Marian and my partner Carol would team up, and with some last-minute arrangement we set out early on the Friday before the show. Upon arrival we were greeted by our much-loved hosts at Ark Van Zarren, a Bed & Breakfast in the ‘Fields of Flanders’. Hosts Chery & Elisje who have one of the most delightful B & B’s I have stayed in, decorated in an antique style, shabby chic and they greeted us with excitement. Once settled in, we were then off out for dinner at a restaurant in Diksmuide. (See picture). The restaurant was called “Scheeweghe”. Elisje joked that if we could pronounce it correctly, they may let us in for dinner! Suffice to say the food was excellent and we enjoyed a lovely evening in the company of the locals. The next day another exquisite continental breakfast all organic and homegrown: on this occasion it was even more delightful, with Bernard and Annie DeWeerdt joining us for breakfast, of course it was somewhat extended as there was much catching up to do. After breakfast, the lady’s escorted by Annie DeWeerdt were off to the shops and to sight-see the wonderful city of Bruges. Returning later that day with big smiles and the preverbal garment that just happened along! A wonderful day for the girls, whilst Bernard and I spent the day with the feathered birds and exchanged stories and reminisced over the past season and of all things ‘Pigeons’. Some loft changes had taken place since last year and all for the improvement of and the well-being of the birds. They are managed as they always have been with the DeWeerdt husbandry that does not include drugs or potions of any kind unless instructed by the trusted vet. New aviaries were relocated, and the stock looked incredibly healthy in their open environment. That evening we were joined by Bernard’s brother Freddie and his wife Martine and the 7 of us shared a lovely meal in Bruges. 


Carol, Bernard and Annie taken in a pub near Bruges


The following day, Sunday, Bernard and his son Tim agreed to take me to the show, which is uncommon for Bernard, but it also enabled the girls to see Kortrijk. Although most the shops were not open, they experienced some of the city and enjoyed the time spent there. Meanwhile at the show, the Sunday visit seemed very quiet this year, considering it was the 10th anniversary. We wanted to check out the new ETS systems offered by Bricon and Benzing. The new cloud-based systems offer the fancier even more diversity and ability to have an instant result as the race unfolds. I believe this can also be linked to a pedigree system. With cloud technology fanciers can witness any race in the world as it unfolds! Velocity and loft location are all instant. It still remains to be seen if the DeWeerdt loft will use ETS technology this year, but speaking with them, it seems that it may certainly be imminent. Personally, I found both systems interesting but the difference in quality favoring Benzing seemed obvious. Benzing are passionate about their product, that had a real professional quality and look to it, with touch screen technology. It was a bit like using an iPad. After only about 2 hours we began to leave the show and, on the way, out I commented that there was a lot of products that we did not need! (Laugh out Loud) in fact, I purchased only one product, as in recent years in the summer months keeping parasites away needed more attention, perhaps some bugs had become immune to the various wormers for instance and not liking antibiotics I purchased the Comed product ‘Stop Mite’. These days the shows main interest for me is to meet up with some fanciers that we only read of during the season. However, my primarily aim is for me to visit with Bernard, Freddie, Tim & Filip DeWeerdt and the family members who have extended their hospitality to me on every occasion.  As most know by now my own birds are primarily made up of DeWeerdt birds. My originals of course through G.G.& C J Cooper. These days they have been augmented with a few other family birds such as Andy Parsons, who’s Cannon - Burgess base birds have been augmented at times with DeWeerdt. My good mate Joe Murphy and I have also shared birds whilst continuing with our hours of conversation on distance racing. One can’t help feeling there is common eccentricity amongst enthusiasts of races above 500mile but for me the camaraderie and joy of it all is something embedded in one’s nature. I have had the DeWeerdt’s birds since the 1980’s and have been a friend with the DeWeerdt family for over 20 years now. Hence for me, to make the effort to visit them is well worth it as this allows us to cement our relationship over the years and to communicate about our great sport with enduring passion. The DeWeerdts have maintained their gene pool with undeniable skill, and whilst they may not have recently won a national outright, they consistently put up some performances that can be considered both worthy and desirable. There are few that can provide such an impressive list of winning performance from the same gene pool of over 60 years.


Freddie & Martine


Speaking with Bernard I realize I become privy to names in the sport that have no desire to make the headlines of internet sales, some of these have amazing performance pigeons and quietly continue to perform outside of the glamour of social media systems. I like to try and visit these interesting men when possible. The time as previously noted, went far too quickly and Sister Marian was soon skillfully at the helm again ready to drive us back to the UK in some atrocious weather (Storm Ciara). Thankfully we booked on the tunnel to travel, but as we exited into the UK the weather was notably worse than Belgium, so much so, that we stopped over, as the Isle of Wight ferries had been cancelled until the following day. So, another racing year is about to start, and I hope fanciers have had a good winter and have enjoyed some good time with their colleagues in the sport.  Here are some of the results achieved in club during 2019; 1st in a private national organization being 1st Nominated bird in Barcelona- Perpignan- Narbonne; 2nd was Daniel Aerens (a name I know well as I have some of his blood in my loft Joe Murphy) Bernard says he is another genuine distance fancier.


1st Team flyer John DeBaene 1st International Perpignan ’19 4th place won by DeWeerdt; Bernard says 2018/9 were extremely difficult races

1st in local Championship races: 1st Nominated International races old birds and yearlings from Barcelona, Perpignan, Saint Vincent & Montauban. In the local club Kortemark members send 500/1000 birds on average and also send the most birds to the Internationals. There are more than 35 members alone competing in the Marathon championships within the club.

Marian & Guy


In 2018 DeWeerdt had 1st & 2nd Ace birds and 3rd & 4th Ace birds KBDB. In the club at Barcelona they won 2nd 4th 5th Filip sent 4 birds and had 4 return the DeWeerdt combined team were 23 and they had 20 return. Bernard noted that the few late arrivals were all injured, the reason I’ll leave to your imaginations. Great news is that Bernard is now officially retired so will have more time to spend with the pigeons while Flip only races old birds and tops up with birds from the main loft. Tim’s team is at the old grandfather ‘Emiel Loft’ and Bernard and Freddy run the main loft above Bernard’s house. A very few introductions have been made but are now being tested to Barcelona before continuing to introduce them into the old family. Whenever an introduction has been made it will always contain the blood of the original DeWeerdts. I noticed that Bernard had crates the same as those used by the BBC and the CSCFC, which he uses for training only. However, he did not feel that they were ideal, and noted that at Barcelona they were also used and were stacked one upon the other, which was something that was not liked by many fanciers. Some of the Dutch and Belgium fanciers had changed back to wood or wicker baskets which were met with more appreciation. The general feeling was that the plastic crates met with disapproval and this is not an easy subject to discuss and one that may not be easily resolved. Did I buy a pigeon from the DeWeerdt loft? Of course, I did Joe, just one. I couldn’t resist!  Perhaps in about 3 years I can report some success from him as you know patience is still a virtue in my book. Look after yourself and Bernard sends you his good wishes for 2020, yours Guy’.



Joe’s Joke

Two guys are walking through a game park & they come across a lion that has not eaten for days. The lion starts chasing the two men. They run as fast as they can and the one guy starts getting tired and decides to say a prayer, "Please turn this lion into a Christian, Lord." He looks to see if the lion is still chasing and he sees the lion on its knees. Happy to see his prayer answered, he turns around and heads towards the lion. As he comes closer to the lion, he hears the it saying a prayer: "Thank you Lord for the food I am about to receive."




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