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Joe Murphy Latest News

Joe Murphy latest news


Received an email from George Briggs of Dundee who wrote ‘Hi Joe, Reading your column about Dave Smith, as a matter of interest Dave was 1st Scottish 1000 mile club in the same race as my hen. He timed on the last day before the race closed, and my hen was sitting on the watering can when I came home for lunch the following  day and ended up being 2nd, have forwarded you a copy of my 1000 mile certificate, great memories Joe hope all is well, yours George

George Briggs diploma

Selem Special One Loft Race

Received an email from Brad Foster from the Canadian Magazine regarding the above One Loft Race regarding some information he received from Rick which he thought would be of interest to pigeon fanciers. Rick wrote, ‘Things have been rather hectic. Five trips to the airport this week plus one trip north, one trip east, loads meeting at Burger King, seeing Dale at the border and then those that come to the house.  On top of that, Arlis and I are changing the layout of the loft a bit. We've adding more perches in odd places such as over windows over doors and along the tops of every wall that doesn't have perches on it. More places for them to call their own. So far, we have added oodles of little spots which give us a total of 1688 actual perches. Still, when I go in after dark to tuck them into bed, all the front sun wall has birds sitting on the cross sills. They just have to find a different spot to snooze. At present, more than a thousand birds are in the loft. Each night I try to update the list [some nights I just stare at the screen pretending I am awake]. The birds are out every day for at least six hours. With us in the loft so much, most find their way out. Group 2 has been out for three days and they are also starting to fly with group one. Baths are a daily ritual as is picking in the grass. With us inside so much, the hawk has managed to pick a couple of the roof. When he hits, we can hear the birds scramble and take to the air. Lift off sounds like an elephant landed on the roof. Must be their wings slapping on the metal. All this driving has worn out my driver. Sunday am saw us at the airport at 6 and in the evening at 9.  The drive back and forth takes 5 hours. Our truck is being rebuilt and the rental can only be driven by her. Last time she'll go to rent a vehicle. She is adamant I keep my hands off it. When she recoups and when Arlis and I complete our adjustments in the loft, Linda will take videos of the birds in and outside the loft and you can see what we have accomplished. Actually, I had a cup of coffee with friends this week, six feet apart of course and out on the deck in the sun. So nice to sit and chat or in my case [deaf] sit and shout. Rick. The birds are out every day. The group gets larger with more and more finding their way out. They have become very comfortable with three of us working in and around the loft and are now a pain having to move them out of the way before we can clean. We have another employee. Her name is Georgia and she helps clean and feed the birds.  On Sunday, Dr Rubin took samples from the birds to check for any underlying issues.

On Thursday, May 14, I will be in Cornwall at 9 am to pick up east side birds, meeting me at the Irving Service Centre. On the way back, I will stop anywhere you want to meet along the 401. I will be in Toronto this week. There are flights coming from four different areas but as of today, I don't know the days or the times. Please check here often and I will post as soon as I know. 

Please read this carefully in fact read it twice.

I do not enjoy giving you this news. This is not just happening to me. It is making the rounds. It started about 4 weeks ago in our one loft. A couple of birds looked dopy and listless. The next day more and so on and so on: a week later, one died then two then four until sixty or so had died. Dr Rubin and I were sure it was a virus. Treating the birds didn't help. The symptoms were those of Circo-virus. On May 10th, Dr Rubin decided that we should take five birds to Guelph for testing to make sure of what we were dealing with. Monday May 11 birds were sent off and Thursday May 14 preliminary results were reported to us not by Guelph University but by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. What they had found was not Circo Virus but PMV-1. PMV can be both neurological and intestinal. In our loft we found a small number showing nervous disorders. The intestinal version, CFIA called wasting away disease and what happens is they sit and stop eating but not drinking and within a few days they fade away. There is absolutely nothing that we can do to save them. Some recover, lots don't. The mortality rate is high. Not every bird in our loft is infected in fact, 40% are in excellent shape and ready to start training. Two hundred or so, the last group collected show no signs at the moment and look and handle well. The loft has been divided up and the birds are sorted into these three groups. I queried CFIA re our vaccinating the birds and mentioned that most fanciers did their own at home. Was this not supposed to stop these infections? The Winnipeg Lab which handles all major outbreaks dismissed the effectiveness of the vaccine available to us in Canada. They stated that at best, it was useless. What started our problems was, in plain English, brought on by one or more lofts who have or have had this problem at home. CFIA has taken the names of all who have birds in our race, and I believe they will try to trace the source of this problem. The strain we have is aggressive and does affect chickens. They do not want this to spread. Be prepared for a call. Friday evening, CFIA showed up at our house and loft and we are now in lockdown. No birds are allowed to enter. None are allowed to leave. They are not allowed outside. They can sit in our fly pens. I have a very strict protocol that I have to follow which includes a shower after every visit to the loft and washing my cloths after every visit. I am not allowed into my personal loft nor are we allowed to race. Humans can also catch this disease and I plan on following all the rules. Lockdown will last at least until the end of July. If the disease is brought under control and the birds regain good health, CFIA has said that we will be allowed to race in the fall. So here is where Salem Special stands at this moment:  A decision on whether to race will be made by the end of July. By that point, we will know who has birds, who hasn't and how I am going to handle the fall out. If there is a complete shutdown, race fees will be returned. Since I suspected a problem on Sunday, May 10, 2020, any teams collected after this date will have all their money returned, that is perch, race fees and taxes. At present we sit tight and hope for the best. The mortality rate today was much lower than in the last two days. We need a miracle.


In Canada today we found out our PMV vaccine is useless for our pigeons with a new strain of PMV 1 that people can even contact. The viruses in pigeons the last four years have become more and more prevalent worldwide I know this is a fact in Europe, Canada and the US so my question is how long is a vaccine really good for in this day and age. Some have been using the same vaccine for many years that was Okayed by their governments’ health departments. But let’s look at a few things maybe it is just me but every year the flu vaccine changes and still does not keep up with all the new strains of flu but does help many people every year; but PMV never change until something happens like what has happen here the point I’m trying to make is virus change and mutate and in today’s world. They are changing faster than ever before, I have talked to others that are dealing with similar problems in the pigeon sport and they like many others are finding this very frustrating in the pigeon sport on all levels. I have been writing about virus for many months now because it is affecting our sport everywhere. This does not mean you don’t vaccinate it means are we at the point ‘The Power’s To Be’ need to look at a new vaccine for our birds; that is the question we all need to ask ourselves. Also don’t send your birds to the races if they start, or a one loft race, without vaccinating all your birds first, and making sure they have immunity a month before they go in the race basket or to a one loft race. Let us not forget our birds are mixed with others birds and we need to protect our investments or our future racers. Just so I’m very clear I am not talking about the expiry date I’m talking about the vaccines we have been using for years. I hope over the next few weeks or months to have some answers as this as it does not just effect pigeons. It can in some cases effect humans and the poultry industry and beyond in some cases. I hope you are keeping well Joe and staying safe. Until next time yours Brad Foster’.


Received an email from Ron Fewings who wrote; ‘Hi joe, I hope you and your family are keeping well with the troubled times we are having at the moment. just wanted to touch base with you and you keep up the good work in the fancy press. It is times like now I’m so glad I have pigeons as this keeps me sane in the garden. About the birds I received from you a few years back. The pair red cock Glower/DeWeerdt whose sire was a direct son of Kedirtje who won 40th national Dax 5189 birds; he also scored from Biamitz international; he was 3 x Perpignan, 4 x Barcelona. Dam of the red cock was a daughter of Southfield Treble winner of 112 Saints, 8th Bordeaux; 21st NFC Pau 564 miles, 63 NFC Dax 534 miles; 5 national Perpignan, 1st GDSB Palamos 12 nat 684 miles; when paired to a daughter of ‘Night Flight’ 1st NFC Saintes.: Paired to chequer hen also a Deweerdt inbred to a 1st & 3rd international winners; Sire is ½ brother to ‘George’ G & C Coopers national winner he is a full brother to ‘Gina’ dam of Wollongong 1st international Pau in 2013, dam won 11th Fougeres from 5000 birds and is a full sister to 3rd international Pau for Mark Gilbert. I have been left together as you suggested and they are very consistent indeed. An actual granddaughter from this pair has won me 1st club 350 bird’s 1st federation 3000 birds. She was also my first bird from the INFC Yearling national last year scoring 4th club. I went easy on their young birds last year as I know what they capable of doing. I have 9 from this pair ready to go this year all of them yearlings and 2 year olds mostly reds. I have another red cock 2018 that came back last year from Penzance after 2 weeks covered in oil he was unrecognizable but what a gutsy bird. So much so I called him ‘Faith’ and nominated him for the challenge cup that is The Kings Cup for this year BHW/INFC Single Bird race his ring number is GB 2018 S 87570 all going well we will be racing from France. So I am very happy with this pair Joe; they have bred lots of miner positions but I do think Penzance France is perfect for them. I have attached some photos of the red cock after a disastrous Penzance last year; all the best Joe yours Ron’.

Red Cock covered in oil see text

Before the moult and after the moult

Red Cock now after his moult see text

Joe’s Joke

A husband and wife were driving through Scotland. As they approached Auchtermuchty, they started arguing about the pronunciation of the town. They argued back and forth, when they stopped for lunch. At the counter, the husband asked the blonde waitress, "Before we order, could you please settle an argument for us? Would you please pronounce where we are very slowly?" She leaned over the counter and said, "Burrr-gerrr Kiiing."

Please continue to keep the news flowing; to Joe Murphy Mystical Rose Cottage 2 Flutorum Avenue Thornton by Kirkcaldy KY1 4BD or phone 01592 770331 or Email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. REMEMBER THE J IN THE MIDDLE or you can also view online editions on: - - Pigeon Racing the Basics! - or

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