LES J. PARKINSON
How many times do fanciers look at the weather and think we can get some good training as preparation for the racing season? In the last few weeks, we have had some good weather when we could have prepared the pigeons but there is no point because there is no racing at the moment and doesn’t look like being any for a few months. Other years we have had racing and not enough good weather to prepare them as we should have done. Things never always work out as we would like them too, having said that we don’t do too bad here in the UK.
I had an email telling me that someone had broken into Syd Latham’s loft and killed some of the pigeons. Due to circumstances Syd is housebound and has not seen the pigeons for some time, but children Joyce and Peter have been looking after them. We hear of this happening but cannot believe that someone will do such things, but they do.
Everytime I speak to anyone the main topic is mostly about the coronavirus and we cannot get away from it. Elizabeth and I have 154yrs between us and both have COPD which is not good news. Like most others we are now under isolation and using the phone system to actually see one another. The following is was a piece I wrote before Boris Johnson announced the lockdown, so will leave it in the article because these are points that come to mind. “Fanciers have different views on how this will affect racing the pigeons and there are a few of those. I am still not sure why it affects racing pigeons because of the limited number of members in local clubs so there are no big gatherings. Nationals I can understand and channel racing I can understand being stopped now for obvious reasons, plus the French will do anything to upset people who live in the UK. We obviously must think about everyone because life is more important than a race here and there. The problem with me is if something happens, I want to know the full details of why it is done, I think about everything and if I don't get a satisfactory answer it gets under my skin and there are times when I cannot settle. Some nights I cannot sleep because I have something on my mind and cannot come up with a good enough reason why something happens, which is why I have a notepad by the bed. Is racing pigeons a danger to anyone, do pigeons carry the virus?? The government have started to set down more and stronger rules, so we are getting more and more restricted. I suppose the only way we can look at this sad affaire is the average age of fanciers is high so there are a lot like myself over the 70yr mark and therefore expected to stay at home indoors. All we can do is wait and hope for the best and that is at some point we can get some racing done, but life must come first. The only problem is any racing will probably be in mainland UK and for many a limited distance they can compete from. It could be a case of racing old and young together and racing towards early October, after all there is some good weather at that time of the year. I do know there are fanciers training, you can see the odd batch or two going over. As I say when I don’t know the full reasons why racing has been stopped, I start to think all sorts and the one thing going through my mind is, “Can animals carry or catch the virus” There was a report of a dog dying through coronavirus but was that a fact I don’t know, but it was in the daily paper. As we British do, we battle on as always” That was what I wrote prior to the lockdown. One thing is for sure after weeks of mostly being couch potatoes some will put a few pounds on. How some will cope being in the house for weeks on end I have no idea, however we don’t like being restricted to the house and at time sit does show.
Royal Cheshire Show
In a way we have more bad news for the sport from the organisers of the Royal Cheshire Show, I say bad news because these shows are where we can show off the sport when there are thousands in attendance. This is the latest email I have received from the committee. “Dear Council, Chief Stewards and Volunteers. It is with heavy heart after long deliberation the directors decided yesterday to try to mitigate any costs going forward to cancel the 2020 show. We do apologise you were not informed earlier, as you can imagine when we went public with the announcement it was all hands to the deck. Do please continue to watch where we are going as we are looking at other opportunities later in the year. All it leaves us is to thank you for your continued support and we wish you all the best. Stay safe. Chairmen & Directors” Richard was at this show last year where he said he had a good response from the general public. This is a big two-day show with a great attendance each year, so a sad loss to all concerned. This is one of those places where a OLR could go down well because there are so many people attending and advertised properly would attract attention. I think this is one of those occasions where everyone in the sport could get together and help to subsidise the event. Sponsors could be attracted from inside and outside the sport. There are buildings where that could be converted to the loft and then the race held on the Wednesday and the birds homing being beamed to screens on the ground. I have other ideas on how this could be done but don’t want to go into it too much at the moment. The Nantwich show committee have not yet made a decision on what they are going to do, but will keep s informed.
More on winners.
In last week’s notes I started talking about winners that I had handled and there are many of them, just another loft to look at because of the changes made over the years. I had the pleasure of handling many of the Curtis-Wall-Lunt and prior to that Wall-Lunt-Green winners. They had a high-quality team of winners that were always a pleasure to handle and I can understand why they were so good in the races up to 300mls. They were mostly a real powerhouse in the hand and to make it better they looked the part in the loft and of course they were superstars when it came to the races. The previously mentioned pigeons are all distance pigeons and they handle much differently than these CWL pigeons do. This is where we go back to showing, pigeons such as these would in most cases beat the distance pigeons in a show pen. The best of the racers up to 300mls do tend to be broader shouldered and yes, I do know there is the exception to the rule. The Dordin cock that was 45th & 176th Open Pau National for me had broad shoulders but he and his nestmate who also did well the same two years were the only distance birds I had that were like that. However, we have clocked others from Pau/Tarbes, and they have been a much leaner pigeon, being built for endurance. Look at the athletes, they are the same, powerhouses in comparison to the distance runners. I haven’t seen much of the new pigeons that Ray Lunt has brought in, but it will be interesting to see how they are compared to the old family that he and his previous partners have recently parted with. What I do know is in their first year they did well on both land and channel, so all is looking good. As I was writing the above Ray called so I had a few words with him about the new lines and he said he is confident they will get there. I was amused when he said there are a few dark blue’s or Smokey blue’s in them, and he doesn’t like them. He then went on to say two of his top winners are Smokey blue’s. Regarding his latest lines they have started to win from the off, now is this down to good pigeons or is it all down to the fancier. As in all these cases it is a case of both putting in their worth to make the winners enclosure. However, having known Ray for a very long time I am aware that his selection of pigeons for breeding has always been good. He is one of those fanciers who has good stock sense and can spot pigeons to match up to breed winners. These latest pigeons were only brought in for Ray to race his own pigeons after the partnership dissolved. When you look at the early breeding there are already 3prs breeding 1st Federation winners plus the North West Classic YB race winner. And they have only had 1 proper season’s breeding and only one young bird season racing.
As with all pedigree’s there is only as much on them as the person typing them wants there to be. There is also the point that some don’t bother adding normal club positions so there is always going to be something missing when you are looking at a winning family pedigree. Does Ray know what he is doing when it comes to selecting stock birds, yes he does and here are a few that are now in the stock loft where many winners have been bred.
A good stock hen is “Keely” already breeding winners and only in her early stages in the stock loft. She is a g-d of “Lance” winner of 1st National La Ferte Bernard, 1st DULFK NPO AFD. He was paired to 6th National Etampes 10,094 birds. The sire of the hen being out of these two and he is sire of winners including 1st Ace Yearling 1st Ace Bird Etc. The dam of “The 21 Hen” is a winner of 1st DUIFK Mid Fond. And is a half-sister to “Olympic Churandy” 1st Dutch Olympic.
“Ceasar” is a cracking Cock from one of the best racing lofts in Germany and he has already bred Fed winners. He is the line of the Fabulous “De Jan” a magnificent racing and breeding cock. Also, in the breeding is “Lucky Punch” sire g-sire, g-g-sire of many winners.
“Tyrone” is a super stock cock and like “The 21 Hen” is the line of the excellent “Lance”. The sire of “The 713” is a winner of 1st Pommeroeul 3,384 birds etc. While on the other side of the breeding we have “Sylvia” winner of many prizes including 1st Ace Pigeon and 8th National NPO.
“Lola” is another class stock hen sister to “305” 3rd ace bird and was paired to “Dafne” a h-s to “Olympic Brian” and “Olympic Angelina” 1st Tongeren 3,102 birds. 4th Gennep 2,610 birds. 6th Tilburg 2,440 birds.
So, when you look at these few breeders you can see that Ray knows what he is doing when it comes to selecting and racing pigeons. I have known him for best part of 40yrs and have not really seen him have a bad season. What I do know is he has set other fanciers up with lofts of winning birds.
Just before the young bird programme started last year, I asked Ray what he thought his chances were for racing on his own compared to racing in three-member partnership with pigeons he had not previously tested. He said he didn’t know but I could ask him at the end of the season. The first race ended, and it didn’t look good but after that they came true to form with Ray winning.
North West Classic Carentan YB & Gold Ring Race winning
1st & 8th Open, 1st & 5th Section, 1st & 4th Gold Ring winning £1,700
Cheltenham 1st 2nd 3rd 4th club. 1st 2nd 3rd 4th fed
Cheltenham 2nd 3rd 5th 6th club. 2nd 3rd 5th 6th fed
Mangotsfield 1st 2nd 3rd 4th club. 5th 6th 7th 8th fed
Mangotsfield 1st 2nd 6th 7th club. 11th 12th 20th 30th fed
Yeovil 1st 2nd 3rd 4th club. 1st 2nd 3rd 4th fed
Cheltenham 1st 2nd 3rd 4th club. 1st 2nd 3rd 4th fed
Mid Cheshire Fed
Yeovil 1st 2nd 3rd 4th club. 1st 2nd 3rd 4th fed
I am now wondering how Ray will go on in the coming season, no doubt he will be the one to beat in his local feds. What makes a good pigeon fancier, dedication because you need to be committed to what you are doing. When you are in competition of any kind you must be dedicated to that job otherwise you are not going to win on a regular basis. You need to be observant; I say that because you need to keep an eye on everything in and around the loft. If something is wrong, you need to pick up on it straight away before it gets out of control. I have always thought that the winners see what is going on in the loft more than others and that is why they win. The pigeons need to be motivated and that is where the best fancier stand out, they know how to motivate their pigeons, they get to know what each pigeon needs and get the best out of them.
I dug out an article from 2001 that I wrote on the CWLG partnership and that was in this magazine w/e 6th March. There was a lot more to the article, but I selected what I thought would be of interest to readers. I also felt that there was information in the article that could help fancier solve problems that they might come across during the season. The more fanciers or lofts you visit the more you are tempted to change things, after all fanciers are looking to improve all the time.
What distances can a fancier get their birds to win at, I think some can only sprint their birds while others wait all day for them from the longer races. The CWL partnership are mostly known for their sprint races. However, I have known Ray for many years, in fact the first time I met him he had just won a 500ml plus race, many fanciers up and down the country will not know that. Most see Ray as a sprinter and maybe a bit more into the middle-distance races, that was never always the case. I am waiting to see what races Ray goes on to compete in because the latest pigeons are known to clock from the first to the last races, we shall have to wait and see.
Pigeons entered, another view.
Over the years there has always a lot been said about the number of pigeons entered into the races by any individual racing loft. I have been one to write about this subject but, I feel I have done it in a positive way. I was always told in my early days of racing pigeons to remember; number’s pay the prize money and just because someone sends a lot it doesn’t mean they are going to win everything. I was once asked how many racing pigeons I kept; at the time I only had a small team of 9prs. In fact, one of the best seasons I ever had I only raced 6 cocks in 2 x 8ft sections, this was the only year I ever flew the widowhood system properly. That year I only sent 1/2 to channel races and they were all in the prizes, mind you with only 6 cocks to enter I couldn’t do much else. My preference is the longer races and the hens were always reliable, so I preferred either the roundabout or mostly the natural system. The best season I ever had in the club, when Middlewich was a big club, they were raced on the natural system. What has prompted me to get on this subject, well it is the latest National race from Cholet. I have always been a fan of the National because years ago that’s where I set my sights on racing. A club that should be the premier racing club in the country. That was the time when they had over 6,000 members and sending in excess of 10,000 to some races. That was the big attraction to me, big numbers with lots of members, how times have changed. Let’s get back to my point, numbers sent. I was looking through some results and was surprised at how many fanciers sent less than a handful of pigeons and were well up in the result. Fanciers entering 1 2 3 - 4, these are fanciers who must put a lot of time into the preparation of a few, fanciers who have confidence in their birds. The early fanciers who stood out sending only 1 in the Cholet race were; Richard Haddon 3rd Section K 83rd Open 444mls. Crehan & O’Connor 3rd Section L 89th Open 446mls. Mr & Mrs Nigel Shaw 16th Section J 106th Open 420mls. What is probably more satisfying with this result is, it is a broken pigeon because Nigel only moved to a new house as the racing season started. There were a few others sending only one, the fanciers above were racing in excess of 400mls. Others entering only one and clocking with distances from 260 to over 400mls are C Hallett of Portsmouth. Baron & Crick at Hitchen. K Allman over at Castleford. G D Hancock from Devizes. C Lavis at Exeter. M Gorka at Tarleton. Bartlett & Jones in Southampton. M Johnson of Southsea. D M W Yates at Southampton. As mentioned, there were many others sending less than a handful. Well done to all the winners in what for some was a trying day, which is highlighted with the drop in velocities from the winner on 1790ypm to 731ypm, there were quite a few below 1000ypm and I don’t think they are bad pigeons, probably come out and win before the season has finished. Like everything in life your turn will come if you try hard enough and keep entering. I will be watching this year’s National races with interest.
Ready for the off. ???
Are fanciers ready for the off, that’s always debatable because we might think we are but then when the first race arrives many are wondering why they are behind. A lot of head scratching goes on, but little is changed because it is so early in the season. Some of those who are behind in the early races are looking to the future and the longer races so are not in the least bothered whether they are behind or not. On the subject of winning the early races, a couple of years ago I was talking to a fancier who thought it was funny because they were beating Mark Gilbert in the shorter races. Anyone who really knows Mark is aware that he has always been interested in the National and International races not the shorter races. I think the comments wound Mark up because he introduced a team of sprint pigeons and now covers the full range of races. They were only bred off for last year’s young bird season, but they are certainly making their presence felt. One thing is for sure, if someone is winning leave them alone, the more you wind them up the more they will come at you. Mark now has lofts with sections for all eventualities which some may think is a lot of pigeons to keep. However, I wonder how many would do the same if they had the money to do it in the first place, one thing is for sure I would do it if I had the space and financial support, as would many more. Anyone who knows Mark will tell you he is like a cat on a hot tin roof, always on the go, always thinking about the best way to get things done and doing something about it. I admire the fanciers in his club who keep going, but if the competition is there it makes you and your pigeons even better.
The start of April is when I used to like to get everything into full swing, I didn’t start any earlier because I only had a small set up to race. My goal was always the Nationals, they were the ones I wanted to compete in the most so April was plenty early enough for me. Another point with me was, “If it’s too cold for me to stand waiting for pigeons, it’s too cold to start them training” even though there are many batches going over in cold winds. I always liked to start them about the second week in April, by then it was getting a bit wormer.
Back to nature.
Hi Les. I'm an ex fancier from years ago when I raced, I treated only for canker and feather issues. I gave cod liver oil on the feed and honey in the water. There are so many additives and meds available nowadays I would be lost if I were to restart with pigeons - why so many these days? Would we be better going back to basics to increase pigeon immunity? Cheers
There are far too many products on the market, they are there because they are a money maker. I have been asked to sell products on the site but don't because I have not used/tested them and don't know if they work in the best interest of the pigeons. However, I do sell the Bifs products from Dr Ferdi Vandersanden because I have used/tested them over several years and see the benefits from these natural based products.
You could go back to nature but in the modern days of racing pigeons I don't think that would work because there are or can be so many problems about.
What I don't believe in is mixing products from different makers, I say that because I believe a company makes a range of products to work together and if you try and mix and match them chances are you are not getting the best out of them. What I used to do many years ago was change the range I used after 3yrs but when I started using Bifs and saw a difference, so I stuck to them because they did what I wanted them to do.