More views from Les J Parkinson
I have had a couple of fanciers asking me about when I started with pigeons because of what it says on the web site. I first had pigeons as a young boy in 1955 when I was 6yrs old but didn’t race until 1969 when I moved to Middlewich. I started Elimar Pigeons Services, selling in the room in 1979. I then started the web site with the help of Steve Spinks from Blackpool in 1999 which went live in 2000, it has now grown to over 12 million hits per year. Hope this explains the different dates that I have been asked about.
I was hoping someone at the Mid Cheshire presentation was going to take a few photos as they received their trophies but not to be. There were a few that Geoff Bebbington sent to me of the Adamson Family. They are of young Corey Adamson with two of the trophies, also Natalie Adamson and one of proud day Gary looking on as his son looks happy with the awards. There was a sale of young birds in which young Corey bought the two donated by Ray Lunt, I am told out of the winnings. There was also a quiz night but unfortunately no more information.
Corey & Gary Adamson
The season is closing in fast and no doubt there are many training their pigeons in preparation for the early races in late March. The problem with training and racing so early there are generally east winds about and neither humans nor animals are keen on being out in those winds. Often, we get the easterly winds at that time of the year and many pigeons will not face them and go down. Some do return days later and are neither use nor ornament for the rest of the season. When this happens, fanciers blame their pigeons but, it is the fancier’s fault for going headlong into training without any thought for the future of the pigeons. The weather for racing pigeons is now much better in September and we could go a bit later with the races which would help the pigeons. I suppose the big downfall with that is meeting the dates for the longer races when they need the daylight hours, plus working in line with the continental fanciers for the International races. Many fanciers lack patience when it comes to preparing their birds. This early training does affect the pigeons, and many don’t make the end of the season in good enough condition to compete in the races they just home. This is where most fanciers fall down by training early and not taking into account the races in the later end of the old bird season. There are many fanciers about who do train and still win, but most of them do have a few more pigeons to race and can split them up. The smaller team fancier tends to send them every week and they are the ones that struggle in the later races. If they are raced early and a lot is being taken out of them, they need something putting back.
In line with the above and putting something back into pigeons to keep them going we need to look at the vitamins we put into them in the first place. Many years ago, I was in a discussion at the local club about giving pigeons vitamins either on their corn or in the water. I was telling the fanciers what I used and why I used those products. The late Denis Gleave who was very much up to date with what to give the pigeons once told me that you can overdose with vitamins if you are not careful. I partly disagreed with that theory because it all depends on what you give the pigeons and how you use whatever you are giving them. I was of course referring to natural products as opposed to treatments for ailments with vitamins or minerals added, in other words products manufactured to keep them healthy and keep them going. That was the reason I started to use Vior which is a good cleanser for the pigeons and does help to keep them healthy. If you are giving natural products and using them right, you are unlikely to overdose them. I have had many emails with experts on this subject and most tell me the same thing so I can only work on their knowledge and experience on this subject. If you are talking antibiotics, then you can overdose and long term they are not good for the pigeons. Many fanciers ruin their pigeons by overdosing with antibiotics but using natural products that does not happen. What they don’t need when having natural products, they pass through their body, you can see that in their droppings, they change colour. One of the big problems in racing pigeons is Fungal infection, many fanciers don’t appear to get on top of this when it is in their pigeons. I am not going to claim to have written the following, it is from the Bifs web site and I have permission to use it to point out the effects of Fungal infection. “Neutriceuticals are food additives based on vegetable extracts who stimulate the general health. CC cur is a biological product based on herb extracts. It prevents disrupted intestinal function. It’s very useful with bacterial and fungal infections. CC cur is recommended in situation of stress and in periods that harmful micro-organisms attack the racing pigeon. Pigeons become healthier and more vital. It is advisable to start the sporting season with a 10day treatment with a dose of 10ml per kg grains, followed by a maintenance treatment of the same dose once or twice a week” Fungal infection was not one of the issues many product suppliers picked up on until recent years, but they have now got to grips with it. In pigeon racing and probably all types of sport there are some who pick up on these problems at an early stage. However not all fanciers do, and they are a long time finding a solution, but they get there in the end. What I have always said is, there are some good ranges of products on the market that are made to work together. So, if you want to use products then stick to one range, I say that because companies make a range of products to work together. If you mix and match you may not get the best out of the products you are using. You then look at the products and think they are not working, that could be that one counteracts the other, so they don’t work as well.
BICC New Station.
A few people have asked Geoff Bebbington about his venture with the marking station. Here is what he had to say. “The Idea of trying to get a marking station came about through a discussion with my brother Rob about joining the BICC. The nearest marking station to us is Chirk which Is approximately 45mInIute drive for me so an hour and a half round trip without the time spent marking which isn't too bad but the marking time is between 2 and 4 so it means we would have to take half a day of work to mark the birds. So we decided it would be better to try and get a marking station at our club which is the Barn Owl pub in Barnton near Northwich Cheshire and set it up for the working man so we are looking to mark from 6.30 to 8.30 In the evening after work. It is close to the M56 and M6 motorways which give’s easy access from Manchester and Liverpool hopefully it gets well supported” This is one of those things we cannot give too much publicity too because it is a venture to help both pigeon fanciers who want to compete at the distance and the club’s concerned. I think this is a good venture and I will keep you updated. I know there is a meeting organised so more news should come out of that. They did have another meeting but not many attended, which they don’t do at this time of the year. Also, many stay away from such meetings because they don’t want to be taking on any of the jobs that it takes to run any marking station. Geoff went on to say he is looking at organising a young bird sale to raise funds to cover costs.
I have been enjoying rooting out information on some of the fanciers we have visited in the past. Some will know of them but there will be a lot who have not heard of them, their pigeons maybe but not them. The first loft that we ever visited in Holland was that of Kuyper Bros, where the owners don’t even bother to clock their birds at the shorter races. They are only concerned with the distance events that their country has to offer. It is not the National races that they are interested in but the more prestigious internationals where they can compete against the best in Europe, and they nearly always manage to get amongst the prize-winners. From what I have seen from these lofts, you can be sure that over the next few years they will become an even bigger name in pigeon racing into Holland. If they did clock in a little more from the shorter races who knows what heights, they might have already reached on the National and International front. The brothers were our first stop after arriving at Maastricht. It was rather a long journey to the lofts across some very flat countryside before arriving at the household where our hosts were waiting to show us their champion racers and breeders. Andre and Piet Kuypers are bachelors and it is well known locally that when a great performance is put up, which is very often, a good time is had by all with many of the local community joining in by turning out to celebrate. At one time a bus was even laid on to go out and enjoy themselves, all by courtesy of the brothers. I would have liked to have spent more time with these lads, but it was hard enough getting what little info I have. Perhaps if I could have had a crash course in Dutch, I would have found out exactly why the partnership do not bother with these shorter races. Still I once again have Willy Beacon to thank for the information that I do have, as he was the interpreter who has an extremely hard job of asking and answering. On entering the house, a well wanted cup of coffee was made for all while Willy interpreted the conversations where possible. The trophies in the room were plentiful and of various sizes plus of course many mounted photos of the champion pigeons that most fanciers can only dream about. Since 72 the partnership has been around the top of the list of the Barcelona race with very few fanciers beating them in either Holland or Belgium and at that they are one of the furthest flyers. It is believed in this part of the country that the Dutch fanciers are far better racers when it comes to the distances than their Belgium counter parts. A point that is shown in the many results that was at hand. We were very fortunate in the fact that we had the privilege of handling the bros 1981 winner of the 1st International hens and 2nd international overall from Pau 1002km against 2553 pigeons plus winning five thousand guilders. This 78-bred hen has a very good eye and is not a very big pigeon at all, but I can tell you she is an extremely impressive pigeon in the hand. This pigeon has won in the type of competition that the bros like, from the distance. On the wall in the living room were several pictures of very good pigeons including a chequer cock winner of 3rd Nat 17th International, 1976 then in 1977 he returned injured, 1978 34th Nat 168th International 1979 13th Nat 26th International and remember these are all from Barcelona 1135km. The eye in this cock and in all these cocks is very rich with plenty of depth and in the hand is first class with a strong body. The cocks that we handled were all the same with good rich eyes that had plenty of depth and when one handles these pigeons one can understand what a family being like peas in a pod means. After seeing the great performances that these pigeons have put up, I cannot understand why their pigeons have not hit this country like so many others of the continental strain have these last few years. No doubt the way these pigeons are flying it will not be very long before they will be winning from the distances into the British Isles. The pigeons for both the natural systems and widowhood the cocks are all paired in March with the stock birds being paired in January. With the teams that amounts to around 130 which rear in the region of 70 y/bs. The cocks raced are all on the widowhood system with the natural hens being prepared for the extreme distance races where they excel when they are sitting a five-day old squeaker. Then as soon as racing has finished all birds are given the open hole where they can go back and forth to the fields all day long. The y/bs are not really taken a great deal of notice as they are sent to around 200 miles with the intention of keeping them for the National and International races in future years. As I say the bros are known for not clocking in those early races which are not considered in the long run and perhaps is why are not known a little more in this county. Other fanciers have flown well to win with these pigeons and include a 1st Nat St Vincent 9000 birds, which was bred from a brother at the great 113. 1st St Nat Dax with a pigeon of the old original stock against 6980 plus birds. For the great stock pair that is responsible for the best winners that the bros have been approached about this pair and many fanciers have been interested in them. But they have always been worth far more to stay in the loft where they have bred pigeons as good as any at the distances, wherever one may go. The family have been cultivated over the last 10 years with paring mother to son and cousins together etc which has given this family such a good likeness in both looks and when handling with the balance of these pigeons altering very slightly and I mean slightly As expected with the continentals these days this partnership have a fine set up for their pigeons and when one has seen the set up one can appreciate how much room the pigeons are given. There are three lofts in all two of which can be seen from the photos. The third loft is a wooden construction built between the two brick lofts next to which there is a pen where a rather large dog is kept. Everywhere is so clean throughout both inside and outside the lofts. Even though the partnership has a floor covering that is made up of lava from Italy, which is riddled regularly and changed every 6 months, this method is used because it helps the lofts so dry. I have seen and heard of all sorts of floor covering but this is my first experience of seeing larva on a loft floor and I am surprised how effective it is.
Kuyper Bros and below their lofts
Getting them ready.
What is the farthest distance that you would train your old birds or young birds? This is what I wrote many years ago, the question is would I do the same today. “Training pigeons is a costly business therefore many take the easy way out and train with one of the local training systems but like most things in this sport that changes from year to year. We now train the pigeons ourselves depending on where we expect the birds to race and the conditions at the time. If the weather is good and the pigeons are healthy, we have given them a couple of tosses a day to get them right. What you must remember is that if your pigeons are going to be fit then they need the training. If I had the time and finance, I would be training twice per day at around the 45ml mark for the sprint races, but the working man must limit what they spend on pigeons and the time to do it in. We have been to compile loft reports and fanciers have said that they do not train once the season has started but we have seen fanciers down the road daily and they have said that very same thing. Even widowhood cocks are far more competitive when they are trained as compared with just exercising around home. You do not see top class athletes winning races by sitting at home all day. In the past we have had the birds on the open hole, which suits us because they have been raced on the natural and with racing the longer races they are up and about very early in the morning and even later at night. However, that has changed because they would eat most of the new plants that were planted so now, they are exercised and back into the loft. To add to that we also train them at least twice each week from about 20mls, it used to be as much as 40mls but that has been reduced. If a pigeon is being prepared for a race, then we do change slightly by giving them a few tosses in pairs. When it comes to exercising the young birds, we call the old birds in but are not bothered if one or two decide to stay out and range with the youngsters. The young birds are generally trained at about 7am and 6pm during the season, which we like to stick to where possible. We are not interested if young birds perform or not because the young bird stage of their racing is for experience. Our best old birds have only been mediocre as youngsters and the cock that was 45th open Pau only had one training race as a baby” Now then, the question is, would I do anything different today. That is always debatable because everything we do depends on the time, we have available, plus there is the cost, plus the races you want to compete in, short, middle or long distance, or even National racing. It also depends on the system that you are using at the time. I would always train them well because as I have pointed out, top athletes do not win by sitting on their backside all day long. What you must remember about training is, if you take it out you must put it back otherwise, they will fall down and win nothing. There is also the fact that if you drain them of all their energy, they are prone to disease. So, remember, if you take it out of them you need to put it back, if not you are asking for trouble. If you are training heavy, then you need a range of high-quality products so that the pigeons maintain a high standard of fitness. Not that they are suitable for racing pigeons, but if you go into any fitness/sports shop there are always a good range of products for athletes available.
Are we really changing the sport for the better?
In 2005 I wrote 5 things we need to do to try and improve the sport.
- Have official liberators, but how many are going to take on that responsibility and it is a big one because if they give is a bad race everyone will be up in arms, to the dungeon with them.
- The RPRA to organise with an official source for weather reports to be made available.
2020. We are still having bad races within the sport, still losing pigeons at a higher rate than we should through liberations in bad weather, and there are a few of them each year.
3. Stop racing the pigeons so early and give them a chance to have
proper training before the season starts.
2020. This has always been a thorn in my side because we start to
early in the season and don’t give them chance to be race fit.
- Sort out a better system for channel racing because we are getting earlier each year and pigeons are being sent when they have not had enough time to get fully fit.
- No young bird racing before the last weekend in July or the first weekend in August again to give time to get them trained after the old birds have finished. After all the seasons are changing and we get some good weather later in September.
We don’t change that much with the things that matter, the one thing we need to look after far better than we do in the races. And they are our pigeons who are put out when we don’t like being out ourselves. If they were feral pigeons, then they are fine because they are used to it. However, our racing pigeons tucked away in their nice homes are not.