Parkinson 5 22nd May 2020
In my last notes I mentioned the Media and how they are with their reports, thankfully that does not happen with the BHW, they are more selective. The BHW is for the pigeon fraternity and is not there to gain points over everyone else and I like to think that is how my web site works for the pigeon fanciers. The media do blow things up out of all proportion to attract attention, they need readers and listeners which is why they go over the top. When they get hold of a story, they can crucify people, they are like a dog with a bone. Anyway, the reason I started this was because I had a comment about having something in the line of a chat line on the web site. One thing is for sure that will not happen again, they cause too many unnecessary upsets for people. I had what was probably the first chat line in the UK for pigeon fanciers in 2000 and the stuff that was put on it soon told me it was not for me, so I took it down. At a later date I also removed the Guestbook because of what was put on their. So that is why I do not have a chat line of any sort connected to the web site. They are an offensive tool often used by people who do not think before going to press. And for the life of me I cannot understand why people do what they do when they are pressing keys on the keyboard, perhaps they have had some Dutch courage.
I was recently talking to Chris Knowles about racing and the question of “Do we need to change the way we do things” the answer is simple, “Yes we do” We have been waiting a long time to change the way we do things within pigeon racing, it’s hard to get change. We have been more or less using the same system for longer than I can remember. I think the best way forward for the Federations is to have the present system of old and young bird racing. However, we could start young bird racing earlier, say the end of May. Yes, I know that not everyone wants to start them that early but many fanciers have a team of young birds ready by the time we start to race the old birds in April. Those early youngsters are sitting around the loft for several months when they could be doing something. We could also look at the previous years latebreds, why not give them a better chance and race them in the come back races between the channel and then continue them into a few young bird races. For those who race widowhood cocks only they could race their hens with the young birds and get a channel race in at the end of the season. The continentals race their young birds much earlier than we do and they turn out some top-class racers later in life, there is nothing like education no matter what we look at in life. I am told the Australian’s race their pigeons in a longer programme than we do, therefore their enjoyment last longer into the year. During the old bird season, the feds could arrange their season and have additional races to the normal old bird races. You could have 2 or 3 races each Saturday from the same liberation. The normal old bird race, a yearling race, young bird race, cock’s, and hens races, plenty of choice. Then you could have the normal young bird race with the addition of an old bird race, yearling race, old hens race. No matter how many pigeons you have there are options for more than one race a day on the same transporter’s. We could fill transporters and probably get better racing. Chris was saying there are changes in the fed he races in but due to the coronavirus things are not going as planned, still the changes are being put in place. There is so much that could create additional interest in the sport but as we know most do not like change, but change we need if we are to keep fanciers interested in the sport. What extra cost would there be, from a training point of view not really much because the pigeons need to be trained anyway. The numbers housed would mostly be the same because of loft space so no more work there. The benefits, the race day would be more exciting and you would be wondering how each team had gone on because they would obviously come at different times. When we talk about entering in different clubs on the same day the fancier who comes to mind is Albert Lever. He entered in 3 different 500ml races on the same day, no duplication and I do not think they were at the same race points and he won all three and remember that was when there were a lot of good big clubs about.
At it again.
Not sure how things will go but Wayne has a bigger loft set up than I have seen him have before. I suppose the changes have occurred because daughter Olivia is now doing her own business with white doves/pigeons for weddings etc. It looks as if Olivia and brother Brandan may be doing this together so this might help Wayne with the pigeons, it is always handy to have a couple of extra hands when you have pigeons. The problem is with the lock down they cannot go far but it will allow them to build a small team before they start to take bookings. I would expect a few of these white’s will work their way into the race team once they have built a good team for business purposes, look well if they beat the other race team. I know from experience that it is hard when you want to have pigeons and due to circumstances, you cannot have them. As I have said before it is only the web site and writing that keeps me sane, well, almost.
|Pair young Wood pigeons||Pair young Wood pigeons feeding|
The wood pigeons are nesting in the conifer at the front of the house again and there are two in the bigger conifer in the back garden. They both reared a nest of young last year so let us hope they do it again this year. I do know the neighbour on one side is not happy because the pair at the front keep going on her son’s car and making a mess.
I touched on racing earlier in these notes but it often crosses my mind as to whether competition in racing pigeons is stronger now or not than it was 60yrs ago. I came in on the backend of that period and as we all know there were far more fanciers about then than there are now. There were also far more birds going to the races than there are now. Pigeon racing has changed since then with technology and most fanciers have better facilities to train their pigeons. However, the general format of racing pigeons has not changed much in all those years, getting change is not easy in this life. What I do believe is, racing pigeons is now tough competition because percentage wise I think there are more trying harder today because most have equal facilities. Forget how much Joe Bloggs down the road has in their bank account, most have a car in the drive or friends or families to train their pigeons. On average pigeon fanciers have a better bank account than they did all those years ago, that shows in the prices many pay for pigeons. The purchase of pigeons is far easier than it ever was, there are more fanciers trying to recoup a few pounds and work on the basis that their pigeons are an investment and that in itself opens the door for others to make a purchase. For many years Denis Gleave was the fancier to beat in Middlewich when we had 30 plus members. We had someone to aim for because not only was he winning in the club but also at National level and he would win from the first to the last races. Having someone to aim at makes everyone try that bit harder, I know people do not always like winners but they are in all walks of life and without them there is nothing to aim for. Yes, there are fanciers about who have that bit more than others, whether it’s money, bigger lofts, more birds, remember they are always beatable, you just have to try harder and then you get far more satisfaction out of beating them. I also believe that commitment to what you are doing will win the day more than everything else.
As you all know I have been going through my boxes of old pigeon items, whether they are photo’s or anything else to do with racing pigeons. When I was keen and was looking to win trophies to show what I had won, I put a proposition into the club that would affect what we paid out in prize money. The proposition was that we gave a small trophy to all race winners and a replica trophy to winners of perpetual trophies. At the time, my view was that if you were first in any race or average then you had something to show for that win in later years. At the time we had a good array of trophies and it cost a few quid to purchase them. There were a few of the older members against this because they were no longer interested in replica trophies. They did last for a few years in the club but were eventually voted off the programme. When we were 1st section3rd Open St Nazaire with the National FC we were presented with a good quality replica. That was about 15yrs ago and I still have that replica on show today in the office and it looks as good today as it did then. For some reason, the National stopped giving them. I say that with disappointment because when I won a section again, I did not get one to put on show. Probably one of those cost cutting exercises that we see so often in all walks of life. The downside is that you have nothing to show for winning in what should be the Premier club in the country. I must say that we have 3 boxes with trophies in stored in the attic but the NFC trophy is always on show as is one from the North West Classic Club. There are some good ranges of trophies on show with the bigger clubs, it is when the replicas are taken away the winners lose out. I know the big winners do not want boxes of trophies to look after, they need cleaning. Having said that when you have fanciers being proud of the occasional big club performance, they often need something to show in future years for that not too often win. We all have our views on what we do and do not want, it might be worth have a question on entry forms as to what you would like to show for your win’s. I am of course referring to a trophy of a few quid prize money. Generally, this is a case of wanting trophies in your early days but as the years roll by you do not want them piling up on the shelf and in cabinets around the house.
I am going to include a few loft photo’s over the next few weeks showing how they have changed over the years. But this week I am including a few of my lofts.
Photo 1 is a loft that Geoff Machin made in 1985 to my own design, this was the loft in Warmingham Lane that I never raced to but the new owner still races to it today, with a new front. There was a full-length corridor with one section for yearlings, one for old birds and two young bird sections. At the end of the corridor there was also a few feet left where the widowhood hens boxes were. I put a lot of thought into this loft and was incredibly pleased with the end result. Everything about it appeared to work with good ventilation that entered the loft at the bottom and was drawn out through the vents at the top.
Photo 2 is where the widowhood cocks were to be raced to.
Photo 3 shows the two young bird sections.
Photo 4 is of the loft I built in Long Lane, the old bird loft on the right with 3 sections for old bird racing. This again was initially set up for widowhood cocks but the Natural system was more the flavour of the day. The young bird loft is across the bottom with a section in the corner where the hens could be housed if needed. There was a stock loft nearer the house on the left.
Photo 5 was taken after I added traps for the pigeons because we were having so much trouble with the neighbours on both sides who had become best buddies, which did not last, by then we had moved out.
Photo 6 is the loft we raced to at the present address that I bought off Kenny & Marie Vaughan who brought the loft here and erected it for me, they did a good job for me with that one.
There were three x 8ft sections, two for old and one for young birds. When that loft was first erected, I put netting doors on with traps of bob wires on each door. I later made changes for the ETS system, the first was the addition of an additional trap on the young bird section where a pen could be put on the front and they could be outside any time they wanted. This was also how I got them used to the bob wires because I would make sure they were all in the pen before the evening feeding time. They were babies at this stage and in the early stages of learning, so I would clean them out and then call them in through the wires. By the time they were flying they were well used to the wires. I later moved the trap to the left of the first door where I set up the ETS system.
If I were building a loft now it would be the same as photo 1 because I felt that had everything in the right place. The addition would be traps inside the corridor for the ETS system. The ETS traps would be set at 3ft off the floor on each door to the sections. I would also have wire netting doors as you open the outer doors to allow more fresh air and to keep the birds out.
The one question I suppose many fanciers would be asking themselves is, “What type of loft would I build if I had the money and the lad to do it in the first place” Well that one I will answer next week when I look at a well thought out loft, providing you have the money and space of course.
When they saw the name, I wonder how many were thinking, what’s Pablo Picasso got to do with pigeons. I must admit that I did not know until I saw a question on The Chase. Picasso was a pigeon fancier and he named his daughter Paloma because that is Dove/Pigeon in Spanish. When you think about it, he must be one of if not the most famous pigeon fancier ever. We do have Mike Tyson, Gerry Francis, Duncan Ferguson and no doubt many more but Pablo has to be the one at the top of the pigeon pile.
I was after a photo from Geoff Bebbington for the Paper Panel but he sent me two of his granddaughter Chloe who is interested in the pigeons.
I also have a couple of photos of the wood pigeons in the holly tree, one being of the two young birds while the other is of the mother feeding them. These photos were taken on the 19th April so they went down early and made a good job of rearing them. The pair in the conifer on the front are only on egg’s so the one is in the back got must have had a good start. The one thing about it is they have had a good start in what has been a good few weeks weather. The pair of chequers that I have mentioned in articles are still going under the solar panels on the roof you can see him standing guard. Not sure how they are going to go on breeding but they have found a way in. Do not think Elizabeth will like me going onto the roof to keep an eye on where they are up to and ring them. Got a photo of him but I don’t have one of those long lens cameras so I used my mobile phone.