My Barcelona Dream Part 23
Where to begin?? Well honestly since my last article over a year ago I have been on quite the rollercoaster. I had to make a big decision regarding the birds and as most of you know I had a full sale of all birds in the lofts. I have to say one of the hardest decisions I have made regarding pigeons in my life. As someone who has been around birds all my life it was fairly difficult. The decision was made because of a planned change in circumstance. I kept in contact throughout the year even though I had no birds. Have to say it was quite difficult. Then decided around mid-October that the planned change to circumstance would not be happening and that we would be staying put. So, with things not going the way I planned it was then I thought about starting again but with experience behind me shaping what I would be doing.
So here we go again and deciding on the right birds for the job again and where to get them from. I have to say the biggest learning curve I had was a very simple thing. Don’t keep to many stock. We all never want to do this but what happens is another matter. With the best intentions of keeping stock numbers low we all fall into the trap at one time or another of having to many. That is certainly where I ended with 30 odd pair of stock. Way too many for a small back yard loft. Even knowing it was way too many I still didn’t say know. So, with the restart I will be very, very, very strict on numbers in order to give the stock I am breeding from a good crack to see if they are good enough to stay or not. The downside is that for me still aiming for Barcelona all my stock will have 4 years to prove themselves. I have intentions of having no more than 8 pairs of stock birds for breeding purposes. These will be bred from father x daughter or mother x son and will be in the lofts from a young age to fly out and then kept exercising and hopefully will not give problems. So, in deciding this I still want to have some fun along the way. So, a team will still have to be bred in order to see if I can find a diamond in what is there regardless. And so, like any new starter, I do have a loft, I have to decide how and where to get the birds from.
So easy enough for me, this time round, I have always been a believer in the birds of Nic Harvey of Taunton and have kept in contact with him through the year. So, when I told him I was going to start off again he immediately offered to send on some birds for use to get a base family going. And so, I now have a couple of birds to start a line with that I will be calling Harvey’s Wizards. These will be based on his 3xBarcelona Cock Musgrove Wizard. A fantastic cock in my view, and it is my view, that I feel will prove to be a better stud cock than a race bird. Added to him from Nic I have 2 hens. 1 of these is a daughter of 3xBarcelona, 1st West Section 18th Open BICC, Musgrove Inevitable when paired to Nic’s Addiction, that I have written about before. The second hen is from Musgrove Persistent, 5xBarcelona best position 3rd West Section 11th Open BICC, this hen was also paired to Nic’s Addiction. Nic’s Addictions Sire is Musgrove Insights, 2nd West Section Barcelona and his Dam is Musgrove Addiction (Twice Barcelona) also 2nd West Section Barcelona. I will also have 2 other hens I from Musgrove Insanity 3xBarcelona that I will be loaned for co-breeding with the new owner that bought her from me and the last hen will be another on loan that is out of, Sire is Musgrove Insights, 2nd West Section Barcelona and his Dam is Musgrove Addiction also 2nd West Section Barcelona. This hen therefor is a full sister to Nic’s Addiction and is also on loan from the good man that is John Ghent esquire Scribe, Vlogger and Individual Extraordinaire (EH JOHN THAT ENOUGH FOR YOU?)
So, as a restarter and having a good knowledge of where I want to go with breeding and what I want to do I will be taking young hens bred from this one cock and pair them back giving father x daughter mating’s. Some of the young from these mating’s will then be selected for flying out stock. As you some of you know I am a strong believer of inbreeding and will carry on with that line of thought. Hopefully, and as you can see, this line will be packed full of performance Barcelona Blood. I think a good start to what I am aiming to achieve. Clocking birds from Barcelona International with birds bred from birds that have already done the job. ‘Horses for courses and all’.
I will not be putting all my eggs in one loft so to speak. I will also develop a line of birds from Marco Wilson Stock. A man who himself was clocking birds at 879 miles from the Barcelona International. Again, I will be using birds from him that I have been given from father x daughter and mother x son mating’s in order to produce a line that I will call Wilsons Warriors. I will have a total of 4 pairs of mating from this method. Breeding will be followed in order to create 2 independent lines that can be bred down genetically in a way I want and that the lines can also then be crossed, hopefully, with success.
With this method I am doing several things at the same time. Firstly, I am putting my money where my mouth in regard to a belief that in creating a line of successful birds that inbreeding initially is a good start. Secondly, I am also looking to try proving that starting with the right base, inbred birds directly from performance birds, therefore not going to far from the tree as it were. Thirdly there is the amount of birds concerned. I will initially be keeping several pairs of inbred birds for base breeders. From these as I breed down if and when something of value is produced on the road then the focus will be to shift to that individual or individuals to continue the line. Therefor aiming to eventually use successful race birds for breeding purposes which is the goal of most modern lofts.
This may or may not be successful it is just practice, by me, of some of the theories out there regarding breeding methods that I like and would like to attempt. Of course, most important is that the original birds beginning the line have already completed the course I am aiming for or that I am using direct children. Luckily, I am doing both.
So now I am looking forward to the coming 2020 season where I will be aiming to compete in only 2 races. I will be joining the BICC once again. I will be updating on loft events as the happen and the breeding program also and how it goes. This is something I have enjoyed doing over the years and now will be doing with a lot more focus. I will be aiming to race in the Le Mans in June and also the any age Guernsey August. I am really excited about this.
I have also set something in motion that may be of interest to readers out there that are also based in Ireland. I would be happy if more want to get involved in the following news and if so, please get in contact. There seems to be a good bit of interest around the country to actually push for further racing into Ireland. As there are no Federations or organisations that seem to want this as a whole and offer it as an option for members. I have decided to do something about this. For those fanciers in Ireland who would like to push the boundaries there are a few options. All involve joining one of the UK clubs. The biggest hurdle and stumbling block always seems to be the cost of getting birds to marking stations. It was then I sat back and decided I would put in place the way to do it. If you are interested here is how it will work.
- All willing in the South of Ireland must join the RPRA, if you are not a member, those in the North of Ireland are members via their own clubs and organisations for the most part.
- Anyone wishing to use this service in order to get birds marking must join the BICC, this is the club I will be getting birds to marking for. It is already in place with the Chirk marking station in Wales and Alan Shinton one of the overseers there.
- We already have 30 individuals who would like to be involved and so that brings the initial cost of approx. ?400 for an individual to ?50 per individual in the group wanting to work together through me. This money will be pooled together before the racing. Anyone wanting to be involved will have to put monies together by approx. March 31st at the latest. It will be used for transport for the 2 races chosen and will be to get birds to marking stations before joining the BICC convoy. Transport cost for the group is ?700 and will be done via large transit van. Paying a driver and cost for transport on the ferry.
- All who want to race each race mentioned will have to bring their birds to Dublin the day before travel to the UK for marking, (Details to follow when near the time). Birds will be accepted with BICC marking sheets, Bank drafts for the amount necessarily made out to the British International Championship Club, NO CASH WILL BE ACCEPTED.
- Birds will be transported in courier boxes. These will be supplied by Walkers Couriers at a discounted rate for us as agreed with Mark Walker himself. (Thanks to Walkers for this.)
- With a bit of luck and a helping wind we will be celebration a few clocking’s from both races competing in.
Really what this all means is that this is going to happen no matter how many people are involved. The bigger thing is that if you want to have a go even if it is only one time then make contact. The more of us that are involved the better for all and the more enjoyment in the competition you may get. It is honestly something different to have a go at us all so why not.
The next article will focus on where I am in the loft and what is happening in the run up to breeding and more about the inbreeding plans so as usual?
Until next time
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