A NOVICE WITH HIS SIGHTS ON THE DISTANCE
by Tony Ward
End of last season until now, including my basic feeding/treatment regime.
First of all I must publicly announce that on the 12th December I was actually married for 16 years and not 15. How could I forget?
Well, I really only intended a one off article for other novice fanciers out there to glance over, but due to a large response and the fact I am sure many out there will be wondering about the usual feeding questions etc, I have decided to do a brief follow up of my own way.
Purely due to space, I operate the natural system.
At the end of last season my birds were separated, put straight on to a standard, no frills moulting mixture and allowed to quietly go through the moulting process.
By the middle of November they had all cast their end flight and had begun to grow their new one. During this time they had been on lockdown, with only weekly loft exercise to enable them to take a bath if they so wished, cocks one day, hens the next.
The moulting mixture came to an end on the 13th December, when I introduced a Breed and Wean mixture.
This will continue from now, right through breeding and the ybs will stay on this from weaning until training commences.
May I add that although I feed in troughs on the loft floor, during breeding, I always have a pot of food on the nest box fronts.
During racing I generally use a heavy mixture, have never broken the pigeons down, and will look to utilise more carbs and fats towards basketing.
Obviously time will tell if this method proves successful it’s all trial and error.
Feeding is by way of 1 x soupspoon per bird, twice a day, closely watched to alter if required.
I always supplement the evening feed with Hormoform at a rate of 1 x level teaspoon per bird, totalling approx 1 and a quarter ounces per bird per day.
Matrix and clay pickstone blocks are used regularly, changed every other day or when required.
I try to introduce peanuts at an early stage to ensure I can use them later when getting ready for the channel.
Multivitamins are used in the drinker on a weekly basis or for a couple of days following any treatments; this again is just something I have always done.
I try to maintain a weekly use of Mycoform-T in the water, usually on a Thursday to aid the respiratory system.
As a general rule I like to flock treat as a preventative every 6-8 weeks for canker (Harkanker) and at the same time I check for lice and use a one-spot if required.
I also wean all my youngsters with half a Spartrix tablet each.
Through the winter period I use plain old tap water on most days.
All my pigeons will be vaccinated for the annual PMV shortly after the Blackpool Show, a minimum 1 month before breeding commences.
Feeding this way, I find that my pigeons are always fairly close to an ideal racing weight and always seem to exercise well around home.
It is inevitable that things will need tweaking now and then to coincide with the weather conditions or certainly when you start training and loft flying the birds. They will generally tell you, I am just beginning to realise.
The car always needs re-fuelling; the further you go the more you put in!
I have stopped worrying about my pigeons hitting the traps at the sound of the food tin etc. It is not a trapping match from the channel.
Where I live, I am surrounded by flats and other houses. So long as my pigeons have exercised for a reasonable time, should they sit on the rooftops for a while then so be it.
Gone are the days of me chasing them off with a tennis ball etc; they will only fly off and sit somewhere else.
Remember, this is also part of their home environment.
I do however understand that this would not be acceptable to the sprint men.
Many comments have come through as to how well my pigeons looked in the photos accompanying my first article. This is very satisfying however it will not be their good looks that get them home from these extreme distances BLOOD WILL TELL!
Quality not quantity at all times must be the way forward.
Pigeons that succeed at these types of distances are without doubt EXTREMELY SPECIAL.
I try to take a little from here and a little from there, but when all is said and done, and whether I succeed or fail in this mammoth task I will have done it MY WAY.
There you have it, an insight into my SIMPLE, BASIC regime.
Elimar - December 2014