by Brian Batchelor
Wally is one those successful fanciers that races his pigeons very well but hasn’t had the recognition he deserves. Although reluctant at first, he agreed to let me do this loft report. Wally started racing pigeons back in the 1960s but like many had to give them up when the family came along and other more important commitments got in the way of pigeons. He restarted in the sport in 1997 when he had more time and his original pigeons were obtained from Dean Pallat being Van Reets and some of that blood still runs through his birds to this day. Although if you ask him what strain he races now he will tell you they are Van Cables, as he said you go over to Belgium and buy a pigeon and it is always the strain of the fancier who sells it to you even though the top Belgian fanciers are always trading pigeons amongst themselves and the origins could be from anyone.
Wally is a member of the Godalming and District Flying Club with 30 flying members located in Surrey, south England and it is affiliated to the South Coast Fed. This club has a good number of successful flyers both in the local Fed and Amalgamation, but also at National level. Wally is a very competitive fancier and tries to win every race he enters and does not take kindly to being an also ran; he takes it hard on the rare occasions he has a bad day. Fortunately that is not very often as his results over the last two seasons have shown. In 2013 Wally was the top prize winner at Godalming by a long way, lifting half the club trophies including the Old Bird and Young Bird averages. Up until about three years ago he concentrated on the sprint and middle distance races winning more than his fair share of the prizes but as he said the glory goes more to the distance flyers so in recent years he has been introducing distance blood into his loft mainly from his two good friends and top distance flyers Darren McFadden and Mick Tuck.
Previously he only raced on the traditional widowhood system but for the past three years he has tried the roundabout system with some success and for the longest races the pigeons were sent natural to the nest with eggs or a small youngster. The loft set up is a basic Blakes pent roof loft with a central section for the hens and two identical sections for the cocks either side with 12 nest boxes in each. The lofts are closed in with lower and upper ventilation and an electric extractor fan is set in the front of the main loft with a timer that runs for one hour every second hour in other words on one hour off one hour. Wally is great believer in providing some special motivation for his birds and one of his favourite tricks is to put a cock in the opposite section which is identical but houses another cock in the same position as its own box so creating some fierce jealousy as the cock being raced thinks there is an intruder in his box. He times his pigeons on the Unicon ETS system which he says is the best thing since sliced bread, especially if the birds arrive home in the early part of the morning as he is out working doing a rural newspaper delivery round and would not be at home to time his birds if they were on rubbers. Young birds are raced on the darkness system, which he finds works well for him. This year already he has won two races and the young birds look like yearlings and none of his team of 28 have been lost in the first four races in the series.
Trophies won 2013
Feeding is Versele Laga corn: super widowhood for the old birds and young birds start off on the young bird mix but once racing is underway they also go onto the widowhood mix. The pigeons are well trained before racing starts but once the race season commences very little further training is done as the birds are raced regularly most weeks. When asked about the use of medication he said treats the birds for worms, canker and coccidiosis before breeding and racing and half way through the season. He used to treat each drug individually but this year he used the 3 in 1 tablet and found it just as effective and easier to administer. They also get Aviform products, post race after each race and the stamina, respiratory treatment in the water twice a week. Fresh grit and minerals are before the birds at all times and Orego Stim is given once a week. The lofts are cleaned out when it suits him about twice a week on average.
When asked about the highlights of his success over the past couple of years he said winning the averages in the Godalming club was one, although Wally was honest enough to admit that since the club joined the South Coast with his loft position being the nearest to coast it had put him in a favourable position. However it must not be forgotten that in the past he has won Fed when the club was in the Surrey Fed and his loft position was not so favourable. The second highlight was the great performances of his Blue Chequer cock named Joe 90, named after the last two digits of his ring number, which was bred by Darren McFadden. Wally said prior to racing this outstanding cock he was losing a bit of interest but this one pigeon had really perked him up.
This wonderful cock was 3rd section, 13th open National Flying club Tarbes National 550 miles against an entry of 2769 in a very testing race when only 393 birds were timed in race time. However Wally was sorry he let the pigeon down by not pooling him as he said prior to the race he would be a good one and he was going to pool him right through but chickened out at the last minute. Having put up this top performance Wally then sent him back again to the NFC Saintes National again timed him to win 12 section and 252nd Open against 3187 pigeons. This time Wally didn’t chicken out and pooled him through doubling his money as a result. In his build up to Tarbes Joe 90 went to all the club channel races although he was 2 hours behind Wally’s first bird in his last start before Tarbes, which Wally said disappointed him but on reflection probably gave him the hours on the wing which set him up nicely for the Tarbes National. Another of Wally’s top performers is a Blue Gay pied yearling hen that has raced on roundabout this season and won him 3 races.
Wally's gay pied hen, winner of 3 races in 2014.
Well an enjoyable loft visit to a fancier whose pigeonshave put in some top performances in the past two years.
Elimar - August 2014