of Staincross, Barnsley
by Lewis Milne
Ernie Goodyear and Steve Burditt
Sunday 25th October 10.30am I arrived in Sheffield to meet up with a good friend Steve Birditt of Eccelsfield. I’ve mentioned Steve before on my blog, a great guy who I’ve known for over 12 years and one of the best fanciers I know (Steve’s not been well with a short spell in hospital so it was good to see him.). We had made arrangements to go over and see Ernie at his home in Staincross, which is a very well turned out bungalow with a lovely garden were he houses some of his team. The trip was intended for me to have a look at Ernie’s Koopmans & Van Dyck pigeons which I had on good information were top class but as it turned out it was a very interesting look inside this maestro’s loft and it was more than even I had expected.
After arriving at the house just a short trip up the M1 from Sheffield with Steve we were greeted with an empty house but we were a little early so we had a little chin wag about my new stock hen I had just picked up the day before. It’s a direct Pouw Bros, a dtr of “de goode broken poot”, an old 2000 hen but I know Steve has some great Pouws so it was a bit of a hint (hahaha).
Young Koopman hen
Ernie arrived about five minutes after us and, as it turned out, he had a coach trip leaving that morning so had to make sure everything was in place, never leaving anything to chance! Ernie runs a very successful coach company in Barnsley - Goodyear Travel - covering every kind of trip including some great trip for us pigeon people to Belgium, Holland & Germany doing loft visits, stud tours and the big shows... (Well worth a visit. Can be seen in the B.H.W.).
After meeting Ernie and having a quick chat, he invited us to pop around the back and have a look at the lofts and his rather large dog that does a great job of deterring any unwelcome company. Once the dog was safely locked away we had a look at the fantastic garden and pond, which is situated right next to his house and goes into his conservatory, so you can see the fish from inside (very swish). The lofts are situated at the bottom of Ernie’s garden and are made up of a few different sheds, the largest being an L-shaped pantiled loft with electric lighting and automatic cleaning belts under the grilled boxes, with three other sheds housing spare birds and younger stock being matured ready for the shows.
Ernie started with pigeons after becoming interested as a young man, with his farther keeping and racing birds for a long time. I asked him how long he’d kept and raced birds and the reply was one I’ve heard many times - too long! It’s funny most pigeon men have a very dry senses of humour and Ernie is no different.
Direct Koopman stock cock
The young bird team had not been raced this year due to work commitments, which is a real shame, but even with the birds heavy in the moult you could see the class oozing from them, which is a credit to Ernie and his husbandry. The lofts were spotless and with the quick cleaning process I could see why the grilles were of great help to someone who works full time and the floors grills made this a very good set up. We handled some of the young birds and a few of the Koopmans & Van Dycks that I’d hoped to see. I wasn’t disappointed. My info was correct. Bred from directs so what more could a man ask for?
The other birds that caught my eye were some lovely dark pied. I had a good look at a few and asked Ernie what they were? Willy Jacobs was the answer. What fantastic birds and also from directs, and have already bred prize winners. My next question was: 'What other families do you keep Ernie?' The answer shocked me as they are as follows: Janssens, Pouw Bros/Piet Valk, R Van Soset, Jos Thone, Frederick Philippe, Walter Docx , Jan Huybregts and Brasspennings.
Wow! How many world class families in one man’s lofts and almost every family bought direct apart from two. All the top lines from these flyers, too many to list, but I do hope to return and compile more info for you guys. These are the best birds I have ever seen and this is my tip of the year: if you’re looking for something new this year this is the guy to call on. Ernie does sell some of his birds at the shows and I know he’s going to Telford, Doncaster Dome, South Shields, Blackpool & Doncaster Race Course, and before you all say go on, how much?, well get ready, his birds start at £35 and go up to £80 - working man’s prices, and yes, most of these birds are bred from directs. With the birds, you will receive a copy of sire and dam’s peds. A lot of people look at these birds at shows and think no way, £35 from directs, this guy is lying. I can tell you guys, he’s not!
Direct son of Willi Jacobs' car winner
Good birds are raced from these lofts every year but for some reason people choose not to give credit where its due. Ernie had a few birds in the Europa one loft this year and and they are all still there, one having a few good places and prizes. Someone could grab a bargin - have a look, the ring number ends 82.
I hope you all enjoyed the report. Until next time, if you know someone who’s had a great year and deserves a write up in the Yorkshire area let me know.
Lewis (The Haven Lofts blog)