Friday, 30 April 2010

Hoping for a good day and race!

The forecast is pretty grim for tomorrows race from Guildford, 131 miles. The preparation has gone well this week again and I am pleased with how the birds have been exercising. They received just a single toss from 27 miles on Wednesday and they come well. I put in the same 2 hens this week and will be hoping for a good race. The wind is not in my favour tomorrow and 100% returns will suffice tomorrow. If the birds don't go early, I cant see them going tomorrow and will be heldover, so around 7ish is looking ok for the liberation. 9 members in the club sent tonight and 101 birds have gone. I will update you all on how I get on later tomorrow night when I get back from the club. Good luck to anyone racing tomorrow.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Work has begun on the new loft!

Phase 4 of the Rasbull Lofts building programme has begun today with the addition of a new 9 x 9ft young bird loft that will join on to the existing racing loft. It will replace a store shed that currently stands on the raised platform. The materials are here and work has started with the floor being built by the close of night. Hopefully things will progress nicely tomorrow and the new loft will start to take shape.
The birds have been exercising really well the last two nights and flying for an hour each night. I am very happy with them at present. I hope to give them a training toss tomorrow from 27 miles and then an hour exercise afterwards.
The race on Saturday has given me some doubts with a strong North wind expected. It is the worst wind I could possibly hope for. If it stays in that direction and the strength is what has been predicted my birds will not stand a chance which is a shame as they are in super form. I would have loved a south wind this week and really felt they would have a great chance. I can only keep my fingers crossed now and hope the forecast is a little misjudged.
Breeding is continue to progress nicely with 30 weaned off, 14 in the nest and 11 eggs in the nest.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Best result since starting back up!

I knew prior to going to the club the 2 race hens were in super form, and they didn't disappoint! They were liberated from Basingstoke, 109 miles at 7.30am. I was confident they would be doing a high velocity and that proved to be correct when at 9.28, '88' came over the top of the house wings back and diving for the loft. I lost a minute or so with her on the trap but on clocking knew I had just timed a good pigeon. On phoning round, it was obvious my bird was in the mix. A short time later '78' rocked up to give me 100% returns.
At knock off, out of the 10 members that sent I finished 4th, and '88' finished 7th out of the 132 birds that were sent. She recorded a velocity of 1627 with 6th place on 1635 and the club winner on 1679. It worked out I was a mere 2 minutes behind the winner, which after last weeks 20 minutes behind showed a huge 18 minutes improvement.
It turned out there was very little wind this morning during the race, so hopefully with the added help of a south wind next week we will be in the mix again!
My best result in the Gurnos club since restarting last year, and I am predicting now, that the further down the road they go, the better my birds and results will be. I am confident of a good race from next weeks Guildford 131 miles.
I plan to follow the same build up the birds received this week and I will be keeping my fingers crossed they come home next week as well as this!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

This time their ready!

Prior to last weeks race, the birds were bubbling at the start of the week but dropped their form around the Tuesday. They didnt exercise around the loft very well and were not really 'on it'. This was evident in the race with them being around 20 minutes behind. This week has gone to plan though. I have had the hens exercising with the young birds and 45-60 minutes has been put in every night. I trained them 27 miles Wednesday and they recorded a mile a minute and tonight when they went they come in a time I can only describe as unbelievable and I have some job believing it myself. I wont put up on here what they did but if the details regarding the liberation were correct then they really are on fire! They have been fed tonight and they will leave for the club tomorrow evening. This week really has been perfect preparation and with the forecast of a cracking day and the strong wind direction suiting my loft 100% there will be no excuses if the birds fail to do well this week. I am looking forward to this race more than any other I have flown since starting back up! Watch this space!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

First race safely under our belt!

The birds were liberated early this morning at 7.45am. 109 birds were sent in the club by 7 members. Ours arrived doing 1215 ypm. The two birds come together '78' and '88'. The other hen has not arrived and is currently missing. I hope she works back this evening or tomorrow. The first two birds are bred for longer distance, so hopefully will come into their own further down the road. I am pleased with today and now move on to next week from Basingstoke. In these shorter races, we are always going to be behind as the drag of the birds just takes ours into the valleys of South Wales and they have to work back with us being the most northern loft in the federation. The further the distance the less the drag will have an effect on the race birds.

Conclusion of race:- The lack of a south wind, longer distance pigeons and a short race meant we realistically were never going to be in the races today. However, pleased the 2 race birds who were my most consistent last year arrived safely and they will get better as the distance increases. Hope the the other hen works back by tomorrow. Looking forward to next weeks race.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Well the time is nearly here!

Well I can do no more for the race team now! Despite initial plans they have not seen the basket this week and only have been loft flown. The exercise they were putting in Tuesday and Wednesday concerned me as they seemed reluctant to exercise around the loft. I tried something different last night and again this morning they appeared not to be interested in flying. I decided to let them out then this afternoon and they exercised for an hour which pleased me. They entered the loft at 4pm and have been fed for the last time until they return from the race on Saturday. I was really confident they were in super form, but the last few days have raised a few concerns. I have no idea how they will come on Saturday from the 1st race but that is the beauty of pigeon racing! They are going to the clubhouse tomorrow evening so will give you all an update when (if) they return on Saturday morning. I must admit though, they are not in the 100% form I would have wished going into the 1st race.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Europa Birds now in the loft!

The 3 Rasbull Share Syndicate birds were delivered to the Europa Classic Loft in Cardiff on Sunday morning. Derek Nicholls was at the loft and it was nice being shown around the new facility for the Europa 500 race this year. I still have a bird in the loft from last years young bird race that will compete in the '500'. It will be interesting to see how she does. The birds were looking well and he thinks around the same amount of birds (1,200) will be in this years race comparing entries for this year compared to this time last year.
My 3 race birds had a training toss on Sunday and were liberated about 3 miles from the Europa Loft. We took an hour to get home and the birds were all in the loft on our arrival.
They had a day off training for the 1st time in 8 days today. They were loft flown and allowed to do what they wanted. They flew for 40 minutes and were let in and will be back on the road tomorrow. Another 2 tosses from 27 miles are planned for Tuesday and Wednesday and that will be it then as they head off to the club on Friday. It will soon be here. Little things are being implemented and attention to detail is being strictly applied. I am hoping this makes the difference between 1st Club and an also-ran!

Saturday, 10 April 2010


The birds have had a training toss every day for the last 7 days. They come home from today's toss from 27 miles (line of flight) doing 1760 ypm. 60mph with very little wind. They handled superb and I felt strong yet very light! I am over the moon with them and big things are expected in next weeks race. I am planning a 45 miles toss tomorrow and then back to 27 miles on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday they will rest and Friday they head off to the club. If the wind direction is South next Saturday these 3 hens I have will take some stopping!
I have a few more hatched out now and at present have 29 weaned off, and 6 in the nest, with several due to hatch in the next few days.
Tomorrow I will be taking my 3 entries down to the Europa Classic Loft in Cardiff, and I am hoping they do the loft justice. The syndicate has been revised slightly but still has 8 people involved which is great. I am looking forward to seeing how these do when the training starts in July.
Just one more week of preparation until my first race and I am so excited! 'Defeat is not an Option'

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Mixed day

Firstly the 4 race birds were taken on a training toss from 30 miles. They all come back on their own with big spaces between them! A hawk must have hit them and thankfully missed. I was pleased they all returned and will be sent again tomorrow for another training toss. I might consider single tossing them tomorrow and see how they do. I feel this will benefit them no end and will make them have to think for themselves. I hope the weather is good, as this is definitely in my thoughts.
I took the chance to let the youngbirds out tonight, and all were doing fine, until a big Rook/Raven tried attacking them and came very close to grabbing one or two on several occasions. 1 of the young birds flew into my store shed in fright! They were that spooked they flew everywhere and by nightfall I still had 8 of the 22 out. Thankfully they hit the trap just as as was becoming very dark. I am currently 1 missing, although he was on the loft just shortly before. I hope he is still around in the morning.
I Collected another 2 birds from a club mate tonight, so including the 1 that is out for the night, that will take me up to 29 weaned off youngbirds. Hoping to vaccinate the young ones that are weaned off tomorrow evening.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Time going on!

This last week or so has been really busy. I have spent a lot of time setting up the Facebook group - Save our Songbirds. To date it has 530 members and is aimed at raising awareness amongst the general public regarding the Bird of Prey population and the effect it is having on the songbirds in this country. Various letters, articles have been published and this is going to be an ongoing project in the hope something can be done to help the plight of the songbirds. I have set up an online petition as well and this currently stands at 545. A lot of my time has been taken up with this, but it will be worth it if members of the public can see the effect the increase in Predators is having.

In the loft it has been very busy also. The first race is less than 2 weeks away, so I have been spending time getting the 5 race birds in top shape. They have been given 2 training tosses this week, one from 25 miles and one from 50 miles. They are coming ok, but I am looking for a big improvement before the first race. I had a blow earlier, when checking the birds over. The only cock in the race team has broken his 2 primary flights in his right wing, so he will be out of racing for a good time until they grow back. So that now puts me down to 4 to start the season with. They are exercising well around the loft and with a few more training tosses this week, they should be spot on for the first race from Swindon (76 miles) on the 17th April.

The youngsters are doing ok. I have 25 weaned off and another 8 in the nestboxes. Hatch rate is still around 98% which I am very pleased with. All my pairs of stock birds either have youngsters or are on eggs. Should be having another 6-8 hatch in the next week or so.

I let the youngsters out for the first time yesterday evening and all 25 were on the grass, with 8-10 flying onto the house roof. 1 got spooked and flew straight into the neighbours window but pleased to report he is fine.

The Europa classic birds will be going down within the next week to ten days. I will be vaccinating them now in the next 2-3 days ready for their quest in scooping the big one!

Good luck to all that are racing this week. I will keep you all updated on the progress at Rasbull Lofts as we hope to target a very promising season.

Until next time....