I sent 10 birds to Newbury (97 miles) and didn't they struggle! During the last week I did not have the birds trapping that well and thought in my wisdom that I would keep them hungry in attempt to increase the trapping speed. I sent them to the race having been fed lightly Thursday and a handful friday. So they were very hungry going to the club last night. Waiting for the birds this morning I knew I had made a very big mistake! To be fair my first timed in before a few of the club members but the race turned out to be a hard affair with clashing suspected. The birds come in dribs and drabs all day and I am currently missing one (who was having its first race). The winner in the club timed at 9.20am with the 2nd member clocking at 9.32am. I was in at 9.49am and there were people clocking at 10.20am etc. So all very spaced out which from 97 miles is a surprise. My returns by the end of the day were very good compared to some but I really didn't give the birds any chance to be competitive today and thankfully have got away lightly!
I have spent the afternoon ripping all my lofts apart and restructering my loft. I have scrapped my stock section and removed the partition so the L shape is now one loft. I have moved all the next boxes into the young bird compartment and fitted it out with 5 sets of boxes. I hope this will allow more sunlight into the loft and increase airflow. I have to say I am pleased with the results and hoped this translates into results further down the line. I have a few extra plans in my head but they will remain for another day!
Right - Next week is the big one - Folkstone (200 miles) with the Welsh South East Combine so where do we go from here?? Firstly the birds have eaten all they can eat tonight in an attempt to get the weight back onto the birds as some have returned like a bag of bones! They will get a days full rest tomorrow and will have all they can eat. I will remove the food at 6pm and then on Monday they will get to exercise around the loft. Depending on how they do I will decide on the weeks preparation. I would like to get a training toss into the birds around Thursday if I feel they are up to it. Today could have ruined my plans for a good race from Folkstone but you learn from your mistakes and I certainly have learnt from today!