Anyway the 9 race birds were sent and hope they do well in tomorrows race. I still believe my season will start the following week from the first National of the season from Maidstone. But first of all we have to negotiate a difficult test from Guildford (131 miles). There is a really strong East wind forecast which will not help my pigeons but hoping to get 100% returns for the 3rd time in 3 races. I will then look forward and start preparing for the bigger races which are fast approaching!I will update tomorrow on the birds return!
Saturday, 30 April 2011
After some late minute phone calls I was finally able to get to Merthyr (20 miles) to mark the birds for tomorrows race! I think if there is one thing I need to do its learn to drive as times like this drives me nuts having to rely on other people.
Posted by Richard Shepherd at Saturday, April 30, 2011
Friday, 29 April 2011
The race birds have been exercising with my youngsters the last few days and I love this time of the season as the young birds fly with such enthusiasm the old birds can't help but try to keep up with them. I feel this is great for the race birds as they are having up to 1 hour flies at a time as opposed to 20-25 minutes when they are out on their own. I hope this will help raise the fitness of the birds come race days. Due to working early I am working on a system where old and young go out about 3pm and fly for an hour. They are fed very lightly on depurative and then they are going out again about 7pm and put in another 30-45 minutes before being fed well for the night. This seems to be working at present and hopefully with a few minor adjustments will get all the birds into good form and condition.
This weeks race appears to be nothing more than a training toss for the birds as my brother is away this weekend so will not be able to take me to the club. I will not be able to clock in this week and that is a shame but the most important thing for me at the moment is to prepare the birds for the longer races in the coming weeks so although I am not actually 'racing' the birds do not know that and it will be another step up the ladder in readiness for what is ahead! I am probably going to be sending 9 this week and I have 3 on the injured list. The hens are putting in tremendous work when out with the youngsters and I have a feeling these will be beating my cocks when Sundays race comes!
Posted by Richard Shepherd at Friday, April 29, 2011
Thursday, 28 April 2011
This cock returned after hitting wires as a youngster and on return to the loft was then attacked by a cat! He survived and heeled and had one race as a youngster! This year he has matured and was starting to look the part. He raced the first week and was one of the last birds back for me and then in his second race he was 2nd bird home. Great things expected as he is out of my No.1 Stock hen. Then the curse strikes again with him hitting wires yesterday from training and grazing the front of his chest. Thought he would be ok so sent him training again today only for him to return at 8pm with an even bigger hole in his chest, cut to his wing, half his wing missing and looking very sorry himself after what looks like a hawk strike! So this is the 4th injury he has picked up and he has managed 3 races in total! I will leave him heel up now and he take as long as he needs. His season is over and hopefully he will mature into an even better 2 year old cock!
I had the 2 missing birds waiting on the loft at 7am this morning. They had a little to eat and they along with the 10 other race birds were basketed and trained from 27 miles again. I have pumped the food into them this week as I felt they had become to hungry. This showed in the time they took to return from todays trainer! I will cut the food back down a bit now they have restored their supplies! I am missing one bird and hopefully he will return later. He is the one that knocked himself on the wires yesterday but as it was only a scratch felt confident to send him again today.
This weeks race from Guildford (131 miles) has been put back to Sunday due to the better weather forecast for this day. It is quite welcome as will give me an extra 24 hours to prepare the birds for the race.
Wednesday, 27 April 2011
The race birds were trained from 27 miles this afternoon and had 9 from 12 return after 33 minutes. My 2nd bird on Saturday returned later having hit some wires and has cut his chest! This is an increasing problem for me and something I have picked up on especially this season. I hope the other 2 missing (both having their first toss after they suffered knocks) also return.
This is the race programme I have decided to follow for this years old birds. As I only have 12 yearlings it is very adventurous but I hope to follow this as best as I can for this year. It gives me plenty of opportunities to fly in the biggest races in Wales and will test my birds to the full.
16th April - Swindon 76 miles, (Rhondda Valley Fed)
23rd April - Newbury 97 miles, (Rhondda Valley Fed)
30th April - Guildford 131 miles, (Rhondda Valley Fed)
7th May - Maidstone 176 miles, (Welsh National Flying Club)
14th May - Folkstone 200 miles, (Welsh National Flying Club)
21st May - Carantan ? miles, (Welsh South Road National)
28th May - Lilliers 272 miles, (Welsh National Flying Club)
4th June - Messac ? miles, (Welsh South Road National)
11th June - Liege 399 miles, (Welsh National Flying Club)
17th June - Reims 378 miles, (Rhondda Valley Fed) or 18th June - Cholet ? miles, (Welsh South Road National)
24th June - Newbury 97 miles, (Rhondda Valley Fed)
1st July - Pont a Mousson 460 miles, (Rhondda Valley Fed) or 2nd July - Niort (Welsh South Road National) ? miles.
Sunday, 24 April 2011
The youngsters are finally starting to take shape. They are now out around the loft flying and the main group is growing in number each time they are let out. I have 41 now weaned off with 34 of these out flying. I will put some work into these this week and hopefully all should be grouping nicely come the end of the week.
I have just had a count up in the stock loft and have 8 youngsters in the nest and 16 eggs. So hoping they all hatch will have 65 youngsters when they are all finished hatching and weaned off.
The race birds have had a good feed tonight and will be let out to fly around the loft tomorrow and I will decide on the build up to next weeks race depending on how they do.
Posted by Richard Shepherd at Sunday, April 24, 2011
Saturday, 23 April 2011
Just returned from the knock off and the birds were a little slower than I would have liked. With the overfly taken off I was 9 minutes behind the winner. I would have preferred to be around the 5 minute mark but that is the way it goes. Still I am looking forward to the Maidstone race in 2 weeks time. I will be sending to the National that week with the Welsh North Road Federation. So will possibly have 2 races that week as the Rhondda Valley will be at Newbury again. I have joined this National to have more races at the distances my birds will realistically have a chance in.
So next week will be back to work with the birds exercising and training in preparation for the Guildford race on Saturday. All 10 birds are home from today so that is 2 races down and no lost pigeons which I am very pleased about. I will try one or two things different now this week and hope to get that bit extra out of the birds next race.
The birds were liberated at 7.00am and my first arrivals landed and were clocked at 9.05am doing 1369 ypm for the 98 miles race. I had 3 in the clock within 20 seconds. I have had 9 from 10 so far with the last returning with what looks like a broken leg! I will update later when I have been to the knock off! My first bird was the same as last week followed by 2 cocks having their 2 and 3 races respectively both bred by my number 1 stock hen.
Friday, 22 April 2011
The 10 race birds were trained again from 27 miles at 8am this morning and all returned home. Due to the webcam freezing I am unable to know what time they did the training toss in. I am very disappointed that I do not know this information but these things can not be helped on times.
The birds have now been fed and watered and are going to spend the rest of the day relaxing in the loft ready for basketing tonight.
Posted by Richard Shepherd at Friday, April 22, 2011
Thursday, 21 April 2011
The build up to this weeks race has increased nicely the last few days. First the race birds went 27 miles on Wednesday and come in good time (31 minutes / 1404 ypm). They again went today from 27 miles but came back split up quite badly but the first birds were still home in 29 minutes / 1597 ypm) I had one hen return a few hours late, with the other coming in 1's, 2's and 3's.
I am planning to train again tomorrow morning (27 miles) and the birds will then be fed by 10am in readiness for the race from Newbury (97 miles) on Saturday. The wind is looking great for me at the moment and I am hoping to be really close on the result sheet. I believe I still need a greater distance to really challenge for the top honors but if the birds live up to the way they are training and handling then I am expecting a big performance. I think my hens will be my first birds again this week as they are still way ahead in terms of condition and form compared to my cocks.
The youngsters have been out the last few days and I have now got every youngster that is weaned off out flying and trapping. 36 in total. I did lose one of the whites I had purchased but the other 11 are all back in safe. I have 10 youngsters in the nest that will be weaned off in the next week or so and I have eggs hatching again tonight. I have decided the eggs that I have there now will be my last I take this year. I am hoping I will have a team of around 60 to start training with.
Posted by Richard Shepherd at Thursday, April 21, 2011
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
I have been busy putting in some work with the youngsters the last few days. I have now got 24 out flying and they will be grouping now within a week. I have also broke some of the whites I have purchased for the Dove Release company I am in the process of setting up. I have 12 in total and tried breaking 6 tonight, 4 of which are back in. Hopefully I will get the other 2 back tomorrow but they are very strong. I will be glad now when I have everything going out and flying.
The race birds have had a quiet time so far this week and have been out around the loft but haven't put in much flying. I have let them get on with it while I have been messing around with the youngsters. They have been fed light, so I am not to concerned.
I have fed them a bit heavier tonight and now the build up to Saturdays race will begin. I will train from 26 miles tomorrow afternoon and they will also go again Thursday. I then plan another early Friday morning. I hope this will put them in good form and condition for the race from Newbury from 97 miles.
Posted by Richard Shepherd at Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Sunday, 17 April 2011
The late bred returned home today from yesterdays race. He has been hawked but he is not too bad. I am pleased as punch he has come and given a few weeks to heal will be back in racing very shortly. So that gives me 100% returns from the first race.
I have made enquiries regarding joining the National Flying Club for this season. I am hoping to compete in these races as I believe I have a better chance from the longer distances and these races are the ideal mileage to put my theory to the test. I am waiting on one or two things to come back to me but hopefully all will go without a problem.
Posted by Richard Shepherd at Sunday, April 17, 2011
Saturday, 16 April 2011
The birds secured 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th section from the 3 lofts in the 2 miles radius of the rest of the members 20 miles south in the club. A good start to the season with just the unraced late bred still to come. I was around 13th in the club result and 7 minutes behind the club winner. Given the 20 miles difference in locations and this being the shortest race point I am over the moon! I predicted Friday night I would be around 10 minutes behind and this has nothing to do with the quality of the birds but the fact we are way out on a limb up here in Brecon. Have a few things planned now for next weeks preparation for the race and looking forward to it very much!
Special mention to Mr 'Tyson' Roderick, fair play your birds did well in todays race, but as I said earlier 'Joe Brown has taken you down! hehehe
What a good first race for the season! I had 10 birds return within 15 minutes, with the first 3 being my pooled birds. My first 4 were clocked within 2 minutes of each other! I am missing 1 at present, an unraced late bred cock. I hope he will work back in the next few hours. I have a feeling as predicted I will be behind by around 10 minutes this week and that is something I have come to expect being in the location where I am from these shorter races with the club members a full 20 miles south of me. But this result has given me great optimism for the longer races which are to come! I can not wait now for the distance to get to around the 160 miles stage! I am off to the club shortly so will let you know the result when I return later.
Another bonus from today was the return of a hen lost in training last week. She is in great nick, so guessing she has been in somewhere.
Friday, 15 April 2011
The birds were given their final training toss at 9am this morning before the first race tomorrow. The weather conditions were dreadful with thick low cloud covering everything at the liberation site, 26 miles away. However, I was pleased on returning to the loft that all 11 that were trained were safely bak in the loft on my return. Playing back the video of the toss, the birds trapped well with the time 9 minutes slower than yesterday but given the conditions today I am very pleased with that. The bird have now been fed and will be paired up later this afternoon prior to basketing for tomorrows race. They are in great nick and I am pleased with the way things have gone this week since the hawk strikes I suffered on Monday's toss. I have not had the hen that was lost in yesterdays toss return so I will have 11 to go to the race tonight, with 1 cock still on the mend from the hawk strike training toss on Monday. Tomorrows race - I am optimistic the birds will come well but given the location of my loft I feel it is impossible to win the race or be competitive enough to be in the mix for cards. I will settle for good returns and fully expect to be around 10 minutes behind the club winner. These shorter races I have learned over the last few years are basically training tosses for my birds and my season will be begin in 3-4 weeks when the birds are at the 160 miles stage (Maidstone). It is from here that I can realistically expect to be in the mix for club honours. Good luck to all that are racing tomorrow and I hope you all have a good race!
Posted by Richard Shepherd at Friday, April 15, 2011
Thursday, 14 April 2011
The 12 racers were taken again to 26 miles today and all home except a blue hen. The time is the best they have put in yet recording 1480ypm. I am quite happy with that time and I am hoping to get another in early tomorrow morning prior to basketing for the race on Saturday. I will update again after training or after the birds have been marked for the race tomorrow night!
Posted by Richard Shepherd at Thursday, April 14, 2011
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Had the 1 cock that I was missing yesterday back on the loft this morning. He looks as if he has taken a bump so has been fed and will now be left to rest and recoup in the next few days. Took the birds again to 26 miles tonight and the weather was awful. Low cloud, light rain and generally very poor. Felt they needed the toss and decided to go no matter what. My 12 and my brothers 3 were liberated together with all making it home except my brothers mealy cock. I am hoping he gets it back come tomorrow.
I will be hoping to train again tomorrow and they will again go from 26 miles. In the past I have moved them further down the road, but this year I have decided to keep them to the 26 miles spot and have them very familiar with this area. Just 3 days to go until race day!!!
Posted by Richard Shepherd at Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Waking up this morning and walking to the loft was chuffed to see both the missing birds that were attacked by the Peregrine in last evenings training toss. My brother also had 1 back but has dropped one.
The birds were taken training again tonight from 26 miles and all returned home with the exception of 1 cock. They trapped very well with all landing directly on the loft and trapping within 9 seconds without anyone there to call them in.
Link to the video -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qdmf_g3voOk
Also on entering the loft from training found one of the missing 8 youngsters inside with a big hole in chest. So hopefully he will be on the mend soon. That leaves me 7 down from 4 days ago, so getting better all the time!
I am planning on training again tomorrow, again from 26 miles. The weather forecast is not the best but as long as the visibility is good they will go. Will update after training!
Posted by Richard Shepherd at Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Monday, 11 April 2011
This week has been one disaster after another and I have never had a week like this in all the years I have kept pigeons! First was the 28 youngsters that got spooked by a sparrowhawk and lost 8 off the loft. Then I lost a race hen killed by a sparrowhawk at the back of my loft trying to lure the youngsters back to the loft. Now tonight my brother and I trained 13 of mine and 4 of his and 2 peregrines dived all through them, it was like a firework going off, with birds landing in trees and one diving into woodland with the peregrine diving right behind him. On return to the loft 10 of the 13 of mine were home and my brother had 0 from 4. 15 minutes later, he is still down 2 and myself down 2! I will be glad to see the end of this week!
Posted by Richard Shepherd at Monday, April 11, 2011
Sunday, 10 April 2011
After feeling quite low regarding the last few days I feel a lot better today. I have had the race birds in and out all morning and no attacks. I have also seen another 3 of the missing 8 youngsters so hopefully in time they will return to the loft.
This afternoon I picked up 12 pure white Logan x Rapido Busschaerts. To say I am happy is an understatement. They are in cracking condition and built very strongly. I purchased these for the Dove Release company (www.Brecondoves.co.uk), and they will be trained and a few will be raced.
I have had a count up of the young birds in the loft and including the 3 out and the ones in the nest they total 50. I also have the 3rd round eggs starting to be laid so my fear of being short of youngsters is proving to be unfounded.
Posted by Richard Shepherd at Sunday, April 10, 2011
Saturday, 9 April 2011
In attempting to entice the youngsters back to the loft I took the decision to let my race hens out prior to work at 7am. On returning home one was missing. On closer inspection I found the dead hen at the back of the loft which had been killed by a hawk. Gutted to say the least! So my plan backfired but on the other hand did have 3 more youngsters back in so that has taken me back up to 20. 1 is still sitting on the house roof so when and if that comes in will leave me down 7! There are birds in the sky all the time and I dare say 1 or 2 are my youngsters so hoping to get a couple more back at least. I will be glad when everything settles back down what with racing on Saturday as this is far from the ideal build up to it!
Posted by Richard Shepherd at Saturday, April 09, 2011
Friday, 8 April 2011
The youngsters have returned slowly throughout the day and I currently have 18 in the loft with at least another 2 in the area. So a lot better than the 2 that were in last night. It means I am still missing 10 (8 with the 2 in the area). Still a lot to lose in one go but due to my own fault lucky to get away with that many! It has been a costly mistake and one I will not be making again.
The race birds were trained this evening from 26 miles and all home bar 1 hen. The hen I am missing is an unraced bird that returned 6 months late from a training toss and arrived at the loft in November! So no great worries if she does not return. The hens and cocks both went into the same section from racing tonight and they were buzzing around their partners for a few moments until separated. I hope to race a widowhood type system that fits in with my working schedule.
I have been to the corn store this afternoon and purchased the food that I aim to feed for the coming racing season and the birds have now started the feeding regime. I hope to get some excess weight off the birds in the next few days and hope the birds start to come into fine form ready for the race.
It was a quiet evening last night and the hens had just landed so I thought I would take the time to get my youngsters out for the first time. I haven't spent any time with them other than getting them used to the corn tin. I let out 25 and after 3-4 minutes of them being out a sparrowhawk appeared over the top of the loft. I dont think he attacked them just passing but spooked the youngsters that were in the garden and on the loft. By nightfall I had only got 2 back in with 22 spending a night out of the loft. This morning the youngsters appear to be scattered everywhere with some on house roofs upto 5 streets away. I can only count 13 so that leaves 10 missing or that I can't see. I have had the race hens out since 7am to attract them back to the loft but this has not worked up to now. At present I have 6 sitting on my house roof with the other 7 all over the place. I left it too late to get them out and they were way to strong when I finally did. I have to just keep my fingers crossed they return over the next few days.
The race birds are going to be trained later this afternoon for their 4th toss, which will be from 26 miles. I hope to get these trained up everyday and make the most of this lovely weather. Will keep you posted on the young bird team but as things stand at present that is one hell of a blow to my coming season!
Wednesday, 6 April 2011
I decided to take advantage of the fine weather this afternoon and trained the birds from 26 miles. I took 17 in total and my brother took 5. The birds were once again all over the place returning and currently I am missing 4 and he is missing 2. I feel this season is going to be extremely tough with the hawks. I am going to train again tomorrow from the same place and hope they come through unscathed. Fingers crossed. In the 3 training tosses to date I have lost/missing 8 birds. 7 of these are untrained late breds with 1 experienced racer also missing. I know I have skipped and thrown the late breds in at the deep end but with time ticking to the first race its a case of having to and I think if they come they do and if they don't too bad.
Posted by Richard Shepherd at Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Tuesday, 5 April 2011
I didn't have the remaining 4 birds back from the training toss afterwards. The birds have been kept in the loft since Saturday after the nightmare of a training toss. The birds have been rested and allowed to rest and recover. They are once again looking well and raring to go but due to poor weather have just been loft flown today. The bad weather is forecast for another few days so they will just be loft flown at home. I am hoping to get them back on the road on Friday and hopefully we can push on with training over the weekend. Time is now running out fast and they will have to be pushed harder than I would like but we have just over 10 days to get them in perfect shape for the first race.
Posted by Richard Shepherd at Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Sunday, 3 April 2011
Another 3 on the loft this morning so currently down 4 from yesterdays training out of the 21 I sent. My brother now has 5 from 7 and hopefully those still missing will return throughout the day. I am going to give training a miss today and just let them fly around the loft later this evening. The birds that have had a night out are my late breds and this experience will do them the world of good I believe. They have only had one 16 mile toss prior to yesterday so to come on their own after a night out is very pleasing. Out of the 4 that are still missing, 3 are late bred hens and one cock who has raced last year for me. What has happened to him is a mystery as all the cocks arrived in a group.
Posted by Richard Shepherd at Sunday, April 03, 2011
Saturday, 2 April 2011
Opps spoke too soon! Took the birds to the same place as yesterday - 16 miles. Let my 13 hens go first and they headed straight for home, 5 mins later my brother let his 7 cocks go and they headed straight towards home as well. Finally I let my 8 cocks go and they also cleared straight away and we could see them in the distance hammering home. I arrived back at the loft expecting to see all birds in the loft. To my surprise only 7 cocks were there (they were the last ones liberated). I Phoned my brother and he had nothing back. About hour later 3 hens dropped on the loft and another hour 2 arrived back with the last one coming about half hour ago. My brother has had 4 out of 7 and all his have come on their own, one with damaged flights as though he has dived through something to hide in hurry. Nightmare but hoping we get a few more back later this evening!
Posted by Richard Shepherd at Saturday, April 02, 2011
Friday, 1 April 2011
This afternoon the birds went on their first training toss of the year. 13 hens and 8 cocks (9 untrained birds in total) were taken 16 miles and cocks and hens liberated separately. The birds arrived home with the exception of 1 hen who arrived late. I will look to give them another toss tomorrow from the same spot before increasing the distance to 24 miles on Sunday. I am unsure about next week for training but they will definitely go next weekend again when I will look to get them out to 50 miles with a joint liberation with other fanciers - the first race is just the week after!
Posted by Richard Shepherd at Friday, April 01, 2011