Sunday, 29 May 2011

Hey got 1!

Typical out of the 4 I was missing the one I least fancied and to be honest wanted back the least is the one that has rocked up this evening. She arrived about 6.30pm. Wherever she has been hopefully if she can make it so to can the other 3 that are still to put in an appearance!

No more back!

The 4 missing birds from yesterdays race have failed to return today! Pigeon racing is crazy at times as 2 of those 4 have flown 200 miles twice and 177 miles three times yet I lose them from 97 miles - just doesn't make sense on times. I have had the birds out flying this afternoon and they have put in a hours exercise and have just been fed.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Todays Race

Well the birds finally were liberated at 4.30pm today into a strong head wind. I had the webcam setup and was ready for the birds. The first one arrived at 6.58pm and there were big gaps between my arrivals. At nightfall I am still 4 down from the 11 that were sent. These include 2 that were having their first race as well as a white hen that has been pretty consistent for me since a youngster. The other that is having a night out is my fed winner from a couple of weeks ago.
I knew I was in for a sticky one when the race lib time kept being delayed as the birds were not fed yesterday in anticipation of an early liberation today. Needless to say that has backfired. The fed website is showing early times around the 40-50 mark so my first bird will be behind by some 10-14 minutes.
The webcam proved to be a success apart from my f'ing and blinding because of the brightness affecting the camera and me not realising the microphone was on! So apologies to anyone who had to witness that fowl language I was blurting out unaware I was being recorded! hehehe.
Today was just a trial and at one stage had 11 people viewing the stream, so that was pleasing! I just wish the birds had come in a bit better time.
The proper cameras will be here early next week and these will be installed over the next week so next week the whole loft will be going live on the web!
I have been checking the forecast for next weeks race from Lilliers and the wind is seriously bad for me with a fierce north wind forecast. This is terrible news for me and with the birds crossing the channel for the first time I am unsure if they will be going at present. The WNRF had a disastrous race yesterday from Lilliers and suffered huge losses so I dont want to be in the same position as a lot of them come next Saturday evening! The wind is forecast to be NNE wind between 20mph -30mph so that could cause huge damage when the birds are trying to cross the channel. I will monitor the forecast the coming week but unless it changes I really can't see me entering the race.

How lucky was that?

I think I made the right choice in terms of which race I sent to this week! I picked this race last minute over the Lilliers race. How lucky did that turn out to be when the Lilliers race saw huge losses with my mate who has topped the fed this year and won 4 from 6 races in the club having only 4 from 28! Others all over South Wales reporting similar returns. Lucky escape I think as a race like that could have seen me wiped out for the rest of this season!

The birds at Newbury have been held and looking for a liberation this afternoon. The weather is due to clear a bit and I think they will go around 3pm or thereabouts. I have therefore dropped a clanger with the feeding for this race as I was expecting an early liberation. The wind is more West than South and therefore expect to be a bit behind. I will settle for 10 from 11 home today as one hen that I picked up 3 weeks ago I really can't see returning but I guess you never know!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Camera Live Feed

I have been busy setting up a live webcam that will broadcast events within Rasbull Lofts. I have trialled it today with great success and aim to have it up and running permanently by next weekend. I will setup 1 camera within the loft which will be moved around to show the stock birds, young birds and racers. I also plan to have one outside showing the line of entry onto the landing board and the the landing board itself. I will be trialling it again tomorrow morning for the race birds return from Newbury! I can't promise what it will be like but going to try and get it up and running with the gear I have here before the new stuff arrives next week. I will put the camera on about 30 minutes prior to the birds arriving. I will post on here the ETA of the birds in the morning when I know what the liberation time is. It is something I have been planning to do for a long time and now I am finally going to get it sorted out. The link is on the main page of the website. If you click the rasbullloftscouk name that is highlighted it will open the video on to a bigger screen for you.
**Update - I can confirm there will be 4 cameras setup in the loft within the next week and will feature the stock section, the young bird section, the race section and the trapping area. I am very much looking forward to getting this project completed.**

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Race decided

This week I have decided to send to the Federation race to Newbury (97 miles). The wind is not quite as I had hoped but better than it is for the Lilliers race. I will be sending the 8 regular race birds with 3 new ones being reintroduced to the team. These are '39' a latebred cock that was sent to the first race but was then injured the following week in training. '14412' is a cracking blue pied cock that was bred by my brother and gifted to me as a latebred. I have high hopes for this cock as he is exercising around the loft better than any bird I own. He will be having his first race as he was struck by a hawk and returned injured just prior to the first race of the season. The last one is another latebred that I picked up 3 weeks ago from Maesteg after a hawk strike in training. I must admit I do not out much hope for her to return but she has to go. That will be 11 birds in the race this week for me with just one then left at home on the injured list. 'Rasbull Injury Prone' is making good progress from his latest injury and went out of the loft for the first time in a month yesterday and hopefully we can get him right for one of the Newbury races in a few weeks time. The weather is still looking a bit dodgy but the fed have just informed members that they are still planning on basketing as normal with an expected race on Saturday. I will update again on Saturday following the race. Good luck to all those racing.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

This weeks race

Just had confirmation that the loft report has now been published on the Rhondda Valley federation website following the federation win from Newbury.
It has been back to work this week at the lofts with the birds back to daily exercise of 1 hour at a time and tonight was the best work they have put in for a while. I am as yet undecided if the main race team of 8 will go to the Welsh National race from Lilliers (270 miles) tomorrow night or send them with the other 3 race birds to the Federation race from Newbury. I have checked the weather forecast and not convinced either way as neither really suit the loft location. I am tempted to put them into the Lilliers race as these are the types of races I want to do well in and this will be the first race over the water apart from one race in 2009 when I sent a hen to 378 miles but she failed to return. However, part of me is thinking to send them to the short one (97 miles) and then put them into Lilliers next week with the Federation. I will have a think tonight and make a decision early tomorrow and go from there.
The youngsters out flying are now growing in numbers and I currently have 43 that are going out regularly and flying well. I will be weaning another 13-14 in the next week or so and that will be the first team for this years young bird racing sorted. The remaining rounds will then form a 2nd team and will be let out separately so not to interfere with the 1st team and there progress.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

It'll be back to work this week!

The rest I gave the birds has not worked out really the way I planned. Todays race I was behind from Folkestone (200 miles). The leading birds in the club were around 10.25 and I was clocking around 10.49am so with the overfly around 19 minutes behind which is just not good enough!
The birds have had their rest now and from tomorrow will be back to work to correct things. I have had 6 from 7 so far. I kept one back as he has damaged his flights when checking at basketing last night. The one I am missing is the Fed winner, typical! Hopefully she will return later today. My first bird home was the one that returned a day late last week at 9pm on the Sunday night!
They will be put through their paces now this week in readiness for next weeks race. I am disappointed with the result today but then having rested them last week was unsure of what to expect. So back to drawing board!
**Phew, panic over, the fed winner has arrived and now all home so thats 7 races, 3 from over 177-200 miles and only lost 1 bird, so very pleased with returns just need to flap there wings a bit faster now! hehehe**

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Thats that then!

Well in the end my mind was made up for me as the marking for the South Road National meant it was impossible for me to attend as I don't drive. So that leaves the 8 race birds all going to Folkestone for the Welsh South East Combine tomorrow night. I am not too disappointed as the wind is in my favour.
The birds have had a very easy week and I am hoping this doesn't come back to bite me! They have been out of the loft just twice this week. For 10 minutes yesterday evening and for half hour this evening. The main reason for this is they have worked extremely hard since the beginning of April, so for 6 weeks they put in huge efforts. I thought they deserved a good rest and recharge of the batteries before the longer races start. This week was the only chance I had really as after this week its into France and I want them on song for the coming weeks. So we will have to wait to see if the lack of work has been a blessing or a hindrance.
For any Welsh fanciers reading this who are going to be in the Combine race, Tenny Tipper is planning on publishing early times on the website so fanciers have some idea how they have done quite early on after the birds have arrived. Anyone wanting to have a look or publish their own times then feel free to make a post on the forum. There will be a section put up on the day under the Early Times Folkestone heading. Good luck to all in the race!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Hard to make up my mind!

This week I have been observing the weather forecast all week. The beginning of the week it was looking like a poor wind forecast for the Welsh South East Combine race for Folkestone so I decided that the birds would go to the South Road National race from Carentan.
However as the week has progressed the wind has become perfect for my location from both race points with a South wind forecast nearer the home end from both race points! I have struggled to determine which not to send to and think it would be criminal to miss out on either given the wind forecast.
I have therefore decided to send to both races and split the race team into 2 teams of 4 pigeons. The Folkestone team will be headed by the fed winning hen who is now sitting eggs. The Carentan team will be headed by a cock bird who was the first arrival home from the National and also my 2nd bird last week. My leading hen in the loft championship still has not laid eggs so will go to the Folkestone race as she will only have one night in the basket instead of 2 if sent to Carentan. The only thing that will change this plan now is if the wind changes, if the basketing time for the Carentan race leaves it impossible to attend or if either of the 2 remaining race hens lay in the next two days.
I will update tomorrow night to confirm what has actually happened but this is the best plan I have come up with to date! hehehe

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Late comer!

The one bird I was missing rocked up tonight at 9pm! Very pleased he has returned so that is just one bird missing from 6 races having flown 177 miles twice! That is excellent returns by anyones standards and all yearlings as well. I think including the fed win that is the most pleasing thing I have taken from this season so far. They really did have a thorough grounding as youngsters and were pushed out to 200 miles and I think that had stood them in good stead for this season.

2 of the 4 race hens have laid eggs tonight and that is fantastic news and unless they laid in the basket on friday night will be sitting 2 eggs come basketing for next weeks race. I am under some pressure to ensure the other 2 hens lay tomorrow night as they will then lay again wednesday night just in time for the race. Should they not lay I will have to make a decision regarding them and they could well be left out of the race team for the coming week.

I have looked at the weather and wind forecasts for this coming week and I have decided that I will be entering the Welsh South Road National race from Carentan. I have not had my distances for this race through as yet but looking on Google Earth it appears to be around the 205 miles mark to me. This will be the hardest race the team have flown to date as it will be around the same distance they flew as youngsters but this will be in a totally different direction and they will also have to cross the English Channel. I am wary of this and have been a little uncertain as what to do but if you do not try you will never know!

I plan to give the birds rest this week as they have put in so much effort the last 2 weeks. They will be rested in the loft and allowed to lay the eggs and enjoy each others company. I plan a few things later in the week to boost motivation and the basketing for this race will take place a day earlier on the Thursday.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Wow that was tough!

The birds at Maidstone were liberated at 6.30am and based on the time my birds flew last week in the National expected them to be slightly slower today due to the wind. I waited and waited and waited and nothing! My first bird arrived 11.10am after 4hrs, 40 mins! On phoning around it seems like a shocking race with other club members reporting 2 from 17, 7 from 20 and 2 from 14! The best club time is 10.44am which puts me around 20 minutes behind, a little further than I thought today but as I said yesterday with todays wind I was always going to be struggling. I have now had 5 from 8 and hoping for the other 3 to arrive but they will have been flying 6hrs already!

Looking forward the birds will now be rested today and tomorrow and start exercising again come Monday. I am missing 2 cocks and 1 hen from todays race. My first bird was the Fed winner from last week and my second bird was my 1st pigeon I timed in last weeks National race.

**Update - now missing just one cock from todays race so very happy with the returns once again!**

Friday, 13 May 2011

All gone!

The 8 race birds were all fine and therefore all 8 were basketed for tomorrows South East Combine race from Maidstone (177 miles). The wind is against me this week and I am not expecting any repeat of last week and infact do not anticipate a top 6 club result either. It is very frustrating as the birds are in super form and condition but that is how it goes! I hope for 100% returns this week and will move on to next week. I will update after the race. Good luck to everyone flying!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Back to work!

Although I have been celebrating the fed win, I have ensured the standards haven't slipped this week with regard the work the birds have put in. They have had an excellent weeks work and I have to say they are the best I have ever had pigeons at this present time. They raced 97 miles on Sunday, 177 miles on Monday, loft flew 1hr 20 minutes Tuesday, 1hr 20 minutes Wednesday and they have put in another 1hr this evening. So they are super fit at present.

The weather for this week is terrible for me and I will struggle to be amongst the cards in the club let alone the fed as there is a strong WNW wind forecast and that therefore spells the end of my chances. However, the birds will still race and keep improving on their experience and fitness in readiness for the longer races and a south wind! I am unsure how many I will be sending this week at present as my hens are still due to lay eggs. So it will be matter of waiting and seeing what tomorrow evening brings come basketing time.
On the plus side 3 of the 4 on the injured list are now back exercising around the loft and I will be looking to get them into the next Newbury race (97 miles). One of these has raced while the other 2 are latebreds and will be having their first race. So looking forward to seeing how these 3 do. That will leave me just 'Rasbull Injury Prone' in the medical room and he is recovering nicely but will only be catching the last few races of the season.

The youngsters are doing very well and I have 43 weaned off with another 17 now in the nest. The stock birds are starting to lay again and I have 8 eggs at present.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


I have just had it confirmed that I have won 1st Club, 1st Federation 3,500 birds from Newbury, 97 miles! A dream come true and my first win since restarting in the sport in 2009! I have been sweating the last few days hoping but never expecting to hear this news. The phone hasn't stopped going and I am so proud of the birds as they have worked ever so hard and have made me one very happy fancier! Time to celebrate I think!!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Bridge too far!

In hindsight this National race was a bridge too far! Considering the birds arrived home yesterday at 2.20pm from a 100 mile race and then were re-basketed at 6pm for todays race from 177 miles it was asking too much. The birds were liberated at 7am with my first arriving at 10.39am recording a velocity of 1417ypm. No disgrace but on return the birds are looking very tired. I am unaware of the times in the National as yet but expecting to be quite a bit behind. However, I am going to take plenty of positives from this though. I have had 7 from 8 so once again very good returns and hoping to get the last cock bird later today and the birds fitness will have improved as a result of this race. They are going to be rested tomorrow and hopefully the hens will lay their eggs. I am yet undecided which race I will enter next week with Maidstone (177 miles) in the club and Folkstone (200 miles) in the National my two options. It will depend on the condition of the hens regarding eggs and also the wind conditions.
***Update**** The one remaining bird has returned so I now have 100% returns.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Best Day!

I decided to send all 8 race birds to Newbury (97 miles) after handling each one. They were liberated at 10.25am and my first bird arrived like a rocket at 12.19pm. She hit the landing board and went straight in. On making a few phone calls it was clear this little hen had put up a great performance. At the knock off it was confirmed this hen had taken 1st Club and to say I over the moon is an understatement. (Picture of the winner on the results section of the website). All 8 arrived safely home to give me 100% returns once again. I am now hoping she makes the federation result and keeping my fingers crossed she makes the result!
A change of plan was quickly made on the back of todays result and on checking the weather conditions it was decided to enter all 8 race birds into the National from Maidstone (177 miles) with the birds basketed tonight and released tomorrow. I have taken a chance that the eggs are not going to arrive tonight and will hope for the best. Not ideal with the birds having flown 100 miles today and then basketed this evening but hopefully they will put in another good performance. I am eagerly awaiting their arrival tomorrow. So this has to be the best day I have had since returning to the sport in 2008 and I hope this is the start of many more good performances to come! I will update tomorrow when the National birds are home!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Decision made!

The news coming through tonight indicates the club race from Newbury (97 miles) will take place on Sunday with a liberation expected to be after 12pm. I have now given up on any hope of entering the National as the hens will be ready to lay eggs. I will monitor the hens tomorrow night and any looking like they are about to lay will be kept back. So I have 8 who could be sent in total and we will have to wait and see who goes exactly nearer the time. It is a blow not being able to enter the National but that is life and we will look forward to next week.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Weather - what a downer!

The weather has ruined the weekends racing! The National birds are now hopefully marking Sunday for a race on Monday with the Rhondda Valley Fed looking at marking Saturday for a race on Sunday! To say I am frustrated is an understatement! I know these decisions have to be made but with the wind suiting me for a long, long time why did it have to be this weekend! hehehe. Thats the Uk weather for you! I am now undecided what I plan to do as I am working on Sunday and Monday and going to have to make some plans pretty quickly and work out what I will be doing. At this moment in time I am tempted to enter them into both races but unsure what numbers etc! I will have a think and update when the marking has been confirmed for both races.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Fantastic Preparation

The race birds are now paired up and they have been out exercising with the young birds every day. They are putting in 1 hours worth of work in the afternoon and another 30 minutes in the evening. They really have improved their fitness this week and now you can see the race birds loving it as much as the youngsters.
The weather for the weekend is a concern. There is a bad forecast for Saturday and equally as bad on Sunday. It is quite frustrating as the wind forecast is absolutely perfect for my location with a 19mph south wind forecast!
I picked up a latebred from Maesteg last night and this pigeon was lost in one of the first training tosses of the season. I will allow her to settle back to the loft and then enter her into the comback races at the end of the season along with the 3 birds that are currently on the injured list.
I will update this as soon I find out what is happening with this weeks National race from Maidstone.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Very pleased with that!

The birds were liberated at 7.30am and my first bird arrived at 9.50pm recording a velocity of 1634ypm. I have had 8 from 9 and judging by the times will be about 6-7 minutes behind the club winner. Given the wind that we had today I am totally over the moon with that result! I was expecting them to be quite a bit further behind with the East wind with some North in it. To be that close given those conditions bodes well for the races in the coming weeks.
I have now paired the birds up and they will be left together to go down on eggs. I hope I have timed it right that they will be ok for next Saturdays National race. I am keeping my all my fingers crossed that the wind is in my favour for next week and I fully expect a big, big performance from them!