Thursday, 30 June 2011

The big one is here!

Well, this is the race I have set my sights on all year. All the racing and preparation has been geared up to this race from Reims (378 miles). Off the 21 birds, I started the season with, (9 were untrained latebreds), 2 were killed by a hawk so that left me 19. I currently have 6 left in the loft and 3 of these have made up the team that are heading to Reims! The first bird is a Dark Cheq Pied cock who was a later bred pigeon last year and rushed into training. A hawk strike on his first toss resulted in 10 later bred pigeons being lost from 18 miles. I had the bird reported in Burnham on Sea, not far from Western Super Mare. The pigeon was returned via courier and he remained in the loft until this season. He is off my No.1 Stock hen, who was 24th Open, 754 birds, and 9th Ace Bird in the Europa Classic in 2009. He has had 11 races this year being my first bird home 3 times this season, including Folkestone (200 miles) and Lilliers (272 miles). My second pigeon is another I bred in the stock shed. A little Cheq hen, being out of the Alistair Hogg pigeon when paired with the Janssen Hen that was sitting 5th in the Ace Bird Standing after 5 races in the Europa Classic in 2009. She has had 10 races this season being my first bird home once. She went off the boil mid season but is looking good again. My final pigeon is a Breeder Buyer from Bobby Thomas in the Gurnos club who is flying very well at present. He has topped the fed this season and won the combine last year. He is a Cheq cock, is a small type and has had 11 races in total this season. He has been my first bird home the last 2 weeks but his refusal to trap is a major concern! He stayed out for 5 minutes last week :-(
So that is my team and I am hoping they put in a good effort for the loft on Friday. I hope they do themselves justice and return safely! Good luck to all that are in the race!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Exercising like demons!

I have had the race birds out Sunday and this evening and they are exercising very well indeed. I had to call them out of the sky after 1hr 15 mins tonight and they trapped very quickly were fed and shut up for the night. I aim to left fly them again tomorrow night and then give them a good feed ready for basketing on Wednesday evening.
I have weaned off the first 7 of the second young bird team and another 8 will be following in the next week or so. The stock birds are down on eggs again which total 19 at present.
I am eagerly awaiting news on the Europa Classic with the inventory for this years race due to published any day. The training will be starting in the next couple of weeks and can't wait to see how the Rasbull Share Syndicates entries do this year!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Todays Race

Today's race from Newbury (97 miles) turned out to be a slow one! The birds were finally liberated due to poor weather at 3.30pm. There was quite a strong head wind. My first bird arrived at 6.04 but would not trap for love or money! He hit the loft but then proceeded to fly onto the house roof and drink from the gutter. Not impressed at all! He finally clocked at 6.09pm. I thought I would be way behind with that time but the early times in the federation are showing birds being clocked from 5.44pm onwards and they are mostly fanciers who have to give me 7-8 miles overfly. Still behind but not as bad as I first thought! I ended up sending 6 to the race and at present have had 4. I am now going to prepare 3 of them for the 'big one' from Reims (378 miles). They are basketing on Wednesday for a Friday race. All 3 of the birds intended to go to Reims have flown Lilliers (278 miles) earlier this season and were my first 3 birds back today. So fingers crossed they can put up a good performance.
A special mention to my brother Neil having his first Old bird season. He started the first race with just 1 bird and 11 races later still has him left having flown 279 miles! An outstanding performance and he was even in the clock before me today! Well done Neil. Hope you get him from Reims next week!
**Update - The latebred hen that was picked up in Maesteg 5 or 6 weeks ago has just returned, so pleased with that as she has had to work back on her own something she failed to do when she was lost weeks ago. Just one more to come now - 'Rasbull Injury Prone' who will no doubt drop through the trap half dead having been hawked, attacked by a cat, run over, half eaten by a cow and hit the wires on his journey home! hehehe'

Friday, 24 June 2011

Change of plan!

The Rhonnda Valley Federation has just announced the race for next week will now be from Reims (378 miles) due to the fact they had to be brought back last week to 200 miles due to bad weather! The race was set to be from Pont A Mousson around 465 miles. But having to therefore jump nearly 200 miles from the previous furthest race from Lilliers they have again attempted to race from Reims. This has worked out perfectly for myself. I wasn't going to send next week due to the jump but now it has been brought back I am planning on sending the lot. I didn't really want to carry over pigeons that had not done anything for me and this will now give me the chance to test them a little. Anything that comes back will earn his/her perch for the winter.
I will be basketing the birds for tomorrow now in the next hour and I am going to be sending 5 or 6. I have a feeling one of the cocks is missing his end flights so I will have a look at him when basketing.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Looking towards the young bird season!

Exercising has gone very well around the loft this week with the birds putting in a full hours work in the evenings. I will be sending 6 to this weeks race from Newbury (97 miles) with just one held back due to recovering from being lost. My main concentration has now turned to the youngsters and I have 47 out flying for the hour. I had a count up the other night and found I was 4 or 5 down from what was in the loft so whether these have been taken by a hawk or gone off on their own accord I dont know. But I will work with the 47 I have left now. I have another 19 in the nest and another round of eggs and this second batch will be put into another loft so as not to hold the 1st team back. I aim to loft fly the youngsters now regularly each evening up to the middle of July and then start the road training around the 20th July in readiness for the first race on either 6th or 13th August (probably the 13th as this will give me another full week to get the birds spot on!)

Friday, 17 June 2011

Birds back on track!

The birds have been rested and will be back in exercising this afternoon. They have been confined to the loft since Saturday. I don't know if they picked up a virus or something but they are looking a lot better than they did a week ago. I will be sending them to Newbury next Saturday and hoping they exercise well this week in preparation for the race. There are only 5 races left for the Old Bird season now and due to missing Reims this week (378 miles), I will not jump them into the longer ones. I will now send all I have in the loft to the 2 Newbury races that are left and then keep what is left for next year as 2 Year Olds. I currently have 7 in the loft and if they manage to complete the last 2 races that will be a nice number to carry over for next year.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Biggest disappointment of the season so far!

Today's race proved to be a big disaster! I have had 3 from 5 but they were way behind and I am very disappointed in them. I am missing 'Rasbull Injury Prone' - the cock who has had 3 races in 2 years and come back injured each time. I am also missing a Mealy cock that was having his first race since damaging his flights.
I have a few ideas to what has gone wrong and I have already started to address these issues. The first thing I have decided is the race from Reims (378 miles) and the target race pre season has been scrapped! I will not be sending and the birds will undertake a regime to get them back into action ready for the following weeks race from Newbury (97 miles).
I will update later in the week with an update on how things are progressing!

**'Rasbull Injury Prone' is back and what more he has no injuries! I am amazed to be honest hehehe!'

Friday, 10 June 2011

Race Day Again!

This week seems to have flown! The birds have been exercising around the loft since the last week and have been flying for up to a hour and half each evening. I decided after the Lilliers race that I was going to put the birds back on widowhood and sure enough come Monday they were parted from their mates. I have kept them apart all week. This has meant that I have sacrificed racing the hens this week. I have 5 cocks in the loft and I had one reported in Western Super Mare so he has been picked up to take me back up to 6. This weeks race is from Newbury (97 miles) and I have put in the 5 cocks only. I have kept back the one that was picked up as well as the 2 race hens. There were 121 birds sent in the club tonight. I have been hoping all week for a South wind but this has not happened and a West wind is forecast. I hope the birds will be slightly closer tomorrow but I fear with the wind they will again be 10-15 minutes behind. I will update tomorrow after the race.

Saturday, 4 June 2011


The race turned out to be a lot quicker than I thought it would be today. My first bird arrived after 6 hours and 17 minutes. It was the same dark cheq pied cock bird that has been my first bird the previous 2 weeks. He is off my No.1 stock hen and was unraced as a youngster due to getting lost on his first training toss when I lost 10 youngsters after they were struck by a hawk (all having there first toss). He was reported 80 miles away in Burnham on Sea. I had him returned and looking at it was a good decision!
I have currently had 3 from 5. Returns in the club seem to be a bit erratic with some having 3 from 17 while others have had 10 from 13 etc. I was behind in the club this week but with the North wind was expecting that. I am hoping the other 2 make it back as well as there is plenty of time for them to show up.
I am now going to put the birds back on widowhood and get them ready for Reims (378 miles) in 2 weeks time. At the moment they are not racing home like the first 3 or 4 races when I had them widowhood. Since pairing them up it has taken something off them so hopefully I will have enough time to get things sorted out in time.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Busy Day!

It has been a busy day here trying to sort out the webcams etc. I have 4 cameras in total and 3 are now installed in permanent positions within the loft. The 4th (outside loft) has been setup for now but I will look to find it a permanent home tomorrow. The glare of the sun is causing me some difficulties but hopefully will find a solution tomorrow!

Just having a count up of the youngsters and I now have 55 weaned off, 13 in the nest and 12 eggs. That will total 80 if all hatching. I think that will now conclude the breeding for this season with anything that is laid now being discarded.

The weather has been so hot today and if the birds have this heat to contend with tomorrow as well as the strong north wind it is going to be an extreme test for the race birds at Lilliers (272 miles). I am expecting an early liberation and around a 7hr flight time so if they go at 6am they are going to be due around 1pm. I will have the camera up and running to record the birds as they arrive home! Good luck to all that are racing!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Birds off to France!

I sent 5 of the race birds tonight for Saturdays race from Lilliers (272 miles). I didn't have any of the missing 3 return from last weeks race. That left me with 9 race birds in the loft. 6 are these have been to 200 miles and out of these 5 were sent tonight. I kept back a mealy cock bird as his feathering is damaged. The wind is very strong NNE and the birds are going to have a tough flight on Saturday to make it home.
They have put in some good work at home this week with a hour a night put in every evening. I have no idea how they will come in the race and can only cross my fingers and hope for the best.

The cameras and equipment has now arrived and I will be spending tomorrow putting everything in place and then hopefully by tomorrow evening the loft will go 'live'. If all goes to plan the race birds return will be available for all to see on Saturday.