Before I go any further, I would like to review the old bird season we have just had. To sum it up we have had up and downs the whole season. I think the first 6 or 7 races we were at the races and the birds were coming well. The second half of a season was somewhat of a disaster. We started the season with 14 old birds. At the end of it we have just 1 left in the loft. Bearing in mind we only lost 1 pigeon in the first 7 races and one was killed by a hawk just goes to show what a downer we have had for the second part of the season. We achieved our aim pre season of getting birds to Reims (378 miles) but we failed to have one of the three entries return! This has to be the biggest disappointment for the Old bird season for me. There are no excuses even though the club only timed 5 birds on the night from the race. The main thing I have concluded from this is the birds were just not up to it. They were sent healthy, flying for an hour a night around the loft and were fed correctly prior to the race. So you have to face facts!
There have been highlights to this season (my first proper old bird season with more than 2 birds as I had last year). Without doubt the biggest highlight has to be the 1st club, 1st federation result I achieved from Newbury (97 miles) with 3,549 birds. I have said on here many times to get a club card is nigh on impossible unless the wind has strong south in it, so to top the federation has to be a massive achievement for the loft. We will try even harder next year with the old birds and hopefully will have a bigger team to start with and the main aim of the season will once again to get the birds to Reims (378 miles).
Now onto the youngsters! They total 46 in total which are currently flying around 1h 30mins - 1h 45 mins around the loft in the evenings. They are flying really well and putting in good work. I am a little concerned that they are only flying around the loft and not yet ranging away and out of sight. I am planning on flying them for another week to ten days around the loft and around the 20th of the month will be starting the basket work with them. They will be trained up to 50 miles prior to the first race. The first race for me will be the 5th race of the young bird season and will be from 97 miles. I made this decision a long time ago due to a second batch of youngsters who joined the 46 and I felt I would have to rush them through loft exercise and training just to catch the first race. This was not an option and therefore gave myself a further 4 weeks to get them exactly how I wanted them.
I am not racing darkness and my sole aim is to educate the youngsters in readiness for next year as old birds. I will have another team of 26 who are in a separate loft and are being allowed to mature before they will start the loft exercising process.
The targets for the young birds this season are to get the first team of 46 to Folkestone (200 miles). All will be expected to fly before being put by for the following season. The later bred team will be expected to compete in the last 2 comeback races from 76 miles in September.
In addition to our own loft races we have a team in the Europa Classic this season once again. We are looking for a further improvement in this years team to add to the improvement Rasbull lofts pigeons have made the previous two years. A third years progress in a row will be very pleasing and one that I will expect the birds to make. (please see progress charts on the One Loft Entries section of this site). We have a team of 5 and they are going to be starting training from 30 miles in the next few days and the results will be displayed on this site and also the Europa Classic site.
Well thats all for now and I will update again when the Europa training starts and also our own training which will be around the 20th of this month!