Friday, 30 September 2011

Work continuing

The work on the loft is continuing. I am currently working on the new widowhood loft and hope to have this complete in the next few days depending on how quick materials can be delivered. The loft will be used for widowhood next year with the nest boxes and the whole front of the loft being changed around. The picture shows the work that has been done and I will upload one of the work when completed.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Loft Changes

This week has seen a lot of work being carried out at the lofts. I have changed the entire loft setup around, I have stripped out all the sections and have created a new stock loft equipped with 12 nest boxes which is 8 x 6ft. I have also restructured the old bird racing loft which now has 20 nest boxes and is 9 x 9ft in readiness for next year. I have a 4 x 6ft section which will have boxes perches installed and will be used for the widowhood hens next year. I am planning an attaching polycarbonate sheeting to the front of the loft on all the windows and will be lowering the shiplap to allow more sunlight into the loft. The entrance for the old birds will be drop down which will allow for open door trapping (likely to be 6ft x 4ft!) I will be installing extra vents in the sections to improve air flow. I have also stripped out the 6 x 6 section and that will be used as a store room for the next month or so. After that I am planning to extend it by another 7ft to create a 13 x 6ft section which will be used for next years young bird team. This loft will also have a drop down window which will ensure maximum sunlight and air can get into the loft and be controlled depending on the weather. To complete this work means new brick work being completed to the existing L shape loft. I will also be attaching a 5 x 4ft aviary to the young bird loft which will also be accessible to the stock birds. I am very excited about the changes and believe when they have been completed will make this a fantastic setup for racing and breeding pigeons. This has been my aim for a long time and I believe within the next 2-3 months all the work will be completed and the birds will have a superb loft to race and live.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Some returns today

6 out of the 8 missing birds have returned today. 2 have very bad wire injuries and I am guessing the one with the worst is the bird I saw land in the trees after hitting the wires. He has cut from his chest to the top of the neck. He is in a right mess but will heal with time. The birds have once again been rested tonight and had a good feed.
I will be working on the loft in the next few weeks rearranging sections and boxes etc to get the loft setup how I want it for the coming season.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Another bad one!

The birds were trained tonight after a couple of days rest after the horror show from 28 miles 3 days ago where I ended up losing 8 birds. I took 39 this afternoon back to 28 miles and although the weather was not great they had to go. I have trained at this location for 2 seasons and never had a bad one from there until 3 days ago with one hit the wires upon release. I let the 39 birds go in the same spot with the only set of wires for a good distance about 50 foot to the right. The birds were let go facing directly away from the wires and they took off and turned immediately still flying to gain height. Once again they went directly into the wires with some going over and some below. 1 at the back went straight into them! They then did a full circle and did exactly the same thing again! This time the injured bird nose dived into the trees on the other side of the river. Unbelievable! They were clearly visible yet the birds flew into them twice in a matter of seconds! On arrival home once again there were no birds which I was not surprised about. I then had a group of 15 or so arrive and hit the loft. They were followed by another group of 10 or so. I then had birds coming back on their own until I had 31 from the 39 that were sent. Missing are 7 youngsters and my most experienced old bird that has had 15 races for me and has flown the channel! Between the hawks and wires I am being hammered every time I am taking the birds at the moment and I think I have made my mind up that will be it for this season. The race has been brought forward to Friday this week but I do not think I will be sending now. I have one who is all cut under his wing and he must have been the first one to hit the wires! Hopefully the missing 8 birds will return in the morning. The last two training tosses have hit me hard with 16 birds missing at present! That is a huge loss for me and I can't keep taking hits like this in training but if I don't train I am going to be hit even more with losses as the birds will enter the South Wales Valleys and that will be the end of them!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Time to get them going again!

I have had another few return and now I am missing 8 in total from the training toss on Saturday. It gives me 39 in total of which 36 are young birds. I have loft flown them tonight and they will be back in the basket tomorrow afternoon for another training toss.
My brother took his 38 training yesterday and only had 11 back by nightfall. He has had some return today but is still missing 11. There is a very well fed hawk in the valley on the line of flight our birds come. It is impossible to avoid this valley though as this is the only way the birds will come from a race and they have to fly up the valley into Brecon. Hopefully he will be sleeping off two very good meals he has had in the last few days when I take mine again tomorrow!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Returning slowly this morning

The birds are returning slowly this morning with 15 having returned up to 10.45am. There were 5 or 6 on the loft on daylight this morning so they can not be too far away. I am currently down 14 in total. All 3 of my yearlings have made it back. The weather is terrible here again this morning with heavy showers lasting 10-15 minutes and low cloud. Hopefully the missing birds will make it through sometime today. I am going to rest them now today and whatever returns today will then be back to work tomorrow. There is just 6 days until basketing for Swindon and I hope to give them at least another 2 tosses in that time. I will give them another from 28 miles before going to 50 miles. This should set them up for the race and give them the best chance of returning. Most of the birds have now experienced a night out and that is a good thing and I hope will benefit them in the long run.
**3.45pm - another 2 have returned so that is now 12 missing. The weather has improved and what does not come now are the unlucky and the rubbish!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Dropped a big clanger tonight!

I decided to take the birds tonight to 28 miles and didn't liberate them until 6.40pm. It was clear they would have to shift to make it back before nightfall. To my horror 5 miles into the journey on the way back the weather turned to heavy rain and all around us black. Cars had their lights on and windscreen wipers were on full blast. It has to be the worst decision I have made all season and I knew I would be cutting it fine with the light but didn't factor in the bad weather!
On return to the loft I was not surprised to see no birds home. About 10 minutes after getting home a group of 4 brave birds shot over the house and onto the loft. They were closely followed by another. They all sat there for 5 minutes before going in. They were seriously spooked and not keen to move at all despite being hungry and food waiting in the loft. I had 2 yearling cocks then arrive together about 10 minutes later. By now it was getting a lot darker. I had 2 or 3 groups of 2 and 3's arrive over the course of the next 10 minutes. I was upto 17 when it had become totally dark and on standing by the back door thinking over my mistake another pigeon landed on the loft and trapped. Unbelievable as it was pitch black!! On checking which bird it was, it turned out to be the bird that broke its leg in at least 3 places and whose leg now juts out to the left as he damaged his hip joint. Brave little bird this is turning out to be!
So in the end I have ended up with 18 out of 47 and that is all my fault and nothing to do with the birds. I suspect a hawk strike on top of the weather and darkness as the birds were totally on edge on return. One of the worst decisions I have made with the birds to liberate so late from so far away. The weather was unknown to me but that is no excuse. I have a feeling most of the missing birds are not far away and expecting a large number to be hitting the loft early in the morning. I believe this experience despite my stupidity, will do the birds that return the world of good and will prove to be invaluable experience for them. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the majority of the birds make it back tomorrow!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Training again!

Two out of the four missing birds were on the loft this morning but the other 2 have failed to arrive. That now puts me down to 44 youngsters with 3 yearling cocks also. All 47 were again trained tonight from 14 miles and all were safe and sound in the loft upon my return. I am very pleased with how they are coming at present and hope to step them up to 28 miles tomorrow if the weather permits.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Todays training

The birds were stepped up to 14 miles tonight and all 49 were basketed once again as the missing bird from yesterday was on the loft this morning before I left for work. The wind is a lot calmer today and this showed with the birds hammering us back home. I am down 4, which includes the one that was missing yesterday. 2 of the 4 were only brought in for the Dove Release company I am planning to setup and the one of them is the bird that has now been late 2 days running. The other 2 though are bred by myself and I want to know what they are. As they are now at a distance and condition that they should be able to keep up with the group, they will have 3 strikes and they will be out. I can not be doing with the same birds returning late. They just cause problems and come the first race they will be the first ones to be reported! I am very pleased with how they came from 14 miles as half of the team were doing that distance for the first time. I will now jump them again to 28 miles which depending on the weather will hopefully be tomorrow.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Birds trained today

My youngsters were trained today as I took advantage of the break in the cloud even though the wind was still very strong. I took 49 to 7 miles and I am missing 1 at nightfall. I am hoping for some good weather now this week to be able to push these on now in time for Swindon 76 miles, on the 24th September.
I will be entering 4 young birds into B.Williams & Son's test loft for next year. I am keen to try my own pigeons when they are competing on a decent playing field and think they will be able to show how good they can be given a fair crack of the whip. I am looking forward to it. I believe there are 48 test loft birds being entered next year and all will fly the program and compete in the Nationals etc.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

No news

There is not much to report at present. The birds in the loft are being restricted to flying around the loft in between rain and strong winds due to the awful weather we are having at the moment. These youngsters are now desperate to be trained but until the weather improves they are going to have to stay where they are!

The Europa have not updated their website as yet so still waiting for news of the syndicate birds to see if they have returned to the loft. Hopefully they will update shortly.

I am now planning the loft layout for the coming breeding season and will be looking through the birds I have to select pairings and numbers that I will be carrying over the winter period.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Syndicate for 2012!

Rasbull Lofts Share Syndicate will be again running for 2012 and will be looking to enter the Europa Classic and the Somerset One Loft Race. I will be entering up to 14 birds next year and these will be divided into 56 shares - 36 shares in the Somerset race and 20 in the Europa. Depending on the race these will be £30 a share. (1/4 share in one bird per share). They are on a first come, first served basis and these will soon be gone so please don't miss out! Results through this years series of the Europa Classic:-
1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 6th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 11th, 16th, 17th, 19th, 19th, 19th, 19th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 29th, 30th, 30th, 31st, 32nd, 34th, 35th, 35th, 36th, 36th, 37th, 38th, 39th, 44th, 48th and 49th!

Anyone interested please email and I look forward to welcoming you on board for next year!!!

Disastrous Final Race

The final of the Europa turned out to be a disastrous race for everyone involved. Only 44 from 501 birds have made it back with only 3 on the day. I dont think anyone is to blame and its just one of those things. The weather was ok and the birds were in great condition (confirmed by at least 3 people who were at the marking). Its a shame as the syndicate birds had been coming so well in the hotspots and the training. But you can't account of the hawks, weather etc and at the end of the day you pay your money and you take your chance. Hopefully we will get one or two on the result sheet in the next day or so. I am worn out as my brother and I were the last to leave last night around 9ish and travelled 50 miles home and then were up at 4.30am and arrived at the loft at first light! Mad but good fun, just shame I didn't get one but then there are 457 who are in the same boat!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Its here!!!

The final of this years Europa is now upon us with the birds having their training toss of the series today! They were 19th, 56th, 152nd and 324th. They have performed so well in the training and hotspots that I am hoping to get at least 1 in the top 50 of the final result from 240 miles. They have hammered the top 50 all series to date with them taking:- 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 6th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 11th, 16th, 17th, 19th, 19th, 19th, 19th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 29th, 30th, 30th, 31st, 32nd, 34th, 35th, 35th, 36th, 36th, 37th, 38th, 39th, 44th, 48th and 49th!
This has been with a team of just 4 pigeons competing with on average 600 birds per race! I hope they don't let themselves down now in the final with a poor performance! The final is on Sunday and the weather is not too clever but hopefully they will thrive and produce a great performance for the loft!

The birds in my own loft are exercising very well with up to 1hour 20 mins work being put in when out exercising. They have had two 7 mile training tosses which were Monday and Tuesday and they are going now this evening to 14 miles. So hoping to get them in a good time. The race is just 9 days away and I am feeling it will be very difficult to get them ready for this in time so they might go to the one on the 24th instead. I have kept them all season and I am not prepared to throw them away due to rushing. I am wanting the majority of the cocks for a team of widowers for next season and can't wait for the REAL racing to start next year!!