Thursday, 27 December 2012

Pairing Up

I have started the task of pairing up the birds in the last few days. I must say its not a job I enjoy but this year is going quite smoothly at present. I have 17 pairs of race birds and 6 pairs of stock. I have 5 spare hens which is a bit of a pain. I have had the hens locked in the boxes for the past 3 days. The majority of cocks have now picked a nestbox but still a couple who are not too sure! I let the cocks and hens in together today and 18 of the 23 pairs mated which was pleasing. Hopefully tomorrow the other 6 pairs will settle as well. I have left 6 pairs out of the boxes tonight and hopefully they will get to know the nestbox they are supposed to be in. I will let a couple of pairs a day out until all are settled and no where they are supposed to be nesting. I will update when more news. Roll on eggs and youngsters :-)

Friday, 14 December 2012

Changing Club!

I am pleased to say that for 2013 we are hoping to be flying from Abergavenny Kings club. This is a massive change for us and one I have been thinking about for some time. We have been in the Gurnos club in Merthyr for the past 3 seasons. They are directly south of us by 20 miles with the Brecon Beacons separating us. It has been incredibly hard to obtain a club position given the direction the birds fly and have never been on a level playing field since being in this club.
Abergavenny however offers us something much more competitive. They are at the base of the valley our birds have to travel up to return to Brecon so that itself a huge positive as there own club birds will be flying up the same direction. The mileage works out 18/19 miles overfly which is a fair a reasonable amount for them to cover the distance they will have to. If they are good enough they will obtain clubs positions next year of that I am sure. I cant wait to start racing now and see how we get on.
The birds are good and settled at the moment. I did pair them up provisionally for a day a couple of days ago so they get to know their partners and nestboxes. I am hoping to pair up around Christmas time if all goes to plan.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Another 2 stars for Rasbull Lofts!!

The latest 2 stars of Rasbull Lofts have been purchased this evening! We were in the market for 2 new stock cocks and believe we have acquired 2 excellent cocks with plenty of breeding ability! Both are club winners and both have been 3rd Federation with over 3,000 birds!

'Rasbull Semtex'

1st Club Newbury, 2nd Sect 1,438 birds, 3rd Federation 3,652 birds 86 miles.
4th RPRA Jubilee Race Welsh Region from Bordeaux over 500 miles.

Mother was 4th National Welsh South Road from Vire!

'Rasbull Tomahawk'

1st Club Reading, 1st Sect 1,288 birds, 3rd Federation 3,124 birds.
5th Club Newbury, 22nd Sect 604 birds, 28th federation 1,550 birds.

 We had already purchased:-

'Rasbull Stylish Ways'

1st Club, 2nd Federation, 1672 birds. 1st W.Sect Combine, 17th Combine 3,202 birds. 1st W.Sect WSE National 1,710 birds. 3rd Club, 11th Federation 3325 birds. 3rd Club 128 birds & 4th Club 222 birds.

This now concludes our new additions for the close season and  we are very pleased to have acquired these potential star performers!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Loft update!

The birds are coming to the end of their moult now and all have moulted very well. The birds have now been separated. We have 17 race cocks who are busy taking nest box positions! We have 5 stock cocks and these are settled in the stock section and have chosen their nest boxes. We have 23 race hens and 6 stock hens that are in the hen section and the aviary.
We plan to bring in another 2 new stock pigeons prior to breeding to supplement our current stock team which I have to say is the strongest since I restarted in the start 4 years ago.
We trained the race cocks for the fist time yesterday (11th November 2012) which the latest I have ever trained in the year let alone for their first toss. They went 3 miles and all returned safe and sound which was pleasing. I hope to get a few more training tosses in before Christmas to get the birds familiar with the basket prior to the new season starting when the serious training will start.
The birds we vaccinated and wormed yesterday also and they are now ready for pairing which I hope to do around the middle of December.
I will be entering 9 birds into the Somerset One Loft Race this year and I am seriously looking forward to that. All shares have been sold in the Rasbull Share Syndicate and I can't wait to get the birds bred and down to the loft. The hardest part will be deciding what pairs to breed from as my stock birds are showing great promise.
I have been spending a lot of my time on my website - Anyone who is not on the site, please feel free to register as it is growing daily and really turning into great site.
I will update when breeding has started. All the best.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

A new star at Rasbull Lofts

I am pleased to announce we have today secured the purchase of another star hen to supplement our stock loft. I purchased a 2011 Blue hen from the John Evans entire clearance sale. She is a Vandenabeele x Soontjen. I don't know if John raced her in the 4 races he had this year prior to sadly passing away but as a young bird she achieved the  following positions:-

1st Club, 1st West Section, 296 birds, 2nd Federation, 1672 birds
1st West Section, 17th Welsh South East Combine, 3202 birds
1st West Section, 17th Welsh South East National, 1710 birds (Folkestone, 205 miles)
3rd Club, 6th West Section, 11th Federation, 3325 birds (Swindon)
3rd Club, 128 birds
4th Club, 222 birds

Hopefully she will prove herself in the stock loft as her pedigree is plastered with winners.

This now takes our stock hens to a total of 6 and each and every one has proven themselves in some shape or form. This is a brief description of the remaining 5 stock hens currently house at Rasbull Lofts:-

Rasbull No.1 Stock Hen - 24th Open, 9th Ace Bird, 4th, 15th, 39th Hotspot Europa Classic 2009. Dam to 37th Hotspot 2010, 25th and 35th Hotspot 2011. Also 6th Club, 378 miles 2012.

Rasbull Akers Hen - 11th National 458 miles, 9th National 193 miles, 74th National 196 miles, 119th National 368 miles.

Rasbull Malta - 17th Hotspot Europa Classic 2010. Dam of 'Rasbull Leanne De Cabe' 2nd Club, 14th Federation, 272 miles, 1060 birds in 2012 in her first year of breeding!!

Rasbull NL050 - Bred 2 x 1st Federation for J&S Toon. 4 children in their current race team all 1st prize winners. 

Rasbull Seven - Bred 7 x 1st Club winners also 1st Fed, 2nd Fed, 3rd Fed x 2 and 4th Fed! Sold by WLG in their '10 of the Best' sale in 2007!

As can be seen from the 5 hens above plus the new addition we secured today, Rasbull Lofts are building a successful stock section which we will continue adding proven quality to when and if the opportunities arise.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Sort out!

I have been busy sorting out the birds in the loft in readiness for the new season. I have gone through the youngsters and split them into cocks and hens. I have 23 cocks and 22 hens for the coming season. I intend to race widowhood next year and some of the cocks I have in the loft are crackers. If they perform as well as they look I will be in for a very good season. I have further reduced the stock birds and currently only have 4 stock cocks and 5 stock hens. I am very happy with what I have in the loft and will now let them settle down and pick their boxes etc.
The Rasbull Share Syndicate for 2013 is now fully booked and I am pleased to say we will be sending 9 pigeons to the Somerset One Loft race next year. I wish all shareholders the best of luck and I fully expect the birds to perform very well.
In addition to the Share Syndicate I will also be sending two entries to the Pigeon Pixels One Loft race that I have setup in conjunction with Eamon Wright of Shortcut Lofts. I am looking forward to this race and anyone wanting to enter please visit or email me at for more information.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012


The breeding season is finally coming to a close in the loft with just 1 youngster left to be weaned off. We have 47 in total and of these 45 are out flying. We have a group of 10-14 that are only venturing up to the house roof, however these will soon start to find their wings. I can't wait for all to be kitting and putting in an hours exercise. Soon after this they will be basket trained. I can't wait for this batch of youngsters to be trained and raced but the the racing will have to wait until next year! Looking through them, for once, I seem to have far more cocks than hens. I think the past 3 seasons I have been very short on cocks and had far too many hens but this year seems to be very positive for numbers regarding cocks. I will be flying widowhood next year so this bodes very well!
I have updated the website's various sections and I plan to take some photos of the race birds and upload those to the website including 'Rasbull Leanne DeCabe'. I will update if anything happens but otherwise will update when the training process starts in the near future!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Long time since last update!

It has been quite some time since I updated this blog! We have some great news to report and that is we have 'Rasbull Leanne DeCabe' back in the loft. Yes, she was our pigeon that was 2nd Club, 14th Federation from 1060 birds when racing from Lillers (272 miles). She was lost the following week from Brussels (378 miles). Nearly 8 weeks have passed since that race then on Thursday she was sitting on the trap waiting to get back into the loft! Amazing - where has this little hen been all this time? Chuffed to bits to get her back and hopefully this experience will set up her up lovely for next year!
Breeding is coming to an end in our loft with just 7 youngsters waiting to be weaned off now. We have not raced at all this year in the young bird races and as yet the youngsters have not had any road training. We will wait for the remaining 7 to get out flying and then they will be trained up on the nice days throughout the autumn and will be raced next year as yearlings. I did the same thing last year and managed to get 4 from Brussels (378 miles) so hoping to achieve the same sort of results with this crop of birds. We have 52 in total and hopefully over the next few months can get them out on the road and get them some experience of the basket. Until next time......

Sunday, 1 July 2012

And another!!

4 days after the Brussels race we have another arrive back home! A white grizzle hen was waiting on the loft Saturday morning. She has lost a lot of weight but it made my day seeing her! That is now 3 from 5 back in the loft albeit one was returned via courier. To my knowledge there are still only 10 birds back in the entire club from the Brussels race. I am still keeping my fingers crossed that we might see the other 2!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

We have one!!

On arriving home from work I found a bird waiting on the trap to get in! It was the W/F Blue off my No.1 pair that had missed the Lillers race. He has lost a lot of weight and has done very well to come home. There have only been 5 birds recorded in the club that I am aware so chances this gallent little bird will score 6th club is a welcome bonus! I have also had another reported in Stockport. I am very grateful to the gentleman to reported it and hopefully this bird will be back in the loft within the next few days. What was he doing so far North though? There was no North in the wind yesterday? I am guessing they have tracked the coastline North and crossed into the Uk further North than anyone had guessed. I have also heard they may have clashed with a Danish federation? Who knows but I am glad I will at least have 2 pigeons to race next year who have experienced Brussels. Hopefully the remaining 3 will arrive in the next few days so fingers crossed!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Nightmare of a race!

Today has turned out to be a disaster of a race for us and also the other members of the club! The birds were liberated at 7.55am in Brussels (351 miles) and I was fully expecting them to arrive around 4.30-5.30pm. However, by 7.45pm not one bird had been recorded in the club! We have had none of our 5 return and the top flyer in the club has had 0 from 16! Some of his birds having flown 450+ miles numerous times and himself topping the federation and combine in different races within the last 2 seasons. 1 bird was recorded around 7.45pm in the club but at this moment (21.10) this is the only bird to have been clocked in! We will keep our fingers crossed and hopefully some more birds will arrive in the morning!

Brussels race!

The basketing was brought forward to Saturday night with the birds racing today from Brussels. I have sent all 5 of my race birds and hoping they perform well. They exercised very well this week around the loft putting in upto 2 hours a time. The birds were liberated at 7.55am so I am expecting them around 4-5pm! I will update once/if they return! Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Preparing for the big one!

Here at Rasbull Lofts we are now 100% focused now on our biggest race of the season. On Sunday the birds will be basketed for the race from Brussels (350 miles) on Tuesday. The 5 race birds are now being worked on to get them in to top condition and form ready for the task ahead. They raced 131 miles on Sunday but were back to work on Monday and tonight. They have been flying extremely well around the loft putting in 1h 20 minutes yesterday and 1hr 25 minutes this evening. That is very pleasing and they are really putting in good work around the loft for the first time this season. They are working very hard for the full time they are in the air and putting in 80-85 minutes on the wing is very good. They will work again tomorrow evening before Thursday forecasts a bad day so they will have a rest on that day. Friday they will be back to work which will continue on Saturday. Sunday will be a day of rest before they basket in the evening. I can't wait for Tuesday and I hope I manage to time at least one in at a competitive time!
The youngsters are now exercising very well around the loft and they are flying for over an hour a time when they are let out. I have 37 in total that are flying out with another 8 in the nest. I plan to take a further round from my 5 pairs of stock birds. I plan to start training the youngsters in the next couple of weeks with the first race we are going to compete in being Swindon on the 4th August.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Mission accomplished!

After the birds have been confined to the loft for the past week I took the gamble to send them to Guildford (131 miles). I am pleased to say all 5 of the birds have made it home and now I will work on them in preparation for the Brussels race which baskets on Sunday. I sent the 4 birds that returned from Lillers (272 miles) and also put in the W/F Blue cock who was rested after returning from Folkestone late. Brussels is probably going to be our last race of the season and any birds that arrive back from there will be kept for next seasons old bird racing. We were behind in todays race but I am not concerned about that as I have a few things in mind to put them on the right path for Brussels. Next week will be the one we want to do well in! I can't wait and hopefully the birds won't let me down.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Confirmed - 2nd & 5th Club - 14th Federation!

I am over the moon to report we finished 2nd & 5th Club and 14th Federation from Lillers (272 miles) with 1,060 birds competing in last weeks race. Along with the 1st Federation we had last season, this is our best result since restarting back in 2008! I could not be more pleased and I have now named the pigeon who won 2nd Club, 14th Federation in only her 5th race of her career as 'Rasbull Leanne De Cabe'! I am hoping she now goes on to better things in future races. She is bred from 2 of our stock birds 'Rasbull 774' and 'Rasbull Malta'. She is a small hen and is a Vandenabeele x Daniel Pires. The sire 'Rasbull 774' was 4th, 25th and 36th Hotspots at the Europa Classic in 2010. The dam 'Rasbull Malta' was 17th Hotspot also in 2010! The Federation result has been put on to this site and I will be uploading a picture of 'Rasbull Leanne De Cabe' in the very near future!

The birds have not been out of the loft since the Lillers race last Saturday. This weeks race has been put back to Sunday and I am still undecided as to whether to send or not. The wind suits our loft location and I am sure the rest will have done them well. I have 5 birds in total that will be sent. This weeks race will be from Guildford (131 miles) with the big one the following week from Brussels (351 miles)!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Best result of the season so far!!

We had 6 birds liberated in Lillers (272 miles) on Saturday. They were liberated at 9.15am and our first arrival dived over the house at 16.24 doing 1115ypm. We had four from six on the day. On reading the clocks it was clear the birds had experienced a difficult race with many fanciers missing lots of birds at knock off. I am pleased to announce we finished 2nd club (beaten by 3 minutes after flying for 7hrs and 9 minutes!!) We also clocked another who finished 5th club. We won the pools and nom in the club so all very pleasing. Looking at the early times in the federation it is not out of the question whether we will make the fed sheet this week which would be our biggest achievement to date since restarting in 2008. We did top the federation last year but racing from 272 miles is different to 97 miles! We will find out later in the week regarding this but fingers are firmly crossed! The only disappointment was that our other 2 birds have failed to arrive. Hopefully we may get them later this week. This was our best race of the season to date and I can not wait for the next big one from Brussels in 2 weeks time. We have a race this week from Guildford which at present I am not sure whether to send or not as yet. The birds were extremely tired on return from Lillers. They have rested Sunday and today. I think I will let them out Wednesday and see how they are looking before deciding what to do. I am in two minds whether to rest them this week and send them the following week to Brussels. I have 1 bird who didnt go to Lillers as he was late back from Folkestone so was allowed to rest. I think this one will go to Guildford but whether the other 4 do we will make a decision later in the week.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Lillers this week!

The birds have recovered well from the Folkestone race last week. They have exercised around the loft this week ok. We basketed the birds for Lillers last night (Thursday). I decided to leave behind the W/F Blue cock that had returned on Monday from Folkestone due to weight loss and tiredness. So I have sent 6 in total to Saturdays race from Lillers 271 miles. The wind is West South Westerley and very strong as well. It will be very tough for all the birds with a head wind the whole way! I am hoping they return well again from this race. I have no thoughts on how they will do in the club but I remain hopeful! I will update after they have returned from the race on Saturday. Good luck to everyone who is racing this weekend.

Monday, 4 June 2012

100% returns for 2nd week running!

My final bird missing from Saturdays race from Folkestone (200 miles) has arrived safely back this afternoon. He is very thin and totally flown out. I am over the moon as it turned out to be a very tricky race with many fanciers missing 2-6 birds each! It is now the 2nd week in a row that they have all returned and I am very pleased with that. It was only their 4th race so for it to be so tough proves they are made of strong stuff!!
I have had the race birds back out exercising around the loft this afternoon and they have put in a hours work which is another reason to be pleased. I will rest the late bird today and tomorrow morning and see how he is tomorrow evening. With this weeks race from Lilliers (272 miles) basketing a day early I only have Tuesday and Wednesday to prepare the birds to how I want them. I will look to get more work into them to sharpen them up rather than rest them though that is for sure! At this moment I am not sure how many I will send but hopefully by Wednesday morning will have a better idea of how the 7 race birds have recovered from the Folkestone race.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Folkestone 2/6/12

The 7 race birds had not exercised well all week around the loft after their return from Maidstone last week. I did manage to get one training toss into them from 26 miles midweek. I sent 7 to Folkestone (200 miles) in what turned out to be a very tricky race with lots of birds missing in the club and federation last night. I am very pleased with my own returns as I had 5 on the night and 1 this morning. I am just missing one but the weather is that poor I am surprised I even had the one return today. It is raining and very low cloud so the bird has done very well to work back in these conditions. The club had very poor returns with last weeks winner who infact took 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the club having just 2 from 10. So to have 6 from 7 when they were only having their 4th race of their careers was very pleasing. My first bird home today was the bird that was last, last week and arrived Sunday evening totally flown out and very thin! Amazing how well she has recovered. I think the constant night outs due to hawk strikes and training in all conditons has really put them on the right road for days like yesterday when the weather is very dodgy! Hopefully they will exercise around the loft better this week and come Thursday - basketing for the first channel race of the season from Lillers they they will buzzing!

Monday, 28 May 2012

All home!

I am pleased to say the final bird arrived the day after the race and was very thin indeed on arrival. The heat and the distance she had flown has obviously taken its toll! A few days rest and good food will soon put her right though. So I am very pleased with the returns this week. The 7 yearlings don't forget were unraced as youngsters and have now had their 3rd race of their careers and so far they have had 2 x 97 miles and now 1 at 176 miles. Next week we are at Folkestone 200 miles and I am sure they will come well again. They will be worked around the loft this week with hopefully one or two training tosses from around 25 miles thrown into the mix as well!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Just 1 missing!

We had one bird arrive back this morning so we are just missing 1 from yesterdays Maidstone race. The birds have only flown 2 races in their lives prior to this and they were both from 97 miles. So they had been jumped to 176 miles and I am more than happy with how they come. I hope they continue to improve in the same way they have shown so far this season! Hopefully the last one will arrive some today to give us 100% returns but as it is now 11am I am not to optimistic. I can't wait for next weeks race from Folkestone.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Maidstone 26/5/2012

Our 7 birds were liberated at Maidstone (176 miles) at 7am this morning. A very strong East wind ensured a very fast race. We clocked at 9.50am doing 1826ypm. Our first bird 3 birds were all brother and sisters! We bred 3 last year in a round of 50 birds. We have 7 birds left and all 3 of these remain! Something in the family I think!! We are currently missing 3 but I am a lot happier how they came today. Not sure of many times in the club today but the winner last week was clocking at 9.35am. So we are 15 minutes behind and he has to give us 7 miles overfly so going to be about 8-9 minutes behind him. (The standard time difference if we have no South) I am very happy with that as we live 20 miles North of this and with no South in the wind I am very pleased. The leading times in the Fed were around 23/24 minutes past so the Merthyr boys (further North) clocking 10 minutes after this and I am clocking 10 minutes after the Merthyr boys! Location plays a huge part in pigeon racing from races under 300 miles and thats just a fact I have to accept! Added to this all our birds are unraced yearlings and only having their 3rd race in their lives I am very pleased that we now have something to work with in the longer races to come this season! Roll on next week and Folkestone and hopefully some nice strong South winds after that for the longer races across the channel!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

This weeks race!

After lasts weeks race was cancelled due to the weather the birds find themselves pushed further across the country for this weeks race which will be from Maidstone. (178 miles). The 7 birds we have in the loft are all unraced yearlings having their first season. So far they have flown Newbury (97 miles) twice. So it will be a big jump for the birds and should test them a bit! I was going to send them to the South Road National from Carentan this week providing they come well from Guildford last week which would have been 131 miles. But to jump them 100 miles + put them across the channel (due to race being cancelled) was asking too much of them in my opinion. So Maidstone is the race they will go to and all being well we will send all 7.
So they have had 2 weeks since their last race and they have worked for at least 1 hour every day with some days putting in 2 hours around the loft and basket training. In the past 2 weeks they have had around 4 x 26 mile training tosses and I hope they come well now on Saturday as we look to progress to the longer races when the fitness and stamina will start to count!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Happy days regarding my youngsters!

This weeks race from Guildford has been cancelled due to the weather. I have never known a start to the season like this with all this stop, start, stop, change program, start, stop! It is a nightmare and I wish the weather would pull its socks up!
The problem I have now is that I was planning on sending to the Welsh South Road National next week from Carentan. As long as the birds came well from this weekends race from Guildford I was going to skip the Combine race from Maidstone on the South East and put them South over the water. This has somewhat ruined my plans now as my entire race team have only had 2 races from 97 miles so far in their careers and to jump them 100 miles and expect them to fly the channel is a big, big ask. I was going to take the chance had they completed tthe 131 mile race scheduled for tomorrow. I will have to wait and see what the Rhondda Valley Fed plan to do now and maybe they will look to have a midweek race and if that is the case then my plans will still be on track!
I took advantage yesterday to get out my 40 youngsters for only the 2nd time! This included 5 birds I bought last week that were having their first time out. On getting them in I must have been 2 down as these were on the loft this morning waiting to get in. One of these was one of the new ones having his first time out. So very pleased all back. On counting up the birds I couldn't understand why I had 42 in the loft. They were all definitely mine! I had been missing 2 youngsters having their first time out last week. '08' and '21'. I checked through the birds and to my delight both these were now in the loft as well. What a bonus! So I had 44 youngsters to start with and dropped 2 when I tried to break 15 in for the first time. Since then I have broken in 27 and not lost anything off the loft. Considering these were all 4/5 month old youngsters which had never been out until last week I am over the moon! So 42 youngsters in the loft and all have now been broken into the loft - happy days!!! The next quest is to now get them kitting together and I should imagine that will happen very quickly as they are all so strong. I can't wait to get them out in a batch and watch them raking the home skies!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Birds stepping up a gear!

The birds have stepped up a gear this week in training and around the loft. They have put in 2hrs every day. They have just been loft flown today. 1 hour this morning and 1 hour this evening. I am hoping to get them out in the morning for another 1 hour fly and all being well will basket train them tomorrow evening from Raglan (26 miles). This I believe will stand them in good form for the race from Guildford on Saturday!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Trying to put things right!

I have been disappointed with the birds in the first two races of this season. I am finding as they were not raced as youngsters they are following the group and not breaking where I need them to. This has resulted in them flying another 20-25 miles further than they need to. I have therefore been keen to give them some additional training this week in readiness for this weeks race from Guildford (131 miles). They went to Raglan last night and took an age to get their line and strike for home. When they did eventually set off they were hit by a hawk on route and all arrived on their own. By nightfall I was missing 1 and my brother missing 4. His 4 were on the loft by 8am this morning but the one I was missing has failed to arrive.
Tonight my 7 birds were again basketed and taken back to the same place and released with my brothers 6 birds. They cleared far quicker tonight and that was very pleasing. They were flying into a strong head wind but all arrived in good time. I am a lot happier tonight and if the weather permits they will go again before the next race to sharpen them up and make them realise what is expected of them.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

The race from Newbury (97 miles) proved as tough as I expected. We sent 10 and had 8 on the day. They were a long way behind with the best times coming from those furthest South in the Federation. Another good work out for the birds though and they will once again learn from the experience.  I really want to try and get a couple of training tosses into the birds this week as they are still not breaking and coming back from Merthyr instead of the way they should.
I took the chance yesterday to let out all my 37 - 4/5 month old youngsters for the 1st time! 15 had gone out last week and I ended up losing 2 after the majority returned after 2/3 days. So yesterday I took Ant's advice and decided to let them all out in one go. All 37 were on the garden picking away when they got spooked and took to the air! It was like a dog fight in the war with birds all over the place ducking and diving! At one point just 10 birds could be seen. I closed the loft last night still 16 youngsters missing and nowhere to be seen. 3 were on the loft this morning when my brother came to check and by the time I arrived home at 2.30pm from work it had been raining pigeons with 14 of the 16 waiting to get in. That leaves me 2 down at present.
So all in all I had 39 prior to letting any out and currently have 35 that have been out and have now trapped correctly. I have 5 which I purchased the other day and these are going to go out next week. I think I have got away very lightly and will not be doing the same next year or any year for that matter!
The stock birds have been paired back up and a few of the stock pairs are now sitting eggs again. I am looking to take another 2 rounds from these which will be 24 in total if they all hatch out. I will then train these up and enter them into the comeback races. 

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Some back at least!

We were missing 6 youngsters after letting them out for the first time the other day and I am pleased to say we have had 3 back so far! I am sure there is another still in the area and hopefully he will make his way back to the loft in the next day or so.
The race birds have been out exercising around the loft the past few days and although they are not putting the work I desire in as yet they are slowly progressing.
This weeks race is from Newbury (97 miles), the same as last week and we will be sending 10 all being well tomorrow night. The weather is good for Saturday so hopefully a good race is in prospect. At this stage of the season and with all the birds having raced last for the first time last week I am once again only concentrating on returns. I would have have liked to have got a training toss into them this week but the weather has once again beaten us.
****The one that I thought was in the area is now safely back in the loft! Just 2 missing now! ****

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Why leave it so late?

I had the race birds out around the loft tonight and they flew for 1h 20 minutes. I have introduced the one the hawk had a few weeks ago back into the team.
After the race birds trapped I took advantage of the weather to get my youngsters out for the first time! They were bred in January and February and some are massive! They are much bigger than my race cocks so knew I had left it way to late. I had been concentrating so much on the aviary being built and then the race birds that time has just gone on too fast!
I clip ringed them one by one as I placed them on the trap to the loft and within no time 8 birds were outside! I then decided to let the race birds back out to hopefully keep them close to the loft. I kept letting them out one by one until I got to 15. At this time I had 21 birds out as I had only let out 6 race birds. A quick count up I could see I was missing 4 or 5. They were out for about an hour when I tried to call them in. They had not been in the trap so it was all completely new to them. At 5 or 6 months of age this is not recommended at all! After another hour I had 10 out of the 15 young birds on the loft. They started to drop through the trap one by one. Another quick count up revelaed I was now missing 6 in total! It was starting to get dark now so I decided to let the race birds back out to do a few laps around the loft to try and attract the birds back to the loft. It proved fruitless and as we speak it is dark outside and I am missing 6! I still have another 25 in the loft who have not ventured out yet and I am now worried they will go the same way when they get their freedom! Hopefully a few will be on the loft in the morning. Why Rich didn't you let them out when they were weaned?????

Monday, 7 May 2012

2 have made it today!

Well 2 brave birds have made it out of the 7 we were down last night from the Newbury race. One was on the loft by 10am this morning and then nothing until around 6pm this evening when it was hammering down with rain. This now leaves us down 5 as we speak and as all these birds have had nights out during training I will not rule out at least another returning in the next day or two.
The weather has once again been dreadful this afternoon and apart from a clear spell when we had the birds out for 15 minutes it has been impossible to get them out. They have had a good feed tonight and hopefully we can get some work into them again tomorrow evening if the weather holds off.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Tough first race!

Well today has been a good experience for my team of unraced yearlings. It has proved very tough for them and the fact that I have had only 7 from 14 to date shows exactly how tough! They were having their first race today from 97 miles and apart from 1 they all followed the batch into the valleys and didnt break. My birds then had the Brecon Beacons between themselves and the loft! This is what usually happens when I send to the first couple of young bird races. As all these birds have not raced before it would have been a whole new experience to them. Only my grizzle cock came the correct way (up the valley from Abergavenny). All the remaining birds that have arrived have come from the Merthyr direction. My first bird was 15 minutes behind the club winner and I am not concerned about that as this is unraced yearlings racing against experienced birds and I wanted to get returns rather than blistering performances today. I am disappointed with the returns at present though. Hopefully a few will negotiate the valleys and head for home soon.
My brother raced as well today and it proved a close contest between us with myself clocking at 2.56 (1312ypm) and him clocking at 2.59 (1288ypm). The birds that went through were 1+ hour later than these first 2! This goes to show how difficult it is to get a bird to pull out from the batch and head up the right side of the Brecon Beacons and the struggle they have if they miss the breaking point.
The focus now is on returns and hopefully we will have a good few more show their faces in the next 24 hours. The birds that did arrive were very tired and the fly will have done them the world of good and as I have mentioned the experience will push them on that bit more.
I will update tomorrow when I get home from work with details of any late comers. This week will see the birds have regular loft flying and we will see what next week brings. This is the first race of the season from an extra 20 miles than the initial race programme was planned so it has been tough but the birds will be better in the weeks to come!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

First Race of 2012

Finally after 3 weeks of frustration and uncertainty the racing season is finally here! We have sent 14 birds tonight to Newbury (97 miles). The wind is against us but we knew that was going to be the case last week. It will be the first race for all 14 and I am just hoping to get them home tomorrow. The experience will do them the world of good.
They have had a quiet week again due the weather causing hassle. They have been out just 3 times this week. They did put in a hour and half on Wednesday and I was very pleased with that. They have been kept in due the weather Thursday and Friday.
The Federation have changed the race programme so we are effectively starting the season again from scratch which is great news. The South Road National programme has also been put back and that is great as well as I plan to send to a few of these races this season.
The youngsters have still not been out and I must really try and get them out this week as some are 5 months old and very, very strong. The weather and work have been against me up to now but I must try and get them out in the next week or so. They are in the aviary, so at least they have been able to have a good look around and see the race birds coming and going. 
The bad news is the Rasbull Share Syndicate for 2012 has been cancelled. All shareholders have been informed of the decision and the reasons and I will update the Share Holders page tomorrow evening when I have a bit more time. I am pleased to announce though we will definitely be sending next year and many of the Share holders have kept there shares for the following year. Any that are available for purchase will be put on the site and will be up for sale.
I will update after tomorrows race and if you are sending good luck!!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Frustating but correct decision!

Saturday proved to be a very frustrating day indeed! The weather forecast was always going to be dodgy at best. As I posted previously I would normally have kept the birds at home but due to the mileage increasing each week I had to put them in this week.
The weather was terrible all day Saturday and after numerous updates throughout the day the decision was eventaully made to bring the birds back to the clubs.
I agree with this decision and judging by some of the losses experienced by other feds who liberated, some as close as 20 miles to home and still had birds missing, going over to collect the birds was the best choice.
The weather has been even worse today and the birds have not been out again (4 days running) due to torrential rain. Tomorrow appears to be a bit better and I will be very glad to get some work into the birds around the loft.
I plan to loft fly the birds this week with hopefully a training toss from around 30 miles mid week will be given to just sharpen them up ready for the race this coming Saturday.
The federation are due to make a decision in the next 24 hours to say where the race on Saturday will be from. According to the race programme it is Guildford (131 miles) but with 1/3rd of the federation having not sent to any race this season due to one reason or another there is talk the birds will go from Newbury (97 miles).

Friday, 27 April 2012

First race is here!

The weather has been dreadful for the past 2-3 days and we failed to have the missing 2 return from the training toss the other day. The weather has been that bad the birds have not even been able to go out for exercise around the loft the past 2 days. I would have preferred to get them out but the rain has been relentless. I have just basketed the birds for the race and will be taking them to the marking station in the next hour. I have 14 going in total and just 1 who has stayed behind due to the hawk attack earlier in the week. I have 5 cocks and 9 hens and I am using this race soley as a trainer as the wind is severely against me. I have no doubt I will not even be in the club result this week. Any North wind in the air and I am always going to struggle. However, if they come well tomorrow when the wind changes and we have some South then I hope they will be far more competitive. The weather forecast is far from ideal and normally I think I would give the race a miss especially with unraced yearlings making up my entire team. The race programme though jumps to 131 miles next week and I want the birds to have some experience of the race basket prior to them getting too far up the road. Its a case of needs must unfortunately this week and hope for the best!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Death Valley Deja Vu

We decided to loft fly the birds on Monday and they exercised very well putting in an hour and trapping straight away when called. Tuesday the birds were out again exercising in the afternoon for an hour before being basketed for a training toss from Raglan (26 miles). 16 birds were taken and I decided to liberate them with m brother so the birds could have a little experience of being liberated with other birds. In total we let 25 birds. On arriving home there was not a feather to be seen at my loft or my brothers! We waited and waited until eventually I had a group of 5 and he also had 5 arrive together. Then for the next 90 minutes they arrived in ones. By nightfall I had 12 from 16 and he had 6 from 9. Today has been dreadful and is has not stopped raining all day. On getting home from work I had 2 on the loft and he has had 1 return. We are both missing 2 each but I feel sure when there is a break in the weather we will get at least another 2 of these home.
The birds are likely to remain in the loft tonight as the weather is so poor. I am hoping to get them out then tomorrow evening around the loft for an hour and hopefully they will then be ready for the race this Saturday!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Best training toss so far!

We had the 1 missing bird from yesterdays training toss on the loft waiting to get in when I got home from work this afternoon. I was going to give it a rest as she has now had 2 nights out on the run and no food. However, I made the decision to put her straight back in the basket within 5 minutes of being in the loft. All 16 birds were then taken to 34 miles and liberated into another fairly strong headwind. They took 55 minutes to return and as this was the furthest this group of birds has been and the wind conditions I am very, very happy with that. I feel the penny is starting to drop now with these birds and I fully expect them to push on after this toss.
I am unsure about training now this week. I would like to get another couple of tosses into them in readiness for Newbury on Saturday. It will all depend on the weather though. Failing to do that the birds will be loft flown for an hour each night and will be given access to the aviary in the day to have a bath etc. So after two disasters training in which I lost 9 and then the hawk strike both from 27 miles, they have turned the corner and 27 and 34 miles training tosses have procuded 100% returns which bodes well for the coming season.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Training better today

(One of the birds that returned this morning from yesterdays training toss!)

We had one of the missing 4 birds on the loft waiting to get in at 7am this morning. We then had another around 11am which has confirmed what happened to the birds yesterday! Needless to say this pigeon will be out for some time.
I did plan on giving the birds a nice bath and then loft fly them again at 6pm. However, the weather improved that much it was criminal to miss the opportunity to get another training toss into the birds. I basketed the birds up at 5pm and took them to Raglan some 26 miles to the loft. I liberated them with my brothers birds and on arriving back home there was once again an empty loft to greet us. No need to panic though as 10 minutes after arriving back the birds swooped over the loft and into the loft. A group of 15 arrived together and I was missing 1. (This was the bird that was on the loft at 8am this morning.) I could have kept him and not sent him but we have a strict policy in the loft that all birds have to complete the same training regardless. Hopefully she will work back in tomorrow.
I plan on giving  the birds another toss tomorrow afternoon and this will probably be from the same place and then I will look to take them further in the week in readiness for this weeks coming race from Newbury.
The birds are breaking no records at the moment regarding time but this will come as we increase the training. The past two training tosses were always going to be slow as they had a fairly strong headwind to fly into.
Before basketing them tonight I made a note of the birds in the loft and then compared their pedigrees. I was very pleased to see at least one bird from every stock bird in my loft in the current race team. This is very pleasing. We are very strict on the stock birds and any that do not produce are moved on as we are only interested in breeding from pigeons that are capable of providing us with young birds that are full of vitality, stamina and endurance.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Death Valley strikes again!

The race team are once again exercising very well around the loft with them putting in an hour each night. I decided to take the race birds training tonight from 27 miles. I took 19 in total and an arriving back home found nothing in the loft! After 10 minutes, 7 dived over the house roof and were very on edge and spooked. I had a further 3 return 5 minutes later and this was followed by 2 singles another 10 minutes later. At this point I was down 7! I went to my brothers to vaccinate his birds and he had trained from the same spot 10 minutes before me and he had taken 10 and on entering his loft he had only 4! He then had a single return soon after our arrival and a further one arrived after we had finished vaccinating. His were also very spooked! On return to my own loft I had another 3 waiting on the trap and that leaves me 4 down at nightfall. Neil is also 4 down!
I had trained at Usk a fortnight ago and I ended up losing 9! Neil has trained and lost 10 in one go, 3 birds that did return were cut and one was missing his entire tail! Another friend who lives 4 miles away had trained the other night just from 7 miles and all his were coming in 1's and 2's as well. So between us we are taking a right slamming when the birds enter Death Valley! Unfortunately for us, this is the only way the birds will fly as we are surrounded by the Brecon Beacons. The valley is littered with hawks from the base of Blaenavon, up through Crickhowell and onto Brecon. What can you do though? You have to train! So tonight we liberated 29 birds and between us we are missing 8! To make things worse at the bottom of the valley it is covered with electric pylons and there are more wires than I have seen anywhere else in one place. They stretch right across the entry to the valley. So between the hawks and wires getting a pigeon up that valley is proving more and more difficult each season that passes. Hopefully in the morning we will have a good many of these on the loft waiting to enter. Racing is starting on Sunday for us with a race from Swindon, but the weather and the wind is all wrong for me here in Brecon so the birds will not be sent this week. I plan to train another 3 or 4 times over the weekend and early next week and then send them to Newbury (97 miles) the following Saturday.

The 40 youngsters are doing very well and enjoy sitting out in the new aviary each day. They are very heavy in the moult at present and as yet have not been outside the loft! Some are 12 weeks old and they are very, very strong. If the weather is nice tomorrow I plan on opening the aviary and letting them out for the first time. They need to start going out now and tomorrow will be the day!

I have split the stock birds up and plan to repair these in the next week or so to take another round from them with their new partners.I enjoy doing this and hopefully will be able to breed some nice later bred birds which will guarantee me a nice race team for next year.

I will update tomorrow with news of the late comers, young birds first time out and I also hope to bring news of a further training toss! God help them as they are going to need it coming through Death Valley!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Racing is nearly here!!

The racing season starts in under 3 weeks and it has come around very quickly this year. I have been loft flying the race team for just over 2 weeks and they are flying fairly well at present. The hens are way out performing the cocks as we speak. I have decided to race Natural this season as I have youngsters still in the nest. This is far from ideal but I hope to manage to make things work at least until the youngsters are weaned off. I have been loft flying the cocks and hens separately as I find they just mess about too much if you let cocks and hens out.
I gave the birds there first training toss of the season this afternoon. I usually take them to 7 miles to start with but all 33 of them went straight to 14 miles. At present I am missing 1 bird and hopefully this will turn up later or in the morning. I split them into 3 baskets to reduce the risk of hawk attacks and casualties if a hawk did attack them. I think I will continue to do this for the rest of the training schedule. I am planning to take the birds again tomorrow but this time from 28 miles. I will keep them at this distance until I am happy they are confident and then will increase to 50 miles the week before the first race.
The breeding is going very well and we have around 34 weaned off and another 25 in the nestboxes at present. The birds going to the Somerset One Loft Race should be going in around 2 weeks time if all goes to plan.
I can't wait for the first race and I am looking forward to a good season!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012


The breeding season is now in full swing for us as Rasbull Lofts as it is with most fanciers across the UK. We have nearly every pair either feeding youngsters or sitting eggs. We have got around 17 weaned off and with the youngsters + eggs in the nest we are around the 60 mark as it stands.
I have been busy this last few days sorting out the 12 birds that will be going to the Somerset One Loft Race. The timing for my top pairs has not been great but we are getting there slowly. I am also in the process of sorting out which 4 are going to B.Williams & Son and which will be going to Eamon Wright in N.Ireland. Both of these lofts will be testing my stock bird youngsters this season.
I have put a new trap on the young bird section and the birds love sitting out in it during the sunny weather we have been having the last few days. They like nothing better than relaxing in the sun and warmth.
I opened the racing section a few days ago and a few birds took the opportunity to venture out and try the new way of trapping (the trap has been moved). I plan to give the racers an open loft as soon as the weather warms up a bit and they can come and go as they please when I am at home.
Speak soon and I hope your breeding season is going well!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Change of Plan

We have decided to change our plans for this years One Loft entries. The Rasbull Share Syndicate will now be entering 12 birds into the Somerset One Loft Race. There is an estimated first prize of £50,000 and therefore we have decided we would be crazy not to attempt to scoop the 'big' one! We have reopened the Share Syndicate as we were origionally entering 10 birds split between two one loft races but now we are entering an extra 2 we have a further 8 shares available. I have purchased 2 so that leaves 6 available. These are on a first come, first served basis and they will not be available for long! They are priced at £30 a share and further information can be found on the Share Syndicate page on this website.

In the loft our breeding is going very well indeed. We have 26 youngsters and around 18 eggs. We have 5 birds weaned off and in the next week another 10-14 will be moved across. I cant wait now to select the birds that will be going to various places this year. We have 12 going to the One loft race as mentioned above, 4 are going to B.Williams & Son, a number will be going to Eamon Wright of Shortcut Lofts, 4 will be entered into our Pigeon Pixels Breeder Buyer and 1 has been purchased from the Federation Sale by a fancier in Newport.
We have a lot of breeding to go this year yet, and I am planning to auction a full round off the stock birds on the Pigeon Pixels Auction site later in the year. News will be given on this in the future.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

A busy week!

It has been a very busy few weeks! Yesterday we had our club presentation in the afternoon followed by the Federation presentation in the evening. It was a very good night and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was quite nervous about collecting the trophy I had won earlier in the season but managed to do it without tripping over and making a fool of myself!
My Pigeon Pixels forum is taking a lot of my spare time up at present and the site is growing all the time. We had our 3rd show tonight - Young Cocks which was judged by Byran Williams (Williams Bros, Tredegar) and I came 2nd and 6th from the 45 entries to add to the 3rd I won last week when it was Old Hens and kindly judged by multi Combine winner and RPRA award winner James Willis.
In the loft the birds are quite happy and settled. I have 15 youngsters that are now rung and I have around 20 eggs. I have been in discussions with Eamon Wright (Shortcut Lofts) and I am pleased to announce we will be sending a small team over to his loft to have them tested for us against the massive birdage that competes in the NIPA. (Around 20-28,000!) I am also sending 4 youngsters to another huge household name in the world of pigeons that of B.Williams & Son who won the BICC this year! Hopefully by testing our birds out this way we can find out far more about them than trying to judge from our own races.
Until next time....

Friday, 13 January 2012

Seems like ages!

Seems like ages since I last updated. Just checked and it was well before christmas so I hope you all had a nice Christmas and New Year. I have been very busy lately with the website and this has been taking up most of my time. It has taken off very well lately ad any one wishing to join a very good forum please check us out. We also have an online directory and 0% commission auction site linked to the site.
In my own loft the birds are down on eggs at the moment with 6 having hatched, of which 2 will be rung today. I have not spent much time with the birds of late and I have been putting that right today with a few changes made to certain pairs who have not paired up in the racing loft. The biggest bonus is that I had 2 cocks that had paired together and I have split them up now and both now have new hens to pair to. I will be having another batch of between 10-14 eggs hatch now in the next week or so and breeding will then be in full swing. Hope your breeding season is going to plan!