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!