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!