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Dealing and playing with youngsters (part 8) (05-12-23)

Dealing and playing with young (part 8)

How different from these weaklings are youngsters that have the basic qualities that every pigeon should have: Both are of course related to each other.
Admittedly, sometimes less vital pigeons will succeed in the results, but the song is often short-lived for the simple reason that they will be exhausted quickly. They have too few spare forces and are more susceptible to diseases. They are just inferior.

Vital, energetic naturally healthy pigeons can be distinguished from others as youngsters.

  • It is the pigeons that have already conquered a seat while others of the same age are still hanging around at the bottom.
  • It is the pigeons that come out first and take to the air first.
  • It is the pigeons that see everything, are easily startled and fly up and...
  • Vital pigeons are pigeons that are less affected by teething problems than others.

Illustrative is the example of the man who was close to despair because his breeding seemed to have completely failed. The winter youngsters were fat, ate little, produced poor manure. When the neighbors let go of their babies, they rushed into the air, his barely got further than the roof.
He watched it for a month.
Then he got fed up. All but twelve of the youngsters were removed, the twelve most healthy. The man had never had such a good year as he did then. He won as many prizes with these twelve youngsters as many others with two or three times as many.
Interestingly, they also got into shape particularly quickly once the rest had been removed. It seemed as if the removal of those morbid elements had a beneficial effect on the rest.
Afterwards, the man built up a loft from that remnant of youngsters with which he performed very well for years. The 'survival of the fittest', as it is called.

Of course, we should not exaggerate. A slight relapse in general condition can happen to any colony of young. Afterwards it usually works out again. They just have to go through an evil period.
The difference between 'not healthy' and 'sick' is not easy for everyone to perceive. Some fanciers reach for the medicine jar because they THINK the pigeons are sick, others intervene too late. They only take measures when the pigeons are suffering from misery and even the vet has his hands full trying to get them back in the fold. It's mainly a matter of having healthy breeders.
The good pigeons have to come from the breeding loft, but a lot of misery also starts from the breeding loft.

At the end of August, beginning of September, the last ultimate races for youngsters are on, distance races mostly, sometimes decisive for one or the other championship. "Participate and with which pigeons?" some wonder. The answer differs from fancier to fancier. For quite a few people, these flights are not a means but an end. They don't play to let youngsters gain experience with a view to the future, on the contrary: They are fully attuned to it.
They don't think about next year but about now. They don't go with trials, but with the best. To match these men with pigeons that are basketted only to "participate" is a losing battle in advance.

By the way, distances of 500 kilometers and more are no problem for good youngsters in shape. Proof is provided every year by the small group of fanciers who clock their pigeons from such races on the proverbial chain.
A competition duration of half an hour for a 500 kilometre race was unthinkable a few decades ago, but now it is a harsh reality. Even headwinds no longer stand in the way of such races running smoothly. The specialists have fewer losses in these races than many others from races of barely 100 kilometres. So: You don't have to leave it for the distance.

For some obscure reason, more young seem to have been lost in recent years than in the past. Especially the first flights. Later, those losses are no longer known. It points out that:

  • Youngsters need experience.
  • The first races probably too many pigeons are basketted that are not healthy enough.

If you already know on Monday that Friday all the birds will be basketed for some exercise, you are, as they say, doing the wrong thing. You can't judge the condition a week before racing and pigeons that you race can't have enough condition. Poor performance and losses often go hand in hand.
A young bird specialist said before the season that it would not work out. "They come home bad from training and some are lost, while fellow athletes don't lose anything." He turned out to be right: It didn't work out.

Racing long distance with youngsters that have not achieved anything before is pointless. There is no point in participating if the pigeons lack experience. They need to have the necessary kilometres in the wings. Those examples of youngsters that only participated in a few races and still won an early prize are exceptions. Some specialists often impose a programme on their youngsters that they do not dare to do with old birds.

I myself have had bad experiences with pigeons that moult above the nose and on the ears.
Once I had two youngsters, nest sisters, who performed great. I proudly showed them to a Belgian a few days before basketing for Orleans. "Keep them at home," he said. "They don't win a prize." However, they had flown so well before, were so healthy, that I, stubborn as I can be, ignored his advice. They were basketted as the first two nominated. Pooled with as much money as possible.
The result was fantastic, starting with the 1st national (appr 11,000 birds), but there was a BIG "but" to it: The first two nominated missed.. !!

If you still have enough youngsters in the autumn that have kilometres in the wings and have proven to have class and form, then you can safely race long distance with them. The chance of losses is small and good youngsters in form can do a lot.
Is there anything you can do about the shape? I believe that form should already be there. Those "Nationals" are rarely, if ever, won by fanciers who previously did not achieve anything. Medications? Anti-biotics, for example? If you have to mess around with that, something is wrong. Some use eye drops for control. If they don't get away  immediately, then something is wrong, the heads are not "clean" and they keep those pigeons at home.
However, a good fancier does not need that tool. He can see at a glance whether pigeons are in shape or not.
He works on motivation, based on attachment to loft and own territory!