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Not necessary (03-02-24)

'One has 'got it' and the other never learns', you sometimes hear. Fanciers who have got 'it' can be picked out in no time. If only by the questions they ask. Almost from the start, or not long after, they are already performing well.
Like Dutch Verkerk, before he was 30 already a phenomenon in the most challenging discipline: The one-day long distance.
Initially, with youngsters he was not that good. 'Was', because it didn't take long before he started to excel in this discipline as well.
You could read about Bas that he did not practice road training with his youngsters. Like his successful neighbour/young birds specialist.

You sometimes hear people who claim that they are considering quitting because they think they are bound to fail in pigeon sport. 'Road training several times a week with the current hustle and bustle, such as 'should?' I don't think about it.'
Both neighbors prove that (a lot of) driving is NOT an ABSOLUTE necessity to excel.  However, a number of conditions must be met.
Before the start of the racing season youngsters have to be well trained.
That may be a little less if they are in exceptionally good condition, which manifests itself by exuberant training at home.
M B learned through GPS rings that training youngsters in shape move up to 100 km away from home. Hard to believe, but why would he lie? But even if it would only be 75 km, about an hour of VOLUNTARY AND HARD flying, it doesn't add much to go on the road with them. Learning the way home? Come on. B S

Many fanciers lose time, effort and money on absolutely useless things. Over the years, I myself have dropped more and more ballast. Like Andre Roodhooft and others. And with André, who takes everything much easier now, that is not reflected in his results. For many years he was a fanatical supporter of tea. Mind you, for his pigeons. But times have changed and he turned into a 'disbeliever'.
Some of my many weaknesses are sloppiness and, admittedly, a bit of laziness. I always wanted to play as well as possible with as little effort as possible. I managed to do that ‘reasonably’ well, without bragging.

I was already club champion as a teenager and how good the more recent results are my competitors know best.  Apparently, I am doing things right after all.

Nowadays almost everyone darkens, I was one of the very first.
I even darkened my young at least a decade before it came into vogue in Belgium.
Of course, mistakes were made in the early years and we learned every year. Take the lifting of the ‘curtains’ in the morning.  This had to be done gradually, day by day. Just as it gradually became light. My youngsters also had to train in the morning.
So I was trying it out and do you know where that ended?
The birds were put into the light from one moment to the next and immediately the windows were open for training. So in some seconds from the dark to the sky? No problem at all, I found.

About the same with 'tossing' birds. It used to be said that it is best to wait a while before opening the baskets at the release point.
The birds had to be given time to get used to the light and to have their 'orientation visor' adjusted. I did that too. Unloaded the baskets and then waited. But those days are long gone. Now, when they arrive at the 'release point', the baskets are immediately taken out of the dark bin and immediately opened. Again: No problem.

During the moulting season I bought linseed, also mutiny seed and tea in the past,  but I also abandoned it.
I don't do anything anymore 'for a better moult'. And how I feel about that special moulting mixture is known to the readers of this column. Sedochol in the moulting season is allowed, but in moderation. Whether you will win a prize more with Sedochol however, I dare not say.
The moult is a natural process triggered by shortening days and healthy pigeons do not need any help for this, although many advertisements suggest otherwise.

‘I never go to a vet’ is exaggerated but it is real rare.  But completely ignoring him is also wrong. You may need him at some point, no matter how opposed you are to administering antibiotics to healthy creatures.  And no matter how hygienic you are.
 I am thinking of 2011.
I was one of the many top flyers who faced Paratyphoid that year and that was accompanied, as is often the case, with canker, coccidiosis and/or worms. Even the dreaded hairworms. A vet had found that.  
And hair worms? You will never get rid of them without resolute intervention.
I once did that cure wrong. Only start the next one when one was finished.  Apparently, I had paid little attention to my grandmother. She had to take a lot of medication and she did that by the handful. Why shouldn't that be possible with pigeons? Why would you leave them with, for example, worms for a day longer than necessary? If there is a proven need for several cures, you can do one cure via the drinking water, the other over the feed.
This way, you don't spend a month on cures.

I also saved a lot of time by not taking cleaning too seriously. However, some kind of ground cover was always used.  And probably such a ground cover also had a positive effect on the loft climate and thus the shape. Straw, 'floor deck pellets', broken corn cobs, or as with v d Pasch, sand, it's all possible. Although it has to be said, a loft that is well maintained gives a better impression. A beautiful and also pure loft assumes class and you then also assume that with the pigeons that are in it. That also sells better ;-).
I never spent one cent on ‘Special bath salts’. And never ever has anyone who handled birds of mine said: 'Do you put bath salts in the water when the pigeons are bathing?'  When it comes to lights for winter breeding, I only do cocks. Many people have learnt from me that this is sufficient.

Long way back the Chinese knew how to find me. And the face of the man left should be enough well known.  

The loft of Andre Roodhooft. He quit ginving his birds supplements like tea.
He said he knew nothing about feeding. But in races from 500 to 650 kms he
was hard to beat.