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Predict (07-03-24)

'What is good comes quickly' is a frequently used expression, also in pigeon sport. There's some truth in it. Beginners can quickly show whether they are going to be successful or not, sometimes just by the questions they ask.
Fortunately, you don't have to be a champion to enjoy your hobby. The champions and pros in our sport are often more stressed than the hobbyist, if only because of the "must". For the hobbyist there are no ‘musts’.
Fellow countryman E is a successful beginner. He had just started pigeons when he
said that he hadn't heard any youngsters squeaking in the nest yet. Did his dealings with animals teach him that this is a good sign? Not impossible.
Because believe me, whether you are going to have a good or less good season can be predicted months before racing season. There are exceptions, but not many.

-If the coupling does not go smoothly, if after about 16 days a large part of the pigeons have not laid, it can have two reasons:
 a. You're not doing something right yourself.
 b. Or, what is more likely, there is something wrong with the pigeons. Many people blame it on the cold winter weather. When the season is on, they will know better.

 -From a very long time ago I still remember X, one of the better players in the village. We only raced widowhood with cocks then.
Before the racing season the pigeons were allowed to raise a youngster and the next round of eggs was thrown away. When X weaned his young, only a few couples had laid. He didn't care, I thought otherwise. 'One less competitor' it went through me. And that turned out to be the case. Not yet eggs in the bowl when young are weaned is wrong!

 -It is always possible that a hen only lays one egg. If that happens with more than one, you have a problem. The same when too many eggs are unfertilized. As far as I'm concerned, ten percent 'not filled' is the maximum.

-The growing up of young is again an indicator.  Sometimes young, just out of the egg, die. Sometimes there are some that you hear beeping all day long.  Sometimes there is a clear difference in size of young in the same nest.
Hatchlings can get out of the dish too quickly and barely be able to crawl back in. Wrong! They should not stand upright in the nest, nor should they sit with their backs bent next to the parents that are breeding again.

 -These things often go together and are therefore reason to look forward to the coming season with care.

Normally, youngsters come outside before they are 2 months old.  Some keep them in longer, also out of fear of the bird of prey. Dirk van Dijck in particular was one of them. And when his youngsters, sometimes almost 3 months old, were given free, a quarter was often missing in the evening. But it always ended well.
Youngsters can be kept in an aviary for a few weeks after weaning.
It is reminiscent of those two 'confinement duties' because of bird flu at the time. Pigeons had to stay in the loft in the early spring. This was true for all pigeons, including newly weaned youngsters. There were fierce protests against it. 'Soon they will be lost by the thousands', you could hear and many were shivering.
 When those 'caged' youngsters were finally allowed to be released, three months old or even more, it ended well, no massive losses.

The way (when, how often and with what jumps) you have to go on the road with youngster depends on how they behave.
More and more you hear that youngsters that are not sick refuse to train in the spring. I experienced it myself only to find out later that those were possibly my best years.  In such a situation, with youngsters flying from the loft to the roof and from the roof to the loft, intervention must be taken (after a while).
You can chase them sometimes, without them seeing you of course, and such require a careful approach when training.
You can deal differently with youngsters that, if you let them free, storm out of the loft with a lot of noise, stay away for a long time and then come back exhausted in groups and fall on the roof with hanging wings.
With such, you don't have to drive much. You can start from 10 km without any problems. and you can make jumps.
In summary: 'Adapt' is the key word in Darwinism and therefore also applies here. With youngsters who don't train spontaneously(!) your first toss should be a real short one. From 3 kilometers or so. You cannot train them too often and later the performance can still be fine. Youngsters who spontaneously train hard and long can be tackled harder.

So whether or not the success of a coming season is fairly predictable, predictable is often the result on racing day.
Once upon a time in my hometown, you could already estimate the result just before the birds arrived. Just judging by the pigeons you had seen coming over.
If you had seen no pigeons before your first, that was reason to feel good. If you saw some fly over it wasn't right.
But times changed. We haven't seen any pigeons fly over on racing days for years and so it can happen that a pigeon is hopelessly late while you hadn't seen a feather before.
The way of arriving and entering is also often telling.
Birds that do not trap as they should is a bad omen.
Birds in good shape that get home very early from a race attack the loft as it were.


  From THE DAILY PRESS. Back in 1985 there were already articles in daily magazines. 
This article said: 'Ad Schaerlaeckens unbeatable.'