Right and wrong 2 (25 oct)
Right and wrong (2)
"Pigeon sport is very simple," you sometimes hear. That is true, at least for the people who say so themselves. So mostly the champions.But what is normal and natural to them can be a revelation for people who are not champions but want to become champions. Some examples.
A mistake that many already made, and certainly also the writer of this, is racing pigeons that sat still for a long time, so not played for too long. "Staying at home" two consecutive weekends seems too much. All too often I heard, also from great names, that they had very bad experiences with pigeons that were no longer "in their rhythm". This applies to both young and old. One weekend of not being raced seems like the ultimate. Some practice road training when their birds have been idle for a weekend. That is fine.When Orleans was THE RACE in the Netherlands, we had a short distance flight in the week before. Quite a few fanciers gave their youngsters rest that week. They did not want to take any chances. But that quickly changed. They also read reports of winners from which they could conclude that they had been played almost without exception the week before.
You should not medicate healthy pigeons, but a periodic cure against canker many champions find an absolute must. This (and other treatments as well) usually takes place via drinking water. You can read on the package insert "how much of the medicine per liter". The manufacturer has calculated this through tests. The problem however is that he does not know the drinking behavior of pigeons, which can vary very strongly. Last summer, during those sweltering days, it was shocking how much the pigeons drank. Obvious consequence; If medicated then they received too much of the medicine. In the middle of winter however you will be surprised to see how little pigeons drink. So not getting enough of the medicine when being treated.That is why it seems better through the feed. Some make the medicine (also mineral powder) stick to the food with some oil. I prefer honey. A little in a cup, dilute with some water, stir, and when it is dissolved, the sticky substance goes over the food. You will see how the grain sticks to your fingers. Don't wait a day to feed, then the stuff has dried and the powder (medicine) will come off.
Talking about "sitting still". Pigeons in shape don't. That's why ‘roof sitters’ don't belong in the basket. During the season you will not see pigeons flying around the house of champions. They are inside the loft or they train. That is the rule but there are exceptions. Take Boeckx for arguments’ sake. The first races of the season he only races hens which are in an aviary the whole week and do not train at all. Those hens were taken straight out of an aviary, hadn't trained a meter all week, but they were unbeatable on those spring flights from 135 kms.
I once made the mistake myself to basket widowers who did not want to leave the loft when I opened it for their daily training."They are too attached to their nest box and fear it will be taken," I told myself. After the flight I knew better.
Since then I spoke to beginners about the "five seconds rule". If you open the windows for the daily training, the loft must be empty within five seconds.
What is also wrong, the youngsters try to compete with old pigeons in the autumn. Take the speed of the winner with old birds in my Fed, the last week of August.172 youngsters made a higher speed. Also an example from my own experience:In the nineties we had long distance flights for youngsters every two weeks in the south of the Netherlands from Orleans, Chateauroux and Bourges.Those flights were popular and probably to make money a new flight was inserted, Chartres, the Saturday after Orleans. It was a so-called Semi National. We called this National, but in the Netherlands flights that are not even provincial are sometimes called "national". Like in England. That Chartres race was announced with the necessary fanfare, a car was to be won, and I have good memories of it.The first year I won 2nd and 4th 'National' and the year after it was even a disaster for the competitors. I won 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th (including 3 first nominated), 17th, 18th, 20th, 32nd etcetera, against 4,252 pigeons ‘National’. Those were heavily pooled youngsters that flew Orleans the week before and that surprised fellow fanciers. I can still hear them say: "you opened our eyes". They had prepared their best old birds with horrible results. From then on they also played youngsters and never regretted it.
There are fanciers who have the habit of tossing their pigeons one by one. I doubt whether this adds anything, but it may be educational. If you are tossing for a while, and for example you release one or two youngsters every two minutes and you see them fly over in a group after about fifteen minutes, then they miss the big form. The best result I ever achieved was a 400 km race with youngsters in the 90s. That year I had more young than ever, about 60, and they were released in groups of about 15 at two minutes apart.To my surprise they arrived in groups of about 15, and in the right sequence. In other words, they had left the site so quickly and maintained such a pace that the later unloaded birds could not catch up.
Very soon we have to select the youngsters. I find that much more difficult than the old ones. If they didn't perform because of no shape it is problematic, if they had such good shape that they all performed it is difficult as well.I have good experiences with youngsters that were very early with strong headwinds but also with a strong tailwinds. They often became the better old ones.