Tips 2 (19 Febr)
Tips (deel 2 van 2)
In this article again some advice that might be useful. If there is only one that is of any use, you did not waste your time reading it.
Recently I spoke to a vet who plays well. He was retired but pigeons were not interesting anyway. Why not? He was ‘so stupid’ as to tell his clients the truth. If they were not happy with the performance of their birds he did not give any medications if he couldn't find out what was wrong with them. That cost him clients. They went to a colleague and therefore he missed income.
The average fancier does not visit a vet to hear the painful truth that his pigeons are not good. After a visit he wants to go home with a bag containing medications. A bag of hope. ‘It is never the pigeons when they do not perform.' Of course a vet may also make a wrong judgement. If you have that feeling do not go straight to another but go back to the same. He knows more about you and your pigeons and he knows what he previously prescribed. People who walk from one veterinarian to another are not the champions in our sport.
Gaston v d Wouwer has ingenious nestboxes to motivate the birds, but those that I saw in the loft of Paul Gevaert offer even more opportunities. He keeps 12 couples of racers only and always managed to resist the temptation to keep more. Commercially it would be more interesting to keep more pigeons. More pigeons in the race means more chances for early birds. And ' early pigeons ' that is where especially buyers from the far East pay attention to. I have never heard someone ask ‘how many birds were entered?’ Gevaert sticks to the golden rule 'never keep more pigeons than you can handle. ' Too many pigeons has been the demise of numerous fanciers, especially after a good year and (Eastern) buyers on the floor.
Motivation? Some say they do not believe in it. 'Birds are good or no good’, they claim. Are they right? Is all that work from fanciers like Gevaert to improve results in vain? For a long time I did not believe in motivation either, but I think differently now.
-Take my 791, a nest hen. After I had put a bowl with a breeding cock in her half closed nest box, several evenings in succession, it won several firsts.
-And then there was that National NPO flight from Orleans in 2014. Actually much too hard for youngsters with that pounding head wind so found many. My 684 was my first nominated and fully pooled. It won 1st provincial against 2,200 pigeons.
National there is not much money in the races any more but this hen won more than all the fanciers in the South of Holland together. And to be frank, I also had a role in this victory. She was on eggs. Four days before basketing day I took her cock away and then I put a fake egg in the bowl every evening. You cannot believe how excited she was. She picked me hard and clapped her wings every time I wanted to put another egg in its nest. I cannot believe she would also have won this hard race without that position.
Koen Minderhoud had his Geeloger, one of the best pigeons of this century. He says a bucket upside down near its nestbox motivated the bird. ‘Didi ' from Devos found his motivation in his hatred for his only loft mate. Karel Schellens had a pigeon that was named ‘National’, an iconic bird. But it only started to perform when Schellens let him in the Loft where he had sat as a young pigeon. For me motivation is no nonsense. However ‘tricks’ need to be built up. .
Some fanciers claim to never get back youngsters that got lost and were reported. ‘Worthless birds’ they say. I think Belgian Rondags will not agree. Before the season he had been on the road with his babies ten times and had released them at a distance of 6 miles only. The eleventh time was a disaster. His first baby got home 3 hours after the release, in the evening only 15 of 80 birds had made it home. The lost birds that were reported he picked up and guess what? Later it turned you that among them was the 1st National Ace and two more Ace pigeons. Some of them got lost even more than once.
So Rondags will definitely not agree that only junk get lost or that it is a good selection. Stefaan Lambrechts even thinks that they are often the best babies that get lost.
At exhibitions in winter you find the inevitable firms that sell pigeon food. Unbelievable how the food of one firm differs from the other. One would think the composition is not that important. Ask 10 Champions how to feed them and you may get 10 different answers. Fanciers who lose faith I would like to recommend to give the same, not too heavy, mix the whole year round. Klak did the same and numerous ' greats ' in our sport still do. They give all their pigeons, babies, racers and breeders the same mix the whole year round. And they perform!
Finally: Get rid of those breeders that are 3 years old or even older that never gave a good youngster yet. They thank their existence only because of a good origin, or because they come from a good loft or have cost money. When after 3 years they have not produced any good baby yet chances are minimum that they ever will. The same is true for pigeons that do not perform as a young or yearling. Get rid of them as well. Pigeon sport is mainly a matter of selection. And not only pigeon sport as we know from Darwin.