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 methods of racing

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IANYOUNG
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PostSubject: methods of racing   Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:01 pm

METHODS OF RACING PIGEONS.
By Jack Barkel

The methods used to race pigeons are many and varied, all of them giving some measure of success, which will be acclaimed the best way, by the person who uses successfully any particular method. What seems to be omitted is that a person chooses a particular method because of one of two reasons. Either it is the only way they really know, or it is the best way to suit their available time or loft design. Sixty years ago, when I first started pigeons at the tender age of four years, everyone in my area raced the birds on the Natural System, as it seems to me to be the oldest accepted method, I have decided this is the place to start.

THE NATURAL SYSTEM.
This is the system by which people took the natural course of pairing up their pigeons and racing them to certain times of their natural urge to procreate. We will refer to these times as we go through each peculiarity of the system. When pigeons have been mated together for approximately one week the cock bird starts to become impatient and starts chasing the hen to nest in the hopes that she will lay eggs. This as most of us know is called the DRIVING PERIOD, and many races have been won with a driving cock. However to send the hen to a race at this time is bad practice as she is about to lay has been deprived of food and water up to a point and can be lost or damaged in the process. We then have the pair sitting ten to fourteen days on eggs, this also has shown good results with cocks and hens. Following this is the period known as chipping eggs, when the youngster starts to chip its way out of the egg. Both parents have shown an urge to race at this time although some will say that because of the type of milk (liquid protein) that forms on the parents during this period, it will go sour before they get the chance to regurgitate it for to feed their young. My belief is that as this is high protein the parents will use this for their journey home, and nature sees to it that it is not wasted. There are several tricks that are used to increase the urge to return home during these periods. When the pair have been sitting about fourteen plus days and no sign of hatching, you can hole out one end of an egg, and insert a live cricket or something similar,( jumping beans have been used) and seal the end. The parents will feel the movement and presume that the baby pigeon is about to hatch, this can produce a fast return home, for the bird has a retentive memory. If the eggs are chipping and you have babies just hatched elsewhere in the loft, you can borrow that baby and slip it under the pigeon to go to the race about a half an hour before you basket. This also brings results, for a quick return.
During the various stages of the baby's growth, you can use a hen by tricking her into thinking she is feeding the baby herself, when letting the cock feed the baby while the hen is out exercising and hiding him away when she is about to return to the loft. This way the cock is doing most of the feeding, and the hen the most of the worrying. The writer won a race this way many years ago as a young man in the Up North Combine in The North of England, from Lille in France, even forecasting the time of arrival to all and sundry with accuracy within ten minutes. We must remember again, that this breeding process will bring about the dropping of the first primary flight, and the pigeons will start coming into form. Previous to this we have just raced on Condition and little incentives as described in the previous articles and I now suggest you refer back to these articles and make this Form you have just learned about work to your best advantage. Please remember the cardinal rule, Never Send Your Best Birds After They Have Peaked, be patient and wait till next year, and you will do it again at the same time.


Celibacy. This method is exactly the opposite to the Natural System, in that you suppress the urge to procreate. In other words the cocks and hens are kept separate, which means they even exercise separately. One of the advantages of this method is that there is very little fighting and no stress whatsoever. One of the little tricks with this method, is to chase the hens along the passage, about fifteen minutes before you basket (all lofts should have a passage or corridor), this also gives a little incentive for a quick return, because all boys love girls and Vice Versa.
We must remember that once again these birds are racing on condition not form, therefore each bird will have to be watched separately and noted in a book at which date they drop there first primary. This will give you an indication of there natural time to develop form, I do this with all my yearlings to see when it is their time for natural form. It is a great help when using them as two year olds and upward, to ascertain which team to put them in to their best advantage. The writer has won the fastest race from the shortest distance in the Union since its inception with this method and has not been bettered in the Union since it happened in 1995. This short fast race was won with a long distance pigeon, which went on to win a long distance classic later in his career as a widowhood cock.


Racing Hens. This method also has met with some measure of success, Even though the writer is of the opinion that it is a waste of good cocks, just as the widowhood is a waste of good hens. The disadvantage with racing hens is that even if you use all the tricks to stop them pairing together or getting broody and laying, you will have a continuous struggle to prevent this from happening. One can never be the complete master of hens and once they show interest in each other and start hooting in a corner you will not win a good competitive race with those hens. It is also my opinion that when your hens show an edge over your cocks and all things are not equal anymore that ones loft is deteriorating. I have proved many times that the deterioration of a loft, family, strain, commences in the male line of the family first. I do not need to get involved in discussions about this,
I have done in the past and if a person is set in their ideas there is no way I will shake them from what they believe, even if they continue to buy, beg, or borrow cock birds, they will deny it to their dying day.
I can only say, that I have saved many good lofts from extinction with these observations. (Part of a future article).
There are two more methods of racing that I will deal with in the next article. They are a particular method of widowhood where only the cocks go to the races, the other being the "Roundabout" system where cocks and hens are used and worked to equal advantage. To mention it here would take too long, and I do not wish any reader to become bored with what I believe to be the Ultimate in racing old birds
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PostSubject: Re: methods of racing   Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:23 pm

good reading there ian thanks
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PostSubject: Re: methods of racing   Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:27 pm

cannot wait for the roundabout section,hurry ian and put it on,i,ll not get bored with it as i race this system Suspect
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PostSubject: Re: methods of racing   Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:40 pm

im looking forward to reading that aswell for 2011
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PostSubject: Re: methods of racing   Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:53 pm

Cheers Ian, enjoyed reading that, its natural all the way for me
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PostSubject: Re: methods of racing   Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:55 pm

how does your dad fly paul is he natural aswell
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PostSubject: Re: methods of racing   Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:49 pm

ha,way ian get the section on roudabout on please drunken
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PostSubject: Re: methods of racing   Wed Dec 30, 2009 9:00 pm

here you go ray just click on the link happy reading
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PostSubject: Re: methods of racing   Wed Dec 30, 2009 9:02 pm

ian wrote:
here you go ray just click on the link happy reading


scratch what link ian........ santa
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PostSubject: Re: methods of racing   Wed Dec 30, 2009 9:04 pm

http://mysite.mweb.co.za/residents/jackbarkel/articles/jackarticle7.htm
this link sorry
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PostSubject: Re: methods of racing   Wed Dec 30, 2009 9:09 pm

thanks ian....... Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: methods of racing   Wed Dec 30, 2009 9:29 pm

no probs
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PostSubject: Re: methods of racing   Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:39 am

THE ROUND -A- BOUT SYSTEM
(A method of flying cocks and hens on widowhood)
By Jack Barkel.

This system has been the most satisfying method I have used, as each bird is flown at peak fitness and allows for the hens to be as competitive as the cocks. They also share the same incentives without the worry of hens going into egg or losing the lustre that happens with most other systems. Many fanciers will say they have not got the time for the round a bout system, this is also misconstrued, as you need less time for this system than any other I know of. Again you will need widowhood boxes of which I prefer two specific types.
The reason I prefer two types are, should a widowhood cock go into the wrong section that has compartments the same as his own, either he or the occupant of that particular compartment could be dead or so destroyed that one or both of them could be ruined for ever. The following photos illustrate the two types that I personally use.

Pic 1&2 Showing boxes in normal nesting positions.


Pic 3 . Showing the closed position at the time for the mate to return


Pic 4 , the box closed off to keep intruders out while birds are away at race point






Pic 5 , Showing the other type of box in half closed position at the time of the expected return of their partners

Pic 6, showing the box fully closed as in Pic 4


This is the basic requirements for a widowhood and round- a -bout loft, nothing near as elaborate as this one can be used. I have the space so I made it to suite my three teams racing 21 weeks from 200 kilometres to 1000 plus kilometres. Each of the three sections being brought into form for a 7 week period of racing with the following example, based on the articles I wrote on condition and form, if one wishes to refer back to these to tie everything in together.
Although I do not compete anymore , let us take my own area and Union as an example for this the year 2000.
Section 1 would be treated as the midwinter birds with tail feathers pulled as illustrated three to five weeks before the 3rd June which is the date of the first race.
Section 2 Would be paired on the 29th April which is 90 days before their 1st race on the 22nd or 29th of July depending on their signs of form.
Section 3 Would be paired on the 10th June, their races starting on or about the 2nd of September and earmarked for the long distance classics.
To give an indication of time taken with the birds on this system, let us start as I would at 6:00am Monday Morning. I would let the hens out for one hours flight, from their "V" perch section See Pic 7.



Pic 7 Shows the hens just being released for morning flight 6:00 am


Once the hens are all in the sky, we close the doors, then we enter the loft, and go to the three cock sections, open the sliding inner mesh doors and chase the cocks into the passage. They soon learn the drill and run along to the hens "V perch" section ( the hens are in the sky exercising). Please follow pic,s 8,9,&10 as illustrations.


Pic's 8 & 9 shows the cocks running along the corridor into the hens section.



Pic 10 shows the cocks very excited, but settling down for their hours stay in this the hens section.


Up until this time only 5 minutes has elapsed at the loft and it is now 6:05 am.
There is no doubt in my mind, that these cocks can smell their hens when they enter this section, one can not mistake the joy and excitement that prevails at this time of the Widowhood Day, just as you will find when the hens after their flight return to the cocks sections where they previously brought up their young.

This is the time when I now take a bath, have breakfast and return to the loft at 6:55am. We now open the doors to the three cock sections and the hens dive as one for the loft, they have previously brought up babies in those sections and know where they belong so there is very little sorting out to do. Each hen is given a desert spoon of food in a plastic galley pot to ensure that they all eat the same amount.

Close the cock sections outer doors, open the "V" perch hens section and let the cocks into the sky. Only minutes have elapsed and the hens are ready to be chased out into the corridor and down to there own section. Empty each galley pot that has not been completely emptied, taking note of which bird did not eat its required amount. We then replenish the galley pots for the return of the cocks at 8:00am.

Remember it is about 7:10am, and if you need to go to work or whatever ones wife or children can get the cocks in before they go to school. The job in itself has taken no more than 15 to 20 minutes, so the next time you here the story that so and so would fly widowhood but they have not got the time, you know they know very little about the system.

One of the biggest mistakes by fanciers and biggest problems created is UNREST. I therefore preach to potential widowhood flyers, ONCE YOUR JOBS ARE DONE STAY AWAY FROM THE LOFT. This applies to the racing season, the off season is the time to be constantly with your birds and make friends with them.

From a Wednesday when the birds have had their morning feed, I close the heavy curtains and louvered windows, and it remains that way until the birds are ready to go to the club on Friday for marking. From Wednesday, I allow no visitors to the loft no loud talking or shouting and if you were to peep into my lofts at this time of the week you would find just about every athlete lying down resting. This peace and tranquillity is very noticeable in a well organised loft.

Another important point, when these birds are about to be let out, they need about 20 minutes of light, before you open the doors so that their eyes will adjust from the semi-darkness effect.

Remember a good fancier puts as little medication in the water as possible during the racing season.
When your birds make a dip in performance, if you throw medicine at them like it is going out of fashion, you will never make the competitive league. The following Tuesday, just give plain water and nothing to eat for 24 hours, this forced fasting will put their systems right again and Wednesday you can start your build up as normal. It is the cheapest and by far the most sensible way to correct the birds system and it does no harm. Saturday usually sees the birds all falling together from the race after this treatment.

An important point with the round-a bout system is that if the hen go to the race the cock must be waiting in the box on her return. Never race a mated pair the same week, the racer whichever sex must meet an ardent lover on its return. Please do not be clever and take shortcuts that seemed to be a good idea at the time, nine times out of ten you will fail, I think I have already made most of the mistakes, you can learn from mine. Why make them yourself?

In conclusion, please re read the other articles as they all tie in together to give you a very comprehensive idea about how to obtain the best from your pigeons.

If one looks carefully at the photo's you will see the mesh ceiling, the grid flooring and the louvered windows that can be regulated. All these little additions have a special purpose, some to regulate a near constant temperature morning and night, while at the same time eliminating the chance of bugs and vermin making the loft there dwelling place.

I have seen this system successful with very small lofts, as long as the design and method is correct there is no restriction on size.

At the end of the season I let each pair bring up a youngster as a reward and it also helps throw them into the big moult. I do believe that to deprive them of this essential and natural function in life can reduce their natural or unnatural drive in the future racing seasons.

Our birds can be trained as well as most circus animals, we ourselves need to acquire the skills to make them perform as we wish them to.

This was to be the conclusion of my articles on The Art Of Racing Pigeons. However a letter from Mr Norman Cox of Yorkshire England has prompted me to write one more, in request of this father son partnership who's letter I repeat at the end of this article.
I will then give it a couple of weeks break before starting on other interesting topics, while I await your questions and comments on these articles.
Any constructive suggestions of what you would like to see and read about will be most welcome during this period. In the meantime I shall try and make a little more progress on my book.
I thank all those who have written in and therefore participated so far, for you all are responsible for keeping these articles coming and for making it pleasurable to me.
Yours in Sport,
Jack Barkel.

Letter from N.Cox
Firstly, what great articles and information. I fly in partnership with my son in Yorkshire Middle Route Fed in England. We are fairly new to the sport and although our old bird racing will be over in a few weeks I feel we will fair much better next year if we take on board and use the information help and advice given in your articles. Our young bird racing starts the end of July and I wondered if you will do a suitable article before it begins.

QUESTIONS & ARTICLES

Hi Jack


Please note that i will ask questions for as long as you are breathing. I would like to also thank you for helping and answering my questions. No matter how small you always find time to help.

I am currently using the sound about system as explained in the current article. The birds are rotated, going out one side and entering the other because i do not have the passage. I would also like to say to everyone that this is so easy to manage and one cannot go wrong.(My wife is currently doing this for me AM and PM... fitting it in between a baby and household chores.)

Q.... .......Would it be ok if i fitted W/hood boxes in one side and perches in the other. Thus pairing the birds up in a particular box and rotating when training. This would help a lot and would not brake their current routine. As you said they know the drill and my wife is amazed every time she rotate the birds. She reckon they know exactly what to do.

A........Yes Ranleigh in fact it would be better to fit Widowhood Boxes in the Cocks Section. Please remember to put a certain coloured marker ring on all the hens, so that one will never be able to dodge your wife and remain behind amongst the cocks, otherwise the magic is broken.


Thanking you stacks
Ranleigh


Jack Barkel

E-mail: jack@allpets.co
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PostSubject: Re: methods of racing   Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:41 am

excellent ian,just had a quick look will read it later today.i could,nt get the pictures on for some reason or other but thanks Smile
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