The pigeons are now approaching laying of the first egg. They will then be allowed to sit out for 10 days and then separated again for a short while.
The drinkers are simply upturned bottles with a small plastic device to deliver the water, at the required depth, into conventional nest box cup. The idea here is to reduce the surface area of water open to dust and contamination while providing a plentiful supply that can refresh as required.
The small plastic device you will see is simply a short length of pipe, which can be obtained at almost any hardware store, large enough to fit over the bottle neck and with a small section cut out to the depth of water required.
Chlorinated water is before them at all times in homemade drinkers. The object here is to reduce cross infection of anything they might pick up while out and about as communal drinkers and water is a main vehicle for this.
When it is really cold they will get a little bit more and when they fly out they also get 1 spoon (25 gram) per 8 pigeons of Rape/Hempseed. Grit etc is supplied in the feed trays and is again a home mix made up from Versele-Laga Grit with Redstone to which is added broken up pick stones, Brewer’s Yeast, and some form of vitamin powders - whatever is available really.
The pigeons look in good condition and seem to be enjoying the weather more than I am. Having been separated for almost two months they were ready to get together again and are both pairing and flying well.
Feeding so far has been a general mix which will continue through to training. While they are being paired they are not going to rear so the general mix will see them through to a time when more exercise demands more nutrition. This General Mix is made up from farm bought grains and consists of equal parts by volume of Wheat, Barley, Beans and Maize. In winter I actually drop the Maize level down a little so it is actually 4 X 4 X 4 X 3 but this will change as soon as training approaches. The pigeons are communally fed in trays at the rate of 1 spoon (25 gram) per pigeon per day.
GB 08 R 45966
A Grandson of 17th International Pau 2006.
Well February was quite an incident free month. The pigeons were paired for the first time and generally speaking laid out and flew well. For the yearlings, amongst which are several late breds, this is a first ever pairing time and they take that much more time to sort out and settle but by the end they were just about there. When they are re-paired they should take to it more readily and settle quicker. All seem quite fit and well and between now and the next pairing I shall sort out ET rings for the yearlings that do not yet have them and vaccinate with Nobivac. I have used Nobivac, since I first started with pigeons, without any problems then they a couple of years ago I changed to Colombovac and I am not sure why. I did not have a problem the first year but the following year I lost all my earlier young birds. I cannot say what it was attributable too but all those that I vaccinated were ill and most died or had to be put down while those few that I did not vaccinate survived with no apparent ill effects. I now use Nobivac again.
One thing I did notice when I separated them was that “Jack” GB 07V44109 had a bare looking chest. I could not see any sign of mites and he may well have got this nesting or perhaps feeding so I shall have to keep a strict eye on for a while. He is after all due to go to Tarbes as the No. 1.
Paul O’Leary has set out an interesting looking challenge for the International/NFC Tarbes on the NFC web forum.
“To add a little interest to this Summer's Tarbes race would members (and potential sponsors) consider an early-closing single nomination competition?
I'm not claiming this as my own original idea (far from it) but it could be a bit of fun and interest for us all?
1) One ring number only to be nominated per Member
2) For NFC Members registered on this Forum
3) Nominated pigeon must NOT have been timed from the Grand National in 2008 or 2009 (therefore we are looking for a pigeon with potential from your loft) ... I can and will check this!
4) Nomination must be made by 31st March (I know this is early but this is all about being able to select the right pigeon based on what you feel to be its potential for the coming year)
5) Nomination must be logged on this discussion thread so no ambiguity
6) Members responsible for accuracy of Ring Number nominated (i.e. if the nominated ring number proves to be incorrect then tough!)
7) No entry fee (want to keep this as fun after all)
8) Ring Numbers CAN be changed up to and including 31st March
9) Finally, please state your real name and/or Membership code
Wouldn't it be great to have the possibility of someone nominating the Grand National, perhaps even the International, winner several months in advance!?”
I think this is something that TEAM RML should try, so any suggestions for the candidate. I think the spirit of the competition is that nominations should come from “potential” rather than proven performance so that leaves us with last season’s yearlings. Those that have raced are set out below with their loft positions.
Km Falaise. Alencon.
1 GB 08 R 45967 Cock Cheqeur Pied NL 06 2149575 NL 05 1476374 653 2 96.5% 2nd 7th
2 GB 08 R 45928 Cock Cheqeur Pied NL 05 1476352 NL 06 EGMOND 24 653 2 94.5% 3rd 10th
3 GB 08 R 45966 Cock Blue Pied NL 06 2149575 NL 05 1476374 653 2 92.5% 12th 5th
4 GB 08 R 45902 Cock Cheqeur Pied NL 05 1555358 NL 04 0449481 653 2 89.5% 9th 14th
5 GB 08 R 45947 Cock Dark Pied NL 06 1030783 NL 06 1024716 653 2 85.5% 16th 15th
6 GB 08 R 45948 Cock Blue Cheqeur NL 06 1030783 NL 06 1024716 653 2 85.5% 14th 17th
7 GB 08 R 45951 Cock Blue Cheqeur NL 07 1958971 NL 07 1156108 653 2 85.0% 19th 13th
(Incidentally GB 07V44109 who was 3rd National in the 2009 International Tarbes was 4th and 11th in these two races.)
Which would you choose?
Please send any suggestions HERE well before 31st March.
Votes thus far:-
1 GB 08 R 45967 1
2 GB 08 R 45928 1
3 GB 08 R 45966 3 (has been nominated but this can change up to 31/3/10)
The second pairing of the racers, on 2nd April, brings into focus the rapidly approaching racing season. For some of course it has started already but the International scene is still some way off and requires a steady build up from here on in. As usual when first put together the birds are quite excited it is also the first time this year that the hens have flown out twice a day so it does take a short while for them to settle to this routine. They seem to be taking to it well though and while a few sat out the first night they are now coming in quite well. We may get a couple of blips in this routine but generally they should take to it now.
So the general plan is that nest bowls and straw will be put in on about 8-9th April and they should start to lay a couple of days after that. Once they have laid the routine will be either a race or training toss each week for the cocks with three introductory tosses before the first race. The only training point now used is near to Cambridge, about 39 miles, that is north for South flying racers which might seem bizarre but has so far shown no ill effect. The only reason for this is that I take them when I go to do my mother’s garden, thus combining the two jobs in one. So hopefully the first should be on or about 15/16 April then on 22/23 April when, after returning to the nest, the hens will be taken away and they will then be on widowhood for racing. On the next toss on 29/30 April they will return to the hens and the following week all the cocks will go to the first BBC race from Vire which is 196 miles. In these races position is not at all important. For the older pigeons it is purely part of the conditioning process and hopefully they will gradually improve in fitness. For the yearlings it is purely a matter of experience and selection and all they have to do is get home, in whatever time, and if they can manage that they will remain until next year. So here we go.
Training Toss No.1 16th April 2010.
First training toss from Sawston, Cambs about 37 miles. They were liberated at 1230 into fine sunny weather with little wind though what there was seemed to be from the North. 29 cocks taken but only 28 returned (full details below). The miscreant is GB09J31691 a latebred who had not previously been trained so this was his first trip. If he manages to get back under his own steam he can join in with the others at whatever stage they are at. While it is always unfortunate to drop a youngster some are not able to make it and really the sooner this is established the better. So they return to twice a day flights, still of only about 30 minutes duration, and next week they will go to Sawston again after which the hens will be removed and the flights will be lengthened.
Sawston 16th April. Liberated 1230.
Training Toss No.2 22nd April 2010.
For their second toss from Sawston there were 28 starters liberated at 1255 again in to sunny skies with little to no wind. On this occasion they were put in the baskets the night before, as a further part of the training routine. The timings are shown below and you will see there were only 27 timed arrivals. GB09J31673 was actually there and probably came in with the group on 14-02-33. I have been using ETS now for over 10 years and on many occasions I have found odd pigeons being missed when several come in at once like this. Remember there is only one trap with quite a few pigeons trying to go through at once. If you race sprints and expect, or hope, that your pigeons will finish like this then it is well worth spreading out your traps. It has no real relevance here as they don’t tend to arrive like that from Barcelona or even Tarbes.
Sawston 22nd April. Liberated 1255.
Training Toss No.3 29th April 2010.
The third and final pre-race toss from Sawston was conducted in quite good conditions. It was a warm, without being hot, day and there were scattered but definite clouds moving across which brought occasional very light showers with no noticeable wind. There were 28 starters, again, and as you will see only 27 timed in however the pigeon missing from the clock, GB09J31666, was in the loft and must have come through with one of the groups. The hens were awaiting their arrival and later, after I returned from cutting a lot of grass, they all flew out together and only then did I put the hens back in their own section. So now we move forward to the first training race. Because I have to be at the marking Station at 0800 on Thursday, meaning an early start, the pigeons will be put in the baskets on Wednesday evening. For the last couple of days I will change them over to their Race Mix not to make them competitive, which they will not be, but simple to ensure they have adequate fuel to have a goof fly.
Sawston 29th April. Liberated 1220.
With the end of racing, dealt with on the racing pages, 2010 effectively came to an end. From then on the 2011 season began. The pigeons were paired up, allowed to lay, hatch and rear and now there are about 40 youngsters weaned and going out. As soon as the young were weaned the moult began and is now running fast through racers and stock. The routine for the remainder of autumn and winter is to fly out once a day, weather permitting, and just work through the moult, maintaining a healthy, happy, well fed environment ready for the real work to begin in the New Year.