13th August 2018:
The training for this first race on the 11th August had gone well, building up to 43 miles distance. Then a few days before the race they did a 24 mile trainer also taking my friend Brian Wall's
youngsters with me and unfortunately they had a hawk attack on the way home. It was many hours before any returned and two whilst not damaged, did have the tell tale sign of
having been in the trees, as a few breast feathers were missing and at the day's end I was one missing who never did return.
Their first ever race was a distance of 66 miles from Portland in Dorset. They were released nice and early and the race ended up lasting a great many hours and at club strike off most members were around 50% missing and I only had 5 from 10. One returned on the Sunday and one on the Monday.
The sad news is no others have returned and so the team is now down to only 7 and I'm contacting all the kind donors asking "What do I now do from here onwards"?
The only small crumb of comfort is knowing I eventually did better for returns than most club members. Obviously whatever the cause, the blame rests entirely with me, as I could not wish for better bred birds for the task ahead. The words on my web site opening screen I beleive to fit my situation, "Whilst you can buy the bird, you can't buy the man".
2nd August 2018: Oh dear, Oh dear. Sod's Law me me saying all was well in the last news below, because the youngster's had a smack yesterday
as they arrived in dribs and drabs over many hours and one was missing at nightfall and he is still missing today.
31st July 2018: This coming Saturday 4th August sees the youngsters entered into the first of three inland races before their National race from Coutance in France.
I'm pleased to say since losing 3 of the original 14 to the Sparrowhawk at the lofts, training has gone really well with just one scraping the wires who is now fully recovered and all being well after this weeks training, 11 should be going to the race.
To see the youngsters arrival times for the 66 mile race from Portland, go to the Training/Races page.
July 2018: Training has now commenced in earnest after only gradually increasing the distance due to them still not ranging.
The laying of eggs has been my problem and so they are reluctant to range far from the loft and so I decided I would throw away no more eggs after the second lay and I have now let them sit the third lay and their routine now is training in the morning and then excersize period in the afternoon.
June 2018: Due to my own health problems I have got a little behind on these updates. Unfortunately their early weeks have been plagued by a rogue Sparrow hawk
which has resulted in three being missing and so I'm down to 11 from the original 14.
The youngsters are now flying as a Kit, but only ranging for about 15 minutes on each take off. They now have their ETS rings on ready for training and racing, so you can now go to the Links selection above and after selecting the yellow background text, you can see on the new iPigeon ETS owner's Free Cloud facility, not only the trainers and races, but each day's live arrival returns from their exercise period. When I eventually advise they are on a race, which is now not so far away, just change the Item box from Train to Race.
April 2018: Just one more pair to arrive and the full compliment will be at their new home. All have taken well to the
Darkness system and making full use of the outside aviary during their daylight time.
This photo shows he is starting to clean up after losing his neck feathers.
March 2018: The first of the donated young birds are now in their new home and I always put them in a nest box with food and water to help them settle, then usually after a couple of days they either take a V perch or perch on top of the sliding door gear.
February 2018: The young bird loft has now been redesigned ready for this my first time using the Darkness System and I increased the number
of V perches to accomodate the 14 youngsters which for me is nearly twice as many as my usual yearly 8 youngsters.
Their comparment is 8 feet by 6 feet and they have access to their own outside aviary.
28th December 2017: I was saddened to hear that Ian Crammond had died on Christmas Day aged 82 years and I have contacted Nigel to offer my sincere condolences.
26th November 2017: Brian telephoned me quite a number of days ago to say he had spoken with Jim Wearn of 'Wearn Bros & Neilson' fame who just like all the rest of the team, excels in Channel races, having had another great season with one of them being winner of the Messac National Flying Club race.
I duly phoned Jim today after his return from holiday and after explaining in detail about my new young bird project for 2018, he agreed the partnership of Jim and Erik would join me in this which for me is definately unchartered waters and so I look forward to collecting the youngsters from his lofts, as I already knew he lives in Hampshire's idyllic Hamlet of Ramsdean right next to Elizabeth Country Park which many of you may know.
7th November 2017: Nigel Langstaff contacted me today to say Mark Gilbert of Windsor is another fancier who has agreed to participate in my NFC young bird race project and there can be very few pigeon fanciers in the world who will not have heard about Mark's multiple, outstanding performances in International, National and Classic races. When talking with Mark to let him know more about the project and myself, it became a certainty now I shall have the youngsters on the Darkness System, because to a man all these masters of racing use that system.
6th November 2017: Tony contacted me to say the well known J.P.S. Lofts partnership of son James and his father Pete Parker of Reading have come on board to assist in my project. When one considers James has a successfull construction company that entails him regularly being in different parts of the country, it's amazing how the partnership have been able to achieve their National and Classic results with just Pete doing the day to day chores at the loft.
1st November 2017: Had a conversation today with Nigel Langstaff of the Crammond & Langstaff partnership and he said he and Ian will join me on my young bird project. I have met them both before when some years ago they both kindly gave me a tour of their magnificent setup at Fontwell and now here I am being fortunate to have them contributing to the group concensious of opinion. Nigel tells me Ian has not been to well of late and let us all hope he has a speedy recovery for the Christmas Celebrations.
23rd October 2017: Brian emailed me to say Tony Cowen was very interested in helping me out with my project and he was at home now for me to phone him. Tony was another person who whilst I knew about him (who doesn't) because I had been at the same pigeon club prize giving functions and a couple of auctions, but had never had occasion to speak with him. Well what an interesting 40 minutes on the phone that was, there could not be any pigeon place in the world he has not been to or any famous fancier he has not met. Suffice to say Tony is on board and again I look forward to meeting him when I collect the youngsters.
20th October 2017: Brian had spoken with Roger Lowe and suggested I make contact to explain all about my project to him. Whilst I have never met Roger I did know about his many acheivements in National and Classic races and so was delighted he has agread to participate and now look forward to meeting him in person when I go up to collect the birds. He did say he trains hard and so looks like it could well be the other as yet not contacted successful fanciers also do this which I never do, because having lived for a time in the Cambrian Mountains of Wales I never went further than ten miles and even then the birds would be hit by the Peregrin. So I decided to continue with short trainers with the occasional 25 mile one when I moved back to Hampshire. So looks like I could well be bombing up and down the Motorways.
17th October 2017: Had a long chat with Brian Wall today and he has confirmed he will not only participate, but will pop round now and again to check
how things are going and enlighten me on preparing and training, because my laid back methods are very unlikely to be part of the plan,
one of which no doubt will be the darkness system which I have never done.
So much to learn on my part and no doubt I will need to make changes to my young bird loft.