As we begin this subject I checked a dictionary and this is how the word "System" was explained!
"A group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements forming a complex whole."
Every one of us has a system that is unique to OUR SELF! I say this as even though we may try to copy another great system, we all will put our own personal touch to what we do. Some of this is because we think we know more than the creator of a system and the other reasons for this is that many times we misunderstood what we had been taught. Therefore and because we will eventually develop a personally unique system, this particular discussion will only give a brief description of the many facets of what will become a final system.
After some additional thought I also realized that everyone has a
"SYSTEM" even if their system is to never do anything the same way twice. So they have a system and in many cases it may not be a very good system but they still have a system. These are the people that are always quick to tell you what you need to do to win.
It is my personal opinion that the best system is the one that allows you the most opportunity to WIN while requiring the least amount of effort. THINK LONG AND HARD ABOUT THIS STATEMENT!!
We all have other commitments or adversities which must be worked around so finding a system that compliments your time and enjoyment of the sport makes it fun.
Before we talk about any of the systems let's first talk about the very basic of tools that are necessary for success:
- A calendar is absolutely critical so we take the guess work out of what we are planning. It is the tool that we seem to think we can do without but don't get caught in that trap.
- A small pocket size notebook where you can mark all those little details as we discover them. Without this always handy, we soon forget if we trust it to our memory.
- A pencil or pen that is always in our pocket so we can write down vital information as it occurs. These basic tools will allow you to take much of the guess work out of the game and also give you a written record to go back to in future years to verify some of your feelings about things.
- The next step is to design a chart or document where you can see many things on just one sheet of paper. For example; I breed from 24 pair of pigeons and on just one sheet (my breeding chart) I can see when any and every pair laid their eggs. I mated my pigeons for 2004 on Feb. 14 and 21 of 24 pair laid their first egg on Feb. 25. This alone shows me that all appears well before we even begin the breeding season.
REMEMBER THIS FOR A LATER PART OF THIS SUBJECT!!
With a simple chart, I can also see what bands I put on those first young ones and I can then see when the next set of eggs were laid and then the numbers of the bands for those young ones. Keep your system simple but try to have as much information available on that single paper as possible. In a short period of time you will quickly see what should be added or what can be deleted for future charts.
Now that we have our basic tools, let's talk briefly about the many systems such as natural, widowhood, celibacy, separated sexes, same sex partnerships, etc., etc., all have some positive and some negative issues! It is up to us to determine which system is most adaptable to our time constraints and how we wish to enjoy the sport.
Before we begin any system we must also determine if our system is meant to function with our present pigeons or are we doomed before we begin! In all systems there are some pigeons that will do just fine while there are others that regardless of the system, will never win a prize. Systems do not make a bad pigeon a champion. We require something to begin with and from there,... the cream will rise to the top.
The quality of our pigeons is always NUMBER 1. Without athletes, we can never determine how good or bad a system is. I have witnessed many people that believe because they are trying a new system, they will do just as good, or better than before but in many cases, they have made some major mistakes. So now they are asking their pigeons to perform better than ever even though they have already sabotaged the season by taking the pigeons out of form before the season began.
There are many different systems within our own system:
First thing we do each year is to determine a date on which we will begin to pair our pigeons. That date and the way you do this is part of your system even if you think you are doing exactly the same as someone else.
Our next thing that needs to be considered is our feeding system. Again, even if you feed exactly the same feed formula that another person does, you may still be different. For example; how many times you feed each day is only one part of feeding. How much you feed is another opportunity to be different and even if someone else gave you a weight formula, your loft conditions could be different that the person which you are trying to copy. If your loft is colder or if your pigeons have a faster metabolic system, the amount of feed could be very different at each loft to attain the same level of form. Feeding the exact formula of another could be a disaster.
The loft itself is also a variable and can make a large difference in your system as compared to the person you are attempting to copy. More pigeons in less space will give you much different results when compared to a SIMILAR loft that has less pigeons in the same amount of space. To complicate the loft issue more could be where the loft is positioned in the yard. The effects of the wind can be quite different for your loft when comparing to another loft. Even if you move the same loft from one place to another, the requirements of that loft could be substantially different than it's previous.
Let's move along to the birds:
Again even if you have full brothers and/or sisters to your friends’ pigeons, they are still not exactly the same. Much as we have brothers and sisters, our parents are the same people but some of us had our genetics aligned slightly different than our siblings. In my family I got the good looks and the brains where as my older brother got more height, but less hair and my younger brother ended up getting more muscle (his words and not mine) as he weighs 150% of what I do. So even though we may have full brothers and sisters to our champions pigeons, there may still be great diversification there.
Now we must look at training and again realize that there are still no cake formulas for success. Doing exactly what you think the champion is doing does not mean we ARE DOING what he does. If the champion trains from a certain spot every day, even though you go there each day, all of the above things can play a large part as to whether that same spot is good for you. My example is that I train from the same spot that many others may go past but at the time of day that I train as compared to the time that they train WILL RENDER different results. Even though we all can do a certain amount of work, there reaches a point in the workout where the muscles finally are challenged and at this time is when progress is made. Up until you hit the critical point, the muscles have not been challenged.
The moult is another very critical part of any system. There are many roads to Rome. Which one you decide to follow will decide when you get there. For years the natural moult was that of choice but with all the young bird specials being popular, it soon was realized that the pigeon with the best feathering has an edge. Unless your pigeons are as slick and fully feathered as possible, you have given an edge to those competitors that have this type of feathering. For years we all sent pigeons with tail feathers missing and coverings not tight and even some head feathers missing but they were bred and trained for a specific race so when that date came, they were shipped. Now we are much more professional about preparing our pigeons so they are in better health, feather, and attitude and all of these things help the pigeon to avoid some of the natural disasters such as hawks, etc., etc.,.....
The Racing System:
One has many options as to which racing system to use and there are these and perhaps more to be considered. For years it was strictly natural which was racing to the nest and on eggs or babies or calling to the nest or driving. Then a few sharp people decided that if they only raced the cocks, they did not need to worry about what favourite nest position was necessary. This may have even been started by someone racing an unmated pigeon and finding that this pigeon raced better than those on the nest. WE may never know what began this system but it is now one of great popularity.
There are also systems for racing only hens or hens being mated to each other and there are jealousy systems and recently we have noticed some that raise late babies and fly them in the next years old bird races. This is becoming popular in the hot climates as these pigeons do not get trained in the heat of summer.
The next thing to consider is what system we race our young birds to and this is where the moult is critical. Again for years it was the natural way with normal daylight but as the popularity of extending daylight began to become a system,.... others were using a system that shortened the amount of daylight. Both ways created a dramatic effect on the moult. Now a new system referred to as the "Power Moult" has taken place and the trick to this is to moult the pigeons before we begin training to prepare the pigeons for the racing. The purpose of this system is to remove all stress until the pigeons begin the Power Moult and then after the feathers are back on the pigeons, then they are trained as they have one less stress to deal with while training.
The Rest Period
This is a very critical part of our systems but most are very unaware that it even exists. It is my belief that this resting period is a time for everything to catch up and settle into place. The stress of racing, training, rearing young, or moulting should be complete and now the entire pigeon should be capable of balancing their equilibrium. Just as the old scales of justice (balance scale) would show when everything is back in tune and the pointer is perfectly positioned and both sides are at the same level, then the pigeon is not busy trying to have their internal system constantly fighting to stay healthy. This time of rest is much like when we go on a vacation in that everything needs a rest so they can rebuild their reserves to battle the fire breathing dragon again. Those that are the best rested and at the perfect balance of their equilibrium will then be ready to begin the next year.
From perfectly restored pigeons that are of excellent heritage will come your future race winners and breeders of winners. If your pigeons begin in a bad position and carry this forward to their young, then that year will not be your best one but if all is proper when you begin your next year, your odds are greatly improved for the future to be brilliant.
Hope this helps,
SpringHill, Florida. USA.