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Are your pigeons ready to race?...
Author: Bob RowlandTitle: Are your pigeons ready to race?
Date: 2005-01-09 16:43:10Uploaded by: webmaster
I have been monitoring a discussion about whether young birds should be raced during the year of their birth or whether they should be allowed to mature and then be raced as yearlings. The discussion began as many are concerned about losses of their young birds. So what truly causes these losses?

In my opinion, many people do not have their pigeons ready to be road trained for many different reasons but I believe the greatest reason the pigeons are not ready is because the pigeons are not as healthy as they should be! I am sure I will have many tell me that they have all sorts of programs to make sure their pigeons are in 100% health but in my opinion, many of these programs may be doing just the opposite of what is intended.

We do not feed antibiotics to our children on a preventative basis so they do not become sick but instead we wait until there is a problem and then the antibiotic is administered. The reason for this is to allow the immune system to develop the antibodies required to keep us in a healthy state of being and anything we do that can alter this state of being will generally have what we know as "Side-effects".

When we turn our pigeons loose so they can loft fly both to learn their surroundings and also to develop muscles also needs to be done at the proper time of the day. If the conditions are not proper such as too high of temperature or too little sunlight, etc., then the pigeons generally will not exercise freely so then we get excited and begin to push them to make them exercise. Imagine trying to teach an exhausted or sick person how to swim. If you put them in deep enough water, and their ability to do what is required is lacking, then they will go under and eventually be lost.

It is our responsibility to begin easily and allow our pigeons the opportunity to develop BUT at some point we must also realize that some will never have any special talents or ability and our entire flock is better without their presence. All lofts have a certain number of pigeons which is appropriate for the loft and until we get down to the proper number, the loft will always be fighting and unable to reach best form and condition.

Living in SpringHill, FLorida is certainly different that living in a cooler northern climate. Our summer comes early and therefore we begin racing old birds in February and are done by late April or 1st week of May. In a cooler climate, you may not begin Old Birds until May so what is proper for one area is certainly not the same for another area.

The European countries are all rather small in size and the climate is very similar for the entire nation so standards can be established that are the same for the entire country but this is next to impossible for America. What must always be done is to establish a race schedule and distance that makes it possible for the members to compete, WITHOUT THROWING YOUR PIGEONS AWAY. Although, there are always those individuals that regardless of when we would begin racing, they will never be ready. I personally know some that have never been ready and even if we held back the birds for an entire year, they still would no be ready.

Then we have the individuals that are always ready when the first race is scheduled to be flown. Even if they do not have an entire team prepared properly, they will be there with a few so they can qualify for all the various awards and honors. If there are some in your club that are never ready on time, do not allow that to change the entire schedule for your club unless the majority of the club feels it is proper. If we allow the few to hold the start from taking place, then they have not only not gotten ready, but now they have taken the entire club to their level.

I am proud to say that I am generally ready at the beginning of the season to put a team up and even if they are not the absolute best, the ones I send are pigeons I am confident they will be able to complete the challenge without hurting them. It is my way to try to get my pigeons into as many races as possible so they can show me if they are worthy or not. I take the attitude that I am not smart enough to be able to look at a pigeon and know just how good it is but if that pigeon is in enough races or training, etc., in a short time we see what they can do.

It has been my experience that my best pigeons were never pigeons that I continually needed to push antibiotics into them. They had developed enough natural resistance to be able to survive and compete. Those that could not or did not develop what was needed soon found their way out of my racing loft. This is not to say that I have the absolute best pigeons in the world, but what I do have has shown me they can at least show up for the next race and the opportunity to give a super performance.

Pigeon racing is a matter of choices that, "WE", the pigeon fancier makes. What we keep and how we choose to play is totally our decision so no one person can tell you that you have to be ready at a certain time. However, if you are not ready, then don't expect the world to change the rules so you can win that award.

I flew my first pigeon race in 1959 and there are the people that have been good for the majority of those years and there are also some that have only had a few, if that many, reasonable seasons but we all keep pigeons to enjoy them. So after all these years and the patterns that have been well established, if you want to play at a different level, then by all means do that but please do not spoil the game that has been the format I followed since my introduction to the sport. I love racing the pigeons and although I do not win as many I races as I would like to, I try to never take anything away from those that do win.

In conclusion, if you have large losses in your young birds when you begin training, than perhaps you should reevaluate everything and determine if your pigeons are healthy or not. If they are healthy and you are still experiencing big losses then you either have a poor training program or poor quality pigeons. Either way, you are responsible so either learn how to train your pigeons or get some new pigeons, or ????????..

I left that last statement blank as each situation could have some strange phenomenon but in most cases it is just not too difficult. Generally, I find that we as the fancier are lazy and then when it gets close to the time for the final exam, we try to cram just as we did in school in hopes of getting an acceptable result.

In conclusion, don't try to make something happen today that you have been avoiding for several weeks. If you would spend a few moments each day correcting the problems while they are still small, then it is not such a big task at the crunch time.

Remember this: In every loft there are some very good pigeons but there are also more that are only very good when put on the plate with potatoes and carrots.

Hope this helps
Bob Rowland

Coo time for a brew!...Where next?
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