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Everything posted by sapper756

  1. I have been asked to share the following: Hi, I'm looking g for a straight tail white dove ( cock) any help appreciated. George George 07789513253. I'm in Perth scotland. Can travel ( a bit) Thanks
  2. I have been given permission to share this with Basics members
  3. A wee reminder this sale is on today
  4. posted by Mark Wiseman of Methilhaven PC on Facebook we the members would like to thank everyone who donated young birds for the methilhaven breeder buyer which will be held on pigeon basic form from the 1st-8th april the breeder buyer will be decided on the best young bird performance over the young bird season 1 j harcus st andrews 2 s macskame aberdeen 3 c dinsdale balgonie 4 pete penman balgonie 5 gary hall balgonie 6 mark young dundee 7 sean diamond kennoway x2 8 scot girdwood sighthill 9 steven girdwood sighthill 10 jonny quinn sighthill 11 andy miller sighthill 12 stephen tierney danderhall 13 I hynd crossgates 14 scott russell bonnybridge 15 frank mitchel Dunfermline 16 stewart grham st serfs 17 tam cook kennoway 18 brian kinnare kennoway 19 ian scott forfar 20 brian chalmers kennoway 21 dougie barnes crossgates 22 d armuor methilhaven 23 g baxter “ “ 24 d clark & son “ “ 25 d cunningham “ “ 26 m molloy “ “ 27 j&g peggie x2 “ “ 28 m wiseman “ “ 29 d hunter “ “ 30 a whittaker “ “ 31 stevie ritchie kennoway Best performance pigeon = £150 breeder & £150 buyer
  5. Earley days on the farm. Colin as many folk with doo blood in their veins, started keeping pigeons as a loon (a boy). He stayed on a farm and it was Colin’s mission to catch the pretty looking feral pigeons and had a good few that stayed in the loft he had built on the back of his dad’s peat shed. Back in the day for Colin, mealies were called turtle, and any pied was called a mottled doo. Fancy Doo Period A new neighbour moved in nearby who kept fancy pigeons and gained a new admirer as Colin was never away from his place and so started a new chapter of keeping and showing fancy pigeons, this fulfilled the next ten years of his life which was enjoyed immensely Racing Pigeons In 1986 it all started and Colin participated in his first season racing Young Birds, having joined the New Pitsligo Racing Pigeon Club which at the time had eight or possible nine members. Looking back he can well remember his first ever race and armed with a third hand Le Continental clock was eager to participle in the race and I am sure like us all thought he would do extremely well. First things first a demonstration for his wife and father had to be undertaken, i.e. how the clocked functioned and the method by which the race rubber was insert into a thimble then the said thimble inserted into the clock then finally the clock struck. On race day a grizzle young Bird arrived well in front of the rest of the team and subsequently timed. Later at the club it was discovered that the grizzle would have been third club if it was not for all the puncture marks in the dial as a result of his various demonstrations to others on the functioning of the clock. The outcome being the grizzle was disqualified thus ended his first race. Colin went on to race with the Pitsligo club for 10 years recording various levels of success including his first two North Federation wins in 1993 these two red cards being recorded with the same pigeon. Final Move to the Broch (Fraserburgh) In 1995 Colin had a change of life styles having met a spare hen and subsequently relocating nearer to the Broch and joined the Fraserburgh & District club. At this time this was a very famous club with a reputation for top pigeons and fanciers participating from short races to the French races and very successful at all these distances. With the knowledge that is he continued with his previous approach to pigeon racing which would leave him propping up the results and that was not where he wanted to be. Any introduction of some new blood was required, and after careful consideration he decided to introduce some of the Jansen/Van Loon pigeons and applied himself with great vigour to the task. Results were for all to see, within a couple of seasons he was amongst the prize winners on a regular basis and by the millennium achieved the top prize winner in Club and the Federation, that not being an easy position to achieve. Over the last twenty years Colin has been very consistent and has always been in the top part of the Federation and thus has been considered as one of the top racers of the North Federation. As always there have been occasions where success has evaded him and in Colins words “there have been the odd season when I’ve not had it so easy. You get complacent, and just think that the good birds from last year will win again but if your competition are prepared to up their game and you’ve sat on your laurels, then you’re no longer the guy at the top”. For example, season 2022, I was behind the club leaders in an estimated eight out of ten races. After consideration he thought that too much time was spent looking after a pheasant shoot which, as we all know is a considerable involvement and very time consuming if it is to be a success. A cross roads had been reached and Colin decided that his first priority must be his racing pigeons with the pheasants second and we can all see the result of that decision with his club and Federation results. The Loft Colins loft is 48 feet in length with aviaries in each section for all birds to access. A large team is flown in the federation with some sixty plus old birds and seventy plus young birds but as Colin states “I’m a believer that there is more cream in a gallon than a pint so I’ll stick by it” and these methods have proved very successful to date. Conditioning Colins ethos being :- a) The birds health come first a fancier must make sure the birds are in good health b) The fitness of the pigeons must built to ensure they are ready for the season c) A good feeding regime must be installed and adhered to d) Motivation If the above are all in place then in Colins words you’re in with a chance, continuing by saying if any of these 4 are not in place, you will be congratulating the winner most weeks. Routine is also very important as the birds know what to expect. Racing method All birds are flown on the celibate/chaos system. Preparation begins late March when all birds to be raced are treated with two Respiratory treatments. Early April, a worm treatment is applied after which the birds are treated with a 3 in one. Exercise The birds are exercised twice a day around the to build fitness. On basketing night prior to being dispatched to a Federation race, Cocks and Hens are allowed to mix together for 30 mins approximately and chaos is ensued, also the volume of the noise with the loft is exceptional. On return from a race, and subsequently the second feed after return, the birds are duly provided with a mix of every food type present in the loft. This way Colin believes his pigeons can eat whichever their brain/body tells them they need before being split until the following week where they will undertake the same process before being dispatched to compete in the next race on the programme. Also, during the racing season, a three-week cycle is adopted where the birds are treated with 3 in 1, also treated for respiratory, then a week off. Feeding is a mix of everything that is in the trough for the returning birds and the first feed thereafter. The birds then go onto a light feed for the next few days moving to fats then carbs towards end of the week to ensure the birds are ready for the next challenge. Most of the water-based treatments have been stopped with any products being deployed being administered via the grain. The above system has proved its worth with his team of birds going on to win: - 1)Nine of the ten club old bird races Which incumbered three first Federation prizes 2) Four second Federation positions 3) Three third Federation positions 4) Also a further twenty-three places in the top 10 of the Federation And to top a very successful season went on to win the highly rated “East Section Champion Cup” and was also awarded “Top prize winner in the North of Scotland Federation”. Colin is absolutely in no doubt that top pigeon men are at the top because of the sheer effort they are prepared to put in. Loft Additions for 2024 A family of very successful Gabby Vandenabeele pigeons have been housed 2008 and during this time Colin is sure that this family have at some point topped the Fed from every race point. But he does not rest on his laurels and is always on the lookout for additions to his family with additions being purchased every year. The Gabbys have proved hard to beat with most of the above prizes attributed to this family. However, for 2024 two additional families have been purchased these are Willem De Bruijn and Dirk Van den Bulk, so hopefully some “fresh cream” can be found.
  6. Stuart Maskame and Ruth Cordiner How it all started: - It started as far back as 1983 with an English (GB) stray landing on a one of Stuarts friends farm, a local fancier Andra Buchan was contacted in an effort to try and get the pigeon repatriated back to the original owner. However, Andra being the fancier he was always eager to recruit new blood into the sport and duly arrived with a hen to pair to the cock, great motivator as we all know once you get the bug it very seldom leaves! The next stage was a bigger and better loft to house the birds, his friend having received permission from his dad the work was commenced to convert the upstairs of a steading into a loft. The second stage was to increase the team which was completed by youngsters being received from various members of the Peterhead Racing Club. The next few seasons came and went with no real impact on club positions however that was to change in 1987, A blood red cock which was a gifted pigeon from Andra Buchan won the race from Coupar Angus the time had arrived the first red card for the pair!! Racing in earnest The next pigeon to record a win was another gift bird this time from Davie McDougall this bird being a Herman x Busschaert cross this pigeon was first from Burscough a distance of 277 miles the following week the bird was put to Stafford a distance of some 300 miles where it recorded 3 rd club. The next birds which were introduced to the loft were obtained from Johny Mathieson in Aberdeen when John left the sport. One of these pigeons being a ten-year-old blue cock, this bird had been sent “over the channel” to compete in some of the France races and proved very adequate to the task. However, the cock had not filled his eggs for the past two years (85 and 86) so the decision was made to break this pigeon into a new loft and to try him on the road. First race was Brechin some sixty-two miles and he took nine days to return (wonder if he had been sitting on the roof of John’s house which over looked the Froghall Plots). Next race on the cards for him was a distance of 170 miles and this time taking two days to return a considerable improvement. Next, he was dispatched to Exeter (470 miles) and arrived at 6:20 on the day to record 4 th club. After the enjoyment of seeing this pigeon return from 470 miles the distance racing bug had well and truly been imbedded. The teen years: - Stuart’s interest turned away from pigeons to perhaps a different type of bird! In 2001 Stuart had a chance meeting with some of the local fanciers, an interest was rekindled and next on the agenda was the building of a 12ft loft. When the loft was constructed A truly amazing gesture was received from Irvine Buchan who presented Stuart with a team of 40 youngster, Irvine subsequently became a mentor for Stuart always being there for advice etc a truly great character. In addition, some birds were purchased from Bob Whyte of Ritchie and Whyte fame, these two families becoming the mainstay of what was to become a very famous loft. In the 2005 season Stuart recorded his finest performance to date he recorded first, second and third in the race from Hastings a distance of 466 miles, two of the three pigeons being grandchildren of Bob Whyte’s 5th SNFC open Lille, hen ‘Margaret’ The 2005 young bird season was unbelievable as Stuarts team went on to win; - 1) Every race with the exception of the first one. 2)Winning the fed averages 3) Federation combined average 4) recording 14 th and 33 rd open SNFC YB National from Cheltenham (386miles). 5) Stuart has won the North Federation Combine averages eight times which is only 1 behind the late great Bob McDonald. Stuart stated that “the Scottish National Flying Club has given him his greatest achievements in this wonderful sport” having won the North Section a total of 5 times. Poppy The highlight of Stuarts pigeon racing was in 2014, when Poppy a two-year-old blue hen was sent to the Ypres race. This gallant hen arrived at his loft to record 1 st Open SNFC, this had always been Stuart’s dream and to realise that Poppy had enabled him to fulfil that ambition was an experience he will never ever forget. But the story did not end there Stuart also topped the Federation race from Battle a distance of 464 miles with a yearling hen. How many readers can equal that performance – not many I believe. If Stuart was asked to nominate his best performances, he would have to say his SNFC section winners and of course Poppy his open winner. But as Stuart states his 2005 bred blue cock named “Maverick” was a real doo, he was sent to 4 SNFC races and scored in all: - 1) 4th north section 204th open Eastbourne 475 miles 2) 12th North Section 60th open Alencon 632 miles 3) 2nd North section Alencon 4) finally 8th North section Reims 620 miles 5) Received an SNFC silver award 6) Won the Joe Murphy/BHW sporting challenge with his 2nd section Alencon performance. That is some fine performances from the distance The Loft: - The set up consists of three lofts the first being 18ft long and is home to his roundabout team also 12 pairs of stock birds. Second is a 16’ foot loft which houses the widowhood cocks and finally a young bird loft which is 12ft in length. Feeding and Exercise During the old bird racing season the birds are fed a mixture of three types, diet 2000, Gerry Plus and a high fat energy mix. The young birds are fed depurative, diet 2000, Gerry Plus and high energy is added prior to young bird national. The regime begins at 6am with the roundabout team being exercised. The widowhood team are exercised twice per day which starts with Ruth getting the cocks out at 8 and again at 4pm. The roundabout team go out again when Stuart returns home from work which is about at 5pm. After which the young birds are exercised. Partner of Maskame and Cordiner formed In 2021 Stuart met Ruth and it wasn’t long before she took a real interest in the birds and soon after the partnership Maskame & Cordiner was formed. Ruth has proved a massive help and doesn’t let Stuart rest on his laurels making sure he does not slack off and completes all jobs that need doing with the birds! Ruth also manages the team of 16 widowhood cocks and also the young birds. In her first year looking after the young bird team Ruth topped the federation three weeks on the trot no mean feat. In season 2023 old bird season, Ruth’s widowhood cocks recorded the following positions:- 2nd and 10th fed from Auchendinny 1 1st club 5th fed Huntingdon 363 miles 3rd , 4th club and fed Strathkinnes 2 However in the 2023 young bird season Ruths achievements were outstanding:- Brechin 1 = 2nd,3 rd and 4th club which resulted in 8,9 and 10th federation Brechin 2 = 1st and 2nd club 7 th and 8th federation Strathkinnes 1 = 4 th ,5 th , 6 th club and 13 th ,14 th and 15 th Federation Strathkinnes 2 = 2 nd ,3 rd ,4 th club and 2 nd , 3 rd , and 4 th federation Auchendinny 1 = 1 st 2 nd , 4 th club and 1 st , 2 nd and 4 th Federation Brechin 3 = 6 th club and 7 th Federation Strathkinnes 3 = 2 nd and 3 rd club and 8 th and 15 th Fed Strathkinnes 4 = 2 nd , 6 th and 7 th club and Federation These are Ruth’s yb results from last season In the old birds her widowhood cocks were 2nd and 10th fed from Auchendinny 1 1st club 5th fed Huntingdon 363 miles 3rd , 4th club and fed strathkinnes 2 Ruth has become a valued part of the team. On race days, after the chores have all been completed Stuart and Ruth sit in the garden accompanied by a bacon n egg butty to relax ready to enjoy the birds arriving. The aim of the partnership is to try and win the North Section again so that Ruth and Stuart can go down to the presentation. Every race is enjoyed here from the first to the last and that is how they mean to proceed! Scribes note: - I have written for the Racing Pigeon and BHW for a number of years but this is the first time I have had the opportunity to do a loft report on a winning SNFC pigeon and given the location of Stuarts loft and the distance this pigeon had to fly over a mid Scotland location this must
  7. George Duncan Back in the Day George first started keeping pigeons back in 1973 at the ripe old age of 13, his family were well acquaint with the sport in fact Georges late father was in partnership with Georges uncle, this partnership ceased to fly in the early 70s, George went on to join the Keith club and North Federation in 1974 this has continued until last year when he decided to fly with Aberdeen Federation in an attempt to push his birds further getting them ready to participate in the Scottish National races however he has again joined the North Fed and has taken up the role of liberator (there is no such thing as a free dinner in this Fed). The first fully participated season was in 1979 and had the occasional success during the next three or four years, it was about this time that his first business which entailed working some ridiculous hours and his father took up the reins as far as racing etc was concerned well the change in performances was there for all to see, from an occasional win the team went on to record having three pigeons in the first four club places a remarkable change indeed. At this time widowhood was none existence the birds racing to the loft but in fine condition as seen in the performances, George went on to bask in the glory!! However, life and time do not stand still and in 1986 George and Jacqueline tied the knot and relocated to a house in grange which proved to be a better location for both couple and of course the pigeons. About this time George had a light bulb moment and realised if he was going to compete with the old man, he needed to up his game, the result being some enjoyable years were to follow competing against each other, obviously George wanted to beat his father but if that was not possible then he wanted his father to claim first prize. Start of the Widowhood era. After Georges father passed, he got the bug for widowhood racing having bought 4 birds from the late great Frank Tasker, they were of the Haeltermans strain and one hen in particular although quite a dull looking pigeon turned out to be the best stock hen he has ever had, at one time the team of 8 widowhood cocks had 3 of her sons in it and they all performed impeccably, he could do no wrong with them up to 360 miles. This however was their maximum; they just did not perform at a greater distance which was a great pity. One particular cock 1407 recorded 13 firsts and 5 seconds, he won the North Federation race from Hexham by 30 mins, his brother arrived 40 mins behind him to record 6 th fed, 1407 was also 3 rd fed on two separate occasions being retired at four years old, tragically a couple of years later a cat got into the loft not only killing 1407 but eight others of his pigeon’s sorry day. During the years George performance has fluctuated having had some very good seasons and some iffy ones but his main satisfaction has always been derived from trying to find some exceptional pigeons and getting the best from them although what he has classed as good pigeons have amounted to about no more than 20 individuals in the last 50 years. He has been fortunate enough to have won the North Of Scotland Bird of the year 3 times and had the satisfaction of breeding a Bird of the year winner for Jackie Ritchie of Fraserburgh which he aptly named “Duncans Rocket”, this hen topped the Fed in consecutive weeks as a yearling and went on to win many fed tickets before Jackie gave her back to George when she was 5 years old, Duncans Rocket was bred from a bird that had previously won bird of the year two years previously, this bird was number 4515 which was another bred from the Haelterman family. Another outstanding performer for George being number 7303 this pigeon recorded seven firsts also bird of year which is a pied again bred from the haelterman. Sadly, this great pigeon passed away just before Christmas at the grand old age of 20 this pigeon has topped the Federation from a distance of 360 miles by 20 mins and bred another North of Scotland Bird of the Year George being the only person to win it three times, another great performance. George had always envied fanciers who could condition birds to fly 500 plus miles in race time especially “across the channel”, Alencon was tried with a hen received from Albert Mathers and she was a really “tough nut”, never laid an egg in her life but could mate with any hen George tried to pair her with in no time, she was twice 2 nd club hastings and was his only entry to France but she returned to record 11th north section 188 th open at a distance of 620 miles. However as so often happens to our birds she was sent to a 240-mile race but alas did not return but unfortunately there are a lot of obstacles in our pigeon’s return journeys. About 8 or 9 years ago a stock hen was purchased from the Padfield family with the intention of giving the distance another try, since the purchase a good friendship was struck with the brothers which resulted in various visits to their lofts and accompanied by some friends which resulted in some great nights during these trips. Over the next few years a few birds were obtained from Dai and Vince but the original hen paired to a Brian Sheppard cock resulted in a great foundation for the way forward, one of the offspring a red cock topped the fed in the longest young bird race which was a distance of some 240 miles, incidentally loft mates taking the next five club and Federation positions, this cock as a two-year-old went on to record 3 rd North Section SNFC Ypres a distance of 520 miles. Subsequently a sister of this red cock was mated to a dark cock, this cock being purchased from a cancer charity sale the breeder being Davie McDougal of Peterhead out of his best distance stock. The pairing produced a cock who was 3 rd north sect 93 rd open Maidstone 459 miles, (George recorded 1 st North Section 19 th open also 5 th North Section 163 rd open with loft mates). They are also grandparents to 1 st federation 2 nd North Section 73 rd open young bird national (375 miles) in 2021, also 1 st federation 3 rd North Section young bird National 2022 (393 miles) both these pigeons being bred from the same hen. George intends put young birds from this pair into our forthcoming fed sale. One of his most memorable/enjoyable performances was also at the distance this time from Guernsey 560 miles in the National where his single entry was one of only 3 birds from 91 entered who made it in race time recording 3 rd North Section, a peregrine caught him early next year while exercising round the loft, he was devastated as you can imagine! As with most in the fancy raptors are a big problem in this location, last year there were 11 attacks on his birds this being out of 22 which was the total number he had turned his team out for exercise times he had them out flying round the loft prior to racing. George is a great performer as far as the Scottish National is concerned for example over 8 National Races the following was recorded one first, one second and five thirds, but last year was back to earth with a bump. Exercise Exercise for the birds is pretty standard with cocks out in morning, he is not concerning how long the cocks fly for as long as they are flapping their wings etc in fact he feels it is safer for them as stated previous there are far too many raptors and it does not show any signs of improving in fact the opposite. Young Birds are exercised late afternoon early evening for between 1 to 2 hrs time in the air is very important to give the birds exercise etc. The first round of young birds is moved onto the darkness the longer young bird races are preferred and gives greater enjoyment. Various restrictions for example last year an outbreak of bird flu stopped clubs participating which resulted in the Federation restriction on the distance covered. Feeding Old Birds :- Versele Laga breeding plus is used as it also seems to keep the old birds in good condition while providing more than adequate sustenance for the young birds within the breeding window. During the racing season again Versele Laga is used this time it is the turn of the widowhood mix or Super Star coupled with depurative are used in an effort to reduce the birds weight. Young birds are fed yes you guessed it Versele Laga Junior however depurative is also used to reduce weight should the YB put on to much weight with the skin turning a tad blue although George emphasised if you get it right, darkness young birds can really be brought on for the yb National and hopefully this year he can get them to participate in the new amalgamation race and make a “pound or 750 lol”. medicine or additives are kept to a minimum. The Loft This loft is Petron long and is 86ft in length and requires to be painted this year, there are four sections each containing twelve nest boxes all equipped with cleaning belts. Also, three sections with 150 perches again with cleaning belts and finally the last section has twenty-four next boxes again with the cleaning belt installed. Racing team consists of 48 and 12 stock pairs are housed, this has been reduced over the last few years but it is my intension to increase this, certain set of circumstances have curtailed his enjoyment of racing thus the reduction of the racing team but things look to be on the up for the future. When the family moved to the Grange, one of the conditions being that he did not move the old sheds and a new loft was to be purchased. This loft was on display by Petron at the Blackpool show with an additional 20ft being added when erected. In fact, the loft was erect just as the construction of the house was commenced. George admits himself that he was a racing fanatic back then winning 28 of the 35 races entered and 2 nd in the ones he did not win but he is alright nowwwwwwww. For George this hobby/competition is everything as it is what makes fanciers want to try harder. Finally, George would like to wish “all the best to all in the north fed and roll on 2024 season”
  8. I came across an old article written by the late Owen McIvor of Carnwath in 1982 and was quite staggered to find the problems back then are more or less the same as we have at the present time within our sport. We have now moved on 42 years and yet you would think we were stuck in an imaginary time warp. Owen wrote; It is now a decade since I last wrote an article for the Homing World Stud book and I feel very honoured to be asked for a further contribution. In the 1971 book I gave a breakdown of my experiences over the previous 30 years as regards Feeding, Breeding, Racing and Showing, and I propose to past further comment on some of these topics in this article. Feeding; There is not much I can add on this subject. I still feed on a good sound mixture of Beans, Maize and a few peas. This year I got the chance of a few bags of wheat at a reasonable price from a local farmer and this was included in the mixture. It didn’t do the birds any harm. I have heard from various sources that peanuts are the feed nowadays, and the number of wins attributed to the birds fed on them would suggest that this is the case. However, being a humble working man, now retired. I am afraid they are a wee bit pricey for me. If by chance, I am offered some that may have ‘fallen off the back of a lorry’ I will certainly try them out. Breeding; Now here is a subject that I have always maintained is the most important part of pigeon racing and I stand by that statement. I am a great believer in the saying that ‘Blood will tell’; and I have made a practice of keeping a stock bird from my best pigeons. This I did in the belief that I could in time, reproduce grandchildren with the same winning genes and the character of these good birds. To give you one example of how successful this thinking has been I will quote my good blue chequer hen SUHW63 11558; ‘Tinto Sweetheart’. She won five times across the Channel including 2 nd section SNFC Avranches. By the way I don’t want to digress, but as matter of interest, she was bed from a red chequer cock and a mealy hen and according to the theorists, any blue chequers b red from such a mating will be hens, and are recessive and no use for reproduction. At least so I have been told. Anyway, I bred a red chequer hen, SU69L 19517, from her and kept it for stock. From 19517 I bred a red chequer hen SU72L15530, which also won 2 nd section SNFC Avranches like her grandmother among good national wins. This hen SU72L15530 then produced a blue chequer hen SU75L18595, which won 7 th section 13 th open SNFC Avranches. This year’s winner of 6 th section SNFC Avranches a blue chequer pied hen SU79SN 9602 is a full sister of blue chequer hen SU75L 18595. The sire of these two hens is a blue cock SU71L 10286 which is also sire of my 1 st section SNFC Nantes winner this year. Blue Cock SU71L 10286 was bred from stock from ‘Tinto Goldmine’ and ‘Tinto Never Say Die’. ‘Tinto Goldmine’ was five times across the Channel in two year including 5 th open SNFC Avranches. ‘Tinto Never Say Die’ won six times across the channel in six years including 1 st section 4 th open SNFC Avranches. So, you see, grandchildren and great grandchildren of these good birds are coming up trumps now simply because I kept a stock bred from them to ensure the bloodlines were continued. Many fanciers don’t believe in breeding from birds over 5 or 6 years of age. The consider that young birds bred from older stock are not as vigorous as those bred from young stock. I’m afraid I cannot go along with this as I have bred equally as good birds from both young and aged birds. The details in the previous paragraphs are a good example of this. A further example is seen in my blue hen SU79 9011 which was in the prize list from SNFC Sartilly this year being timed at 9-55pm on the day of toss. She is a grand daughter of one of the original blue hens, SURP58L 1656, with which I started the Carnwath loft in 1958. That is a span of 21 years between the grand dam and its grand-daughter. Last year I decided to prepare for the next ten year, I bred a pair of late bred’s from my stock cock SU71L10286, and his sister SU71L 10298, also stock. I have now two very robust blue cocks which I reckon should ensure the continuity of the strain for some time to come. Racing; As I stated in my previous article int eh 1971 Stud Book, I am primarily interested in 500-mile races. Since 1971 I have had varied success but in 1979 and 1980, although still winning the odd SNFC Certificate, I felt I was struggling and I went through a very bad patch. In these two years I lost six birds that had each won from 500 miles some of them four times. These birds were all lost from training tosses and short club races. You will appreciate that my performances suffered accordingly. However, I retired from work at the end of the 1980 season and, during 1981, I was able to give my birds a bit more attention than they had been getting previously. I am pleased to say they have responded. I have often sat and contemplated on the changes that have taken place in the racing of pigeons since I first started in 1939. Then, all transporting was done by rail. The birds were race marked at railways stations and put on to special pigeon vans. The convoyer’s travelled in these vans with the birds and, on arrival at the race point, the vans were put into a siding. The convoyer’s then unloaded the baskets on to the platform about an hour or so before the liberation. This allowed the birds to orientate and they knew when they were going before, they were liberated. How the scene has changed. Nowadays the railways don’t want to know us and practically all pigeon racing is done be means of road transport. The birds are put into baskets or crates which, in most cases, are so constructed that very little daylight gets in once they are placed in the transport. In the modern transporter the baskets or crates are left in the daylight in the release flap which normally runs the full length of the basket or crate. This flap is usually closely woven cane in case of the baskets or Hardboard where crates are used. In either case birds have no chance of orientation before release. However, we still get good races but it intrigues me to see fanciers, when training their birds, take the baskets out of the car boot and let them sit in the open for ten minutes before liberating. Why don’t they simulate the conditions in the transporter and liberate their birds straight from the car boot? Is it the case of ‘Old Habits die hard?’ It certainly poses the question, do pigeons require the opportunity to orientate before being released? In recent years there seems to be an increasing number of losses, especially with young birds. These are not confined to federation races, where it has been known for practically a whole convoy to disappear, but to individual fanciers tossing their birds. They pick a day which they think is ideal for flying and alas, very few home that day with some struggling back the following day, and at the final count half of the team is missing. There is considerable controversy as to the cause of these losses. One prominent fancier said to me that we used to breed a dozen young birds and expect to have 10 of them left at the end of the season. Now, he says, it is the practice to breed 50 youngsters and hope to have half of them left when the season ends. If this is the case then it follows that the more youngsters that are bred contain proportionately a bigger number of duds and therefore more losses. Another school of thought maintains that the losses are caused by atmospheric conditions, possibly man- made. The point is that we don’t know how a pigeon finds its way home, but we do know that certain atmospheric disturbances, i.e. thunderstorms, with their accompanying electrical discharges, do interfere with their homing instinct. This is the age of technology and, as a result, we are constantly receiving signals from satellites. We are striving to perfect our radar system as witness the regular appearance of very low flying jets which, during the last three years, have been thundering over our fields and villages frightening the life out of livestock and humans. I nearly dropped my pigeon clock the other day when a jet screamed over my loft at, it seemed, less than 100 feet. My pigeons flew for two hours that day. Now I can’t image these pilots are flying at this height without a purpose. Might they be testing out our lates radar system? Who knows, but I have a feeling that immature pigeons, i.e. young birds, could possibly be influenced by radar or similar signals. I think that the Confederation of Racing Pigeons Union should approach the Minister of Defence and ask if this was a possibility. I don’t think they would be giving any defence secrets away by making a statement. After All, pigeons were a valuable aid to communications during the last two wars, and the fanciers who supplied these birds are surely entitled to have their fears answered. I have no doubt I will be accused of talking a lot of nonsense. Maybe I am; but I feel that we must explore any avenue which might lead us to the cause of these unexplained losses. In the course of this article, I have touched on a few subjects each of which, I have no doubt, could be the topic of a good going debate and if so, I have attained my objective. Owen McIvor. I found an interesting article written by Alec Ross of Laurieston from the North West Federation on A Tour Of Scotland in 1966; this was a blast from the past with some household names covered in this story; and I hope readers of my column find this of interest. Our coach left Laurieston Club Rooms on our way to Wick after accepting an invitation from the members to spend a week-end with them. You can imagine the pigeon stories which were told. However, on our arrival at 7am we were met by eager fanciers, who had breakfast laid on in one of the biggest hotels. Afterwards we were introduced to our hosts, with whom we spent the weekend. We were amazed at the spirit which prevails in the North. As I have said on several occasions before, there is no incentive whatsoever to fly pigeons into the north, except for their own competition. They have a trophy to be won from Rennes within 10 days, a distance approximately 800 miles. Nevertheless, they carry on with this great sport of ours unknown to thousands of fanciers, without any chance of winning our classic races. I have not mentioned any names, but to the older school the name of the late William Miller (master baker and fancier), Arthur Bruce, A Rosie, J Sinclair etc, who tried for years without success. Basketing birds two days before we sent ours away, was even a bigger handicap. Mr Miller used to say the greatest danger was from the hawks and falcons that infected the coastline, hence the reason every fancier had to breed large teams of youngsters and a round of late-bred’s every year. Before taking leave of Wick, may I again say thanks to our fancier friends and their families. Still in the North, if you are ever near Elgin, stop and inquire for any of the fanciers. You will be made welcome, but like our Wick friends something should be done to encourage them in National races. My first visit was in the company of George Pollock and son George Junior, Alex Stobbo and William McIntyre, all from Bridge of Weir area. We were welcomed by Sandy Mutch, taken to his home and given the freedom of his house. Mrs Mutch, his mother, like Mrs Miller of Wick, couldn’t do enough for us. If you ever meet Sandy and he takes you to see the pigeons don’t be surprised if you spend most of the time looking at his rabbits. Their annual show, which is named the Moray Racing Pigeon Show Association, held around the beginning of December, in the Drill Hall, brings an entry of over 500 birds, ranging from Wick, Thurso, Fraserburgh and Montrose with names such as Ritchie Whyte (Cairnbuig) T Ralph Lossiemouth show secretary; A Clayton, A Anderson & son, Grant Brothers, C Mackie, R Hadden, Charlie Ironside, A Munro and others, all from Aberdeen. A Bruce, R McDonald, C Fraser from Fraserburgh; and from Inverurie names like R Duguid, G D Smith, H Petrie, Young & McLeod, Eric Yule etc. (Who is still showing his pigeons along with this son; and winning even at Blackpool Show of the Year) I am sure of one thing, if they ever come another 150 miles or more south to keep birds, some names you have just read would be prominent in our National results. Back to the show; which is usually opened by the Lord Provost or a civic official of high office who also presents to the winners an array of trophies which would grace many a bigger show, north or south of the Border. A most interesting point up North is the time limit on having their clocks checked. A penalty of 5 shillings is imposed after a certain hour which they pay gladly, even if only to win a certificate, as the monetary side is almost nil. Another point which might help some of us, the Council or Burgh has laid down a rule stating no more than 20 racing pigeons during the breeding season. This, of course, eliminates the mob fliers. The Elgin fanciers are most fortunate in having a lawyer, Mr Purcell, as their president. A wee story before leaving the North; Sandy Mutch, waiting on birds from a race, saw one circling, race for a clock to his house, discovered he had left it in this care and went to the garage, remembers a mechanic from the local garage had taken same to have it serviced. He managed to get a lift from a van coming to his house, when he got down to the garage, he found is car was up on the ramp and the boys had gone home, so he had -had it. Near at hand, at Lossiemouth, I had the privilege of handling one of the 500 milers belonging to J Spence, Coastguard, and like most fanciers to the north or south of them their aim is to have a 500 miler on the day. Fraserburgh; Here if you happened to be fortunate enough to visit any of the fancier, the same atmosphere exists. The name of Mr Donalson, foremost in my memory along with Sinclair Brothers of Plean club. Here we were amazed to find in most lofts a great number of 500-mile pigeons. Whether this was mainly due to the position of Fraserburgh on the East Coast, or to the first-class fancier, I do not know, but I must admit the fanciers hear are most keen and technically minded. I shall not forget the lighthouse keeper’s wife; who keeps an excellent loft. Please continue to keep the news flowing; to Joe Murphy Mystical Rose Cottage 2 Flutorum Avenue Thornton by Kirkcaldy KY1 4BD or phone 01592 770331 or Email to joejmurphy1@gmail.com REMEMBER THE J IN THE MIDDLE or log onto www.elimarpigeons.com www.fancierchat.co.uk www.pigeon-chat.co.uk who wish my weekly contribution portfolio on pigeon topics from Scotland
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