Give them a boost
It is just unbelievable what I have tried throughout the years to make my pigeons fly faster.
- Before basketing I put another cock in the box of a widowhood cock.
- I put some extra eggs under a pair that was breeding.
- I put mirrors in the nest boxes so that the bird that was breeding there would feel threatened.
- And so many more things I did with always that one goal:
To motivate the birds to make it home faster.
I already started with it in my childhood. With tricks that I learnt from half drunk fellow fanciers in smoky clubhouses. Those were guys who believed it what they tried to learn me or who just wanted to show off.
But unfortunately very few of those so called tricks worked.
When I put a mirror in a nest box the pigeon who was breeding there did not get mad at his own reflection but ran away from its nest.
When I put extra eggs in the nest the bird looked at me as it she wanted to say "do not you need a doctor?"
By means of these "tricks" I even managed to turn good birds into average birds. And I began to believe that old champion who always said:
"I do not believe in extra motivation. For me only 2 things are important:
- Birds are in good shape or they are not.
- Birds are good or no good.
The rest is BS. "
This man was a real champion and from real champions you can learn more than from half drunk fanciers in smoky cafes.
Inside the loft of Janssen Brothers Arendonk. Notice the extra perches.
But this does not mean there is nothing we can do to improve our race results.
I often write that the love for its own territory is the most important quality of a good pigeon.
As for me it is more important than a strong back or whatever.
In nature films you can see how animals fight themselves to death to defend their territory. As if they are humans who eliminate each other for a piece of ground. This happened in the days of Ceasar, Napoleon, Hitler and in Isra'l today.
If the territory is so important it stands to reason that the loft must be agreeable and liveable for the birds.
Verkerk once said:
"If I do have a secret it is this: I do whatever I can to make sure my pigeons feel comfortable and happy in the loft".
Furthermore I do not believe you can create super condition in just one day.
Whatever you do to motivate the birds, you need to build it up step by step.
Once an old fancier but still a great champion invited me to pay him a visit.
I did not say no. From people who have raced so well for so many years you can learn and learn is what I always wanted.
When I was in his loft he asked me if I did not see anything special.
I did my best, but there was nothing I found special.
'Count the birds' he said then.
So I did and then, ups, I understood!
13 Birds, 12 boxes.
'That is my secret' he said and went on:
"Of course you need good birds in the first place but a 13th bird in a loft with 12 nest boxes may have amazing results.
Naturally you need to feed the birds individually in their boxes. The 13th bird also wants to eat and will fly from one box into the other.
The result is that the birds will feel threatened and believe me, the hatred for the intruder has a greater effect than the love for the partner.
Two pigeons that want the same box or territory may make them winners!
But you should keep control. A cock that lost a fight for its nest box will be finished as a racer."
Those were the words of the old champion and I must admit; I have heard greater nonsense than that.
Some leave a nest box empty in the loft for the racers. They close it off and open it every now and then in the racing season.
The birds in the loft smell a new territory and again the result may be amazing.
L FORM AND PERCHES
Some fanciers have the nestboxes against two sides of the loft, in the form of an L. Or they put them right opposite each other, like Kris Cleirbauts.
It may increase the rivalry in the loft and thus the condition.
As mentioned before it may be useful to open an empty nestbox during the racing season but what you can also do is hang some perches not to far from a nest box. It has a double effect.
Some pigeons want to seize that perch and make it theirs, others whose box is near the perch may feel threatened.
All these things will have a greater effect than vitamins or other useless stuff that many fanciers give their birds.
Talking about the loft some fanciers keep their birds on a floor grill.
Thus they need not scrape the loft and they save time.
If the loft is dry there is nothing against it. The late Maurice Voets had such grills and what a great racer he was.
My first grills were from iron.
For aviaries they are acceptable but they are no good for lofts of racers. The feathers may get damaged and birds do not feel comfortable on it.
Grills of plastic or wood are much better.
The ideal distance between the laths is 22 millimeters.
If it is less the dung will not fall through it, when it is more than 22 millimeters the birds will have problems walking on it.
You need good birds in the first place to be successful, but good birds alone is not enough. The environment of the birds, I mean the loft, also makes a difference!