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Sometimes people say, "those who make the least mistakes will race the best" and

it must be said, there"s something in there.

Mistakes are, after all, made by all people that are not under the ground.
Therefore reading, listening and keeping eyes open for new developments are so important. It can be no coincidence that nearly all the great champions in both Holland and Belgium are subscribed to pigeon magazine "De Duif" in which I have my weekly column.


The birds of a friend looked poor, which he must have noticed himself, because he had them checked by a vet the day before

"Nothing was wrong".

"Nothing wrong" means not sick, but "not sick" does not mean in good shape.

Then I found why the birds looked so poor. The man was road training his birds every day and every time the hens were shown.

And that was not it. During my visit, the pigeons flew around the loft. It was late in the evening, it was raining and there was a cold wind. The wind was not really the problem. However the rain was.

Pigeons that are wet become dry by moving. At night they do not move, so they stay wet which is an outright attack on the form. So what did the man do wrong?

He let his racers out every evening, regardless the weather, which is not real smart indeed. Furthermore you need not go on the road with old experienced birds so often. Three or four times will do.


Now that I am writing this my babies are 8 weeks old and do not fly one meter.

I must admit I put the first and second round together in one loft which is far from ideal. Is it problematic when babies do not train when they are about 8 weeks old?

Some people THINK it is a problem.

And they wonder if their birds should be medicated or be forced to train by means of  a ball or flag?

Neither of the two. Because what they worry about is NOT a problem.

I remember Serge van Elsacker. His birds did not train either when they were even 3 months old. He did not worry and later on it turned out he was right.

The same birds that seemed to be too lazy to even leave the roof performed real well that year. And what is the use of medicating against canker if there is no canker?

The less you medicate the greater the effect will be IF you medicate


There are quite a few people who think that babies that get lost and enter another loft are worth nothing. Therefore, they will not get them back.

Are they right?

There are too many examples that show they are not.  

Take Armand Schoolmeesters for arguments" sake.

Once he had a baby that got into another loft after every toss

Till he got tired of picking it up from everywhere. He locked it up and he never understood why but he also bred some babies of it.

And guess what?

The bird that was too stupid to find its way home even from 5 kilometers only became the basic breeder of the loft. It produced one super after the other.

Most fanciers let their babies out for loft training at about the same time.

That is fine. One hour later or earlier does not make much difference, but there are limits. I clearly remember what happened to Klak once.

It was a nice summer day. He and his wife wanted to go to the seaside so he let out his babies early in the  morning. Half of them got lost. And then there"s something more:

What some people do when they can retrieve a pigeon that got lost is wait for good weather before they release it again.
Nothing wrong with waiting some time so that such a bird can acclimatize.

But you should not let such birds out when the weather is fine, on the contrary.
The best thing to do is let such a bird out later in the day, along with other pigeons  and even better in dark rainy weather.

Thus you improve your chances to not lose it again.


Another mistake, mainly made by novices, is buying OLD pigeons from fanciers who do not quit.

Completely wrong, especially when you buy on line from a man that you do not know.

Only fools keep their average birds and sell their best. Forget the seducing words that are used in ads.

Novices buy such birds since they have no patience. They want to breed from them as soon as possible, especially if the pedigree is promising.

What they do not realize is that the majority of pigeons is no good, regardless the pedigree. "No patience" is also the reason they buy the wrong babies.

They want them early in the year, from the 2d or 3rd round if possible.

But the truth is that the longer you wait the better your chances are to get good birds.

I need early breeds from my best for myself. Would others be different?  


There was also this believer in vitamins for racers. Racers do not need them, but anyway. Once I saw him busy dissolve them in warm water.

They will dissolve indeed but very soon nothing is left of your vitamins.

Now you may understand why putting the drinker into full sunlight is also wrong. Both vitamins and medicine will expire soon and what you also do then is contribute to an outbreak of canker. Trichomoniasis develop best in warm water!

Another mistake that some make is leave empty nestboxes open.

Nest boxes that are not inhabited should always be closed, if not you ask for trouble.

Drinkers should not in the sputnik in warm weather.


Also watch out to give the required doses if you administer medications. This fact is inextricably linked to the amount of water that pigeons drink.

A good vet will always refer to the weather when it comes to medicating.  
For example :
Normally a teaspoon per gallon, less in hot weather, more in cold weather.

That"s why a good vet will never advise to medicate in winter. Birds hardly drink then and therefore get too little of the drug .
And "too little of the drug" is much worse than (a bit ) too much.
And do not forget: If the medicine is fluid always shake the bottle thoroughly before use. Simple? Indeed. But you have no idea how many people overlook "simple things" because they seem so simple.

Interior of the racing loft of A. S.  Empty boxes are locked up.