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Clever things 2 (13-11-2021)

Here are some tips that might help you. It is not advice because there are several roads to Rome and everyone decides for himself what he thinks is best and what he does. So no more than some ideas gained from fellow sportsmen where they proved useful.

In 2 weeks the breeding season starts an soon after many fanciers will enter the lofts again in the morning frightened that eggs have been broken (again). And you will always see, 'always from the best'. Why are they especially destroyed during 'winter breeding'? Easy. The lights have been on and stayed on until well into the evening while they were breeding and then… then suddenly popped out.
The pigeons are not (yet) all in their place, are surprised by the sudden dark, want to fly into the box, but fly into the wrong, resulting in fights and broken eggs the next morning. Not bad luck, as we tell ourselves. Not enough thought!

What you can do is use lamps that dim slowly. Or, and that's even easier and just as effective: You start lighting very early in the morning, or say late at night. About 3 a.m.
With a timer of course. You leave the lights on all day (included on dark days that don't invite mating) and you turn off the lights around 3:30 PM. Thus nature is now followed and it becomes dark very gradually. It's like "alternative" darkening or lighting. And you will have no more broken eggs.

Darkening youngsters (and nowadays also many old ones) is normally started around 5 pm or 6 pm. Till 8 or 9 a.m. the next day.
Now those times can be very inconvenient for a variety of reasons. No problem, there is another option, practiced by several very good players.
You start darkening between 3 and 4 pm and lift it late in the evening when it is dark. 'Lifting' is actually not the correct name, you do not lift anything, it remains dark but you take away the materials that you use to darken.

Thus, in the morning with the light, the youngsters wake up again "naturally." The disadvantage is that you have to start early. Because if you are used to releasing the pigeons only after noon, it can be problematic to have them back in before 3 p.m.

For championships in particular, clocking nominated birds is very important. You don't become a national champion by playing the best, but by getting the best nominated birds. It can be simple, but it can also be extremely difficult. I still remember the year I became provincial champion for the first time. I was so proud, but a bit ashamed at the same time. In the club where they used a different calculation, my birds performed no more than average. It was clubmate Charles S who destroyed the races, not me.
At the time I had 3 or 4 reasonably good birds, Charles had a loft full of very good ones. And as I also had a lot of junk, it was not difficult for me to score with my pick (nominated) birds. That was a real problem for Charles. I seldom did it wrong, he seldom did it right.

Turning on your 'electronic clocking systen' when pigeons are being trained can be a clue. Don't such pigeons arrive with many at the same time? Of course they do. But the clock can still be useful. Pigeons that came in first, although the difference was barely seconds, seem to have more condition, more motivated, more driven.

H from Zeeland became 1st Champion in 2021. He owed this to his nominated birds that were mostly among his first birds from a race. Midweek, when he trained the birds, he checked which ones were most in a hurry to come in and those became his nominated pigeons.  

We talked, what else would you talk about in 2021, about the inexplicable losses of youngsters, even in good weather. My friend was referring to a well-known champion who went to toss his youngsters almost every day, always from the same place, about 35 km from the home loft. And it paid off. The youngsters arrived from a flight sometimes by the dozen to destroy the race, but it also happened that dozens of youngsters were lost from the same flight. That friend thinks both have to do with the way the champion tossed his birds.
According to him, pigeons that always fly the same route for the last 30 kilometres may win but also get lost forever.
If the still inexperienced baby is on the wrong track for some reason, so not on their familiar route, they can get upset and get lost. And that while loft mates from the same flight stunt.

Successfully purchasing pigeons is often also a matter of a kind of psychoanalysis. Trying to think like the seller, or, in case of making choices, try to find out which pigeons the man you want birds from would rather not get rid of. Or which are his favorites. An example that I experienced myself.

Fellow fancier Tijmen asked me in the last century for advice; where he could best get reinforcements. I sent him to an unknown fancier, but it worked out well. So I gained his trust and that is why he called me again around the turn of the century with the same question. I advised Leo Heremans and Gust Janssen. We drove to Gust together.
Tijmen bought a round of youngsters there and when Gust put the pigeons in the basket I noticed that he was looking at a blue hen for an extra long time.

He even, without saying a word, took it back from the basket and looked at it again. Anyway, to make a long story short, this hen, 01-067, was in my loft that evening, by mutual consent. She mated with the 230, a brother of Ace Four, and the breeding results were bizarre. Also in Taiwan. Until today I get requests for off spring of 067.

Buying pigeons is also a matter of trust. That's why I often say:

‘You should not look into the eyes of that pigeon, look into the eyes of the fancier. You can learn more from that.”