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The psyche of humans and pigeons (24-01-2020)

Since the back surgery was expensive and risky as well I was supposed to have a talk with a shrink. I was shocked when I saw her. How young she was. ‘Do you consider yourself as a normal person?’ was her first question. Hmm. I have two ears, two eyes, two legs, two hands and one d…k. Sounds pretty normal, but always having pain in a leg is not. Therefore I said ‘reasonably normal.’ ‘Do you mind that you always suffer from pains?’ she went on. What a silly question. Was this a shrink? I said nothing, just shrugged.


‘You are annoyed by my questions, aren’t you? They would also annoy me Ad, but I have to ask them. I hope you do not mind when I say ‘Ad’. ‘Not at all. You may call me whatever you want’ and indecently glanced at her wealthy bosom. The cleavage was so low that one of the two might escape any moment I thought, feared, hoped. ‘Sonja’ it said on her left breast. It also could have been her right, hard to remember since they were identical as far as I could judge.

‘May I call you Sonja?’ ‘PeopIe called me names that were worse. I just want to learn and know you better. Many depressions are related to pains.’ ‘But I am not depressed at all, madam’, I said. She nodded, wrote something down in her note book and said ‘that is good enough’ for now. ‘Does that mean that my operation goes on?’ The shrink: ‘That is not up to me, but it is clear you are intelligent and charming.’ She also said my I. Q. was 280, but you should not take that too seriously. Shrinks often exaggerate. I think she meant 180. But ‘intelligent and charming?’ She was a good person, I thought. A very good person.


So she wanted to know me better? Well, that is exactly what many fanciers should do with their pigeons. You cannot learn that by reading or from a friend, but in the loft, amongst your pigeons. There you learn to know ‘the soul’ of your birds, which is important indeed.

Trust and tame pigeons is important. But you need not exaggerate.  


Pigeons like to stick together. They do not want to be locked up, it makes them stressful and nervous. Being locked up is something they must learn, so never do that on basketing day. That natural tendency to stick together you sometimes see when birds get home from a race. A stray bird follows yours and may even get into the loft with yours.

The use of droppers as well is based on this instinct to stick together. You also see it on racing days when bunches of pigeons fly over. They are together, but should not, unless their lofts would be in line with each other, which cannot be the case of course. The majority of those birds are wrong. Only those on the lead in that group have the correct direction. It is those birds that I would like to have.  


Before mating the racers some fanciers already have a partner in mind for each of them. Nothing wrong with that but never force a bird to accept the partner that you have in mind for him or her. A partner against own free will cannot possibly motivate birds in the races.


Pigeons need attention and the fancier should see and feel things. Once Boeckx wanted to use a cock of mine. When he came to pick it up he asked me which box was his in my loft. Right below? Left on top? And indeed, such things you need to know when you move pigeons to another loft. Another example of ignorance:

Once a fellow fancier asked me to have a look at his ‘Whiteflight’. Something must be wrong with it, since it did not achieve any more. When he opened the door of the loft I already saw what was wrong. The bird sat on the floor. And pigeons ’on the floor’ are in poor shape. He was lucky that he did not lose it.

Better Always wear the same clothes when dealing with your birds.


Are perches in the loft okay or not? It depends. They do not belong in the loft of racers, but you do need them in breeding lofts. Pigeons are hygienic by nature. They need an extra place. You may see them leave their nest in order not to shit in their own nest box. So when you breed from your racers remove the perches after breeding.


The interior is important for the form and the fancier is part of it. He should be ‘one’ with the pigeons. This is not the case when the birds fear him, which is mostly the fault of the fancier. There may be pigeons that are scared by nature, but very few. Most of them were made scared by the thoughtless handler.

Just see how some grab a bird. They carefully approach it, hands behind their heads and then ‘boem’ they strike. How can you expect such birds to hurry home from a race. Something silly like letting a bird free after they handled it is something that some fanciers do not control. They just drop the bird, not realizing what exertions it takes for the bird to land on its legs. A successful racer makes his lofts as agreeable as possible for the birds.


Leo Heremans has a kind of shelf in the loft, placed about one meter from the floor. When he is breeding and the babies are about 16 days old he puts them, still in the nestbowl, on this shelf. And whenever he enters the loft he kindly strokes the babies. Thus he will build up a good relationship with them. When I myself enter my young bird loft I always have a little can in my hand in which there are some sweets, grit and peanuts. I put a bit of that on the roosts. Pretty soon they will know this and whenever I reach out my hand they fly up to it, since they know I have a treat for them. And, you will not believe it, then some cocks even start cooing to welcome me. Yet I am not a softy for them. ‘An iron hand in a silk glove’ they say here.

 Needless to say Charles' birds are good trappers.