BASIC TRAINING OF THE YOUNG RACER
Few will make leading old birds - it is the sobering nature of race reality. On open loft a 40-mile first toss may be fine, assuming the young birds have ranged for miles. New starters should start them off at, say, 5 miles and build up the birds and their own confidence. If they come fit and well then you are on the right track with loft and management. To win young bird races I like some nice long tosses, enough to swell the bodies yet not to overstress them or make them vulnerable to young bird sicknesses, of which there is plenty and may knock you for six. I now realize the benefits of individual private training. A lot can happen in flight and en route, yet it pays to focus on the ones that return. I like breeders that produce multiple returns from any tosses. Contentment at home is of great importance. Some specialists train the birds from all poles on the compass to maximize their experience and I can see the wisdom in this practice. I do like all the birds to have returned singly where possible, yet speed is often a consequence of group flying. I never starve the young birds ever.
Jim Emerton. August 2015
BASIC KNOWLEDGE FOR THE MARATHON FANCIER
The tackling of races beyond 700 miles involves an onerous proposition, yet sometimes many birds are recorded. It is down, in part, to the skill of the fancier in relation to the quality of the bird. Young birds need to fly and grow, fly and grow - they will do this with a few tosses and being fed as you would feed the marathon old birds: up to the hilt on carbs/fats/proteins and supplements and no darkness/lightness systems - natural all the way through. Test all the yearlings at around 450 miles in time on the wing endurance training and see what comes: what are their origin and breeding; are they bred by yourself? The returnees will inspire your confidence to build them up for a 700-mile race in stages of increasing distances in a gradual build-up as 2-year-olds an over. Persist in this practice and philosophy and you could do well if your total management of the right birds is correct. It is a daunting concept and prospect for the initiate and takes great persistence and dedication, yet plenty do it and become specialists at it.
Jim Emerton. August 2015
BASIC REASONS FOR LOSSES
The reasons for losses are many and not always known. I have seen some experienced birds just fly off for good, leaving the top of the loft as though they meant it. Many environmental hazards exist such as wires, obstacles, shooting and predation as well as capture by strangers. I feel that many birds are unfit, will not navigate, do not like home and just stay away. Increases in distances of the race points are very selective, especially coupled with fog, head winds and rain and/or temps over 30 degrees C. Many young birds clash, go over or fly with the wind in the wrong direction. Wise to focus on the birds that return, bearing in mind past performances and breeding. Over a long career with birds some losses for various reasons are par for the course. Per relative numbers sent, perhaps losses are greater now - perhaps the air waves make a difference?
Breed plenty and see what comes.
Jim Emerton. September 2015
Mid Island Racing Pigeon Association
Duncan , BC V9L 2M5