Types of Tosses “Developing Leaders Instead of Followers”
To this point we’ve discussed group tossing. This is where you take the whole team and release them at once. When the flock heads for home there is usually one or more leaders. At times the leaders will change. For the most part, there are a LOT of followers. Race winners are not followers. They are the first bird home, the cream of the crop they do not follow. They break away and head for home in the lead.
The next question is how do we develop leaders? Through alternative types of tosses other than the flock toss. I suggest doing this at any point after the birds are getting to the 20 mile mark. You can however do this at any time even after the season has started.
Small Group Tossing
Take the birds and start to break them down into smaller groups. Start by breaking your team in half and letting two groups out separately. Just as you can teach birds good habits, you can teach them bad ones as well. Once you start breaking the birds down you have to find a way to ensure each group leaves and heads for home before the next group is released. I have waited as long as 15-30 minutes and out of nowhere a group that disappeared out of sight returns and joins up with the group you have just released. Now, you have spent more time than you normally would for a flock toss and accomplished the same thing you would have if you hadn’t let the birds go in a small group.
How do you fight this? You can try releasing each group from a separate location. Let one group go and then drive 5 miles either way of the line of flight and let the next group go. It will allow for the time to go by that you would be waiting to release the next group and hopefully it will help prevent the groups from getting together.
After the birds are doing well in smaller groups try breaking them down into even smaller groups such as 7-9 birds, 3-5 birds. Once you are down in the the really small groups you are developing many more leaders instead of a pack of followers. Don’t be surprised if you lose young birds in training, as some just don’t have a strong homing instinct and they can just get by following the flock. It’s also possible to get 3 followers together who aren’t very good and they will get lost. Try to mix the groups up so you are not releasing the same birds in the same group each time. Small group tossing will pay huge dividends down the road.
Single tossing is when you are letting one bird go at a time. Unlike small group tossing where you are trying to create and develop leaders, in single tossing you are ensuring that each bird is doing it on his own. You are also developing confidence in your birds. Just like small group tossing, you have to make strides to ensure the birds are not joining up. The best way to do this is to is to let a bird go, then drive a few miles and let the next one go. You can also choose a good location where you can spend hours doing something else and let a bird go every 30 minutes or so.
Single tossing is a lot of work and some people don’t have the time. But it has it’s benefits.
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