The other day I posted a post called “Training Racing Pigeons – From the Beginning to the Roof” where we covered things such as beginning training techniques, when to start letting them out of the loft, roof training, what to do if your birds sit out over night and nightflights. In today’s article I wanted to continue our discussion on training and talk about the training crate, and road training.
Learning to “Drive”?
In these first days on the roof is the funnest time to watch the pigeons. It is also the time to pull out your hair or learn patience. The bird will first flap their wings and sort of hover in short burst. Then they will fly off the roof and make small little circles and land again. After a while they will start to fly for short times. Eventually this will lengthen to longer periods of flight. This is the most entertaining time to watch your birds. As they start to fly around the loft at first as a group of individuals and later they will start to group up in a flock. At times they will do crazy things. There will be midair collisions as the flock makes turns to attempts to avoid objects. There will be crazy dives when you swear they are going to hit things. Yes, sometimes they WILL hit things. Don’t worry…this part is taken care of as they will learn to fly as a flock and get control of that huge natural engine mother nature gave them.
The Training Crate
Your birds are loft flying and routing. Hopefully you are really enjoying them. Now you are also feeling the anxiety as you know it’s soon time to start basket training them. There’s a young bird race schedule around the corner and you have to be ready for the first race. Most instructions on training skip this part of training. I think to most they really don’t think about it but they naturally include the introduction to the training crate as part of their training. The birds should be put in the training crates and left alone for a hour or more. Long enough for them to get used to the cramp quarters. The crate is a different environment as they have no proclaimed territory here. They will fight if they feel a another bird is too close to them. After a while they will settle down. Just like the loft, the roof and the neighborhood they are getting to know this environment too. It is best that they get familiar with this crate before the first training toss.
The birds are routing, they’ve been introduced to the training crates. It’s time to start road training. Road training has several purposes. First is to teach the birds their surrounding area. Most programs call for you to start road training in the direction that you will be racing from. The second purpose it to condition them. Like a weight lifter doesn’t start bench pressing 300 lbs but starts at a lightweight and over time builds to a higher weight this is how were are going to training our birds. First train them approximately 1 mile from the loft. This may be difficult depending on where you live to find a decent release site that is free of wires, trees, buildings, fences etc. You want to find a place that is free of most of these obstacles. Sometimes a large parking lot like a shopping mall early in the morning is a great place if their are not people and cars around. Give them at least three tosses where they are heading straight home. Also do not release them after they have eaten as food is about the only motivator for getting home at this time. After they have made at least three successfu tosses you can move them out to 3 miles, 5 miles, 10 miles, 20 miles, 40 miles, etc. Do not jump to the next distance until they have made three successful tosses at each training location. This is what I call THE CONFIDENCE METHOD. The goal here is to develop confidence in the birds. Also in doing this you are getting them slowly conditioned for each jump in distance. After 40 or 50 miles that they are training well, they are ready for the 100 mile races.