Pigeon Training Methods From Hilsea Lofts
The question of training is largely a question of muscle and motion. Muscle develops or degenerates almost exactly in proportion to the amount of work they have to do. With a strong and vigorous constitution it is extrodinary to what degree muscle can be developed. But all excessive muscular development is slow work, and a big call on patience.
The feats of strong men which astound thier audience are all results of patients and persistent training over a course of years – not days or months, but years. In a similar manner, lack of exersize weakens any muscle or organ.
To race well it’s important to care for the birds and motivate them. There are two things that we cant buy, these are ‘racing form’ and MOTIVATION. These are the differences between winning and loosing.
Watch your pigeons when sitting. They look a picture, full of bloom, the colour stands out on the feathers, the eye flashes like a jewel and the wing looks as if it is glued to the body. You cannot get them better to do what you ask of them. You will know you have done your best to help them to win.
One of the keys to success is selection and it begins in the nest.
Any rough shelled or miss shaped eggs must be thrown away, when the youngsters are born there must be no problems. Tiny youngsters should not be given the chance to grow. If they dont have a good growth of feathers they have no future in the loft, if any pigeon does not perform well, get it out of your loft.
Good pigeons always have tight, elastic, springy muscles, silky feathering and must always be prize winners. Take care of your pigeons, be good to them but demand performance. There is nothingmore dillusioning than racing each week and never winning. The big question is, when selecting, what must I take into consideration?
When selecting birds to mate I disregard their pedigree to a great extent and mate my birds according to what I think their suitability for each other is. The suitablity of two pigeons depends upon colour, shape, eye, feather and temprement. You need strain, blood, pedigre in a good pigon, but above all, you must breed to produce physique.
Breeding is one of the simplest parts of the game if you have a well ventilated loft, use good grain and common sense, but to succeed with the young you breed you must breed from strong, sound stock. Inbreeding, crossing and line breeding will all most always fail unless the parent stock is sound.
The pannier, steady training, racing, is the way the succesful fancier determines the soundness of his stock. He has no mercy for birds that fail time after time and come home crocked after a night out. The sound pigeon is not broken or affected by a night out. It quickley recovers strength, puts on weight.
The unsound pigeon is a different propersition. Afer a hard race or night out it is a miserable object for days and it takes weeks to recover from a really hard fly. When such a clear indication of unsoundness is shown the clever breeder does not waste time and energy breeding from such a bird.
Training with purpose
Training can be broken down into these three parts; exercise, schooling and training. Exercise is when you pick your birds and take them or send them for a toss to keep them trim. Schooling is teaching unraced pigeons to get used to the basket and homing after a journey away from the loft. Training is to train your pigeons to race home as fast as they can.
To exercise by basket without purpose can be very expensive and in most cases this can be done just as well at home. I start exercising and schooling my young birds from the age of 10 to 12 weeks old, starting from 3 miles, 5 miles, 10 miles until 3 weeks before the first young bird race and I always take some old birds with them as I dont expect the school boy to do a man’s job. 3 weeks before the first young bird race, I start training them from 20 miles in a group of 5 and then a group of 3 and 2’s twice a week. More if possible and no more taking old birds with them.
The tip of the week is to put speed into thier flight, so take your team to training in the mood to race home through nests, food or mates, in other words, anxious to return.
20 miles is far enough and at this stage, on the line of flight. Single-up, no circling and racing for home. Each one trying to catch the one in front, 20 pigeons can be got away in under ten minutes without joining up in the sky if you have got your team right, it is a fantastic sight at home end, when they arrive.
Start a Family
Put into your Loft 3 pairs of sprint to middle distance of the same strain, look for established strains that are known for winning as young birds in the first instance. Let this be your guide to a family that is easy to condition by exercise around the loft after the first 2 races.
Adapt a style of management that suites your time. Race them as they do 170 miles as a YB, 250 miles as a yearling and 400 miles and over as 2 year olds.
Feed good mixture at all times, change water as often as possible. Always keep your lofts clean and well ventilated. Dont purchase old pigeons, in years to come be strict on your selection. There is no place for the doubtfuls. Pair best to best, or daughter of your best cocks to your best cocks.
Make sure your birds have access to several types of grit, pickstones and minerals, especially during the breeding periods.