Do you understand (part 2 of 2)
One of the biggest mysteries in modern pigeon racing are the inexplicable and massive losses of young birds. At least in Holland and Belgium. If, some decades ago, we wanted to race 40 babies, we bought 45 bands. And after the season we had 35 babies left. Or more. How different it is now. Fanciers that lose “only” half of their babies are the lucky ones. The "why" is as incomprehensible as the odd things that may happen. There”s that guy who had trained his birds very well. Then came that fateful day in May. He let his youngsters out and was amazed. They behaved quite differently from normal. They did not fly away in a straight line, as they always did, no this time they flew in circles, higher and higher. Until they were hardly visible and then disappeared from sight completely to never come back. At least two third of them. And those were babies that were trained several times from 20 kilometres. Is not it incomprehensible? It”s a bit like what happened to that fellow sportsman.Last year he had tossed his babies 15 times from the same place, 20 kilometres away from home. The 16th time 50 babies from 85 got lost. A man who has more questions than answers
ONE BY ONE
The following thing happened to myself. I had tossed my 35 babies from 12 kilometres in nice weather. Only 3 hours later the first bird got back home. Then came another one. And later on again another one. In fact ALL of them arrived one by one. Not even once 2 birds arrived together. What, I wondered, inspired those pigeons to leave the others?
Another strange thing that happened to me: My young birds had had 5 races and for the 6th race a 3 months old baby that had never seen the basket from the inside was entered by accident. How such a thing could happen is a long story, but anyway: This bird I could forget, I thought. And guess what? This completely unexperienced baby arrived 2 minutes before all others. Then I did something that you should not do with youngsters: I looked at the pedigree. The bloodline was real good, this must be a super, I thought. And for a moment I forgot that the bloodlines of all my birds are good. But nevertheless I am like everybody else: I breed more bad birds than good ones. Even from my best birds. I was also convinced of the quality of that inexperienced baby because arriving ahead of the rest could not have been a matter of “luck”. It was impossible that it had flown home with others because I race at the greatest distance, which means my birds have to make it home alone the last 15 kilometres. But I was wrong. The bird turned out to be no different from the majority. That means no good.
The accident is reminiscent of what happened to me in 2014. From the very first training toss, from 4 kilometres only, I lost one baby. "Nice clearance ““ I thought. "If the rest gets home so easily, there is no excuse for you.” Shortly afterwards, the bird was reported by a fancier who lived in the town of Helmond, 75 kilometres East. Since I wanted to be polite I drove to Helmond to pick up that baby. Five weeks later: I tossed another round of babies, again from 4 kilometres, and took with me that bird that was lost before. And guess what? It got lost again and… again it was reported by the same man from Helmond. Too stupid (?) to get home from 4 kilometres, but smart enough to fly back to a loft 70 kilometres far away in which it had only been a few days? Incomprehensible again.
Old soldiers never die but keep on wondering
After reading the above, you may understand that many fanciers here have double feelings about tossing. Some train their babies numerous times in order to limit losses, but finally they find they lose as many babies as those that are less fanatic “tossers”. Those fanciers that do not believe in intensive training say: Fewer tosses means fewer chances to lose. Personally I think the best way is to train the birds well but enough is enough. At least in Holland and Belgium.
Talking about incomprehensible things, there is this Antwerp Champion. He had that older cock that had been a real good racer for 7 years. Only one thing was wrong with it. None of his babies could win a prize. Naturally he did not kill a bird that had been such an excellent racer. But then, when 8 years old, it suddenly produced a real good bird. And then another and another again, with different hens .The bird that only gave crap before changed into the best breeder of the loft.
Is it a must to train babies intensively? Most champions doubt it. At least in Holland and Belgium.
Then there is the man-woman partnership. They race very well and believe they owe their successes to hygiene and hygiene only. The vacuum cleaner, mop and burner are used maniacally. And "guess what?" No one else in the club has so many “health problems”. Early 2016 no less than 14 babies died from Adeno. Even some old hens were among them. Adeno 2 was to blame, which is infinitely worse than the “normal” Adeno. One day they produce bright yellow watery droppings, the following day they are dead. Of course, you cannot scratch the viruses and bacteria from your loft. But why, of all people, those hygienic fanciers got so many problems? It seems as undeserved as hard to understand.