About time part 2
Many "bad trappers" are made so by the fancier who has little feeling for pigeons. Such a man does not calmly seize the pigeons but grabs or catches them roughly. A good handler is different. He is always himself and can always calmly grip a bird with one hand only.
If you have to grab them against a window, between your legs, or even worse, while flying, you cannot expect such birds to storm in after a race.
Moreover: How can you expect such birds love their territory?
And still is this an absolute must to build up form.
Many fanciers are not themselves when birds get back from a race. Nervously they walk up and down. They beg the birds with a breaking voice to get down and enter the loft. They do not behave like normal, even if they whistle the sound is different..
And if finally the birds have dared to land they may be pelted with food, or even worse little stones or sand if they do not hurry in.
Poor pigeon and poor pigeon fancier. I would not like to keep birds this way.
After a race pigeons should be received calmly at all times. Even if there is a first prize at stake.
Good young bird racing requires discipline.
You get discipline by means of feeding.
This does not mean that you should basket birds that are hungry. I often heard fanciers complain that their birds did not trap even though they had not fed them on basketing day.
Youngsters should have confidence in the boss. Such birds will trap better than birds that are afraid of the fancier or even more his hands .
My widowhood cocks have become much more manageable after I started feeding them separately.
By doing this they got confidence in me and my hands. These hands are not grabby things that scare them, on the contrary, they find that my hands provide the most essential necessities of life: food !
If you feed them separately they know soon what is going on. When you enter the loft and stretch out your hand to a nestbox they will fly up to your hands in which they expect food. You will be a welcome appearance .
You should take for granted that they sometimes fly into the wrong cell. It may even have a positive effect, since it can lead to motivation and form.
Many short distance races are not won by pigeons that made the highest speed on the day but by the birds that trap fastest.
When birds are basketed in the evening and are released early the next morning it is kind of normal that they make some rounds on arrival.
Concerning this I will never forget that visit that I once paid to Christiaens, nick named the Wizard.
I went there in the daytime on a Friday. I did not go in the evening because then he had to basket pigeons. At least that is what I thought.
However, to my surprise, he was already putting pigeons into the baskets .
" Already basketing birds now, Gust?"
"I always put the birds in the basket some hours before I take them to the clubhouse" he said.
"If you put them in the basket late in the evening they will not be eager to trap. This will change when they have been in the basket for a longer tome. Then they will be more motivated to make it home as fast as they can.
Furthermore this is an ideal method to check the condition. When they have been in the basket for some hours and you take them out you are often surprised to see how they have shaped up. Or the reverse of course.
Big lofts are no help to get tame and disciplined birds.
Therefore I was very surprised when I was at Gaston v d Wouwer for the first time.
His young bird loft is big but he still has tame birds. It shows how good a handler Gaston is.
Generally speaking tame birds in big lofts are exceptional.
In a big loft it is more difficult to grab the birds.
The consequence is birds that get scared. Another disadvantage of big lofts is that
pigeons easily sit on the floor which I do not like at all.
There is a simple way to do something about that: Make the loft smaller by means of a kind of railing. The pigeons will be tamer, will not sit on the floor, and, because they are closer to each other, will get more attached to their territory, their nest box or their perch.
A corridor is also very convenient.
You can leave windows open while the pigeons remain locked up and it is also convenient when there are visitors.
Interior of a loft of one of the greatest champion of Belgium: J Vercammen. He stopped
showing the partners when basketing. One of the best things he ever did he claims.
What also helps to make pigeons trap faster is so-called droppers: Those tame doves that do not fly around but always want to be in the loft.
All champions at short distance have such droppers.
And what about showing the partner on basketing day?
Will pigeons trap faster?
Champions think different about this.
There are great champions that will never basket birds without showing the partner, others do not believe in it.
Personally, I hardly think that a bird on its way home " think " " now hurry up, my partner is waiting for me."
Today I race so-called total widowhood, in the past it was the classical widowhood.
For many years I" ve always shown the partner.
Until I found that I was wasting my time.
It happened more than once that when birds got home from a race they flew into the wrong loft. That was the loft in which they had been as a baby. Or they flew into the "wrong" box, the box of a rival.
They had obviously long forgotten the partner.
The late William Geerts was supposed to be a specialist on widowhood.
"I will never basket a bird on widowhood that has not seen its partner" you could read in numerous loft reports about him.
Later on, however , he changed his mind. Because he discovered that it made no difference. Only more work !
When I asked Belgian Jos Vercammen what was the best thing he ever did to become such a great champion he said:
'Stop showing the partner before a race. What a lot of work was that, how stressful.
I would have gladly done this, I would do anything to win, but it is a waste of time.
" CONDITION "
It is well known that animals that we want to teach something first must do their job and only after that they will get the reward.
Think about circus animals like elephants, dolphins and also dogs, horses and so on. You do not give a horse a sugar cube before the jump, but after.
A dog gets a sweet AFTER he got that stick and not before.
As for pigeons the stay in the basket, the release and the coming home (in that order)
is called "conditioning".
Showing the partner BEFORE they are put into the basket does not fit in there. It only leads to restless pigeons.
If you do believe in "showing the partner" and you are successful just go on.
If only for your own peace of mind.
But I do not believe in it! Or rather, not any more!