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More than words Part 3

This is Part 3 of a series of articles, which are graced by photos. Photos may make things more clear than words. They may bring the news or may be interesting since they are old and historic. Hopefully you will enjoy both articles and photos.

I stated before how much the environment (the loft climate) influences the health of pigeons but the interior is important as well because it may contribute to the motivation of birds.
Since the fancier is in the loft so often he is kind of part of the interior and therefore his birds should have confidence in him.
If they fly against the windows or out of the loft when he enters, or even worse; if they try to escape between his legs he is not a good handler.
A good pigeon man has no trouble catching a bird and certainly he will not chase them. Especially in young bird racing a good contact between the man and his pigeons is a must.

When I watch somebody else’s birds come from a race the way the man behaves tells me a lot about him.
He may have nerves, nothing wrong with that.
If he is a smoker he make smoke double, that is also normal and there is nothing wrong with it either if he visits the toilet more often Those are signs of positive stress, a proof that he cares.
On the other hand; when I see a fancier sitting quite relaxed in an easy chair when awaiting birds from a race I know he is NOT a champion.
As I said, some nerves are normal but pigeons should not be aware of that. They are not stupid; they will notice quite well if a fancier behaves differently and that will make them trap badly another time.
Some fanciers have such a bad contact with their birds that they have to hide when they are on the point of trapping.
Poor fancier and poor pigeons.
When birds get home I myself stand right under the ‘sputnik’, at the place where I always stand.
Seeing me alone must be a sign for the birds to hurry in.
What I want to say is that a fancier should always be himself, preferably wearing the same clothes.
After a race it is often the same persons that complain.
‘The bird was on time but why on earth did HE have ‘bad luck’ again? Why did HIS birds lose time flying around or sitting on the roof?’
That is seldom a matter of ‘bad luck’ though.

Those guys are no pigeon men; good pigeon men seldom have such ‘bad luck’. On getting home my birds look like attacking the loft.
Therefore I would advise birds of fellow fanciers to be ahead of mine; if not they are beaten.
This fast trapping is not in the nature of my or other birds, they do not trap because they find me good looking and it is not in the nature of other birds to be scared and lose time!
Pigeons are MADE scared and they are MADE tame and disciplined.
In the loft a good handler moves as if in ‘slow motion’ and he grabs a bird calmly, often with one hand only.
When I am in a hurry I stay away from the loft if possible since I know myself.
If I want to take a bird and it escapes a second try would be more roughly!
Some slowly put their hands behind their heads if they want to catch a bird, they get closer and then ‘bang’ they suddenly attack with both hands.
There is no better way to lose its confidence in you for once and for all.
If you show respect to your birds they will give you much in return; fast trapping for example.

Nearly all champions in young bird racing have lots of spare time, such as teachers, or people who have a wife who takes an interest.
Someone with a full time job that hardly enables him to be amidst his birds may be a champion but NOT in young bird racing; since there is more to it than to feed and to train.
There is a saying ‘champions have the circle round and are as good as the strength of the weakest link’.
Quality, health, the loft, feed, motivation and birds that trust you are links of the circle.
Since ‘trust’ is so important I mostly have a treat in my pockets if I enter the loft.
That treat is stuff that pigeons love; a mix of grit, peanuts and small seeds.
When I reach out my hand to put it on a perch they fly up to it, since they know what it is going on.
How different do birds behave from a man that is not a good handler. When HE reaches out his hand the birds will fly away since it scares them.

In Holland and Belgium at least 90 percent race widowhood with old birds, so cocks only see their hens before and after the race.
Many think they hurry home in order ‘to make love’ to say it in decent words but I think their drive is not the hen but the love for their territory.
A nice example is that of world famous ‘Didi’ from Devos.
‘Didi’ had only one loft mate, which he loved as much as Bush loves Saddam.
One of the birds had to be locked up or they would have killed one another.
Then came that important race; as usual Devos had shown ‘Didi’ his hen before it was basketed and it won 1st National.
I forgot which but have not forgotten what Devos said about its homecoming.
‘Didi’ flew into the loft as if the devil himself was after him, but much to the surprise of Devos it not fly to the box in which his hen was waiting but to that of his ‘buddy’. He got him by the neck and dragged him through the loft like a dog does with a rabbit that he has just caught.
‘Having fun’ with its hen was the last thing he wanted as it seemed, he did not even look at her.

To get tame young birds their loft should be small so that they have little space.
‘Little space’ may motivate since they might feel their territory is threatened.
Another means to motivate is jealousy.
You can make pigeons jealous by giving a cock two hens or a hen two cocks.
How would you be if you were not home and suspected your lady to mess around with somebody else?
Get home like hell I guess.
With pigeons it is not much different.
Hens that are mated amongst each other can also do miracles.
Long way back I had two such hens.
Initially they loved each other but love changed into hatred when they were on eggs since they both wanted to keep them warm.
Especially in the evenings, when it is ‘breeding time’ for hens, they tried to push the other from the nest, their eyes spitting fire.
Then they were basketed for Orleans. There was blood in their eyes due to fighting and… the won 3rd and 12th National (1st and 2nd regional).
Christiaens from Belgium, nicknamed ‘the wizard’, experienced the same thing and from then on he encouraged hens to mate amongst each other.
Of course it does not work with all hens but IF it works the result may be spectacular.
So it does not take a hetero to be a winner, neither with pigeons nor with humans.


When waiting birds from a race some nerves is a proof that you care.

A good contact is a must, especially in young bird racing.

A ‘good contact’ should not be exaggerated. If birds are not scared for anything at all they may enter another loft when getting home hungry, thirsty or tired.

This old man handles his pigeons with care.

The feathers of these babies do not shine and the necks are rough. Birds like these have no chance in the races, regardless the quality.

A bird of the author before it won 1st National Orleans. You need not handle such one to judge its condition.

Late in the evening; both hens want to keep the eggs warm. Two days later they were to win an important race.

These hens were in Japan one week after this photo was made since they won 3rd and 12th from National Orleans, the greatest race in the world.