Old School vs New School   6 comments

Are you an Old School or a New School pigeon flier or a hybrid of the two?

Why am I asking you this you may ask? Well, with the long distance races almost over and a couple of hard ones from Timaru and ChristChurch to Auckland Federation Lofts it may be interesting wondering who has more traits of the Old School or New.

Old School fliers look forward to the hard races from ChristChurch i.e. 450 to 530 miles or Timaru 560 to 640 miles for Auckland Federation lofts. They want to sort their birds out and 38 mph or below is the speed they want for the winning birds to help ‘lose the crap’. Well we all need to reduce our numbers one way or another but I think that the

New School pigeon fliers are much softer and so are hybrids of old and new. Like the Old School fliers they don’t want to lose their best birds however when they win yet also lose 2/3rds of the birds they sent they feel it for the ones lost. Where are they? Which ones have perished in the mountain ranges of the South Island? Which have been picked off by falcons, cats, dogs or shot? Which have drowned at sea, which have hit wires and injured themselves or died? Which have starved to death, which have eaten poisoned grain left out by farmers for the feral pigeons? Which are in someone else’s loft or care and haven’t been reported?

In fact the New School flier would rather the birds are bought back to a shorter less risky distance because not only do they care for all the birds welfare but they are building a long distance team for the future and don’t want their team smashed to pieces because they enjoy the challenge of patiently building a long distance team up. Old school can’t see the point of having a race shorter than the allocated 5, 6, 7 or 800 miles. It’s just not a challenge for them as fliers and they call New School fliers soft.

The flier with more New School traits doesn’t mind waiting for better weather for their long distance liberations even if it means waiting for one week.  The flier with more Old School traits doesn’t want the hassle of waiting all those days and says flippantly ‘get them up’, ‘get on with it’.

If the liberator has more New School traits they will tend to go out of their way a bit more for the birds. Birds always come first.

New School fliers care about all their lost birds from the very long races and not just the “good ones’ or ‘favourites’ like those the Old School flier tends to only miss.

New School fliers are very quick and efficient at contacting the public when a stray is reported, the Old School flier may not be so quick especially if it isn’t one of their ‘favourites’ or ‘good ones’.

The Old School flier doesn’t like it when New School fliers stand up for the rights and welfare of the racing pigeons. They don’t like questioning of their procedure if they are an official and quickly try to ‘shut up dissenters’. The New School flier is proactive and listens to the viewpoints of all but is not scared to speak out when neccessary. They stand ‘with and for the pigeons’ and not ‘with the crowd of the Old Schoolers’ whose birds are coming home over rugged mountainous terrain while they are inside nice and warm without a ‘care in the world’ thinking ‘that’ll sort em out, I want to lose some!’

The New School flier is always trying to promote the sport and attract fliers into it. They go out of their way and visit schools and talk to people about the fascinating sport of pigeon racing while the Old School flier has given up on getting anyone new into the sport.

New School fliers are usually kind and soft and thoughtful/mindful of the needs of others. Old School fliers are only mindful of themselves and their close nit circle of mates.

Old School and New School fliers are seldom close friends as they are too different and clash on bird welfare in the racing, especially the long distance.

So enough of Old School and New School and their differences. We’ve all got to get on together and find the middle road. Don’t think I’m getting at anyone in particular. We’ve all got a bit of the ‘Old’ and ‘New’ School in us and sometimes we don’t even recognise it! Sometimes even the Old School flier is right, but not when he encourages the ‘bashing’ of the pigeons by encouraging racing when race conditions favour only the very best, fittest, strongest and luckiest if he is traversing the cold misty Mountain Ranges of the South Island while the Old School flier is warm and cosy and not even worrying about their birds.

Don’t know about you but I know who I’d want as an owner if I was a racing pigeon, a New School flier!! And hope that the liberators are more New School than Old School!!

Footnote-if you are an Auckland flier please comment as we’ve had a couple of difficult weekends racing and it is healthy to discuss these matters so please use this forum, I don’t mind if you vent your spleen!! We all need to take a mature attitude to these liberation matters and listen carefully to each others viewpoint and not become too polarised.

We also need to be proactive and set systems in place to prevent the bashing of pigeons without ‘bashin’ the people who have given us poor liberation outcomes in the recent past, even if its unintentional.

Race reports on the Timaru are in editing and last weeks ChristChurch also. I haven’t finished interviewing Mac Armstrong but I do have the Invercargill results from 2005 which was the last time I sent birds to it. 2005 and 2006 there were no birds in race time, but the last 4 years has been much better.

My health restricts the time I can spend on this blog i.e. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (see http://thesethree.com) otherwise known as Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome i.e. my immune system is overactive caused by severe glandular fever when I was 16 and perhaps a genetic predisposition to an overactive immune system. This is common in some Scottish people who evolved in very crowded cities where disease was rampant and thus people with very strong immune systems were selected for.

In the scotsman.com Packard believes this overactive immune system has developed in poorer communities by being inherited over generations.

He claims that children with more aggressive biological defenses were better able to survive potentially deadly Victorian-era diseases such as measles and so were able to pass on this trait to their own children.

This has led to large swathes of deprived communities who have lived for generations in the same area, now suffering from high levels of immune activity. While this can provide protection during childhood against diseases, it causes additional stress to the body in adulthood, which causes it to age far faster.

However in saying this my father’s father who I probably inherited it from had crap health but lived to the ripe old age of 94! So you pigeon fliers in Auckland might have to put up with me and my upfront outspoken nature for a lot longer!!

Posted December 12, 2011 by ferguselley in Food for thought

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6 responses to “Old School vs New School

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  1. Just to clarify the term ‘Old School’ guys. It has nothing to do with the age of the pigeon fancier. A 70 or 80 year old fancier could be much more ‘New School’ than ‘Old School’. New School in pigeon racing is being proactive and moving with the modern times of ‘speaking up for the pigeons who cannot speak for themselves and ensuring just treatment for them’. i.e. being kind to them.

    Guys worldwide, none of you ought to feel I’m judging anyone. I also need to keep working on being kind to my pigeons, improving their care, not allowing undue suffering of my birds here at home or anywhere.

  2. I would be a new school racer if I was a pigeon racer. I’d be more worried about the pigeons than about anything else.

    • I think you would keep them at home and feed them from your hand and talk to them in that bird language you know:-) The only safe place for a pigeon you don’t want to lose is in the breeding loft as it is always tempting to send a bird ‘just one more time’!

  3. Is a long distance race the best platform for testing the quality/capability of ones pigeons? I don’t know, but my common sense says no! Not every pigeon has the inherent ability to withstand/cope with the adverse conditions that nature can present us with over the race course. It is not only the distance that the birds must conquer but the extra hours on the wing because of weather conditions that then becomes the major limiting factor for all competitors. If the race becomes such a trial that no birds make their loft on the first day, another set of conditions then comes into the equation, did the bird obtain a drink, was it fortunate to find a safe, dry place to roost over night, was it the faster bird on the first day but overtaken on the second day by other slower moving birds who expended less energy and therefore still had some reserves etc. etc? All unanswerable perhaps, we can only guess and maybe thank our lucky stars if we did in fact get a bird. Probably a good portion of none other than luck has a fair say in the outcome of such a race as this and if this is so, any judgement that we make as to the quality of the bird might be somewhat flawed! Sure on a good day with a fair wind many birds complete some long distance events well and in fact may even cover themselves (and their owners) with glory, but the new-generation pigeon fancier would be one who realises that these long races are often fraught with danger and therefore enters only those that he considers up to the task and able to a least have some sort of chance should nature decide to deal us inclement conditions. Quite a number of birds are capable of flying 800km but even less can do it twice but does that make these birds less as racers? Many may have already been successful competitors in less distance races but may still have accomplished anything from 7 to 10 hours on the wing and won, the new generation flyer would give these the credit they deserve and not send them to a “bridge to far” The new generation flyer would also know that there is “horses for courses” and not try to use the same birds for every distance, the new generation flyer would as you say, consider the birds welfare as being paramount and if culling is required then surely there are more humane methods than just becoming a “bash artist” and sending everything to race points that the majority aren’t capable of completing! Hurrah for the new school pigeon flyer.

  4. Well said that man). There are horses for courses, I agree. Once they’ve shown brilliance at middle distance stop them for the year or straight into the stock loft.

    Breed off the birds that do the event on the day, they have probably flown the whole time from the around 500 mile event. You can’t tell where the second day birds were the previous day. If there are no day birds it is even more of a mystery, I agree.

    What do you other readers think??

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