Ferg’s Young Birds 2012 Update.   3 comments

Young Birds out flying with the Bombay hills to the north in the distance.

'Here they come!'

'Off they go again!'

'Just cruis'in!"

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I wrote this blog (starting next paragraph below) on the 7th of this month and due to poor health I only get to post it today. The photos were taken by Kim Anisi on the 10th and are used with her permission. Since then we have raced Bulls, a distance of around 200 miles to me and 6 arrived together from 19 sent and all returned, much to my delight. The birds scored 4th, 5th and 6th Combine Auckland from 418 birds sent and the 1st three in the Pukekohe club. You can only have 3 birds on the Combine so the other 3 birds missed out. Jim Cater of Henderson actually won that Combine almost 16 minutes ahead of my 6 and almost 3 minutes ahead of Eric Billington who lives within 5 miles of Jim. I allow Jim about 30 miles for most races as my loft is situated near the front of the Federation. We have just had a Raetihi race which is 150 miles to me and I sent 2 and was behind, the bird coming from the north which has been the story of the season for my loft but probably not with the leaders.

2 of the clock birds from Bulls including the Club winning BCC.

The same happy couple.

Second of the 6 to go in from Bulls, a nice blue chequer white flight hen.

Same hen, different pose!

Brother and nestmate of the Bulls winner and also one of the 6.

Same cock.

Didn't expect this cock to be one of the first to my loft from Bulls as he is very big.

This BCC also one of the 6 from Bulls.

Same cock.

Well the birds have had a few races now, four to be exact despite missing the first two. Initially I concentrated on getting my Futurities down the line a bit as I had 18 Futurity rung birds in the first team which are mid October hatch and only 5 club rung birds. The better ones of these later I had hoped to have as a small reserve for the Young Bird National on the 26th May 2012.

My second race was Mahoe and as a precaution I chose to send only 8 of the 23 birds in team 1. Looking at the forecast I had wondered if we would be in for one of those very gloomy central North Island weather situations perhaps with that murky very low cloud that you get near the 3 central North Island Mountains of New Zealand.

However, although the ARPF liberation was slightly delayed i.e. from 8.30am until 9am it was light enough by then to release the Auckland birds. 3 of my 8 birds did it very well into the nor-east headwinds. 2 sisters (grand daughters of 577) taking 1st and 2nd Club Pukekohe and 1st and 2nd Combine from 763 birds. It was the first whole of Auckland Combine release and my other 5 birds took considerably longer and no doubt learnt considerably from the experience. The extra hours on the wing adding to their developing levels of fitness.

BCH The Combine winner from Mahoe.

Same hen.

BBH 2nd Combine Mahoe and sister of winner (before she pranged up).

Same hen the day after pranging up and certainly out of racing for a while.

Ouch!! Wondered if her mate who was starting to drive her had caused her to go between the wires above the loft that keep the birds from landing on the loft roof.

Same hen reunited with her mate after 5 days care in a nest box.

Young love, same pair.

Same pair again.

The cock that I clocked the week before in my first race this season was the second to last bird and the following week he was also well behind too. I did not send him the next race as there’s something going on there and I’ve decided to freshen him up, so he’ll miss the Bulls on the 14th April and I’ll race him the following week but at this stage it’s unlikely that I’ll send him to the Futurity. He is a very nice cock and there’s always the National to try to get him right for and he’ll have completed his wing moult by then.

Our first Raetihi race following the Mahoe also had a Te Kuiti leg on it. I put 18 into the Raetihi and 5 to Te kuiti. My birds were fed at 1pm my normal mix and again an hour prior to basketing near days end with just some mixed canary seed to make sure that they had drunk and didn’t dehydrate on the truck or once they were liberated. The truck always provides fresh water for an hour prior to the liberation, however they are still babies and I expect most of mine wouldn’t poke their heads out and drink. So it pays to look after them.

The race conditions were moderate easterlies (a side wind) and once again my first bird came from the north. Unfortunately it followed the drop bird to the point of entry then decided to turn around and trot to the outside edge of the long landing board. So a bit too much time was lost however this son of 577 still managed 1st Club and 2nd Combine from 447 birds. Al’s loft won.

The Te Kuiti leg my 5 birds were well off the pace and I’d expect would have flown quicker if they’d had less food. But I’m not prepared to starve young birds. They are still developing and although all races are there to win, some are worth winning more than others!!

BCC 2nd Combine Raetihi.

Same cock.

The birds are through the body moult now and rapidly finishing their wing moult while the tail moult is progressing well. There are no big gaps in the middle of the tail or birds with only 4 or 5 tail feathers which I wouldn’t send to a race anyway as it’s not fair on the bird.

The heavy feeding has paid benefits so far as the birds are keeping very well and racing through the moult; even though they are the equivalent of second rounders (second half of October hatches). I did lose 3 birds on the 1st Raetihi and 3 came early the next morning of the 18 sent but probably that is par for the course and the birds had every chance to get home and unfortunately some either get to the general area of home and don’t break (I am one of the ARPF front markers), or they don’t orientate between the race point and the loft or something else like an accident with power lines.

Kim’s bird ‘seagull’ is missing from that race. He was near the end of his 8th primary flights in both wings and may’ve dropped them en route. Kim was very disappointed he didn’t find home, but who knows, he may be doing o.k. somewhere and if he ever ‘rocks up’ I’ll keep him and fly him later in the year.

Kim jokes that he may have joined a flock of seagulls as he looks like one!! The other 2 birds I dropped although in pristine condition had looked like their constitution wasn’t as ‘solid’ as the bulk of the rest of the team. Hopefully they’re doing o.k. somewhere and have an enjoyable life if they don’t return here.

Seagull! Shot taken a few weeks before he went MIA. He went to the Raetihi in pristine condition and through the body moult.

The 3 that came the next morning early from the 1st Raetihi I didn’t race the 2nd Raetihi the following week as they needed time to recover. I sent just 13 of the 20 remaining team 1 birds. I only send them to these short races if they are in absolutely ‘premo’ condition. I do tend to be very careful with the cocks given normally on average they are bigger and I find that my hens often mature quicker.

However I kept at home also 2 club only rung hens that only did the Te Kuiti the week before. One is a bird that normally I would have culled by now as it often doesn’t look good and always after feeding it is hunched up. It usually is skinny despite plenty of tucker. It had naval canker as a youngster and I treated it a number of times and removed a small mass when it was being reared. Well bred of course, but they are not all good and it would suffer a lot if it got lost. It is in the ‘b’ team. I’ll keep it a bit longer and just give it the Raetihi races and ‘tell it to fly fast!!’ (Update-this bird came home fine from the 200 miler Bulls last week! I sent it because the weather was going to be perfect for at least 3 days.)

This bird number 1122 always looks tired after feeding. It had naval canker in the nest and perhaps there are some unseen abnormalities, nevertheless it handled the 200 miles from Bulls no sweat because the weather was so good and they were loft flying extremely well.

The no dosing policy still seems to be working. After being 22 minutes behind the Combine winner the first race I started getting the birds out every day. I believe the fresh air and sunshine to be excellent tonics and much better than anything in a packet or container! Most days they are getting plenty of baths.

I have a 2nd team also. These are December hatch latebreds which have had 9 tosses to date. They will start on the Federation transporter on the 21st of April from Te Kuiti and go somewhere on it every week until the 2012 Young Bird National from Raumati on the 26th of May. I have 12 birds entered for that race. I don’t usually race December hatch youngsters in young birds.

Update now Sunday 22nd April. The Auckland Young Bird Futurity is scheduled for next Saturday. A full race report will be posted some time after the race.

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3 responses to “Ferg’s Young Birds 2012 Update.

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  1. Re: Seagull… disappointed is not the right word, heart-broken would be more fitting. You could let me go through your lofts, let me pick favourites and then you know which birds will never come home or will sit around outside the loft before clocking in….

  2. Reblogged this on Bird Spirit and commented:
    Here’s a friend’s blog – just in case you were wondering about the birds.

  3. Yes Fergus after our phone call ref raptors, got a Cooper Vanloon.s home Saturday, with a Falcon strike lost half its tail and part of the cover over its oil gland, lucky bird to escape, will find some article’s on the net so can contribute to your coming article’s on raptors.

    ALAN FLANNIGAN

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