My Timaru birds and Invercargill hen.   Leave a comment

Thought it might be good to share some shots of my pigeons again. They were taken at basketing at my loft prior to leaving for the Timaru Federation basketing on the evening of the 22nd of November 2012. In all I sent ten birds to Timaru (560 miles to my loft). Elley Family Loft had three on the day and five the next day by around lunchtime. I hadn’t flown the first Christchurch 500 mile race three weeks before, so this was a good opportunity to see if some of the pigeons would respond to a bit more distance. In the end, I just sent the one pigeon to Invercargill two weeks later and got her. In 2009 and 2010 I sent just the one pigeon to the Timaru, a BCH 563 and got her on the day both times. She was 6th the first year and 9th the next. She’s now in stock as she was born 2005.

Yearling BBH 2nd Auckland Racing Pigeon FederationTimaru 560 miles 2012.

Yearling BBH, 2nd ARPF (Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation) Timaru 560 miles 2012.

I mentioned in a recent blog that there will be a blog on Theo van Lier whose two year old hen beat the opposition from Timaru to Auckland Federation lofts in 2012 by 63 minutes. Her flying time was 11 hours 21 minutes with a velocity of 1395m/min, distance 950km (590 miles). My first two birds which arrived together are pictured here in this blog. It was an incredible fly by Theo’s bird! Theo has been working on a very long list of questions which I sent him. No doubt we will have all the answers for you on this blog and the excellent elimarpigeons.com site which I supply articles for about New Zealand fanciers. I also plan a visit of Theo and Monique’s loft after the pigeons have finished their moult. So you should look forwards to plenty of photos of the van Lier family’s lovely loft and birds. We thank him for taking the time from his busy rose growing e.t.c. business schedule in West Auckland. Any questions for Theo, Mac or even myself please email me at ferguselley@gmail.com or post in the comments section, thank you.

Yearling BBH 2nd Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 560 miles 2012.

Yearling BBH, 2nd Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 560 miles 2012.

If you studied this blog site in full, then perhaps you’d recognise this hen pictured five times here, from a blog in April 2012 Young birds. You’ll find it in the index under Ferg’s birds category titled, Ferg’s Young Birds 2012 Update.

She pranged up just before the Bulls race last year in Young birds, scraping her back and rump quite badly, probably trying to get out of the way of the cock driving her and as a consequence hit the wires on the loft roof. Below next is a shot of the injury she sustained and of course she was rested till Old birds. She flew well last year in Old birds including this Timaru fly and was jumped from Ward near the top of the South Island which is around 330 miles. Placing second Timaru 560 miles is a very good effort for a yearling! In Young birds she had been 2nd Combine when her sister won the Combine from Mahoe, just a short race of 110 miles. They were both doing 1021 m/min and I thought at the time that it was a good indication of their value for the distance, as it was a steady overcast day with headwinds.

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.

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.

It just shows you that if you look after them well after injury and don’t rush them back into racing, that you can be rewarded further down the track, as this hen did. One thing that almost put me off sending her to Timaru were very dry feathers. I put that down to the stress of coming back from injury, as her feathers were silky in Young birds. I’m glad I took the punt and sent her, as I couldn’t fault her otherwise. The birds had just the one canker treatment two weeks before the Timaru race. That was it for the season and no antibiotics.

I was tempted to send her to the 750 mile Invercargill race two weeks later, as although initially for the first two days she was flown out, by the following Friday she and two other yearlings were looking a box of birds and she had her usual grumpy, fiery character back. In the end, none of the yearlings came up to scratch for the Invercargill. She in fact had a slightly mucousy nostril and the muscle tone was too hard i.e there was no spring in it. I’m glad that I didn’t send her, as there was a good chance that I’d have lost her or wrecked her for future racing.

Yearling BBH 2nd Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 560 miles 2012.

Yearling BBH, 2nd Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 560 miles 2012.

She’s currently mated to the three year old BBC featured below. The first round has just weaned itself off and she will lay again soon. I plan to farm out the eggs or the squabs some time after hatching. For those interested in her breeding, she is off a cracker son of 577 when mated to 572. 577 was a son of Greg Clarke’s best racer Houbie when Houbie was mated to his great grand-daughter 219, a half Houben, half Janssen hen. 219 won the West Section Yearling Champs and Flock Johnsonville in 2002 for me (a steady one), which was the last year that I raced in West Auckland. 577 was a super young bird cock in 2006. 572 is a straight Janssen hen off my best lines. She was my best yearling hen in 2006 and excelled herself racing, including 2nd Futurity Yearling Ward 330 miles and 2nd East Section Old Bird National Christchurch 450 miles, having come with 1st and 3rd to my loft. The dam of this hen featured here in photos five times (including pranged up shot) is a linebred vandie base hen and she is a grand-daughter of BB Vandie cock 423, the Open Old Bird National Christchurch winner in 1994 for me living at Waterview, before I married Helen.

Yearling BBH 2nd Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 560 miles 2012.

Yearling BBH, 2nd Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 560 miles 2012.

Please note that this cock 423 is the great-grandfather of Mac Armstrong’s 2009 and 2011 Invercargill winners, since they were both off BBH 243. 243 was a granddaughter of Vandie cock 423 and Mac obtained her from me and unfortunately she was accidentally killed in the loft when Mac opened a door a bit hard by mistake. The sire of Macs 2009 winner was a Janssen cock from me of vos lines and a son of this vos cock (also from me) bred his 2011 winner i.e. both winners off BBH 243. The Invercargill 2011 race event was the hardest in the last four years, as the bird arrived around 6pm on the second day after an early morning liberation the previous day. There was no wind assistance. So a real gutsy pigeon! Mac had another two pigeons one hour 36 minutes later to take the first three and Colin Webster had one not far behind for 4th. Just the six pigeons back in the results after four days from the entries of all fanciers, which was 61 birds.  You can view that winner by selecting the Annual Invercargill Race to Auckland Racing Pigeon Club Lofts category in the index. He’s in a couple of those blogs, so go have a read or pop it open in another window on your PC!

3 year old BBC 3rd Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 2012.

3 year old BBC, 3rd Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 2012.

This guy above is the mate of the hen featured above and they make a great pair, so I can only hope the offspring will deliver the goods next year, as they are fairly late bred and the second round will be even later! However since the hen is eggy, they are definitely worth taking and she will stay in the race loft this year where she is breeding currently. In my mind, they are a typical matched pair. She has the hardluck hen 7875 from Des Sippets Australian Riverview stud as great great grand dam cock side and another step back hen side giving linebreeding to 9% 7875. She is a real smorgasbord of bloodlines viz, Houben, different Janssen lines and of course my base vandie birds and a touch of Jim Howarth birds. The hardluck hen is in most of my pigeons and she was a grand-daughter of the gun U.K. race cock Hardluck. 7875 was half planet brothers with the Bange of 77 and the Raket hen featured on the dam side. So top stuff and her descendents have done really well for me throughout the years, now up to as far as 750 miles Invercargill.

3 year old BBC 3rd Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 2012.

3 year old BBC, 3rd Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 2012.

This same 3 year old cock whose mate I’ve just outlined the pedigree of is a Houben/Janssen hybrid mix i.e. 1/2 Houben 1/2 Janssen cock mated to a 1/2 Houben 1/2 Janssen hen. I didn’t really test him until 2012. He is a full brother of my Timaru winner from 2011 who was one of two day birds in the ARPF flying 14 hours and 6 minutes, arriving on dusk and winning by 13 minutes. A pretty hard race. There’s a blog in the index category Auckland Federation Racing 2011 Old Birds the South Island liberations one posted on the 13th December 2011. I have had a lot of success with other brothers and sisters including the gun Blue hen in 2009 Young Birds which won 1st Open Futurity Levin around 230 miles, 1st Eastern Union Otaki around 240 miles and 4th Jack Longville Race Raumati around 250 miles. This three year old cock is a quiet cock like his brother which won Timaru in 2011 and also came with 1st and 3rd to score second the year before in a fast Open Old Bird National from Christchurch, 450 miles to me. I hadn’t done much with him until he was three, just kept him in the North Island races. He was a latebred, so was only lightly raced in 2010. He is a cock who is a bit prone to a runny nose. It’s probably a susceptibility to Chlamydia/Mycoplasma and perhaps dust or mould spores. I hadn’t sent him to the South Island as a two year old for this reason, even though the loft had dosing a number of times after the 8th race. As I said earlier, I gave a canker treatment 2 weeks out from the Timaru 2012. I also gave him Clements tonic, the green one i.e. a couple of times individually and it helped to dry the nasal catarrh up. Like his current mate above he had flown the Ward (330 miles) five weeks before. He was on eggs for the Timaru to a different hen which was one more closely related. I got two nice squeakers off that pair so it’ll be interesting to see how they go as it was an uncle niece mating and he’s already 68% linebred to key Janssens and Houbens.

I also considered him for the Invercargill race. By that stage he had two five day old squabs. Of course he was very keen. On handling him five minutes after arriving home from the Timaru he was even bigger and heavier than at basketing, not that he wasn’t in premo condition then! I felt at the time that the guys to the south of the Auckland Federation who took them on the journey south from Hamilton after Don Campbell had delivered them must have done a terrific job caring for them and on behalf of the fliers I thank them for that. I’m pretty sure that if I’d sent him to Invercargill that I would not have clocked him ahead of the single entry of the BCH I sent and clocked. In fact I think that I’d have dorked him. He had catarrh again and that was one of the factors that ruled him out. I’ve learnt over the years for 750 miles when not to send them. There’s always next year if he has the right form and health, perhaps first nest of the year. Having four squeakers off him already and his second hen about to lay again means that I’ll have a bit of his progeny to try out in the future.

2 year old BCH 8th Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 2012. 13 on the day birds from 77 liberated.

2 year old BCH, 8th Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 2012. 13 on the day birds from 77 liberated.

This little, slender BCH is off the hen I mentioned earlier 563 which I sent to Timaru in 2009 and 2010 viz just the one entry and got her. 563 was off a vandie cock and a straight Janssen hen. The hen above and below’s sire is a race cock of mainly Janssen bloodlines with a touch of vandie. They were a love pair in 2010. This hen had never been to the South Island before and was on eggs to another hen. Lightly raced as a latebred. She looked good and had been coming well prior to the Timaru. I considered her for the Invercargill, but again like the yearling BBH above, she had a slightly mucousy nostril and the muscle tone was too hard i.e there was no spring. I’m also glad that I didn’t send her, as there was a good chance that I’d have lost her or wrecked her for future racing. Perhaps if it had been a harder race she would have beaten the first two home. She might have done better in a headwind. However, the pigeons did well from Timaru as they had no tossing the whole season until the Monday the week of the Invercargill, our last race. Also they were prepared from a Ward race of 330 miles five weeks before and it wasn’t a hard race and about 7.5 hours for most of my Timaru entries. However, this hen didn’t have that race, so she really had seven weeks off from a steady workout race i.e. Plimmerton 260 miles.

2 year old BCH 8th Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 2012. 13 on the day birds from 77 liberated.

2 year old BCH, 8th Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 2012. 13 on the day birds from 77 liberated.

The last pigeon photographed here (last four shots seen below) is a two year old BCH which also was only raced lightly as a latebred in 2011 like the hen above. She flew both Timaru and Invercargill last year. So a really good effort. In the Timaru she homed early on the second day at 6.53am and I could see her coming back a long way from town i.e. she’d overflown with another fancier’s second day pigeon I’d expect. However, she looked really fresh and she never shows any sign of respiratory problems even in the slightest. She was the one when you think about it, that I might get from 750 miles. Might, of course, you always have to say!

She is a very quiet hen. In the race loft she was one of those hens which were mated up to me. She was quite rank after the Timau race and quite keen to get into the cocks (I mainly race sexes separated). It was a big ask to turn her around to the Invers and I gave all my candidates peanuts in preparation for it as the main thing was to get one in race time. I hadn’t fed peanuts for the Timaru. I started the peanuts about 10 days before the Invercargill basketing. I also mixed sunflower oil into the grain mix from about that time. That’s why it was so easy to get a heavy, big body on this hen. Given that management, she probably needed a 50 miler on the Monday prior to the Wednesday basketing. However, I didn’t want to ‘cook her’ i.e. overdo her, given her 560 mile race just recently. The main goal was getting her back.

Mac Armstrong actually gave his pigeons 50 mile single ups on the Monday and the Tuesday the week of Invercargill basketing 2012. They’d had a 480 mile Christchurch five weeks before the Invercargill and a stiff Raumati (280 miles) two weeks before the race. In 2010 Mac’s pigeons had two 480 mile races leading up to the main event of Invercargill. One of these 480 mile races was a tough one, the first one.

2 year old BCH 18th Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 2012. 13 on the day birds from 77 liberated. This hen came the next morning from the north at 6.53am. 2 weeks later she was 6th ARPF Federation Invercargill 750 miles. I just entered the one bird.

2 year old BCH, 18th Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 2012. 13 on the day birds from 77 liberated. This hen came the next morning from the north at 6.53am. 2 weeks later she was 6th ARPF Federation Invercargill 750 miles. I just entered the one bird.

I sent her away to Invercargill with plenty of condition on her and moderate weight, but not leady. She is a decent sized hen and a bit wedgy. She was absolutely shining and there was no point sending any of the others, they just weren’t right! It’s always a risk just sending one pigeon to such an extreme event but the reward is certainly there if it features well in the prize money ahead of some of the big teams. Perhaps if I’d given her more work than the one short toss then she may have gotten a few places higher than 6th.

She has a real smorgasbord of bloodlines in her, Janssen, Houben, the old dutch lines and the old vandie lines. A true crossbred one might say with some linebreeding to the vandies a little bit, just in the breeding of the dam. Some real cracker vandies in the dams breeding i.e. performance pigeons from Christchurch and Timaru. Pity I lost the dam in 2011 from Invercargill and this illustrates what a graveyard this Invercargill racepoint can be. It also highlights to me the importance of preparing your pigeons right with a 500 or 600 mile race within five weeks of the ultra marathon event. If you don’t do the minimum of that then its unlikely that you’ll succeed. Read all the blogs on this site under the index category of ‘Annual Invercargill Race to Auckland Racing Pigeon Club Lofts’. It’s all there. Please feel free to comment or email me at ferguselley @gmail.com if you have any questions for Mac as I’m in the process of doing another Elimar article i.e. elimarpigeons.com an excellent site which I highly recommend.

2 year old BCH 18th Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 2012. 13 on the day birds from 77 liberated. This hen came the next morning from the north at 6.53am. 2 weeks later she was 6th ARPF Federation Invercargill 750 miles. I just entered the one bird.

2 year old BCH, 18th Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 2012. 13 on the day birds from 77 liberated. This hen came the next morning from the north at 6.53am. 2 weeks later she was 6th ARPF Federation Invercargill 750 miles. I just entered the one bird.

It will be interesting to see how she races next year. If we can get Stewart Island on the ARPF race programme perhaps I will send her there, as I have by no means burnt her out. She is on her second round down in the stock loft. She only laid one egg the first round which was probably because she was still getting over her marathon race, even though you wouldn’t think so handling her and looking at her back around Christmas last year. It’s a very nice squeaker. I will either only let her rear one more youngster and for just 2 weeks until feathered up and then let the cock finish it off. If both eggs hatch I will farm one of them out. The stock birds are starting the body moult as the days get shorter and the nights longer. We are in a real drought here, however, the days have been a bit cooler than January and February when the hot sun-baked the ground.

2 year old BCH 18th Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 2012. 13 on the day birds from 77 liberated. This hen came the next morning from the north at 6.53am. 2 weeks later she was 6th ARPF Federation Invercargill 750 miles. I just entered the one bird.

2 year old BCH, 18th Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 2012. 13 on the day birds from 77 liberated. This hen came the next morning from the north at 6.53am. 2 weeks later she was 6th ARPF Federation Invercargill 750 miles. I just entered the one bird.

Well, what else can I add in this marathon blog. Invercargill and hopefully Stewart Island are the main two races for me to aim for from now on. That’s my commitment. I’m learning under the ‘master’ i.e. Mac himself. Writing these articles really presses home how he actually does it and although I am limited in capabilities to give the pigeons road work due to my poor health, I will have to sort out that area and have others, like my good wife Helen toss the candidates for me later in the year. I won’t have a hope of beating Mac otherwise! Lucky I’ve got a loft cleaner, Kim.

Finally I ‘d like to add that although I call our Invercargill race the ‘New Zealand Barcelona’ there are a couple of differences that come to mind. Firstly, we use a breaking point which adds about 5% extra miles than airline to the distance. We do this for all our South Island races. It is from Foxton, which is about 50 miles up the coast from the bottom of the North Island, and we probably have it mainly because of the prevailing westerly winds. Secondly, we don’t have the huge numbers of the Barcelona International. Last year there were 130 birds which was our best muster in recent years. Manaia birds from up near Whangarei go up with the Auckland Federation liberation. Thirdly, we usually have a liberation between 6 and 7am or the pigeons are held over. This is essential and gives the pigeons the maximum chance of returning home either on the day or during the next morning. The latter is great for the public image of pigeon racing and will become more and more important in the future as the tide of animal welfare activism slowly rises.

If we can all obtain good enough stock to have a chance of getting the returns which Mac Armstrong normally gets and adopt his methods which he is sharing with all in sundry, then that will be great for the public image, too.

There is an article directly below this one, featuring an Invercargill to Auckland race report which gives more details. Please take the time to rate these articles (press the star to the right of the five stars if you think its awesome!) as when people do rate them it gives me great pleasure. All these articles take a fair bit of effort so any comments and emails are well received.  After all, as the saying goes ‘iron sharpens iron’ and I still consider myself a novice at these ultra long distance events in which when you prepare a bird right and perhaps have just an ‘ounce’ of luck can be immensely rewarding. The main reward being the ‘trophy’ of the pigeon returning in race time and then you can admire it and breed some latebreds off it. I’m sure plenty of you would like a squeaker off this hen who’s mated to an East Section Old Bird National Christchurch winner 2009 (450 miles) velocity 1182 m/min and is a real tough cock.

2 year old BCH 18th Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 2012. 13 on the day birds from 77 liberated. This hen came the next morning from the north at 6.53am. 2 weeks later she was 6th ARPF Federation Invercargill 750 miles. I just entered the one bird.

2 year old BCH 18th Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation Timaru 2012. 13 on the day birds from 77 liberated. This hen came the next morning from the north at 6.53am. 2 weeks later she was 6th ARPF Federation Invercargill 750 miles. I just entered the one bird.

Do you think latebreds are worth breeding and what education in the training and racing department would you give them their first year? Please share your ideas with all of us in the comments section below. I will just check your comment and then enable it for the site.

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