Brian’s Brit Blog 2015.   Leave a comment

Brian Batchelor.

Well a lot can happen in a year since I last tapped the keyboard with a report on pigeons from the UK and it certainly has been an eventful year at least for me anyway. Last year I wrote that I had to sell up my pigeons having been diagnosed with pigeon fanciers lung, however, as it happened this was not the end of the story. I ended up making several trips to the hospital for various tests and consultations with the specialists. To put it in a nutshell the results eventually showed that I did not have pigeon fancier’s lung after all but suffer from asthma with a touch of emphysema but it is not that serious and hasn’t stopped me from doing all the activities I normally would. The main cause of my condition is due to allergies such dust mites, moulds, grass and grass pollen but no allergy to common animals, cats or dogs and no allergy to feathers. New bedding with anti allergy covers has improved my condition. I am still sensitive to dusty or smoky conditions but the good news is that there is no reason not to get the pigeons back again providing I keep them in a relatively open type loft and use a good quality mask and protective clothing. Anyone interested to find out more about pigeon fanciers lung I recommend to visit

This year I also recently retired from full time work. I’m only doing part time work now and we have put our house on the market, so I will not be restarting with the pigeons until we resettle, hopefully early next year. I have kept up my membership of my local club and have been actively involved with it and I have kept a note of a few more notable performances this year including some of the national channel races. Generally the weather this year has been kind without extremes providing for some good flying conditions with few hold over’s resulting in good returns. The Barcelona International was perhaps the exception due to a heat wave in southern Europe and thunder storms in northern Europe. The small British contingent struggled a bit, however the winning British pigeon bred and raced by well known long distance stalwart Dave Delea was timed at 10.50am on the second morning, many birds have continued to return after the race closed which often happens in these conditions as the pigeons entered into this race are all seasoned campaigners.

Wicky Bullen and son pulled off another stunning win taking the honours in the BICC National Poitiers against 2696 birds, I have mentioned this partnership before when they won the PAU International with “Islas Rainy Day Boy”. This year it was another remarkable victory in that their pigeon named “Sienna’s Cloudy Day boy” beat the drag and the wind. It was expected with the westerly wind that the prizes would be won in the east section and the majority were except the Bullen’s widowhood cock racing into the central section to take the top slot. What is even more astonishing is that this game pigeon was only a late bred yearling on his 3rd ever race of his life. He had already shown his potential with 30th open Tours on his 2nd race. He was a gift pigeon bred by R.Roberts & Son, whether he can repeat these performances in future only time will tell.

A second brilliant performance was that achieved by Bobby and Anthony Beasant’s “ Noble Dream” in winning the Agen International against 10510 of the best in Europe. The dam of this pigeon was bred by my good friend Keith Mott, it is bred down from Keith’s Brian Denny family of distance pigeons which are well known in the UK, you will find the Denny pigeons in the pedigrees of many top UK distance pigeons including some of the legendary Mark Gilbert’s pigeons.

The National Flying Clubs Blue Riband Grand National from Tarbes was again an early afternoon liberation following a one day hold over due to adverse weather at Tarbes. I happened to be holidaying a few miles from Tarbes on race day and there was a moderate head wind for the birds to face on release and throughout their journey but otherwise the weather was fine and clear which continued into the second day when the pigeons were arriving home. It turned out a steady race and was won by a yearling hen raced from the loft of Lloyd & Kelly, another great effort by a yearling.

Another performance that caught my attention at local Combine level, was one of those exceptions that make us question what we really know about pigeon racing. This was that of a Blue hen owned by Mick Tuck. In order to make up the numbers to get enough support for the Combines longest race from Bordeaux 450 miles, Mick was asked by our club secretary to enter as many birds as he could. Looking through his loft he spied a three year old stock hen that was a gift pigeon that he bred plenty from but she had never been trained or raced. Nevertheless Mick decided to try her and in the week before the birds were marked for Bordeaux she had two tosses from the coast about 35 miles then went into the race basket. Much to Mick’s and everyone else’s surprise, this little hen was his 2nd pigeon home taking 3rd club and 5th FED/Combine.

We are now just at the tail end of young bird racing, the usual problem of raptor attacks has created havoc and caused some heavy losses on a few occasions. The worst case I heard about was a local fancier who had 46 young birds missing on one occasion; these were well trained youngsters that already had three races under their belt. A few were reported having been scattered to the four winds and the carcass of one of his missing youngsters was found in a peregrine nest by an attendant who cleans out peregrine nests that have been erected along many of UK’s motorways. This is one aspect of the sport that has made me think twice about starting up again as I will only have facilities to manage a small team and this sort of loss can set you back years.

Last year I did a loft report on Wally Cable and his top pigeon “Joe 90”, at the time I interviewed Wally I said Joe 90 was one of the best pigeons I have ever handled, as his performances were outstanding I said to Wally if he were mine I would put him straight into the stock shed as anything could happen to him. However Wally said he is still a young pigeon with a lot more racing in him. Anyway Wally put him back on the road again this year with the channel Nationals in mind. In the first National Joe 90 was the first bird into our area by a good half hour, however in the second National Wally sent 23 birds and at clock reading had 22 home, yes Joe 90 was missing and Wally was beside himself with grief. However, that is not the end of the story, ten days later when Wally went down to close his loft there was one hell of ruckus going in the loft and when Wally opened the door there was Joe 90 battling with a pair that had occupied his nest while he was missing. On inspection Joe 90 had suffered a nasty knock down his keel and breast, enough that would put him out for the rest of the season. The day he went missing it was a very strong wind and he must have hit something probably early in the race. Anyway the good news is Wally has been able to get some more youngsters from him including two late breds that he has kindly offered to me.

There you have it from me from UK, good luck to all with your racing down under.

Brian Batchelor
Elstead, Surrey,UK

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