It doesn’t really matter part 2…..   Leave a comment

Well I guess what I wrote in part 1 seems  to be reinforced by the results for this years young bird season just concluded as nobody here in Auckland has ever won the double i.e. First OPEN ARPF Young Bird Futurity and First OPEN ARPF Young Bird National and just for the record ‘thanks be to God’ whom I know beyond doubt guided me and it is all Him and much less myself and in the future I plan to write on that season and indeed the last 12 months as the loft seems to have been on a pretty damn good roll!!

The results for the last 12 months are listed at the end of this article and I don’t list them here to brag rather simply to share my joy…..However as a very keen non Church going born again Christian (its been about 10 years since I’ve set foot actually in a Church!) let me just remind each one of us…..we scrap it out for tin cups etc and a bit of cash and the sense of earthly fulfillment in what undoubtedly to us fanciers is by far the greatest sport here on earth but take a moment to think…..if Fergie is indeed right about the need to be born again and joyfully follow the things of heaven and store up riches there rather than here, then in the light of eternity, why would we ‘f’ around here on earth in continued unbelief and procrastination as to the things of the Kingdom of God? Indeed this life is very finite and I don’t know about you but I want after this earthly pilgrimage to be exploring the frontiers of the galaxies of this Universe or of another dimension where the big bangs energy quite clearly came from as no other explanation holds any water!! Even the mathematics of the formation of complex early proteins and the first cells in the ‘primordial soup’ are so against it without the input of a ‘supernatural power’ who dreamt up the whole Universe and spoke it into existence…..

The Apostle Paul who was formerly called Saul and went about having early Christians executed in their scores including Stephen who was stoned (literally for you dak smokers) wrote about ‘running a good race’. As I wrote above we scrap and arm wrestle with our feathered friends for trophies that do not last….. so much more we should wrestle and scrap for the trophy of eternal life in a glorified body with the risen Christ starting at the party that will never end…..

I have tried different sorts of substances mainly as a young fellow and I can assure you there is nothing better than the feeling of Gods spirit inside you (I had an evil spirit inside of me for about 30 seconds as a rebellious teenager and that is another story) and if you follow this blog or know me personally then as I tell you physically I suffer from a moderate and at times severe illness (CFS), many recover from this but following pretty bad glandular fever at 16  my health was never the same again…..

Well most of you haven’t come here to hear the above yet despite a nasty physical illness having the spirit of Jesus in me works for me and transcends any physical suffering, its my ‘thorn in the flesh’ and it keeps me humble especially given many in pigeons can’t fathom it, its why no matter what I’m always happy!!…..

I spent most of the young bird season in bed. I trained up my own pigeons, there were 110 to start with and the last toss was a five hour round trip and that burnt me out completely again hence most of the season was in bed and I’m still getting over it as the season just ended about 3 weeks ago.

I am forever thinking about what to write…..I will add though I really don’t know five eighths of you know what about racing pigeons, 0.5% perhaps at most…..we are all learning and we all get shown up….. for instance I was too busy looking at all the work etc some of the opposition had leading up to this years Young Bird Futurity to realise that indeed the loft was right…..okay, perhaps a little luck, pigeons from 4 or so boxes came out after half of the 300 or so pigeons had flown out and 20 something pigeons from those 4 or so boxes just kept flying without circling which the rest did for about 15 minutes and probably the winners were amongst that small bunch…..of course even on overcast days isn’t that what pigeons are supposed to do, i.e. not circle but sprint for home with confidence?…..

I could have had the first 6 places in that Classic but 1806, one of the first 5 went into the tree next to the loft and clocked in about 4 minutes later to score 8th and still got prize money. 1806 is undoubtedly the nicest hen I bred last breeding season and she just returned i.e. on the 17th day from a very tough final race, our National. She was in perfect condition on sending and returned with over half her body and I don’t think she’s been in another loft……her nestmate sister and the next two rounds (4 cocks) were all going to go to stock I had decided given she had been MIA, but brilliant, gutsy pigeon to work her way home from wherever and the thrill of finding her there on the 27th of May far greater than ANY pigeon race I have won, whoop, whoop, as I am attached to all my pigeons, they are my children and deserve my love…..I also had another back yesterday in great nick, the 20th day, one I fancied, 6 to come now from 36 and more will come!

For me the inferior pigeons get forever homes where possible and if one returns at the wrong time, who cares, it actually gives me more satisfaction than winning i.e. rehoming them and some even go to a University where they get their ‘higher education’ and live out their lives till they die. I think its marvellous, you can call me a pussy if you wish but it’s just so satisfying…..of course for stock purposes they have to be pretty good or off the best e.g. that hen above 1806 and her 5 siblings which are all going to stock soon as they are off BBC 219, Mac Armstrong’s best ever pigeon and my gun hen 26! 219 was bred off my 172 and 243, so when I paid 1800 bucks for him at Mac’s auction (God bless him) I was simply buying back my own blood but I knew how good he was as Mac had told me what he was off and 172 was one of those very rare pigeons who was so ‘super smart’ and there’s a story there that I will save for another time…..

Let me just say before I focus on a couple of key points from last time. My best two pigeons 1818 and 1807 from young birds just gone are both cocks. 1818 was 3rd Futurity and 3rd National i.e. front bunch both races, one of 5 in the Futurity and one of 3 in the National (4 minutes ahead of 4th i.e. my 4th pigeon too, 1807 and 8 minutes ahead of the next loft so too far ahead really despite the next placed loft was 42km further as the velocity was 952 m/min). 1807 ended up 5th Futurity as the hen 1806 was in the tree, 4 had timed in and he arrived to take 5th, he’s off No Toe the gun middle distance hen from 2011, she’s here on the blog. 1807 scored 4th National too but was 4 minutes behind and 2 other pigeons were about another 6 minutes behind him to take 9th and 10th placings just outside the prizes. I think those 6 were probably all together with a 100km to go and my first 3 burnt the other 3 off as I have never seen pigeons attack the loft with such gusto, never! Incidentally I had prayed while waiting for that to happen, as in the first 3 races that season I was clocking the 2nd and 3rd bunch pigeons as the first bunch pigeons (as many as nine) were landing in the trees next to the loft…..poor management…..

Okay some key points from last time. I haven’t bothered covering the south side of the lofts openings for years now so in strong, wet, south-west winds the floor gets a little bit wet, if your pigeons can’t hack that even if the loft isn’t cleaned for a week then your pigeons are crap….get better ones!!

I have put the removable window in only several times the last couple of months on the north side as those sections aren’t young bird and are half deep litter most of the time and I will draw the line at flooding, even I don’t want a cesspool! But the pigeons need to be very tough, short, middle or long distance it makes no difference…..I would be spick and span if health permitted I don’t work but I would rather have a bigger arsenal of pigeons and when the time is right in a season have a crack at demolishing the opposition! I did it last year in old birds without preseason and during season training, just loft flying and racing. The results below at the bottom don’t include all the week to week combines that the pigeons won or were close to winning either just the Federation races and a slow Eastern Union Blenheim race…..Too many fanciers also fire most of their powder early in the season, they are too impatient, a good chef has a plan for a delightful meal and as a fancier you must too!

Last Old Birds I got lazy as I normally separate the sexes after 2 or 3 races but left them together and they went to nest at the right time just by chance and they fired pretty well for the middle distance. But still some were slow to go in but an improvement and last young birds my pigeons learnt what food was again during the last 5 weeks of the season as I put them on once a day! Prior to that it was very heavy feeding including peanuts and lots of mixed canary seed 3 times a day hence the tree sitting but when it counted I could put my foot on the accelerator and the best 4 cocks did the last 4 races including the Levin Futurity 1032 m/mim and National 952 m/min….you can’t do that on a sport mix with lots of barley!!

A little bit on dosing. I keep them ‘wild’ in the off season e.g. young birds I’ll deworm them every 2 months or so in season, I use my sheep drench Matrix mineral in the water for 12 hours at the right dose but over Summer they were let out when I got up i.e. 8 to 10am it varies and if I tried to get them in before 7pm then only a few would come in! Where were they, in the f’n trees, my tree sitters!… night I must have had a bad migraine that day as I didn’t get them in until 8.30pm and with a head torch so they still got a half decent feed!! But its healthy over a very hot and humid Summer sitting in 60 feet high Rimu trees and clapping off every so often but I seldom watch them even during the season and I don’t chase them up I just have them out longer if need be and race the heavy ones every week of the season.

So in January I cleaned the pigeons out with firstly doxycycline 5 days and then dimetrasole 5 days at the right dose in their water. 2 weeks or so before the futurity I treated dimetrasole again 3 days and doxycycline a bit less than that and after the Futurity only one day of dimetrasole as they were simply too good and a couple of days of doxycycline as some had mucousy nostrils and the stocking rate is fairly high.


Indeed young pigeons do need to be exposed to all sorts of pigeon diseases especially prior to the racing season when they will come in contact with the diseases endemic to the lofts of the pigeons they compete against, especially with those of other club members. I left a good dozen or so old cock birds in with my babies, not actually solely for this reason but the exposure to the loft diseases endemic in my old cocks is a good thing for the babies developing immune systems. Some young hens were self paired to these old cocks but no eggs were laid. Mixed sexes is very good for their hormonal systems, both cocks and hens and the key is no hens laid and they were fed very heavy even when put on once a day. The pigeons were very happy and often there was a lot of loft noise, a very good sign, they loved their loft and were very keen to get home even if in the short races they loved those trees plenty…..bastards…..poor management…..but nothing races….


The fine dust in the loft is more the problem especially when semi deep litter or full deep litter systems are used, especially when the weather warms up. You can tell by the smell in the loft too i.e. whether it is pleasant or not being in there as to what environment the pigeons inside might have to cope with. On a still day is the best day to gauge this. I think if every day was windy then it would be easy to have an ideal loft environment all year round. We are on a hill here so it often is breezy which helps. To be honest if the pigeons could be trained to always come down for food and time in on race day then it would not matter if they were in the trees at night too…..look around at the wild birds, smell the freshness of the breezes outside, go and sit inside your loft for 2 hours on a still day…..go and lie under a tree and read a book or search the net for a couple of hours, which is healthier for you with no mask on…..get my drift…..that’s why pigeons in aviaries, even tiny ones have such white ceres and a gleam in their eyes, even the really old ones… it ain’t far off being in a tree and like a wild bird…..slat and grill floors are almost a must!!


Try being a bit less fussy but still set aside quality time for your pigeon hobby but don’t be anxious about anything, just enjoy it and go with the flow! Pigeons are indeed tough and if some aren’t then perhaps they shouldn’t be in your race team…..

And remember, family should always come first not the pigeons! If you are not winning or flying consistently well then are your pigeons getting too line bred? Are the good and very good pigeons coming only few and far between whereas when you started you had all those golden years with lots of crossing? Perhaps you need some new blood?

Breed lots of babies, try many pairing combinations and breed off all your race birds…..I really hoped and prayed that from the 45 babies off my race birds that I spent up to 2 weeks hand rearing i.e. that a good one would come and indeed that’s what 1818 (my best young bird!) is off and the parents although well bred did not race spectacularily. The nestmate of 1818, another cock number 1817 was one of the 5 in the Futurity scoring 4th, they must be perfect though, everything including primary flights or they stay at home to race another day, so he missed the National on health.

What did you learn of late about racing pigeons, please feel free to comment below and like this blog article? Do you have any questions for me, I’d love to hear from you?


1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Jack Longville Memorial Race Young Birds Raumati 2017.

1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th ARPF Yearling Champs Raumati Old Birds 2017. John Laybourn bred 1st.

1st Futurity Yearling Ward 2017.

1st Eastern Union Blenheim 2017.

1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th OPEN ARPF Young Bird Futurity 2018. John Laybourn bred 1st and 2nd and won 1st Out of Area.

1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th OPEN ARPF Young Bird National 2018. John Laybourn bred 1st.

But the greatest trophy to win is eternal life!! But narrow is the road that leads to life and few find it!! Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it!!




Posted May 30, 2018 by ferguselley in Food for thought

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