Archive for June 2018

Update 2018.   Leave a comment


Hey welcome back! Perhaps its been a while, perhaps you started again recently and caught my recent blogs. I love blogging, there are not enough hours in the day for it!

Competition here in Auckland, New Zealand is still fierce! We are a dwindling number, In the 40’s now, perhaps was 200 more than that 30 years ago. I run 7 Facebook pigeon groups to promote the sport and entertain mainly kiwi fanciers with a bit of b/s, banter and comradery. Many like it. Just opened a public one with the main aim to get more people interested in keeping any sorts of pigeons especially here in new Zealand, with the hope of some of those getting interested in racers and joining one of our Auckland Federations 6 clubs. We have a Fed that is about 120 km’s north to south and maybe 30 to 50km wide max, so we are not that spread out really. It’s really time for the whole lot of us to fly as one body rather than keeping the very small west section going.

That group is ‘pigeon racing is awesome nz’ easy to find by a Facebook search, all welcome!

Its interesting looking back at the stats of this small racing pigeon platform. Starting off being dominated by New Zealander’s from 2011 at its inception to being overtaken the last 3 years significantly by USA viewers. It’s partly because I haven’t blogged much since 2014 but its an interesting observation. The New Zealand viewing numbers has declined whilst the USA has remained about the same. As said it’s just a small platform and the most views was in 2014, just under 7000 with visitor numbers each year always up to half or less the number of total blog views. I guess I need to blog a bit more…..

I had intended to cut the length down to 500 words maximum for readability. I haven’t tended to structure my blogs really, just go with the flow and even the very long ones of 3000 words or so probably really only take an hour or two to knock out with unprofessional finger typing skills. But its the editing and so forth and the final polishing to my high standard which has meant it sometimes could have been closer to 8 hours incrementally. Which is a reason why I have tended to not blog!

I guess some more structure could well be an improvement. If you do wish to send anonymous feedback email me see below or if you happen to find this on social media, please comment freely…..we all have to remember that Trump is the new normal!…..whether we like it or not…..that could be a good topic to have a yarn about with the USA visitors…..

My email is and phone is New Zealand 0224038481 and I do check voice mails. I really do have a heart for promoting this great sport of ours. Feedback is appreciated!

Hey good news, this one is exactly 500 words, now you can go and watch your favourite tv show!

Posted June 21, 2018 by ferguselley in Food for thought

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Being in the zone…..   Leave a comment


Those of you who got through my last blog did very well! I want to reiterate I don’t know much about pigeons, my ideas change from season to season, from year to year from decade to decade and we relearn old lessons and reconfigure our thinking…..Perhaps you have been in a rut performance wise, I’ve been there, we all have if we are honest!…..keep trying, you will round the corner, keep smiling, the key is to enjoy the pigeon dust, kidding, enjoy the roses…..kidding, enjoy the beer if you drink, not kidding…..enjoy each other unless someone irritates you incessantly, then enjoy beating them as much as possible!!…..but really, take time in your busy schedule so the pigeons are still a buzz, not a chore, good company, like when you were a kid when you marvelled at them! never lose that simplicity as that is where the joy is found, it’s true!…..but they may also be your troops, your soldiers, your darts, your arrows, your spears, your weapons of mass destruction even! (if somebody(s) really pisses you off)…..don’t let your pigeon experience ever be a drag…..don’t let the competition make you feel pressured…..listen to your gut when you know you shouldn’t do that toss with greenies because of bad weather etc…..listen to your gut when you know that if you lose that pigeon you will regret it i.e. don’t send it, put it into stock maybe…..and this is a key…..compete only against yourself! What does that mean, exactly what it says! Don’t worry about both losing and what the opposition are up to and what way the wind will be blowing etc…..that way you are much less likely to make a wrong move, to put a foot out and your pigeons then won’t be bashed trying to scramble up that slippery slope to steal the flag from the top and win the trophy, win the glory and feed your ego…..rather let fate gift you the win instead…..not because you don’t try but because you become one with your pigeons….your friends….you would indeed die for them… would rescue them from a burning car before a fancier you don’t fancy so much…..get my drift…..when you stop worrying about the opposition and play your own game then with an ounce of luck you will win more often and at times also win when weather etc dictates that you should not but somehow your pigeons still do!…..but if you don’t win it has still been enjoyable as you have let go of the stress of having to win!… are relaxed, you are in the zone!…..better said you don’t give an f’n toss where you come as long as they all come home!!


It is hard to keep winning. Lucky streaks run out sooner or later, sometimes we are more focussed than others. Perhaps something has happened at the club which got you annoyed…..of course often little dramas are just misunderstandings…..if you want a friend you have to be a friend and none of us are perfect!…..we can have good intentions but really it is impossible to get on with every Tom, Dick and Harry…..but a little bit of aggravation doesn’t hurt to get you motivated, focussed….. it might not be more training, it might just be your mind stays alert for longer when you are planning your pigeon racing, you are more able to see the big picture, of what really is important for success, success when it counts!…..nothing is guaranteed in pigeon racing though, even the weather on the day of the race…..but if your mind is sharper than normal it will be much easier to beat those whose minds have gone a bit stale, who perhaps are going through the motions, doing it how they normally would or did that great season of yesteryear…..but that might not be what is required to win this season?….. but if you stay focussed and in the zone then you are more likely to make the right decisions about all aspects of your pigeon management… are playing your game!!


Your involvement in your Federation, your club, with fledgling fliers or running pigeon social media groups can help you stay focussed as you are serving others, looking outward, being more organised…..helping new fliers with potentially good babies for them to fly, sound advice for them (from your 0.5% that you have!), being a wise, carefully listening sounding board, letting them ask stupid questions as well as not so stupid ones so they can learn…..teaching others helps you understand what you believe about different management techniques… helps you focus… stay in the zone more often to attune to an intelligent ‘pigeon brain’ teamed up with at times the ‘gut feeling’ about what you should do now and perhaps more importantly, what not to do!…..


Can we hone in intuitively on a potential successful new pairing?…..that’s an interesting question…..the biggest obstacle here of course is that the super pigeons are few and far between for any distance including short distance…..what’s your gut feeling about the pigeon stock that you have?? Have you got the right ‘cloth’ for the coat?… the feather right or could the genetics be much better? Have you trusted someone too much when buying pigeons or has mediocrity become a close friend?…..have you bought on performance alone?…..have you bought the champion or at the least direct children of a champion or champions?? would you be prepared to pay for something if it would improve your loft significantly or are you happy continuing with what you have despite the many years of line breeding?…..are we settling for mediocrity? these are all good questions…..surely improved genetics is always the best way to improve!…..and remember, the inferior pigeons eat about the same amount of tucker as the good and extremely good ones so go figure, but when was the last time that you had an extremely good pigeon middle distance and further? maybe you haven’t ever, why??

At the first pigeon auction I attended I didn’t even look at the pigeons, this was 1989. The guys father had spent some decent money buying birds for his son and it was a clearance sale, a true one!…..I paid $17 for one pigeon and $18 for another and the 6 or 8 pigeons I bought all bred them for me but the $35 pair are the backbone of all my pigeons as for example they are in Mac Armstrong’s BBC 219….. I didn’t look at any of them I just bought on performance as that was my gut feeling of what to do…..perhaps I was in the zone! Everyone else were giving them a real good looking over, I laugh to myself when I see the guys getting those fancy double pigeon eye glasses out!!…..

What are you in the sport for, do you want to win? Do you want to kick arse? Do you have something to prove to yourself and others…..well that’s a good start… the best you can but pick on performance, babies if possible if not one and two year olds, if they have been bred off there’s still a chance they are not a dud…..there is a lot of luck in breeding, a lot of luck…..breeding alot of babies always is an advantage, don’t believe the perfectionists who just want to breed 15 to 20 babies, there are probably some in the world that only breed that many and fly fantastically but I’m of the feeling that they are few and far between! Whether you find someone like that or not buy off the best pigeons, but don’t pay ridiculous prices, most bred are not the great pigeons, but also some of the not great pigeons racing wise can be very good breeders, usually they haven’t been dummies and are often a good physical type, perhaps they are siblings of the crack pigeon, perhaps not, perhaps they are a child of the crack, I would favour that over a sibling…..maybe you find a lucky click pairing like my $35 dollar Vandie base pair above, they bred a very high percentage of good ones, close to 100%, but they were yearlings too…..of course I didn’t really realise what I had back then…..I didn’t know that really excellent racers that will win at any distance are hard to come by!…..but I was in the zone enough to put a lot of progeny into stock but some got lost from the extreme distance too when they were not as right as when they had won before…..I was not in the zone when I sent them…..stupid!…..if you know they aren’t right don’t send them and if you know that you will be really pissed off if you lose a pigeon that you wanted for stock then simply put it to stock… won’t regret it because stock birds rarely die except from old age in my experience…..


So breed lots of babies from the best that you can afford, breed off all your race birds that is so long as they are reasonable, honest, you can get some surprises that’s for sure e.g. 1818 this year my best young bird 3rd OPEN FUTURITY and 3rd OPEN NATIONAL, his parents weren’t spectacular, very well bred though, both times he came with the winner, perhaps a lucky pigeon in part but more than that I think, time will tell…..try many combinations…..I am even wondering about love mating most of my stock pigeons later in the year…..I’ll have cocks of completely or mainly one bloodline in each of my 2 breeding sections and just go through all the stock hens and fish out those that might cross with them so long as those hens are in perfect health and just chuck them in…..remember, I don’t treat my stock pigeons for canker, respiratory bugs, coccidiosis and so forth, it is sink or swim and they are pretty damn tough and I think that helps me with the high stocking rates I usually have for my race birds i.e. they are tough too…..

There is so much luck in mating pigeons and the last few years I haven’t been that motivated to think of new pairings. Last year I put mainly the previous years pairings back together…..I might keep 5 pairs together…..they do say though that its good to change your pairings often, for one it leads to more diversity in the race team which you pick most of your stock pigeons from. I tend to agree unless you have a pairing like the 35 buck pairing I had in the 90’s…..then you keep it together…’d be silly not to, at least until the hen is about 8 and then she starts to throw a lot less good racers after that…..we need to be in the zone with our breeding…..but crossing is more likely to breed us more tough pigeons with hopefully some outstanding racers from those matings….but whatever system you like to use be happy with it, if not maybe change it…..some lines of pigeons can take more line breeding but usually sooner or later you need to bring some new blood in and see what happens. I linebred for 17 years up to 90% with a crack still popping up at times so the best lines are more than suitable for an outcross for example Mac Armstrong’s pigeons or now John Laybourn’s!


There’s alot of luck in pigeon racing and pigeon breeding but good fanciers generally make their own luck as they are hungry to win and prepared to make sacrifices of their time and money! Keep looking at improving your pigeon racing and breeding methods but remember luck is certainly a big factor! Give back to the sport that you love in whatever way that you can, perhaps you will win more because of that, perhaps not, but you will have helped run the show, helped fellow fanciers especially fledgling ones and those struggling. Avoid squabbles and contentious arguments rather being proactive, a ‘first stepper’ rather than a stone waller or a crank when there are problems in pigeon racing…… However, if after all possible avenues have been exhausted and it is just impossible to have even a casual friendship with those people(s) then by all means let that animosity keep you in the zone so that they are not the slave master and you retain your dignity and you let your pigeons do the talking!…..enjoy thrashing them especially when it counts, as simply put, that is what they deserve…..!! But try and do it with humility and if you believe in a ‘higher power’ then make sure you are thankful and let people know that power has showered blessing down on your team…..


Posted June 5, 2018 by ferguselley in Food for thought

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