A Knights Tale 2

In my own loft the birds are finishing their moult some of the youngsters are on their last flight. Has all gone well with the moult? did you make your selections before the moult or have you left it until they are all in their new suits and looking splendid and now those that were a ‘would a, should a. could a’ have now been given a new contract for 2021.

There is still time for those selections, if you have kept notes on your season go back and look for the one that was always late or didn’t play the game so to speak, we all have them and remember if their is nothing underlying health wise they all should have had the ‘perfect moult’ if they haven’t then well!

I have a friend who is alway looking, his saying is ‘once they are gone, you forget about them’ and to be fair you would have not wanted him in your club this last season he was unbeatable, maybe a loft report should be fitting for such a season!

Turkeys for Christmas?

In pre-covid times club AGM.s would be taking place but with no public gatherings allowed its a case of ‘as you were men’ or Zoom. What are your aspirations for 2021 is posted on Social Media, and has the sport moved forward and how has it changed?

Well, you’d think so, yes some have lofts resembling our continental cousins, we have ETS, computers to work out the results, some organisations have upgraded their transporters while some haven’t but should! Yes some of the older ones are very practical while I’m afraid some are not! Perhaps later we will can take a look at the modern transporters against the should we say not so modern, blimey I can feel the pins coming out!

A question that raises its head up on a regular basis is; what are the RPRA doing?

The other day I looked at the ‘Hall Report’ what is this? Some of you may ask.

Well, if you dismissed it get on the RPRA’s web site and type in ‘Hall Report’  it was published in the BHW. Was it money well spent, well I would say it was, but I don’t think it told us any thing we didn’t know already, but full council were never going to accept it or were they, after all spending around £14,000 to get an outside body to tell them where we should be improving surely some of it should have been implemented!

Some of the reports key points were Governance, Future Structure, HQ, BHW finishing with the ‘Vision’.

Section 2.3 addressed the council: The current constituency of 25 councillors is a very large number and, despite the sheer size of the council representation is skewed. Put simply, regional considerations appear to have undue influence versus individual members views, it  goes on ‘Meeting twice year is not enough for effective decision making and the executive team; is not empowered to run the organisation in other word they have to seek council approval before they do something!

Councillors have ‘no qualifications’ or training for a governance role! Not a criticism of the councillors themselves as they give much of their time to the RPRA. and goes on to state that council is of an ‘over weight shape’ ‘a bit like myself’ and costs around £40,000 a year to support.

Perhaps the decision to give every member a vote at the 2021 AGM came from the report, yes that’s right council voted at a meeting to give every member a vote at the 2021 AGM!

The ‘Vision’, the Hall Report stated that ‘There is no doubt that the RPRA can be governed and managed in a far more efficient way and effective way. As a consequence there are significant improvements and savings can be made. some quickly and some longer term and should the new structure be adopted and once bedded in with the transformation complete the RPRA would become a leaner more efficient effective body. Now then, progress, no council decided not to adopt it. Now they were never going to put themselves out of the ‘club’ were they? Perhaps the members should have voted whether it should have been adopted instead the trial 2021 AGM vote, that they have now taken off us!

Yes I read with interest the November Meeting Report that the trial ‘of one member one vote’ for the 2021 AGM which council had previously democratically voted on to give its members the individual vote had now had a second vote and retracted the opportunity to give each member their own say, obviously it didn’t suit some of the hierarchy and the members were again being told by the ‘chosen few’ who also instructed the Hall Report that they also decided against that this too will not be happening! So it would certainly be that, ‘turkey’s would most definitely not vote for Christmas!’

Also reading between the lines it would appear that the format of the BHW is changing in format to a ‘tabloid’ yes ‘rag style’ Is this to do with production costs and postage I wonder?

Surely in todays age we should be looking at a better quality print and a higher cover price, perhaps like the ‘Het Spoor Der Kampionen’ take a look at their website https://www.hetspoorderkampioenen.nl/  here you will see what our Dutch friends pay for their weekly magazine.

In Belgium and the Netherlands there were many news papers more or less one for every province as it was the only way to relay news of who was winning what, in the eighties I took the Reisduf, De Duif and one from West Flanders whose name I can’t remember also there was the Duivenkrant and then in Holland, The Vredesduif, Fondkrant and the NPO Orgaan. Now I think there is just the ‘DeDuif’ and the Het Spoor Der Kampionen which wasn’t started until the 90s by Bert Ooslander a Dutch native living in the USA and his friend Jan De Jonge, come on BHW committee you have to be innovative in this changing world!

More prizes, more work!

Is our prize system archaic? As long as I can remember there has been either four or five club cards, perhaps 12 federation cards and that is it. Points in the fed and the obvious averages but as we know there are a few prize winners and a few more that don’t make the winners podium but each week they turn up remember it is those members that make you the champion!

In my last submission I mentioned the thread on social media and when the rings were issued, I mentioned in one of my replies flying youngsters with old birds to which one of the response was ‘think about the work that would create for the secretaries and the extra work!

I can remember on a Saturday when four guys would sit in a row emptying the clocks, one stripping them down, one taking the rubbers out of the thimble relaying the inside and outside numbers to the guy doing the sheet, as the clock was read, another guy writing the times out to pass the sheets to the race secretary who would be working results out with a slide rule long hand with a pencil and paper, later a calculator and then later the little electronic velocity calculators from S & A Pigeon Supplies, no computers to work out the seasons averages or to print the prize cards, no all were hand written!

Today with ETS with just a few mouse clicks, synchronise the clocks and hey presto the result is there, now with the new software that he RPRA are now giving to clubs for ‘free’ yes free you have the opportunity to take the game to the next level where your results and competitions are concerned.

At the NRCC we have been using it for about four years and have four or five clock stations using it which save the race secretary a lot off inputing as when the clock officer gets home he just uploads it to the ‘Cloud’ an it’s as simple as clicking ‘send’ and ‘fetch’ you should try it!

The programme takes some learning but this software will do the lot, data from all brands of ETS clocks and with a few extra clicks results, for old birds, yearlings, hens, young birds, averages, nominations and Ace Pigeons, it is all possible and what is more it is free and if every club in your federation uses it then you can just import the data at the federation end and bingo, the fed result can be online too!

So now we have the computer remember last time I mentioned about those Belgian sprint fanciers the small team fancier can now compete for a few more prizes or perhaps ‘nominated ‘and ‘not nominated’ championships so for the nominated prizes the guys racing a few pigeons have a more even chance of a prize. In Belgium clocking in order with your first and second nominated pigeon is a sign of skill, or do we just want that first prize, I know I want to win that first prize but as I said without those that don’t make the podium you will not have a podium to stand on!

Preparing for ‘21

Bowls are all washed and if I ask nicely Julie will might just wrap them all in newspaper and if time allows, some time over Christmas will see me pairing the birds. All are vaccinated and last years young cocks are settling in their boxes just the odd one who as always wants his neighbours house more than his own.

Last week they were all treated for worms with Moxidectin  and while some were clear there were a few that were shall we say ‘better for being treated’ When worming the birds I always put it on the food mixing the correct dosage on to it, this way non is wasted especially at this time of the year when they don’t drink as much, if you still do it in the water then leave it in for a third day when its colder and they are not drinking as much, that is far better than giving them a stronger dosage, just my opinion.

What I don’t get this people that say ‘my birds don’t get worms’ after all I am sure at some times your birds will go in the basket and a holdover may occur.

After worming you may see dead worms when cleaning out, well the eggs that these worms lay are excreted in the birds droppings and will survive on the loft floor ready to reinfect.

Did you know if a bird had say six round worm the odds are that half may be female and a mature female round worm is able to produce up to 5000 eggs a day so if half are female thats 15000 eggs a day so the odds are a pigeon will pick up an egg or two along the way while pecking around the loft then in three weeks the birds are re-infected, so a further treatment will be required between two and three weeks time.

After worming I always torch the floor, If you are interested in a blow lamp then Clarke do an excellent one these are excellent and available from Machine Mart or online at https://www.machinemart.co.uk/p/fc108-gas-torch-with-nozzles/ of course you will need a propane bottle and these cost around £30 but the savings provided you don’t burn the loft down will be ten fold.

This year and I haven’t done it for a good few years perhaps because I haven’t had my pigeons mixing with others due to no racing I also vaccinated for Salmonella after a cure with Parastop, nothing out of the ordinary but hopefully I should be well prepared for some nice healthy youngsters!

Oh and remember that grit a little every other day is better than a pot full once a week and when pairing always put some fresh on the box so the hen as access to it while the cock is driving, yes basic stuff but are you doing it!



Every loft should have one!
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