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 The Nicholson Strain of England
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This is what has been termed a relatively young strain based inThis is what has been termed a relatively young strain based in
Rochester, Kent, England. Its creators is a father and son combination
and the birds are housed in a modest 19ft x 6ft loft based upon the
natural system which has witnessed some of the best distance
performances in recent years. The father is John who suffers from Pigeon
fanciers lung disease and as a result wears a mask when around the lofts
whereas the son is Spencer. Both are good pigeon managers otherwise they
would not be in the position of having entered in one year 56 pigeons in
6 races between 530-700 miles and lose only 5 of the candidates. Such
results are outstanding!

The Nicholsons are totally and absolutely committed to the longer races and the latter are primarily organised by the National Flying Club and the British International Championship Club. Having set their sight on competing in 6 long and marathon type races per year it is obvious that they had to have the proper material therefore their family of pigeons are based mainly upon the family of Eddie Newcombe of Macmerry. The original stock came from this source in 1980 including the bloodlines of Trellis, Live Circuit, Blue Grotto and Red Laddie. It was a wise choice and reflects the thinking approach that the partnership brings to their participation in the sport.

This approach has paid off for how many of the larger establishments can boast, for example, of winning 1st BICC Pau, followed by 16th open NFC Pau on the same weekend, and in the young bird national being 6th and 13th open. That was accomplished in one year, 1998. The loft also recorded in pursuit of the Europa Trophy: 13th and 19th Pau; 4th, 15th and 20th Barcelona; 4th, 25th, 26th and 32nd Dax; 9th Marseille, 2nd, 5th, 17th, 18th and 22nd open Perpignan. Fantastic flying by any standards and bearing in mind that their pigeons have to cross a sea and overcome other geographical configurations and predators etc, while fighting the drag of the rest of Europe to get home.

Management wise the Nicholsons will bring in a cross when they think it is required but they shy away from housing stock birds preferring to breed off their own winners. Naturally they would not have the space for too many stock birds. A cardinal belief being that the winners are not necessarily the best breeders therefore they rely upon the second generation for better breeding results re possible winners.

Pairing wise the partners pair their birds in March each year but not all their stock is apparently paired. Those who are paired the partners prefer that the young are reared and the latter wean themselves. It is then after they are sitting on their 2nd nest that training begins. The short channel races are used as preparation for the
longer events where the birds face the latter sitting on eggs. Of course this plan has produced the goods and based upon good stock their commitment ensures success.

The partnership believes in having a good relationship with their pigeons preferring tameness where quietness is a basis for the right preparation for the rigours and the stresses of long distance racing. Apparently a mixture containing 30% of maize and maple peas plus about 20% of beans with wheat, barley and dari. Grit and minerals are available and some greens. Garlic is also used with multi-vitamins on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

It is good to know that there are relatively small lofts planning with what they have thoughtfully procured to reach for the heights of marathon and long distance racing of which the Nicholsons are amongst the elite. I look forward to see the heights which I am sure they will reach in the new millennium. The photo is of Kate, one of their recent winners: 1st Greater Distance Club of Britain (2005) from Palamos, Spain.


Liam O Comain  -
by: Liam O Comain

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