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The Masterful Wilkinson
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What a fancier, 3 different partnerships (Watson, McBride & Wilkinson, Woods & Wilkinson and currently McDonald & Wilkinson and three success stories. The man in question behind the success Antrim’s Ken Wilkinson, currently racing in the Chimney Corner HPS in the partnership of McDonald (Victor) & Wilkinson (Ken) they have finished top prize winners this year again at Club level ( 8 x 1st’s & 11 x 2nd’s plus numerous other prizes this all considering you are only allowed two prizes each week at Club Level. Racing within the Mighty NIPA with a weekly bird entry exceeding 25,000 the lofts are situated at Dunsilly Roundabout on the outskirts of Antrim Town. They fall into the boundary of Section B, one of the further flying Section’s in the NIPA covering an area from Ballymoney to Crumlin.

Ken has had the pigeon scene around him in some form or fashion for the last 40 years indeed his father & uncle were very consistent fanciers in their day and Ken has retained the diplomas won by the men in question that he proudly displays at his home.

Section B of the NIPA is by no means any easy section to win with many of Northern Ireland’s elite fancy coming from around that particular area. This year the partnership collected a string of positions including 2 x 1st’s, 3 x 2nd’s 1 x 4th and many more positions in the top ten with a average weekly bird entry of up to 4,000.

Ken’s racing pedigree is endless when you incorporate all his previous partnerships having won nearly everything possible up Ireland hence this new partnership which is only in its 4th year now working towards creating the ultimate distance family. Birds have been obtained from various sources including Alan Darragh who Ken quotes as “the best pigeon man in Ireland at this current time as he has proved himself at every race point over the last ten years, a more honest and knowledgeable man you will find hard to come across” according to Ken. The partnership have also obtained a superb draft of Ogilvie pigeons that have been maturing over the last couple of years. Other fresh stock has been added to his already substantial portfolio of stock pigeons these include Cooremans from Derek Parr and a fine batch of Wildemeesch obtained from Cyril Fletcher. Success has already spiralled from this stock and two Widowhood cocks stand out already winning 1st’s in Section B plus numerous other high Section and Open positions within the NIPA and are dually named ‘Dunsilly Derek’ and ‘Dunsilly Cyril’

Ken did tell me that if a pigeon is doing well for him up Ireland the pigeon in question will never see the water, maintaining it’s the only way to build a successful racing team to compete at the highest level on a weekly basis, through addressing this issue he hopes to form a team of birds capable of winning at all distances but not necessarily the same pigeon all the time, they must all work together as a team to keep the loft as a whole at the top.

So no quick fix according to Ken it takes time to learn your pigeons i.e. pigeons that can fly fast enough whether it be a head wind south wind or east or west it’s a matter of building a team capable to face any condition. A great deal of logic and thought goes into Kens work with his pigeons, taking great care with his paperwork and particular attention is paid to the birds on arrival from races.

Widowhood racing is implemented for most of the Old Bird program with them being mated around Valentines day and allowed to sit two rounds of eggs but never rearing a youngster at this early stage.

Racing no more than 14 cocks maximum they all must earn there box. Next year with a new loft on the horizon he hopes to increase his number of widowers to around 30. Feeding as I had already heard was hopper still measured but all fed together, grit and minerals are always available with Garlic being added one day a week as is Multi vitamins. BEWARE YOU BIG RETAILERS this man reckons we the fancy are being ripped off with all these fancy bottles and names that promise performance. Ken has high regard for as much natural as possible hence feeding his pigeons the same supplements we as humans would take i.e. your normal run of the mill tablets from your local health shop. He went as far as to explain that he purchases Garlic capsules and splits them over the corn as for the multivitamins 3 tablets in a water filled 2lt milk carton overnight and it will be ready to use the following morning. Something all the same that he thinks highly off is a product of the Osmond’s company called ENVIROKLENZE 5ml per 3.5lt drinker (purely natural product). Ken uses this 4 to 5 days a week in the drinkers even going as far as to wash all loft equipment with this stuff. I did go as far as having a sniff sinus clearing material without any doubt. Tossing of the Widowers is 2 or 3 times a week pending on how they are behaving around the loft, it is hoped that they do fly voluntarily around the loft 1 hour morning and evening. Again at the start of the season the widowers are started at the same tossing point 12 miles until the penny drops.

Around 60 Y/Birds are reared each year split 50/50 between Natural and the Darkness System. Feeding of the Y/Birds is plentiful always on Natural Breeding mixture to encourage growth and fulfillment into good yearling pigeons. Tossing starts at around the 12 mile mark this only starting when Ken is satisfied by their antics around the loft. They will be kept at the 12 mile mark until they are returning properly then they will increase in jumps of 10 mile each time.

Ken has only over the last couple of years started to involve a vet around his loft this being Mr Scullion from Co. Tyrone so medicine is only deployed should the vet see fit, testing takes place twice per year. Health is very important with Y/B’s especially, according to Ken, if a Y/Bird is carrying anything a tall you should be able to notice, it is slightly different with older pigeons as they at times can temporarily overcome sickness through motivation.
Having known this man for a long time he has always put his hopes of Section Fancier of the Year on the line when it comes to Y/Bird season as he likes to care for his young ones and educate them accordingly which requires a lot of time and never holding back were the feeding is concerned, this is the only weakness in my opinion that is holding this man back from total domination in the Antrim area.

A NIPA Committee man for a few years now he has gained a reputation for not being afraid to stand his ground on issues that he feels are detrimental to the future of the sport and one of the biggest group of people he has admiration for are the fast amount of fanciers who send their pigeons on a weekly basis solely for the enjoyment of seeing them come home as Ken quoted “without these people the sport would not exist”.

So on that I new I was heading into dangerous waters when asking him how he see’s the sport at present and what needs to be done for the future.

First topic we touched on was the geography attached to the NIPA race program and its suitability to the further flying fanciers from Section B upwards, it is Ken’s belief that Y/Birds in this country more so Section B upwards are pushed to far to soon with massive jumps. It would be more of an advantage for all involved if the first 5 or 6 races were area liberations, at the same time this would not suit the fellow fancy on down the country, so a complete overall of the racing program needs to be considered as the NIPA is covering a vast amount of land incorporating every Club from North to South and a longer program of Area Liberations looks the easiest solution.

More co-operation must be made between different organizations with reference to liberations I think most of us are now starting to see this as a must going by events that have unfolded over the last couple of seasons.

We need to be promoting ourselves more to the open non pigeon world out there as the charitable work that we the pigeon men carry out on a yearly basis must be up their with any other major sporting body but you don’t ever see enough media coverage for all the fancy’s hard work.

The final subject we touched on was Novices, years gone by a new fancier would have been welcomed with open arms into any club were they would have been given that much assistance your were nearly instantly touching success, should you have been receiving knowledge to holes barred, assistance to erect a loft, gift birds (and not ones that were no good) even as far as to be given a clock if a fellow club man had an extra one. How things have changed now its all about how much money you will need even before thinking about it. How professional and off putting our sport has become to the kids in the street.

To close this loft profile on Ken Wilkinson I must mention Kens 14 year old son Ryan who’s help is very greatly appreciated, with the amount of pigeons kept at the lofts in Dunsilly help is most definitely required and Ryan has always been willing hence the lofts being totally scrapped on a daily basis.



I would like to close by wishing Ken, Victor & Ryan every success in the future and thank them for their hospitality on my recent visit.


Adie
by: Adie

E-mail:
celestiallofts@aol.com

What a fancier, 3 different partnerships (Watson, McBride & Wilkinson, Woods & Wilkinson and currently McDonald & Wilkinson and three success stories. The man in question behind the success Antrim’s Ken Wilkinson, currently racing in the Chimney Corner HPS in the partnership of McDonald (Victor) & Wilkinson (Ken) they have finished top prize winners this year again at Club level ( 8 x 1st’s & 11 x 2nd’s plus numerous other prizes this all considering you are only allowed two prizes each week at Club Level. Racing within the Mighty NIPA with a weekly birdage exceeding 25,000 the lofts are situated at Dunsilly Roundabout on the outskirts of Antrim Town. They fall into the boundary of Section B, one of the further flying Section’s in the NIPA covering an area from Ballymoney to Crumlin.
Ken & Ryan Wilkinson holding
Dunsilly Cyril' & 'Dunsilly Derek'

Ken’s racing pedigree is endless when you incorporate all his previous partnerships having won nearly everything possible up Ireland hence this new partnership which is only in its 4th year now working towards creating the ultimate distance family. Birds have been obtained from various sources including Alan Darragh who Ken quotes as “the best pigeon man in Ireland at this current time as he has proved himself at every race point over the last ten years, a more honest and knowledgeable man you will find hard to come across” according to Ken. The partnership have also obtained a superb draft of Ogilvie pigeons that have been maturing over the last couple of years. Other fresh stock has been added to his already substantial portfolio of stock pigeons these include Cooremans from Derek Parr and a fine batch of Wildemeesch obtained from Cyril Fletcher. Success has already spiralled from this stock and two Widowhood cocks stand out already winning 1st’s in Section B plus numerous other high Section and Open positions within the NIPA and are dually named ‘Dunsilly Derek’ and ‘Dunsilly Cyril’
A bad close up if 'Dunsilly Cyril'
Named after the late Cyril Fletcher.

Victor McDonald, Ryan & Ken Wilkinson
With three of their Champions

The L shaped loft of McDonald & Wilkinson
situated just of the Dunsilly Roundabout

The small but tidy 2 x section Widowhood
& Darkness Y/B loft.

A quick snap inside the spacious
6 x section 42ft loft
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