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In Da Loft With Alli "P" - RP Scribe
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The timber arrived today to start making my racing shed. My mate, Mark is coming down to help later. Although Mark is a non-fancier he has spent many a night listening to me talking birds at the Wood Green Club bar. But he has never made the journey to Blackpool, not like the rest of my mates, all non-fanciers, but they all look forward to January and Blackpool.

Well, my first young birds arrived today, twelve in total. When I got home from work it was a case of straight to the shed. Dawn, my better half had taken care of them since Amtrak had delivered them. She put them in the shed with a hopper full of maples and a drinker with the lid off. When I looked the birds over I was quite pleased but a little concerned as they are a bit bigger than I would have liked, with seven of them on the top perches already.

My first though was, I'll loose these as soon as I let them out. My lad, Tommy was itching to get into the shed with me, so I invited him in. I got a barrage of questions from him. Every question I answered is them followed with, why Dad?

Isn't it funny how kids have so much fun with cardboard boxes? I had to laugh when Tommy said that it was nice of the man who sent the pigeons to have sent him (Tommy) a cardboard box as well. How did he know I liked them Dad?

Tommy and I spent about an hour in the shed just sitting amongst the young birds. Then I removed all the maples and shut the shed up.

Now, I like to blow a whistle when feeding my youngsters, I think this is the easiest way to control babies. I know some fanciers rattle tins of corn, or whistle tunes or even make clicking noises, but I think a whistle is the best.

The main reason being, sub cautiously you can sometimes make these sounds when you are not going to feed the young birds. They then hear this while sitting in the loft, get all worked up and then no reward, this can then lead to bad trapping. But if you use a whistle and only blow this while feeding, they soon get very used to it and respond very quickly.

For instance I have now had my young birds for 4 days and I am now at a stage that when I stand in the garden and use my whistle, the young birds are on the floor in the shed waiting for corn. I must say at this point that they are not starved but have just associated this noise with food. Its an unusual noise, not something they will normally hear until feeding time.

I am now confident about the way the bird's respond that I have opened the shed door (a very anxious time). I have no other pigeons at all apart from these twelve. They are very calm, just walking around the lawn, flapping up onto the roof and dive-bombing like young birds do. I left them out for forty-five minutes, then a couple of pips on the whistle and they were in, fed, watered and shut the shed up.

Feeding is very simple, maples only. I will not change my feeding until I have all my young birds, (forty in total). Then I will start giving a young bird mix with a depurative for breakfast.

The timber arrived today to start making my racing shed. My mate, Mark is coming down to help later. Although Mark is a non-fancier he has spent many a night listening to me talking birds at the Wood Green Club bar. But he has never made the journey to Blackpool, not like the rest of my mates, all non-fanciers, but they all look forward to January and Blackpool.

The young bird shed I intend to build will be 16' x 8', 2 sections, with a 2'.6" corridor, an offset tiled roof and I will be installing a ventilation system into it, that I think will be good for the loft. It will also cut down the amount of dust. I've given a lot of thought to the loft, as I read an article not so long ago on pigeon lung. I'm convinced the high increase in confirmed cases are due to the way we close our sheds in and don't give enough thought to ventilation.

The problem can be overcome; you just have to change things. I will be fitting extractor fans, one in each section. These will be in the ceiling, roughly in the centre and will be connected to a 4" duct up through the tiles. It will also have a branch in the roof space that will remove the air from here as well.

The whole lot will be connected via a 24 hour mechanical clock and a thermostat. I intend to change the air in the loft every hour. The fan will be on for fifteen minutes on and off for one hour and on again for fifteen minutes and so on. But, the thermostat will override this and the fan will run continuously if the temperature in loft rises too high. A lot of hassle some might think but this is as much for me as it is for the birds.

Work on my shed is now well under way. As I said, it is 16' x 8', made of ¾ ply, with the front made of 1" Shiplap. After sitting down many evenings, drawing it out, a cutting list was made. This made easy work of building it and it all screwed together perfectly. All I have to do is finish the inside and tile the roof. This shed is for my young birds. I intend to build another shed for my widowhood birds, (if I end up with any) after the racing season. The only difference between the sheds will be the front trapping, and I will put more clear panels in the roof.

I have just bought two baskets and they arrived today. With the cost of these and all the timber etc it can be very expensive to get started in this sport. Its no wonder not many people find it an appealing hobby, with the added fact of feeding, cleaning daily and very little or no reward (profit wise) can you blame them? For instance, why would a young person give up a lot of free time to be in a shed full of pigeons, come rain or shine? Get ribbed by his or her friends as being a cloth cap, with no reward other than a mention in one of our weekly publications.

But, if that same person was to win something, something to make the other kids interested, you may just find some of them want to start helping or getting involved. As I said in my previous article, I have a few ideas to get people involved.

My first idea is; in a couple of weeks the London North Road Federation are having their second breeder, buyer sale. I intend to buy a young bird, I am then going to donate this to my son Tommy's school. The bird will be mine, but, if luck prevails and wins anything I intend to give the school 50% of the winnings. This I hope will create an interest. The kids can come and watch the birds returning from a race and may even bring their parents.

Who knows, a nice warm day, a few beers and I might even convince a few parents it a worthwhile hobby. It's a long shot I know, but nothing ventured is nothing gained.

I'm going up to Nottinghamshire on Sunday to collect twenty young birds from Albert Taylor. I've never met this man and I was introduced to him by Tom McCaldrick. I rang Tom asking if he had any birds for sale, but I was told he packed up a few years ago due to illness. After a long chat with Tom he put me in touch with Albert. After chatting on the phone, rings were sent and a date was set when I could go up. I must say both Tom and Albert have been most helpful and I am very grateful.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Until next time…….




by Allan Parkhurst ...

 

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