HUTCHINSON BROS of Ashfield: 1st Open NIPA Rosscarbery OB Nat
"Annette" Wins the NIPA Inland National
The name Hutchinson Brothers of Ashfield has been one of the most prominent over the last few years racing into the County Down area of Northern Ireland, it’s a name you are always looking for on the big occasions and rarely do they fail to let you down more often than not, stealing the show as again this time.
Davy Hutchinson has enjoyed every minute of his pigeon career ever since his father built a loft and brought in a small amount of pigeons in 1970, this his father hoped would keep his sons out of trouble and give them an insight into the art of pigeon racing. Like a new toy, the new addition to the back garden was attended to hour in hour out until the usual euphoria that surrounds something new subsequently dwindles. Of all the sons that showed an interest Davy’s love and admiration of the racing pigeon just got stronger and stronger and now although still racing to the name first established by his father, Davy is the prominent figure behind the success story along with the unrelenting help and assistance from the lady of the house Annette.
This is a fancier that I have been meaning to cover for some time, like many his results are without any shadow of a doubt breath taking. Many fanciers ask me who I consider to be the best fancier in Ireland, always a difficult question to answer but I always try to answer diplomatically when asked. I like to leave people to figure that out themselves, my job is to supply all the loft profiles and then it’s up to you the fancier to be the judge. With fanciers flying in any country, in any part of the world, you will always have the short flyers and the extreme long flyers, that’s obvious you will always then have the man who send 10 and the man that sends 100, we can do nothing regards the distance between fanciers but we can and have set them a limit in Northern Ireland with a race run by the NIPA named the Mallow Five Bird, only five birds maximum per loft, so to me this is the fairest race to judge results on, for sprint anyway. Looking over the records Davy Hutchinson in the last eight years has never been out of the top 16 of the NIPA Open with an average of 9,000 pigeons per race including 5 different wind conditions in those 8 races, that is some statistic eight years on the trot never worse than the 16th best bird in the organization with that amount of birds competing and only each fancier allowed to send 5 of their best. Consistently I consider this one of the best modern day achievements in pigeon racing in Northern Ireland, by a fancier on a level playing field.
Racing performances over the years since the introduction of the Mardon Soontjens have seen a total of 16 x times Top Prize Winner at Club Level, 27 x 1st NIPA Section Diploma’s, NIPA Open Success’s from Kildare, Nenagh, Tramore and now twice from Rosscarbery. Also the loft won the INFC Yearling National in 2006. Like all fanciers Davy has lost count of the amount of times in has been runner-up, I recall just last year the loft finished twice 2nd Open NIPA in two consecutive weeks both times beat by a decimal point, can’t get any closer than that. The two races in question were Mallow Five Bird, and the next week from Sennen Cove.
As mentioned just above it was the introduction of the Soontjen from Tony and Ann Mardon that was to transform the fortunes of the Hutchinson racing machine. This commenced in 1991 when Davy took collection of six youngsters ordered from the Mardons, these arrived at Henry Beattie’s and when Davy picked them up he knew from the moment he opened the box that once more money became available he would set about getting more of what he had just received such was the standard of pigeons dispatched from the Mardon loft. For the next four years Davy was to invest heavily in the family that was to put his name on the Pigeon Racing Role of Honour in Ireland. This of course included many visits to the Mardon home and Davy explained that you will travel far to meet people as helpful and as genuine as Tony and Ann. Of all the pigeons that were bought all but a couple raced well. Davy has a policy that all his breeders are performance breeders, of the 12 pair at stock all have a lengthy and credible results database against their ring number, Davy doesn’t take the handling and the eye sign into consideration, as he says its not shows he is looking to win but races, and proven winners have a bigger chance of breeding winners than just taking in something wasting time breeding inevitably for results that are unknown. Much better to put your trust into breeding pigeons from pigeons you already know have worked with the conditions in Ireland, and more importantly won from them.
The Stock loft measures 12ft x 12ft split into a couple of sections of the 12 performance breeding pairs all have produced the goods, so much so that many of the current day racers have extensive racing and results to their name but until space becomes available in the retirement home they will continue to do what they do best and race. When talking about the stock birds and what they have done would be enough to keep you reading for hours, its awesome to say the least one hen for instance known as ‘Impreza’ she is 99 bred and has produced countless winners year in year out including 2 x 1st Section winners including 4 x pigeons over a 4 year period that competed in the aforementioned Five Bird Mallow race they finished 1st Section, 2nd Section, 2nd Section and 4th Section, she herself has won over 16 NIPA Open Positions as well as 8 x 1st Club’s and 2 x 1st Sections some of the highlights of her incredible racing career included 5th Open against 6,256 pigeons, 16th Open against 18,277 pigeons, 8th Open against 21,704 pigeons, 29th Open against 25,163 pigeons and 95th against 16,768 pigeons. In 2006 a son of this hen won the Dromore National Centre by 115 yards out of the Mallow 5 Bird race, and finished 12th Open.
Another pigeon known as ‘Leo’ again 8 x 1st Clubs to his name and 2 x 1st Sections he is also Sire of the pigeon that finished 2nd Open Mallow Five Bird Race last year the one that Davy was beat by decimals for the Open.
This week’s NIPA Rosscarbery Inland National winner for Davy is bred from the lofts INFC Yearling National winner of 2006 when mated back to its G/Dam. The Yearling National winner is off two other prolific racers for Davy those being the cock that finished 2nd Open NIPA Y/B Derby in 1998 when paired to the hen that finished 2nd Open North Section Skibbereen with the INFC in 2003.
It’s understandable when you listen to Davy talking about performance breeders when he is singing from the hymn sheet, these are facts and not fiction, all well recorded and there for all to see, multiple winner after winner.
What struck me the most was his thoughts on medicines and especially Y/B Sickness something that he has never suffered and with myself doing a host of loft profiles I am starting to see a pattern forming as to why the likes of Davy’s pigeons are avoiding the sickness, namely they feed well. As much as they like Davy told me for both old and young. The young birds especially are out once a day and fed once a day again not measured as much as they want with the feeder removed after 30 minutes.
Up until a fortnight before the first race it will be breeding mixture moving onto widowhood mixture then for the rest of the season, Versa Laga is the preferred choice for a long time now at the Hutchinson set up.
All the feeders have a base coating of Red Minerals with the corn always placed on top; this is then discarded and replenished each Sunday morning. Again nothing in the water except Natural Line and Cider Vinegar, when Davy started to form the family away back in 1991 he wanted one that had natural resistance, this policy continues right to this present day, the first sign of weakness, their history. No need for all these products that are on the market, just good pigeons, clean loft and natural resistance will win you races, Davy feels the minute you start using a lot of these products you are weakening their immune systems and this will only follow for generation after generation, good racing pigeons shouldn’t need extra’s.
As for the Y/Birds again focused around the stress free side is were Davy’s thoughts and practices are, feed well when they are young and let them enjoy themselves, without asking them to produce miracles, as he says he has witnessed Y/Birds sent to races absolutely starving even going to the extent that their eating shavings that were in the crates until there were none left, then what happens, when loaded and as the transporter heads to the race point that Y/Bird is sure to vomit up what it ate and the rest pick at it, the only time he has ever witnesses sickness himself is with a worming product he used years ago, within a day of giving half a tablet most of the youngsters were sick, it was powerful stuff, Davy admits one year when conducting this practice in the loft a Y/Bird returned after being out for a week or two, so just in time for a tablet, within 10 minutes that young bird was vomiting up beach pebbles. Y/Birds when hungry will pick through anything and eat anything they have no other sense, this is maybe one reason why we have so much sickness, the young are expected to work on empty stomachs and as the racing approaches some fanciers even skimp on the corn further and ask the young to increase their work load two fold.
Davy will rear around 40 Young Birds for racing into an 18ft x 8ft loft split into a couple of sections. The team will get the run of the loft and are not split at all during the season, the large loft has also an aviary running the full length, which Davy admits is a great help at he start of the education process. Hours of darkness are from 7pm till 9am. This will last up until the end of June, with the team getting their vaccination this weekend. Training will start almost immediately after they come of the darkness system from a distance of 4 miles progressing up to 25 miles. They will go no further up until racing about 3 times per week with once around the house per day, when racing starts mostly they would see the hamper twice per week.
The O/Bird team which coincides with what this article is all about, the winning of the NIPA Rosscarbery Inland National for a second time, they are raced on widowhood both cocks (17) and hens (24). Davy was telling me that the winning hen a Blue Yearling was only lightly raced as a young bird after flying into the wrong box when in the stock loft, he admits that she was near killed and had very little flesh left on her head, ever since that he has had a problem mating her up to a cock and has yet to rear any babies, she has always kept herself to herself in the loft and the section that she races to by chance one of the cocks lost his hen a couple of weeks ago and she seems to be finally coming around and has started to mate up to this widowed cock. The old birds are flown around the house twice per day, and only if getting lazy will they have the punishing training basket introduced. Again hopper fed with the water changed once per day from the tap, no distilled water here. The lofts are scrapped twice per day with the O/Bird racing loft which measures 24ft x 8ft taking up most of the time.
I will pen off by thanking Davy and Annette for their hospitality during my visit, a visit that was long overdue on one of the most consistent flyers that Ireland offers, the National winning hen now named "Annette" was one of 16 sent, she landed at 1.30pm flying 228 miles recording a velocity of 1569ypm, she was in hot form as last week she topped the Ashfield Club from Pilmore Beach with the NIPA finishing 16th Section G & 60th Open NIPA with 27,039 pigeons competing. With all home on the day bar one after a Thursday basketing, and four nights spent in a transport, this race will certainly be up there with the many memorable achievements already gained by the Hutchinson Bros loft.
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