Monday, February 28, 2011

Trace Elements - Iodine

Iodine (I) plays an important role in the functioning of the thyroid and a deficiency of the element leads to thyroid hypo-activity. Thyroid activity is closely correlated with sexual fervour, essential in racing pigeons, particularly widowhood cocks. The thyroid plays an active but complex role, with vitamin B1, in the burning of fats for energy, an abundance of which is essential for producing form.

Taken from Fit To Win
by Wim Peters

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Poor Man's Racehorses Take to Sky Again

Written By Peter Cheney, Toronto Star
May 8, 1993

The pigeons are flying now, blurred gray shapes against the blue spring sky, rising up past the television antennas and the patched, narrow roofs. "Can you see them"? he asks. The flock is circling, banking hard around the chimneys, like miniature racing planes. "They're coming back now," he says. "Watch. A few will come, then the rest."

Elmer MacDonald is 70 years old. He's been blind since he was 22, but he can still remember the way the pigeons look up in the sky, a sight fixed in his memory ever since he was a little boy, when his father raised pigeons in the backyard.

This year will be his 61st pigeon racing season. "I'm a poor man," he says. "But I have my birds ... Racing pigeons are the poor man's racehorse." There are about 2,000 pigeon racers in Canada, mostly men, most of them middle-aged or older, passionately addicted to a sport that most people have never heard of or understand.

"When you tell people you race pigeons they give you weird looks," says Bill Baderow, President of the Canadian Racing Pigeon Union. "They think about the pigeons they see sitting around on statues. "It gets in your blood. I've been doing this for 42 years and I still get all excited about it." The Ontario pigeon racing season begins today with a 160 kilometer (100 mile) training race from Burk's Falls, north of Huntsville, the opener to a season that climaxes in July with the Upper Canada National 400 miler, Ontario pigeon racing's equivalent of the Kentucky Derby.

Unlike the Derby, the Upper Canada offers no prize money. Despite this, it is the most hotly contested and prestigious pigeon race in the province, attracting almost 3,000 birds last year. Although some Canadian pigeon races have cash purses, they are small - the highest is about $2000. In Europe, however, there are races with prizes that can run to $100,000 and more. Big or small, pigeon races all work the same way: the winner is determined by calculating the bird's average speed over the course.

On the night before the event, the racers take their pigeons to their local club. Each racer has a special pigeon racing clock, which is calibrated and locked at the club. Each bird is given a special leg band then loaded into a semi-trailer truck to be taken to the release point. The racers wait at home as the pigeons fly. When they arrive, they remove the bird's leg band and drop it through a hole in the top of their racing clock, which locks shut and records the time. The distance from the release point to each racer's home is known down to the meter. Dividing the distance by the bird's time en route gives an average speed, which may be as high as 100 kilometres (62 miles) an hour or more.

Pigeon racers fanatical about their sport

MacDonald lives in Toronto's east end, in a small house on Carlaw Ave. just north of Lake Shore Blvd. In the 1950's MacDonald kept up to 400 birds at once. But now he's down to 80 or so. "I'm an old man now," he says. "I can't keep up with all those birds any more." His pigeon loft is a weather beaten, two-storey structure that looks like a child's fort. MacDonald keeps his racing birds on the top level, which he reaches by a set of rickety wooden steps with no railing. In the lower level are MacDonald's breeder birds, the hens and studs that supply him with new stock.

MacDonald does his racing on a budget. Most of his birds are hand-me-downs given to him by friends. This makes it tough to compete with wealthy racers who may spend hundreds - and in some cases thousands - of dollars to buy a single bird. "Even in pigeon racing, the rich man has a leg up," says MacDonald. Like horse fanciers bidding on a potential Man O'War or Northern Dancer, wealthy pigeon racers will spend astronomical sums to acquire winning genes. High-profile racers in Europe and the British Isles commonly spend $10,000 and more for birds from breeders such as the fabled Janssens of Belgium. "You can't even touch a Janssen's egg for less than $1,000," says MacDonald. But prices can go far higher. In Europe, where pigeon racing is big business, it's not unheard of to spend $150,000 on a prize bird. And last year, a new high-water mark was set when a Japanese racer paid $250,000 for a single pigeon.

One of MacDonald's fellow racers offers insight into the soaring prices; "You could go out into the country and buy a horse for a couple of hundred bucks," he says. "For that price, it would have four legs and it would be alive. But if you wanted to buy Secretariat, you'd pay a little more."

MacDonald watches the escalating cost of pigeons with the bemused detachment of a cottage-country boater watching the America's Cup: "I've got no money. All I've got is my smarts and my experience."

The most MacDonald ever spent on a pigeon was $300, when he bought a Produda stud from a Minnesota breeder. "He was one hell of a bird," says MacDonald. "He was a real producer. Everyone I knew wanted him." The eternal quest for the perfect bird is the holy grail of pigeon racing. In the Canadian Racing Pigeon Union Year book, for example, a tome about half the thickness of the Toronto phone book, there are hundreds of advertisements placed by breeders touting their blood-lines. The Jojos Loft, for example, has an ad that features photos of some of its top studs, whose ancestry includes such legendary birds as Terminator (half brother of the fabled General), De Bull - "The Super breeder" - and Pickering's very own Fighter - "Winner of 25 prizes."

The reverence that pigeon racers bring to the breeding process is made clear by the advertisement of Ontario breeder Silvio Matacchione, who advertises his fabulous Spanjaards, a line of birds he has maintained following the death of their legendary creator. "If individual birds were great paintings then one could consider Mr. Gerrit Spanjaards in the same spirit as that  other great Dutch Master Vincent van Gogh," writes Matacchione. "Both created wonderful images, reflections of their own inner souls. So it is in this spirit that I now pick up Spanjaards' brush and continue his work."

THEY'RE AT THE POST: Elmer MacDonald, 70, prepares one of his birds for duty while several other feathered friends hang around. MacDonald, who is blind, has been racing pigeons for 61 years. Today marks the start of racing season.

The great mystery of pigeon racing, of course, is how the birds find their way home. Racing pigeons are trained by releasing them at increasing distances from their home loft, beginning with "tosses" of just a few kilometres. But this only hones an existing ability. "I've been around pigeons a lot of years, and I still don't really know how they do it," says MacDonald. "It's just instinct, pure and simple. It's the same thing that brings the salmon back." Every racer expects to lose a certain number of birds to the classic hazards - predatory hawks and power lines. Flying at 100 km/h or more, often at low altitude to escape higher winds aloft, pigeons often suffer crippling, even fatal, injuries when they hit wires.

MacDonald has spent so much time with pigeons, and has learned so much about them, that he sometimes wonders if he isn't part pigeon himself. And perhaps he is: in World War II he was a  motorcycle dispatch rider, homing in on distant locations marked only by a "X" on a topographical map. In 1944, he was blinded when a shell exploded near him. His blindness plunged him into a severe depression. "At first, all I did was sit on the porch," he says. "But then I figured I better snap out of it - I had the rest of my life to live."

He had other disappointments, too. When he was in his 40's, his wife left him and their five children. MacDonald had worked for years at the near by Continental Can company, but had to quit because he couldn't afford a babysitter. He raised his children on his veteran's pension. But always, he kept at least a few pigeons out back. And he had some triumphs. His biggest win came in 1957, when one of his birds came first in the Toronto Federation Derby, a 495 kilometre (309 mile) race from Montpelier, Illinois. MacDonald's prize money came to $852.

The city, and the world around it, has changed since MacDonald began racing pigeons: "It was different then," he says. "everybody had pets - rabbits, birds, you name it. Now, the city goes crazy if you try to keep anything." But still, MacDonald keeps the pigeon-racing faith, year after year. "It's my hobby," he says. :What would I do without it? Die, probably."

Past sports promotions
Pigeon racing

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Treatment During Breeding, Racing, and Moulting

We can't always plan our treatments. Product labels should clearly state if you can use during these stressful times.

Twenty words or less TCC Loft series 

Friday, February 25, 2011


One of the greatest menaces to any racing pigeon's health is its ancestors. Inherited diseases and abnormalities sometimes make a habit of skipping a generation, abiding by the rules of criss-cross inheritance. Watch for it.

Taken from The Ailments & Diseases of The Racing Pigeon
by Old Hand

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fanciers' Fury After Tax Loss

The Sun
November 27, 2007

PIGEON fanciers were furious last night after a tax swoop on their clubs.

HM Revenue And Customs has ruled their bird racing hobby is not a recognised sport – and as a result they must pay business rates on club buildings.

Clubs across Britain, which support 50,000 members, face shelling out millions of pounds after a storage shed in Northumberland fell into the tax trap.

Escaping the taxman's raid are the "sports" of baton twirling, dragon boat racing, skipping and tug-of-war.

They can formally apply for 80 per cent business tax relief to the Revenue then to their local authority for a 20 per cent cut in rates.

Among the angry fanciers is Lee Fribbins, 34, editor of the Racing Pigeon newsletter, who started racing birds when he was six.

Here Lee, from Colchester, Essex, explains to Sun man DAVID LOWE why he thinks fanciers are the victims of another Revenue And Customs cockup.

"TO claim pigeon racing isn't a sport is totally outrageous. These people obviously have no idea about the hobby that gives pleasure to people all around the world."

For enthusiasts it's a serious game which requires discipline, skill and patience.

Pigeons are the athletes of the sky.

The most expensive bird ever sold cost £127,000. However, most of mine were around £100.

Although the Queen has her own loft in Sandringham, the majority of fanciers aren't wealthy.

They are salt of the earth working men and women who love getting into the fresh air and meeting lots of great people.

It hasn't been easy for us in the past few years.

With the ongoing foot and mouth epidemic lots of shows have been cancelled, so that has affected livelihoods.

Now we're being penalised again with this silly tax decision.

I was just six years old when my grandad bought me half a dozen pigeons for my birthday.

Little did I know it would be the start of a lifelong obsession.

Everyone knows about the effort which goes into training horses and greyhounds for racing – both of which are seen as sport by the Government.

But pigeon racing requires equal dedication and a specially designed schedule to get the best from each bird.

You do get your speedy Linford Christies and Red Rums – the ones with natural talent. Others take quite a bit more work.

Diet has to be closely controlled.

Special high protein feed and vitamin supplements cost the average fancier with 50 birds around £1,000 a year.

Cleaning materials for the lofts probably cost the same – they can be pretty messy, of course.

The breeding season runs from January to March and training goes from April to September.

You take the birds in a basket to somewhere remote – up to 50 miles away – and let them out.

Pigeons can cover vast distances at 50 mph, or faster if there's a tailwind. The fittest birds fly up to 900 miles in marathon races, which I think is amazing.

Most fanciers I know have a shed or two in their garden and might earn a couple of hundred quid in local races.

At federation level I'm a member of Essex Central and Stour Valley.

But this hobby is not what you'd call a business – far from it.

When you tot up the costs and a bit of prize money you may just about break even.

I'm not in it for cash and I reckon 99 per cent of fanciers are the same.

The pigeons fascinate me and I get such a buzz when they arrive home after flying hundreds of miles.

No one knows how they do it, and I don't think we ever will.

But they love to get back to the coop to be with their mates again. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it

Read more ...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Deep Litter

The best method to make a deep litter bed is with wheat straw. The way to do this is to cover the floor lightly with 50% sand and 50% lime. Then break up a bale of straw and cover the floor around one foot deep while the straw is loose. This straw bedding will pack down to about six inches. To clean, you just walk through and pick up the droppings and put them in a bucket. Each week turn the top of the straw and add a little more. The advantages of this floor cover are its insulation qualities and its dryness.

Taken from The secret of speed
by E.J. Sains

TCC Loft uses Stable Boy, instead of sand & lime (much safer product). Never open a bale of straw in the loft if unsure of the source. Do not place straw in corridors and areas you frequently walk on, as it quickly breaks down into a smaller unstable size.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Poor Performers

More than 60% of poor club performers unwittingly owe their lack of success to loft infestation, by insect or mite, or both, yet never suspect this low life of being the cause of their mediocre flying.

Taken from The Six Principles of Pigeon Keeping
by Old Hand

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Stable Boy

Stable Boy is a quality Floor Dressing that can be used in the pigeon loft. Distributed From Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Twenty words or less TCC Loft series

Product label
Stable Boy - Barn & stable deodorizer. Kills ammonia in 5 minutes. 100% Karbonyte

Friday, February 18, 2011

Airborne pigeons obey the pecking order

Janelle Weaver
Published online 7 April 2010

During flight, pigeons in a flock follow the leader.

Birds of a feather follow the leader
.A. Gehrig/ iStockphoto

Pigeons wearing miniature backpacks containing tracking devices have revealed that the birds rapidly shift direction during flight in response to cues from the leading members of their group.

"It is the first study demonstrating hierarchical decision-making in a group of free-flying birds," says Tamás Vicsek, a biophysicist at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest who led the study, which is published today in Nature.

The discovery became possible only recently with the introduction of Global Positioning System (GPS) devices that can collect data at a high rate: five times per second. Vicsek's team strapped lightweight GPS devices to individual pigeons and tracked flocks of up to 10 birds during free flights lasting around 12 minutes and 15-kilometre homing flights. In total, the GPS logged 32 hours of data and captured 15 group flights. The researchers couldn't pinpoint individuals' exact positions within a flock, but were able to accurately compare birds' directions of motion.

Within flocks, the authors looked first at the behaviour of pairs of birds. For each possible pairing, the team identified a leader — the bird that changed direction first — and a follower, which copied the leader's motion. Followers reacted very quickly, within a fraction of a second.

Pigeons carrying miniature GPS devices have helped to clarify the complexities of hierarchy in homing animals.
Z. Ákos

Next, the scientists constructed a network of relationships among birds in the group during each flight. They uncovered a robust pecking order: birds higher up the ranks had more influence over the group's movements, and each individual's level of influence was consistent across specific free and homing flights.

However, this influence was not always consistent between flights, with some rearrangement occurring among birds at the head of the flock. Vicsek speculates that this may have occurred because an original leader had tired. Co-author Dora Biro, an animal behaviour expert at the University of Oxford, UK, says, "This kind of group decision-making is more complicated than previous models suggested."

Follow the leader

Although pigeons have an almost 340º field of view, the researchers found that the birds at the front of a flock tended to make the navigational decisions. Moreover, birds responded more readily to a leader's movements if the leader was on their left side. These findings concur with previous work that indicated that social cues entering a bird's left eye receive preferential processing in the brain.

"No other study has contributed more to our understanding of collective decision-making in actively homing animals, not by a long shot," says Todd Dennis, an expert in pigeon navigation at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. He likens the birds' group behaviour to that of a cabaret dance troupe, in which less-experienced dancers towards the rear correct themselves by watching experts at the front. "The study provides a very important model for how collective behaviour and leadership can be assessed in a range of animal groups," he says.

The authors say that a hierarchical arrangement may foster more flexible and efficient decision-making compared with that of singly led or egalitarian groups. In future studies, the scientists plan to investigate whether leaders are better navigators, and whether hierarchies persist in larger groups and in other types of social animal. "If it's true that there's an evolutionary advantage to making decisions in this way, then there's absolutely a reason to assume that it could have evolved in other species too," Biro says.

Read more ...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dr Colin Walker

A veterinarian specializing in his own passion of pigeon racing, Dr Colin Walker of Melbourne, Australia has written several pigeon health articles. His book, The flying Vet's Pigeon Health & Management is still a highly recommended health book. 

Personalities that have made a difference in the world of pigeon racing

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Behavior & Appearance

During a recent visit to the lofts of the great Belgian champion Raoul Van Spitael, President of the Federation Colombophile Internationale, we talked about the qualities and defects of pigeons. We mentioned that inspite of the physical qualities that we both looked for in a bird, in our opinion the main assets that make an outstanding ace cannot be seen by the naked eye. It takes inner physical and psychic qualities. M. Van Spitael agreed immediately and added that he no longer eliminates a bird without racing it, except, of course, those that showed by their behavior and appearance that they were in less than perfect health and that their internal organs were sub-normal.

Taken from The Road To Success
By Jules Dehantschutter
Revise edition 1976

Monday, February 14, 2011

Huronia Pigeon Racing Promotions

The Big Brothers B.B.Q. held on August 16th 1996, at the Ivy Hall was a huge success. Sixty plus pigeon flyer's, fifty little brothers and their Big Brothers attended this exciting and fun filled event. Our collections from the race entry donations and raffle were $2300.00 and we successfully showed off our sport.

After the baseball game, there were little fingers in every crate. Now, these kids have imagination! There should have been a prize for the fancier who could answer the most questions.

I am proud of the way each fancier in attendance presented our sport and I thank all. Our success is illustrated in a letter from Mr. David Murphy, President Big Brothers of Barrie & District as follows:

Dear Mike,

On behalf of Big Brothers of Barrie & District, I would like to thank you for the wonderful evening that was arranged for us by Huronia Racing Promotions. All the kids had a wonderful time playing baseball and enjoying the delicious barbecue.

Everyone had a fascinating evening learning about the sport of pigeon racing. We truly appreciated the patience showed by all your members in answering all our questions. I particularly enjoyed learning from Mario (Rea) how to motivate a pigeon to race faster, something I had never considered possible before. The enthusiasm you all display for your sport is extremely infectious. My son is already asking me when we are going to get a pigeon.

I also want to thank you for the generous donation your association made to us from the proceeds of the raffle and to thank you, Mike, for all the hard work you put in to make that happen. I sincerely hope that the relationship between our two organizations will continue to grow.

This event deserves an annual support and I look forward to next years even bigger commitment.

Mike Taylor
First published in the Canadian Racing Pigeon News
October/November 1996

Past sports promotions
Pigeon racing

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Racing Pigeon Rescued

Barbara Hollett scurried out of the house in her nightgown Wednesday morning and made her way towards onto Dunlop Street.

The Barrie woman had spied an injured bird on the busy main street and was attempting to rescue it. Hollett grabbed the bird and carried it into her house. "I'm an animal lover," Hollett said. "I don't like to see any animal get hurt." The pigeon suffered from a broken wing and had an identification band on each leg.

After taking the initiative to make a few phone calls, Hollett contacted Marlene Moxey, a member of a local pigeon racing club. Moxey told Hollett that her husband would pick the bird up after work and they would attempt to return it to its owner. "We have a list of all the clubs," Moxey said, adding that the band on the pigeon's leg indicated it belonged to someone in the Guelph area. "We'll notify the club and they'll notify the owner." The bird was competing in a race from the Guelph region to North Bay.

First reported by Lori Martin: Barrie Advance
Friday, August 20, 1993

Past sports promotions
Pigeon racing

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Dr de Weerd:

In my opinion one spoonful of vinegar in a litre water every two days REDUCES chances of a Coli outbreak.

Twenty words or less TCC Loft series

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Homing in with GPS

Putting GPS on a small bird requires sophisticated technologies and perseverance. To better understand how homing pigeons navigate, researchers developed a GPS Flight Recorder small enough to fit between the wings of a pigeon.

Follow the study on Ruter's link:

Karen von Hunerbein
Eckhard Ruter
University of Frankfurt, Germany
Summer 2000

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Collection of 218 Racing Pigeons Auctions for Record $1.8 Million in Belgium

VOA News
Thursday, January 13th, 2011 at 10:10 pm UTC Posted 2 weeks ago

A collection of more than 200 racing pigeons has sold for a world record $1.8 million at a two-day auction in Belgium thanks to wealthy bidders from China, where betting on the sport has become increasingly popular.

Auction organizer Pigeon Paradise said on its website that one bidder paid $205,000 for a bird named Blue Prince. The prized fowl was one of the 218 birds that were the property of late racing enthusiast and expert breeder, Pros Roosen, who died last August. PiPa said other prominent birds in Roosen's colony sold for between $41,000 and $102,000.

Belgian-bred racing pigeons are considered the best in the world. The Associated Press quotes a senior PiPa official as saying there are Chinese with newly acquired wealth who are eager to invest in luxury items, including topflight racing pigeons.

Gambling on pigeon races is a lucrative business in East Asia, particularly in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. That means avian athletes with impressive bloodlines, such as Roosen's Blue Prince, were not purchased to race, but to breed with other highly pedigreed pigeons to create new generations of champion flyers for their new Chinese owners.

Archaeological evidence indicates that humans have valued the remarkable homing talents of pigeons for at least 5,000 years. The birds have been used to ferry military information between long distances from ancient times through the World Wars of the 20th century. However, pigeon racing in Europe did not come into popularity until the 1700s.

It reached its zenith in the first half of the 20th century when pigeons would start a race from a location as far away as 1,000 kilometers from where they were based. The one that reached its home loft the fastest was declared the winner.

Bird racing was so popular after World War One that an international federation was created, and the first Pigeon Olympics was held in 1938. Although pigeon racing in Europe is no longer the craze of decades past, the 32nd Pigeon Olympiad opens later this month in Poland.

Read more ...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Who's my Daddy?

Avian sperm cells remain in the oviduct up to 14 days, but those which are introduced to the oviduct just two days prior to laying have the greatest chance at fertilization.

Taken from Pigeon Racing Today & Tomorrow
By J.W.E. Stam, D.V.M, Ph. D.

Monday, February 7, 2011

What Do You Think Of The Wing-Theory?

A good deal has been written about it, but we prefer the ideas of our good friend Jacques Tournier of Lommel. We decided to get his opinion on the wing theory, which has been dealt with as a subject in many books, and this is what he has to say.

"To be of service to this interesting writer and to possibly other readers, we shall try to put our opinion down on paper, in the following few lines. First, we should like to call to mind the fact that this is not the first time that this subject has been brought up. In our country, one may assume that the wing theory on the whole, has been set forth by the designer and the promoter, but has not been accepted by the majority of the fanciers. One cannot deny the value of this brochure, as written by the eighty-year old Vanderschelden, which was part of his scientific work on different types of wings. His work left nothing unmoved, in an attempt to prove that certain forms and qualities of the wing are of influence on the flying ability of birds in general, and of the racing pigeon in particular. Because the case has not been proven 100%, and since so many fanciers may possibly count on these opinions, we shall have to leave this matter somewhat undiscussed; these grapes are just too green for us, and there are probably experts in this field who know more about this than we do. Where we and the majority of other fanciers disagree with the author of the theory has to do with the fact that this author thrusts all other qualities of a pigeon into the background, and emphasizes exclusively the value of the wing only. Even if we assume that the prescribed and desired wing should be the ideal one, according to the theory, then we must still maintain that it will do no good for our hobby, to cull indiscriminately, and select only on the basis of a proven wing.

With all due respect for the opinion of others, we simply cannot accept a procedure whereby we do away with pigeons whose sporting value we cannot establish, merely because their wings do not stand up to the demands of the wing theory. By the very same token, cannot we accept the fact that there are other qualities required, which may have something to do with the flying and the breeding values of the bird? To list all such qualities is not necessary, but merely naming one - of what value is a bird that is poorly blessed with character or lacks ability to orientate properly? Our opinion compels us to state that, no matter what the wing should be like, in order to fly far and fast, should never be considered to be the only matter of importance, in the requirements of a good pigeon. In spite of all our years of experience, we simply do not know the exact measure concerning the external, tangible qualities of the racer. Lacking proven results, this is especially true of those main qualities which we can neither see nor feel!

As a result, we pay closer attention to the quality of the stock which is visible as hereditary qualities of descent. This should not prevent us from checking closely all features such as the eyes, body, head, throat, muscles and feathers - these are all important factors to be considered, affecting the condition and the health of the birds, as they do.

In conclusion, not to omit the wing as an important part of our considerations, we look into the space between the front and the back wing; we check the spacing of the last four flights and the ventilation caused by their positions. No matter what our preferences, the truly inner value of the racing pigeon has always been, and always will be, the cardinal point! At the auctions you may attend, keep your eyes open and your ears to the ground, and you will discover that the birds with the best flying or breeding records will be sold for the most money. While along these lines, we must not forget shows, where flying and breeding records are not taken into account at all, and where unknown and inferior pigeons quite often surpass the good ones by many points!"

Taken from 101 Methods
Part 1, Third Print
by Jules Gallez

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tyson's love for pigeons mirrors Brando's 'Waterfront' boxer character
January 24, 2011

It seems Mike Tyson has some similarities with the boxer character actor Marlon Brando played in 1954 movie 'On The Waterfront', with both sharing a love for pigeons.

Tyson, 44, the self-styled "baddest man on the planet", is to be featured in a six-part series on the Animal Planet channel, and his fascination with pigeons brings to mind Terry Malloy, the character that earned Brando an Oscar.

Like Brando's character, Tyson has long raised pigeons, starting where he grew up in a tough part of Brooklyn, New York, and both found solace in the raising of birds from the rooftops of New Jersey.

Tyson now keeps his birds at another rooftop coop in New Jersey, next to the gym where he trained for fights, and he still spends hours at a time watching his pets, saying they gave him comfort during his turbulent life.

In the show that will be broadcast from March 6, Tyson will describe how he threw his first punch at the age of 10 when a bully killed one of his birds.

"The reason for the fight was because the guy ripped the head off my pigeon. This was the first thing I ever loved in my life, the pigeon," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.

"I don't know why, I feel ridiculous just trying to explain it. They're so much like people.

"This ain't no hobby, I've been dedicated to pigeons, even when I have been fighting or getting locked up. What I love about the pigeon is their loyalty," he stated.


Read more ...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Club Bowling Event

Plan a club event. No excuses, Old farts can watch and talk pigeons, and the kids can have a ball!

Twenty words or less TCC Loft series

Friday, February 4, 2011

Loft Hygiene

Loft hygiene does not consist in scraping the loft-floor daily and re-charging the drinkers afterwards. I've seen lofts that at first sight appear to be filthy but which are really models of hygiene. Hygiene does not consist of elbow grease expended in acts of perspiring Godliness but of the creation of clinical conditions in which parasite, bacteria, germ and virus cannot thrive and breed.

Taken from The Ailments & Diseases of The Racing Pigeon
by Old Hand

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Club Membership Recruitment Program

Taken from The Thoroughbred
by Bob Kinney
Co-Consultant: Joe Livingston

Every organization has some kind of membership drive. Organizations from churches to political parties. Unions to Lions clubs. We as a pigeon sport have so much to offer either adults or youth and we do so little. The sport is not just enjoyable to watch our birds fly but has the thrill of victory, the heartbreak of defeat, the admiration for the birds when they break the horizon and make that dive for the loft.

They are the only animal that we can send away from home, turn loose in the wild and they come home "without fail" on their own because they are able and want to.

The sport teaches discipline, time schedule, nutrition, conditioning and requires continuing education.

It has built in a hobbyist level for those that enjoy just watching the birds return and the competitor level for the fancier that drives himself to win. (These two levels should be broke into two different competitions the new fanciers can compete in by his choice with separate race sheets each week. In no other competitive sport are beginners, the less skilled, the kids required to come in and at once compete against the champions.)

Recruitment Techniques:

What are the three most pleasurable things in the sport to us?

Once we answer that, we have what may be the key to getting new members.
  • Watching birds return from a race
  • Watching birds fly around the loft and return from training
  • Watching the birds in the loft
One or two, or three of these are required for us to even be keeping racing pigeons. Yet the best we do when trying to recruit members is to give them a brochure, show a video or tell them about it.

It is the difference of going and watching a horse race or being told about it. "These 9 horses run around a 1/2 mile track and one wins". When you watch it happen, it is sure a lot more exciting.

The number one recruitment technique should be birds returning to the loft.

It doesn't matter if they are only coming from 2, 3, or 5 miles.

Set up a small loft. Put in about 20 youngsters a month before and settle them. Then for one weekend have a race every two hours or every hour. This can be done at a community function, an advertised weekend or at a fair. At specific times, like 5 minutes to the hour, club members will release the birds 5 miles away. They only need to release 5 or 10 birds. Small numbers and small loft. They will all be back in a few minutes.

It doesn't matter if they all come at once, if one doesn't trap etc. They MUST ALL RETURN. That is critical. It doesn't matter if it is 2 miles or 5 or 10, they must all return. The public doesn't know and will be thrilled just to see them come back. Run this with a community charity fund raiser and you not only get new members, you promote good will in the community.

The loft should be small, 4' x 6' or so, anyone can put it in their back yard. It must be clean, should be white. When you sign them up, assign them a mentor, veteran in the club that not only does win races but can advise the beginner step by step on how to do it. One with a small neat loft himself. The membership should be involved but watch as one bone head can mess it up for you.

Use the brochures, flyers etc that are available or make some up, but also use what has hooked us and keeps us hooked.

The birds coming home!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pigeon Self-Recognition Better Than 3-Year Old Human’s

Science News Review
By Aileen
June 17, 2010

Science Daily reported over the weekend that Keio University research has demonstrated that pigeons show superior self-recognition abilities to three year old humans.

Professor Shigeru Watanabe and graduate student Kohji Toda managed to train pigeons to recognize themselves in real-time using mirrors and videotape, then found that their pigeons can recognize themselves in video images with a 5 to 7 second delay. Human 3-year olds typically have trouble recognizing themselves with just a 2 second delay.

Thus pigeons now join chimpanzees, gorillas, dolphins and elephants in having the ability to recognize themselves, which means that particularly large brains aren’t necessary to the ability. It seems that we are learning that the other forms of life we share our planet with are quite a bit smarter than we’ve traditionally given them credit for!

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Prince Albert man wins racing pigeon ruling

Last Updated: Thursday, July 23, 2009
CBC News

A pigeon-racer in Prince Albert, Sask., says a city council ruling that now lets people keep as many as 30 birds on their property is an important victory.

John Steel moved to the city in 2003, but was told people were limited to keeping no more than five pigeons.

Steel fought city council, arguing that the five-pigeon limit was not enough to form a racing team.

"You can't send the same bird week after week, because it'll just wear them out," Steel told CBC News on Thursday after the ruling, which was made Monday at Prince Albert's city council meeting.

For almost 30 years, Steel has released homing pigeons during the summer from far-off places, such as Ontario, timing the birds to see how quickly they return home.

He told CBC News that being able to keep as many as 30 birds will allow him to establish a full racing team immediately.

However, some Prince Albert residents are not happy with the ruling, complaining that pigeons land on roofs and make noise.

Grant Gustafson, who lives near Steel's house, told CBC News he thinks city council should have done a better job of consulting with the community.

Steel said people need to understand that homing pigeons are different from common, wild pigeons, which he agrees can be disruptive.

"[It's] like comparing wild mustangs to thoroughbreds."

According to the Canadian Racing Pigeon Union website, there are about 20,000 registered racing-pigeon lofts in North America.

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