Long distance pigeon wings

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In the second section of this series on long distance fanciers I intend to outline the methods, lofts and birds of three outstandingly successful English long distance pathfinders. Most modern day fanciers are quite content to breed, feed and race pigeons on a short term basis, with no thought to putting down roots and building a family of winning pigeons that can stand the test of time.

However, there are still a number of top class fanciers who, when selecting their initial stock, were conscious that the job in hand would be a long term project and set out with the objective to build for the future. This long term success can in turn be traced back to pigeons that were winning long distance races at the turn of the 20th Century, and which formed the basis of the present day Wills family of pigeons.

As mentioned in the opening paragraph, the origins of the present day family of pigeons can be traced back more than years to birds of the A. Sheppard strain which were winning long distance races from Lerwick and Thurso with the mighty London North Road Combine in the early part of the 20th Century. However, I think it would be true to say that one of the foundation stones of the present day Wills team was a red chequer cock bred in Ian Benstead was a top class long distance racer who was also a race horse trainer.

Amongst his horse racing clients was A. Sheppard whose family of racing pigeons had won 1st LNRC from Lerwick or Thurso on six occasions between and That then is a brief outline of the origins of the present day family of pigeons raced by John Wills.

I say family as they truly are a well defined family of birds that look and handle as one. The cocks are just above medium sized with noble looking bold heads and extensive wattle development, superb feather quality and outstanding eyesign. The hens were just below medium sized with excellent eyesign and feather quality and both cocks and hens exhibited excellent skeletal structure — fine boned and as strong as spring steel with not a weak back in sight.

Patience at the long distance

Incidentally, some of the hens could quite easily be mistaken for cocks, as they too possessed bold heads and large wattles like the cocks. Another characteristic of the family was the wing structure - when opening the wing it appeared as if the wing would extend forever with the last three flights long and narrow with large gaps between. John has produced this family by inbreeding to the best performance pigeons.

long distance pigeon wings

He is particularly keen on mating his best hens to one of their best sons in order to fix turkish vst plugin genes, the emphasis being on the word BEST as he does not believe in inbreeding for the sake of inbreeding, it must be for the purpose of strengthening and consolidating the family gene pool, based on racing or breeding capabilities. When introducing a cross into the family John immediately mates it to his best pigeons.

He then keeps the offspring that most resembles his own family and pairs it to one of the best of the old family. Once he has produced the raw materials to work on the road, John is not in too much of a hurry to get them to the far off distance race points. The Wills pigeons are rarely raced as young birds but they are extensively trained. This begins with an initial 20 mile toss — single up!

This is repeated a number of times before moving on to 40 and 50 miles where the process of singling or doubling up is repeated. John never releases his pigeons in large groups. Nor is he worried if the young birds make a mess of these early training tosses. All they have to do is get home and hopefully learn to become independent and rely on their own homing ability in the process.

As yearlings they are usually expected to go out to — miles and in fact John has won the Saintes race at more than miles with pigeons that were having the first race of their lives. This schedule is not set in stone as John may adjust things as he sees fit, watching the birds and assessing their condition and form allied to their past experience.

Ian Benstead regularly entered pigeons in International mile races for their first ever encounter with the race basket and he rarely failed to clock them. The homing ability is so strongly bred into the family that they do not need to have seen every lamp post on the way home in the build up to their long distance tests.

This has ensured that the family can be maintained as he is constantly breeding from top class performers in long distance races along with their parents and selected sons or daughters.

This policy has brought unbroken success at the distance for the past thirty years. The main racing loft, to which all the main performers raced, is a three-sectioned structure which faces north. However skylights have been inserted on the southerly facing roof surface so that some sunlight can enter and warm up the floor area in front of the nest boxes. The other lofts are new additions that face south and house yearlings and some youngsters which will be brought on quietly in readiness for future International racing.

The photographs that accompany this article will give the reader a good idea of the overall loft set up. When ready for the test, the team will be hopper fed on yearling tic beans. This high protein feed is supplemented with peanuts in the final days build up to basketting.Part I We have not departed from our costum to investigate every conclusion beforehand, and have never made a rash decision and also have never been strongly influenced with the different theories put forward with much publicity, hoping to find a ready market and financial gain.

Up to the present time, as we are writing this, we have never, after being in the pigeonsport for over 20 years, rued the day of our innate caution on this point. The wing theory, as all preceeding theories, have had, from the first moment they were proclaimed - '37our fullest attention. In that period, one talked a lot about the lengt of the wing shoulder to wing top. For two years we have visited many lofts, were we examined many good short, middle and long distance pigeons.

The main reason for our visits were, to measure the length of the wings. The loft visits, we undertook for our own instruction, have once and for all comfirmed our opinion concerning the value that can be attached to the length of the wing and by the fact that neither the prophets of the wing theory nor the many sportsman, that followed them head over heels, have never been able to prove the correctness of the percepts which must have formed the foundation of the wing theory school to prove results.

I don't like to be cruel to give any names but many fanciers, some with big names still proclaim this theory. The war interfered, many fanciers held up their expectations. But some of the partisans of the wing theory, had the opportunity to try out pairings which bred youngsters with much longer wings than the already know medium sized ones.

long distance pigeon wings

We have visited lofts in one town where the wings of several pigeons - properly measured - exceeded 26 cM. Before the war, there was not enough time to have real " efficient " pigeons ready for racing.

But now that the war was over, one should experience how the " efficient " pigeons would overshadow their rivals which were not endowed with the same wings. The efficient pigeons, since ten years bred with so much perseverance, should dictate the law in all races. But what did we see at the resumption of the pigeonsport in the first years after the last war? Don't misunderstand me but my memory is rather strong.

Log in Register. World's largest meeting place for pigeon fanciers.In my last article of Cheshire News I touched on the wing and the theories that surround it and as promised I am going into more detail mainly for the comparative new starters of the last 10 to 15yrs.

There is no doubt about it the flight of a bird has come a long way since the first known bird in flight which was the Archaeopteryx whose fossils were found in limestone in the Southern part of Germany in The fossil is thought to be from million years ago, how they come to that conclusion I have no idea however this fossil did give the ornithologist an insight into the first birds of flight because the fossil did have both reptile and avian characteristics.

Even so the new breed of animal the bird did not develop a great deal over the next 25 million years but then when it did change different species began to evolve. The evolution of birds and their survival rate has made them one of the outstanding forms of life in the world; they see everything from the air and survive in all sorts of conditions on all continents. Over the years different birds have developed and their wings became suited to the requirements of that particular line. The racing pigeon is no different it has changed considerably over the years and has become suited to the distances it is expected to cover.

What suites one fancier in the breeding for a distance may not suit another, which is why every fancier cannot have a team of birds to cover all eventualities. If they did there would be no real challenge to racing pigeons. The wing of the racing pigeon is no different from any other part of this racing machine, which is generally developed to perfection.

There have been many theories over the years and through extensive breeding to near perfection of the distance that the pigeon is required to fly. Experienced fancier's have bred pigeon's for their preference in racing i. Year's ago such a distance was classed as middle distance but with the improved knowledge gained by the observant fancier the sprint distance has been increased.

This also applies to the middle distance of to mls; these races have been covered by more and more pigeon's yearly. In fact if you do not clock on the day from mls then something is wrong. The long distance races are upwards of mls where the numbers clocked are considerably reduced unless you get favourable conditions, even so there are fancier's who clock from such distances with a greater degree of regularity.

After mls we are practically always looking at second day birds.

Extreme long distance bird

We know that the Central Southern have this idea of "At dawn we go". However, in reality there are very few pigeon's that will do that kind of distance on the day from such places as Pau even to the South Coast where they are covering a band of to mls to the shorter flying members. I have very often thought of how many pigeons try to make it across the water late at night and fail to reach their destination.

Most of the racing done in Britain is on land based on the fact that for the majority of fancier's there are good races without crossing the water. Obviously depending on where your loft is situated you can get a couple of hundred miles plus on either North or South road points.

For those fanciers living in the central part of the Country the racing is good because they can get a good land race before crossing the channel which they then get in the last two thirds of the race.

Now for the Southern fanciers who want to race the Nationals it is unfortunate that they have to get their birds across the water early in their races if they are to succeed in the big races. We were down at a Blandford lofts a couple of years ago for a Guernsey race and could not believe the problems that the Southern fanciers have from such a short race.

What we must remember is that the velocity of a particular race will also have a bearing on the winners as will the wind which is why so much must be taken into account when you are preparing pigeons for sprint, middle or long distance races.

Why should this be, well on a hard day with the vel's. That makes a big difference to the way we pair the pigeons, that is why we should be very selective with our choice. We must never make the mistake of rating a pigeon as an all rounder on the strength of one win in the longer events if it has a proven track record on land but never raced across.

Eijerkamp Pigeon Quality Criteria- EPQC

If you do class a pigeon as an all rounder then you must take into account the vels on the day as well as the distance. It is a fact that some fanciers will not put a pigeon into a channel race that has a good track record in the land races, this is wise because the pigeon is only built for sprint races in the first place and the wing theory will tell you that this pigeon is not going to make the distance.

So what have we picked up so far with the wing theory, the main point being consideration to the conditions of the day?

I remember winning a ml race when I was working at Foden Trucks at Sandbach, every lunchtime we would sit around and have an inquiry about all sorts of things. One Monday in the early days I went in as pleased as punch because I had won the race on the Saturday, that was until the late George Stubbs pulled me up saying that you cannot class a pigeon as being good after winning in a tail wind.

Which brings us back to the wing theory and which wing suits which distance. Because no matter how much the comment hurt at the time he was right and it makes you wonder just how much some of the top fanciers actually know and keep it to themselves. Picture 1. Dark Hen winner of prizes to nearly mls and has been twice 2nd Niort. This is a full wing to race the middle distance where the strength of both the full wing and the strong flights easily propel the bird forward.

Wings in Flight

Take note of the full back wing and also the width of the flights right through the wing.Over the last 28yrs I have written many articles under various names about different aspects of racing pigeons and the sport in general, I think that now is the time to re-evaluate those idea's on what I have seen over the years during many loft visits.

In my last article of Cheshire News I touched on the wing and the theories that surround it and as promised I am going into more detail mainly for the comparative new starters of the last 10 to 15yrs. There is no doubt about it the flight of a bird has come a long way since the first known bird in flight which was the Archaeopteryx whose fossils were found in limestone in the Southern part of Germany in The fossil is thought to be from million years ago, how they come to that conclusion I have no idea however this fossil did give the ornithologist an insight into the first birds of flight because the fossil did have both reptile and avian characteristics.

Even so the new breed of animal the bird did not develop a great deal over the next 25 million years but then when it did change different species began to evolve. The evolution of birds and their survival rate has made them one of the outstanding forms of life in the world; they see everything from the air and survive in all sorts of conditions on all continents.

Over the years different birds have developed and their wings became suited to the requirements of that particular line. The racing pigeon is no different it has changed considerably over the years and has become suited to the distances it is expected to cover.

What suites one fancier in the breeding for a distance may not suit another, which is why every fancier cannot have a team of birds to cover all eventualities. If they did there would be no real challenge to racing pigeons. The wing of the racing pigeon is no different from any other part of this racing machine, which is generally developed to perfection. There have been many theories over the years and through extensive breeding to near perfection of the distance that the pigeon is required to fly.

Experienced fancier's have bred pigeon's for their preference in racing i. Year's ago such a distance was classed as middle distance but with the improved knowledge gained by the observant fancier the sprint distance has been increased. This also applies to the middle distance of to mls; these races have been covered by more and more pigeon's yearly. In fact if you do not clock on the day from mls then something is wrong.

The long distance races are upwards of mls where the numbers clocked are considerably reduced unless you get favourable conditions, even so there are fancier's who clock from such distances with a greater degree of regularity. After mls we are practically always looking at second day birds. We know that the Central Southern have this idea of "At dawn we go".

However, in reality there are very few pigeon's that will do that kind of distance on the day from such places as Pau even to the South Coast where they are covering a band of to mls to the shorter flying members. I have very often thought of how many pigeons try to make it across the water late at night and fail to reach their destination. Most of the racing done in Britain is on land based on the fact that for the majority of fancier's there are good races without crossing the water.

Obviously depending on where your loft is situated you can get a couple of hundred miles plus on either North or South road points.One of the basic principles of long distance racing is that you need a lot of patience.

There are different long distance breeds that will only perform well as a yearling or at the age of two so it is essential that you allow your pigeons time to develop and to gain the necessary experience.

Some fanciers purchase long distance pigeons and they expect them to be successful at the long distance races as young birds. However, these races are more suited for the middle distance pigeons and for precocious pigeons. A true long distance pigeon will not be fast enough for these races. There is a chance that these young birds will have a successful flight and win a decent prize if the race is demanding but these are usually exceptions.

Most of all an extreme long distance pigeon needs to gain experience. The most important thing for a young bird is to train it well and to get it accustomed to the basket. It should be enough to basket them a few times for two nights in a row.

When they are one year old you can basket them for Limoges, Jarnac or Bordeaux and possibly Narbonne. These races should allow them to gain enough experience to become decent long distance racing pigeons in the future. There are countless examples of extreme long distance stars that started to perform well only at the age of two.

These birds are likely to achieve good results in the extreme long distance for several seasons. You should not expect your pigeons to win a top prize in their first long distance race either; they will only start to perform well when they get the chance of racing the more demanding flights. So you have to be very patient as a fancier and you should give your birds the chance to do about three long distance races as two year olds.

long distance pigeon wings

Only then will you get an idea of the quality of your long distance pigeons. Then you can start to expand your pigeon breed with your strongest long distance racing pigeons. If you are less patient with your pigeons you should still allow the cocks to develop while basketing your hens for the more demanding races. This has two advantages: you can discover a good breeding pair and after a while some of these hens will prove their value in the races; these birds are likely to become good breeding hens as well.

You can basket these hens as yearlings for a few light long distance races, followed by Bordeaux and Narbonne.

As two year olds they will be ready for Barcelona, Marseille and Perpignan. Two racing methods You can choose to race them to the nest; the best option is to basket them with a youngster of three to five days old. This is a proven method when it comes to basketing a pigeon for Barcelona.However, these races are more suited for the middle distance pigeons and for precocious pigeons. A true long distance pigeon will not be fast enough for these races.

There is a chance that these young birds will have a successful flight and win a decent prize if the race is demanding but these are usually exceptions. Most of all an extreme long distance pigeon needs to gain experience. The most important thing for a young bird is to train it well and to get it accustomed to the basket.

It should be enough to basket them a few times for two nights in a row. When they are one year old you can basket them for Limoges, Jarnac or Bordeaux and possibly Narbonne. These races should allow them to gain enough experience to become decent long distance racing pigeons in the future. There are countless examples of extreme long distance stars that started to perform well only at the age of two.

These birds are likely to achieve good results in the extreme long distance for several seasons. You should not expect your pigeons to win a top prize in their first long distance race either; they will only start to perform well when they get the chance of racing the more demanding flights. So you have to be very patient as a fancier and you should give your birds the chance to do about three long distance races as two year olds.

Only then will you get an idea of the quality of your long distance pigeons. Then you can start to expand your pigeon breed with your strongest long distance racing pigeons. If you are less patient with your pigeons you should still allow the cocks to develop while basketing your hens for the more demanding races. This has two advantages: you can discover a good breeding pair and after a while some of these hens will prove their value in the races; these birds are likely to become good breeding hens as well.

You can basket these hens as yearlings for a few light long distance races, followed by Bordeaux and Narbonne. As two year olds they will be ready for Barcelona, Marseille and Perpignan.

A hen in the nest can do wonders This is a proven method when it comes to basketing a pigeon for Barcelona. This is very common in The Netherlands and it is often used for yearling hens. They can be trained every day from the loft. When they are trained in the evening you should release them as late as possible so that they get used to darkness.

After that they will be released and basketed almost every week.As a fancier examines racing pigeons, an assessment of their wings is performed. Are there characteristics of the racing pigeon wing structure that can be used as a predictor of flight and racing performance? If so, what are they?

In this two-part article, we will take a closer look at the flight mechanism of the racing pigeon and the desired qualities in the structure of its wing. The wings of a racing pigeon function to bring the bird up into the air, keep the bird in the air, propel it forward and allow it to maneuver.

As the bird glides, its wings are similar to that of an airplane and its lift is a result of its forward movement. When flapping, the wings function both to lift and to propel the bird forward. This curve makes it possible for the bird to achieve its lift. In order to achieve the lift, a lower air pressure is needed on one side of the wing compared to the other.

This phenomenon is known as the Bernoulli principle. Bernoulli proposed that air has two pressures— a dynamic pressure generated by moving air, such as that felt by someone walking into the wind, and a static pressure, which is simply the weight of the air. The combination of these two equals the total air pressure and must always be the same.

Therefore, as air flows faster its weight must become less. This means that air rushing over the curvature of the top surface of the wing generates a low pressure area, resulting in lift.

This is a desirable quality versus a flatter wing. It is difficult to say just what is the perfect curvature, however, a flatter wing will cause the bird to have to use more energy in staying aloft, fatiguing quickly. The air needs to flow around the wind smoothly in streamlines.

If the air cannot flow in unbroken streamlines, it develops eddies which lead to turbulence. This turbulence prevents a smooth air flow, resulting in a loss of lift and an increase in wing drag. The drag of the wing refers to its resistance to its passage through the air. Good feather quality is necessary for the bird to achieve maximum lift. Readily assessed by examination and handling, good feather quality is genetic trait plus the result of good nutrition and care.

The surface area of the wing influences the lift the bird is capable of. With more air acting upon a big wing, there is an ability to develop more lift. However, though the surface area includes the length and width of the primary and secondary feathers and you would assume the bigger the wing the better, when it comes to flight propulsion, there are limits on the size of the primary feathers. We will look at that further in the second part of this article.

These should form a full and complete base in the outstretched wing to ensure maximum lift. However, the size of the secondary feathers should not compromise the action of the primary feathers. On the other hand, if the secondary feathers are short, the flight may be more energy-efficient and sustained but will be slower. Ideally, for endurance racing, the most efficient design is secondary feathers just slightly shorter in length than the first primary feather, which is the one closest to the body.

The length of this bone varies per bird and affects the functioning of the wing. As the bird becomes more fit, these muscles become fuller and more firm along with the pectoral muscles, which are the muscles enabling the down stroke, also pulling on the humerus. There is no known optimal length for the humerus bone but it should be proportional to the rest of the wing. This provides not only a strong wing base but also maintains the correct supporting angle for the wing.

The angle of the wing is important in the creation of additional lift. As the bird angles the leading edge of the wing up into the air current, it results in additional lift. The greater the tilt of the wing against air flow, the greater the downward deflection of air and the greater the lift generated. However, past a certain point, the wing edge elevation can create so much resistance that forward flight is impossible.


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