The Racing Pigeon - 5th April 2024

THE RACING PIGEON 5 APRIL 2024

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cocks and hens on the Widowhood and Roundabout systems, with sprint and middle distance racing in mind. They say that the biggest mistake that a pigeon racer can make is over feeding and to be successful this has to be worked out correctly too the type of racing the fancier want to compete in. On the partner’s Widowhood system the birds are not broken down, with the corn being increased at the end of the week and the hens are released in to the cocks section on marking night, and both cocks and hens are sent to the race. The yearling’s race through to Tours (284 miles) and all the other birds through to Bergerac (456 miles), and never any further. The partners say their train system is not for the faint hearted and kicks off at Dummer. In the 2009 season they had five Dummer tosses before the first race and finished up winning 1st Federation Portland (2,814 birds) and 1st Federation Wincanton (1,965 birds). The stock birds are housed in six single flights and are paired up in early December. The main families kept are Soontjens, Lambrecht, Staf Van Reet and Ron Williams of Ireland. The main stock pair is a Soontjens x Staf Van Reet and they have bred numerous club and Federation winners for the part- ners and their friends. This Champion pair of breeders have also bred 3rd Open L&SECC Bergerac, 12th Open L&SECC Bergerac, 20th Open L&SECC Tours in the same season and were purchased at the BHW Blackpool Show for the princely sum of £65. They also purchased a Staf Van Reet mealy cock from the same vendor for £30 and he bred Hathaway & Poole five different winners. Not a bad return on less than a 100 quid! Steve told me, the partners have no interest in the eyesign method or showing their birds, but have supported club shows several times and have never won a card, so maintains their birds must be racing pigeons! The stock birds never breed after the end of May as the partners have no time for late breds and all the race birds are separated from September until February, and do not fly out in the winter months. Peter tells me, they breed about 100 youngsters each year and give 20 of them to friends, clubs and charity sales. The babies go on the ‘Darkness’ system and are raced on the open door Celibate system, being kept separate all week and run together on marking night. The young birds start their training at Dummer (30 mile), which is a favourite training point on the M3 Motorway and after six tosses they are ready for the first Federation race. They maintain the ‘Darkness’ is essential for success with the young birds, as it keep them in good feather right through the season and they like to race, and compete every week with the babies. Steve says that their best yearlings have been young birds that have flown the English Channel. In the 2005 season the partners had another of those brilliant racing days, when they sent too two channel races on the same day and recorded 1st Open UBI Combine Fougeres (2,445 birds) and 3rd Open L&SECC Alencon (2,633 birds). Peter and Steve told me it was a very special day and gave them their biggest thrill in their time in the sport. The two Widowhood pigeons were clocked 15 minutes apart and produced the lofts best performance. Some of the best performances put up by the Hathaway & Poole partnership in recent years have been: 1st Club Newark (604 birds) on the North Road, 3rd & 12th Open L&SECC Bergerac (1,112 birds), 3rd Open L&SECC Alencon (2,633 birds), 5th Open L&SECC Bergerac (835 birds), 14th & 15th Open L&SECC Tours (1,718 birds), 16th, 33rd & 35th Open L&SECC Vire (625 birds), 18th Open L&SECC Vire (1,319 birds), 20th Open L&SECC Tours (1,921 birds), 20th & 45th Open L&SECC Bergerac (738 birds), 21st & 28th Open L&SECC Bergerac, 26th Open L&SECC Alencon (1,783 birds), 26th Open L&SECC Tours (2,253 birds), 27th Open L&SECC Guernsey (1,693 birds), 1st, 4th & 20th UBI Combine Fougeres (2,445 birds), 1st & 2nd Federation Wincanton (1,291 birds), 1st & 3rd Federation Portland (2,814 birds), 1st, 3rd & 4th Federation Portland (3,371 birds), 1st, 2nd, 3rd,

Egham partnership continued and had a wonderful 2014 old bird season, finishing up winning: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 15th, 16th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 23rd, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th, 33rd, 38th, 39th, 41st, 50th, 51st, 52nd, 58th & 59th BB&O Federation East Prawle (1,999 birds). The Federation winner on this occasion was the yearling blue round about cock, ‘Defrow’, and he had also won 1st Club Exeter (385 birds) earlier in the season. Peter Hathaway and Steve Poole visited my home in Claygate to have their latest Federation winners photographed and they told me they had had many good days racing their birds through the years, but like every other fancier, had had only a few really brilliant days. Peter said the 2012 season had turned up one those rare brilliant racing days, when the partners sent a team of young birds to Wincanton (85 miles) with the Berks, Bucks & Oxen SR Federation and recorded 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 22nd, 23rd & 25th (2,558 birds). They were racing in three different clubs

and a batch of birds came together, and the first three birds on the ETS won the three clubs. The fantastic thing about this performance was the fact that the first three birds dropped on the ETS together and recorded the exactly same time and velocity, 1678.413. Three different club winners and joint 1st Federation winners. I remember visiting the late, great Fred Elliott’s loft in Egham many years ago and being a keen angler, I was very impressed with a big fishing lake that was sited behind his garden. The Hathaway & Poole’s loft set up is sited in Peter’s garden, which is just up the road from the same lake. Peter and Steve are self- employed builders, so the lofts are very smart, with the main racing loft being a 30ft pan tiled structure which houses the Widowhood racers and the young birds have their own 14ft loft, and all are kitted out with Unikon ETS. The old birds are cleaned out every day during the racing season, but during the winter months are kept on ‘Easy Bed’ deep litter and the young birds are on deep litter all the year round. The partners race

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