Wagga Wagga – NSW
By Barry Trewin
I have met Bill a few years ago in which Bill's house was a half way mark for Trevor Barker and myself could meet and exchange birds for various races we were supporting. Bill has always been willing to offer his home for us to rest and chat. Since then we now have an annual trip to Wagga Wagga and support their Breeders Plate sale and Presentation evening.
Bill began in pigeons back in 1992 and he began racing in 1993, "I always had a fascination with them", I met John Clay, visited his loft and birds and so it began. Bill has O'Brien Harrsion's, Goodger's, Janssen's and Van Cutson's (which have been the best over water - Tassy races). He keeps 28 pairs of stock with roughly 6 pairs of each and some others. He likes to have around 120 birds in the racing team and usually about 6 old birds.
In the breeding season his feeding consists of 50% peas and a mix of peas, wheat and corn. In the off season he increases the wheat. Once his team is racing he will add canola (small amount) and as the distance increases so does the peas and corn. He feeds around 1oz per bird as a guide and will observe the birds and feed accordingly, in hot weather - less and in cold a little more. He only feeds once a day and as he starts work 3-4 in the morning, so he has to feed in the afternoon.
Due to a raptor problem recently, after he had broken in the birds to the loft he would only take the birds for short tosses, from a few kms each day, this seemed to hold the birds together and keep their confidence up. He likes to have approx. 40 tosses before the first race, building the birds up to 40 kms. This will be done as follows: 4 tosses per week for races up to 100 kms and then 4 times per week from 30 kms. Mostly he trains alone and gets in 1 club toss each week, this is mainly due to work commitments. Bill likes to have a few good old birds in the team and trains YB and OB together. When selecting for each race he likes to observe the birds and look for a bird looking bright and fit.
Performances over the past few years are as follows.
Bred the winning bird of the Mallee Classic in 2002
3rd 400 mile (only sent the 1 bird)
YB single bird race from Mildura
Club Iron bird a few times.
Bill uses very little medications and will use emtryl for canker. He likes to use garlic in the water to help clean them out. Bill uses a fly-in set-up for clocking his birds, after they have entered the loft he catches them on a landing board in the back of the loft. He races his hens and cocks separate, hens one side of the fly-in and cocks on the other. His loft is appropriately named "Homing Inn"
Bill cross-breds his racing team and will keep the best and try them around the different families in the stock loft. Through this system he has had a good run out of a number of his breeding pairs. He pairs down in August each year and takes 3 rounds. He believes we need to pick the things that suit us best and be prepared to change, as each season can be different. His thoughts on new flyers include flying a short race program, even making club tosses races for the new flyers thus encouraging participation. This way they can learn to handle their birds and gauge themselves better against more experienced fanciers.
I appreciate Bill's and Faye's hospitality each time I visit and look forward to the trip each year.