"In my experience it is not always the pigeons that are successful locally that go on to breed pigeons that are successful in one loft races. To get straight to the point, I personally would do my research, and depending on finances, purchase from the very best one loft race champions. For example, Mark Kitchenbrand from South Africa is such a successful racer because he has the finances and the expertise to buy pigeons from champion racers, which saves a lot of time and effort trying to find the good one loft pigeons in your own colony."
"I don't use a vet as much as I used to, but in the early days I found them essential. It's your job to keep on top of the health of your pigeons. At one time we regularly sent droppings to a vet in Belgium be tested. This was invaluable in revealing a regular stress pattern in the pigeons during the race season that I would not have known about otherwise. So, yes, in my opinion, getting to know a good vet and building a relationship with them is essential. Again I go into detail on this very important topic in my upcoming DVD."
"Yes, in my opinion block off the vents at the bottom. My past and present lofts have always only had gaps at the top, front and back. No air coming in from the bottom whatsoever. The gaps at the top provide an adequate draw of air. My birds are in top health and I never have problems with respiratory. One thing about the floor - I advise you to have your loft put on blocks as high off the ground as possible to allow a good airflow under the loft. This creates a dry floor inside which is paramount to a good loft environment."
Nigel (by email) asks:
"I've recently watched the Alistair Hogg DVD and I noticed your comments on One Loft Racing. I'm looking to enter one loft races next season and I'm wondering whether to pick from my good racers or, as you mentioned, perhaps buy youngsters from other successful one loft racers.
"I use Optima on the corn on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Energetica Energy Booster on Thursdays, moistening the corn first with lemon juice."
Simon (by email) asks:
"What supplements do you use and when do you give them?"
Robert from Sheffield asks:
"With regard to training your widowhood cocks, can I ask if you train them throughout the race programme or just on the run up to the first race?"
We at Pigeon King asked Les what his thoughts were on the cheating scandal that has rocked the UK pigeon racing world in the last few days. This was his reply:
"Great to have a question from a new starter! It's important to catch as much sun as possible wherever your loft is located, to help during race season and also to help bring on moulting and for general fitness. If you're not able to have a set-up that catches much sun on the front of the loft you can increase the amount of heat and light you capture by putting windows or clear tiles on the roof. It also helps to have a good flow of air through the loft with not too much moisture, so avoid building near overhanging trees. Make sure if you're intending to race, that your pigeons have a good clear route in and out of their loft that is free from obstructions."
"Good question. Basket training of young birds is one of the most important aspects. As you can see by the photograph I have drinkers built in to the front of my young bird aviary, and my youngsters learn to drink from them very soon after weaning. The drinkers remain on the aviary through the entire season."
ARCHIVE: Q&A Session with Les Green - questions put to Les by visitors to the website between June and September 2016.
Mick Stone (by email) asks:
"If you had the chance to buy off a top pigeon, would you have a single son or daughter from that pigeon or would you have, say, 4 of its grandchildren for the same money as the one bird?"
Ste from Woking asks:
"I got hit really bad last year by Young Bird Sickness. What products or methods can you tell me to cure it?"
"It all depends on how they're exercising early in the year. Generally, if I can get 20 tosses into my cocks prior to the first race, then I'm happy. Then I will assess after the first race performance whether they need more or not. Funnily enough, one year my hens were not exercising as well as I wanted them to so I continued to train them through the race programme. The cocks still gave some great performances alongside the hens so it seems to make no difference. Once more, observation is the key. I go into this subject in much more detail in my upcoming DVD."
"You can't cure Young Bird Sickness. It's a virus and you just have to help your pigeons get through it as quickly as possible. Boost their immune system and treat any secondary infections that could flair up while they battle the Adenovirus with a broad spectrum antibiotic such as Amoxycillin. Feed light, with some depurative in the mix and allow the pigeons to get plenty of rest. This will help them to cure themselves."
John from Dublin asks:
"I have just had my new loft put up by this company and there is louvres at the bottom for ventilation and 4" gaps at the top, front and back. A fancier friend of mine says to me to block off the louvres at the bottom. What do you say about this please?"
"I firmly believe prevention is better than cure and I treat for canker when I know the pigeon has been under stress, regardless of whether I can see signs of the illness. So, for example, when the cocks have been driving or rearing youngsters. I will treat both the hens and the cocks the same week as I take away the babies. I will also treat them on the 5th weekend of racing without fail. I treat with whatever canker treatment I can get my hands on and give tablets early on in the season and a soluble treatment later. It's important to alternate whatever products you use so the pigeons don't build up immunity to the medication.
I have never needed to treat for coccidiosis. My birds are in and out of the lofts and are not left outside in grass or fields, so there is no chance of them picking up the parasite.
Medications will be covered in more detail in the DVDs."
Andy from Edinburgh asks:
"In my area, some fanciers are able to train their young birds twice a day, but I can only train mine once. Do you think there is a significant advantage to training them twice a day?"
"It's a sad day when fanciers forget why they started keeping and racing pigeons and concentrate too much on winning at any cost. I thought it best to remind everyone why we all started in the first place. Here's a short film which shows my passion for pigeons..."
"It all depends on your finances. If you have the means then without a doubt I would buy the direct child. You can then have as many grandchildren as you like and you are racing pigeons closer to the champion. You have to take into account that when you buy a grandchild, there are 3 other grandparents and that will alter the quality of the youngster offered. When buying direct you are obviously eliminating other outside bloodlines.
If you cannot afford the direct child then go for a double grandchild of the champion."
Trev (by email) asks:
"I'm new to pigeon fancying and I've noticed there are so many different loft set-ups out there. Does it make a difference which way my loft faces? I have a pretty big garden so I can put it wherever is best."
"I had a similar thing happen to me last week. I got the first few on top of each other and then they dried up when I was 10 missing. I got one late in the evening, one the next morning and the rest I have heard nothing from except one that got reported in South Wales. It seems to be a trend all over the country this season, so no, I don’t think it is anything you are doing wrong. I have done the same this year as all other years and to give you an example, last year I lost two young birds across the whole season and I am already 8 down in one race. As for the cause of it, I really have no idea. I have had conversations with many top fanciers and to be honest it has got us all baffled. We have debated if it’s because they are experimenting with 5G mobile networking, and if it's the weather etc., but there is no real answer to it. Keep sending, and they will come good in the end.
By the way, the one that got reported in Wales was singled up a week later by the fancier from Salisbury who found him, which is about 180 miles from me and he dropped in 4 hours later!! You can’t weigh it up can you? He made a mistake last week but came singled up from 180 miles. It beggars belief."
Mr Jones from South Wales asks:
"How important, in your opinion, is feeding in modern day racing? "
Terry from Worcester asks:
"I lost half my cocks in last week's race, only a few got back to the loft and then nothing. Some of my mates have had the same trouble. Can I ask if this has been a problem for you, and if it has, why do you think it has happened, and is there anything you think I am doing wrong?"
Archie from Reading asks:
"Wonder if you can tell me how you basket train your young birds. There's a pond at the back of my house and I see a lot of young pigeons coming down to drink on race day."
cheques payable to Mr G Walker
post to28 Kype View, Strathaven, Lanarkshire ML10 6BX
Ray from Swansea asks:
"What's your opinion on vets? I find them a bit expensive, do you use them?"
"In my opinion, there is a significant advantage in training young birds twice a day, as you are repeating the release location and the distance, which almost brainwashes the pigeons. However, you also need to take into account your own personal circumstances. I am fortunate in that I can take them twice a day, but where people are unable to, once has to do. Training young birds is all about education; trying to teach them the shortest and fastest route home, so they will learn far more from a training toss than they will just circling round the loft. Training them as often as possible means they will learn more."
"Pigeon racing is like a jigsaw puzzle and feeding is one of the biggest pieces. How you feed your racing pigeons makes a massive impact on your results. Knowing what to feed and when to feed it, is something, in my opinion, that you can't read in a book; you can only get the basics. The amounts of what you feed and when you feed it depends upon 3 very important factors: daily temperature; the weather conditions of the upcoming race; and distance and wind direction. For example if a tail-wind is forecast, don't feed as heavy as if a head-wind is forecast. Or if the temperature is warmer, the pigeon's appetite is less compared to when it's very cold, so they won't eat as much. That's the complexity of feeding. I'll be going into great detail of what I feed and when I feed it in my upcoming DVD Season 1 - Old Bird Racing."
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Gary Smith (by email) asks:
"During the race season do you treat for coccidiosis and canker? If so, how often do you treat and with what products? Is there anything else you recommend to treat for that you feel is important to keep on top of?"