Winter Breeding with racing pigeons: Dive In or Stay on the Sidelines?
Jan de Wijs
Hey there, pigeon enthusiasts! Even as we're knee-deep in the flying season, with the champions of the general competitions yet to be decided, it's never too early to look ahead.
Ask any top pigeon-fancier, and they'll tell you: preparation is half the battle. Today, I’m diving into the world of winter breeding, an age-old favorite making its comeback in modern pigeon racing.
Advantages of Winter Breeding at a Glance
Feathers, Quills, and Flight
The game is all about feathers. Those with pigeons still in their prime feathering are the ones nabbing the top prizes. And if they've got good pigeons too? You're out of luck if yours are molting. A badly molting pigeon doesn't stand a chance against even a mediocre one in full feather!
Race-Ready when the season starts
By the time the racing season starts, winter-born young pigeons are mature and geared up for action! They have fewer e-coli issues, making them perfect to begin with widowhood or the 'door game' as it's sometimes called.
You can have these winter chicks fully molt before the racing season if you follow this plan rigorously:
- End of November: Pairing.
- Early December: First eggs appear.
- End of December: Chicks hatch and should be given supplemental light from 5:00 am to 11:00 pm.
- Mid-January: Chicks are weaned. Light stays on 24/7 for three weeks without outside time.
- After the three weeks: Lighting schedule back to 5:00 am to 11:00 pm.
Results to Expect
By the end of this period, these pigeons will have lost some primary flights, but will retain their cover feathers. If all goes to plan, they're mature and ready for their first competitive flight. A real game-changer for those crucial general championships!
However, there's a catch: the downsides
Guided Learning is a Must!
As these pigeons grow during an off-season (at least here in Holland), they garner little to no racing experience. Meaning, you'll need to take them out for training more often. A bit of effort, but the payoff makes it worthwhile!
Intensive Training Required
These pigeons mature quickly, hence requiring ample training and experience. So, strap up and get to it! Every training flight counts, regardless of the distance. Good weather? Grab your pigeons, cage them overnight, and hit the road! The more, the merrier, and come January, February, and March, you'll see minimal losses with a judicious approach.
Not for the Old-birds
Remember, this system is primarily for the youngsters. For older pigeons, this method doesn't make sense. How to maintain old pigeons in prime feather? Stay tuned for my next blog...
Until the next wing beat.
Jan de Wijs
Blogger, Pigeon Racing Expert, and Influencer…