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devo56
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Over the last couple of days i have been thinking of the effects to a youngster, when sending to a OLR. I have been looking at the SAMDPR OLR and i think we can all agree, there as been so many loses from day one the birds were let out to find their new surroundings. This brought me to think about the imprinting of racing pigeons. The youngsters go into a OLR at the age of around 35 days old. But that is if the youngsters are going into a loft in the uk or Europe. Any other OLR around the world, they still go at the age of 35 days old but go into quarantine for a period of 28 to 30 days. So it can be a while until the youngsters reach their new loft. Here is a reading that i am looking at for part of the problems that may effect so many loses in OLR.

Some philosophers and social scientists characterize the mind as a "blank slate" or "tabula rasa" at birth. Over time, life experiences are recorded on these mental slates that are reflected in personalities. In other words, these scientists believe that personality is the sum total of life experiences recorded in our minds. There are also genetic "predispositions" that sometimes influence how experiences are recorded on the slate. You may have learned in school that ducks imprint an image of their mother at a very early age. Although ducks are used as a classic example of imprinting, we believe that all brains imprint life experiences in the brain in a similar manner to ducks. Experiences recorded during the earliest years of life have a greater meaning or influence over our attitudes and behavior because they are first experiences. First experiences shape and point the human mind in certain directions based upon the content of the first-time experiences. In humans, memory record places, events, smells, tastes, music, etc. at very early ages that tend to influence our behavior, decisions and preferences throughout our lifetime. Although humans may not imprint first-time experiences with the same intensity as ducks, the human brain still records "first time" or very early life experiences with an intensity that is greater than experiences that occur later in life. We believe that the same is true with all other animals including pigeons. Experiences recorded during the weaning phase - the 5th week of life - the first time out of the protection of parents and the nest - are recorded with an intensity that influences pigeons to behave in certain ways for the rest of their lives.

Memories are imprinted or recorded on synaptic webs within the brain. We believe that "first-time" or very early experiences are recorded differently than later experiences simply because they were recorded first. Consequently, early experiences influence subsequent behavior more powerfully than later experiences in life. We believe that the 4th, 5th, and 6th weeks of life represent a critical mental crossroads that will determine a pigeon's behavior for the rest of its life. The first week of February is the 5th week of life for January 1 hatches. The experiences these youngsters are now recording will influence them for the rest of their lives. Antoine Jacops' believes that fanciers should be very strict with recently-weaned youngsters. He believes that fanciers should teach these youngsters during these early weeks exactly what is expected of them for the rest of their lives. Lessons about trapping and lessons about coming when called are two critical lessons that must be taught properly and effectively to each youngster during the recently-weaned phase of development. During this phase of training, gently withhold food until the youngsters learn to comply quickly with each task.

Concerning the task of coming when called, we scrape and sweep a portion of the loft floor twice a day in order to feed the youngsters on the floor. While sitting on the floor with the young birds, we take a premeasured amount of food (a soup spoonful per young bird) in a two pound coffee can and slowly - very slowly - hand feed a few grains at a time to the young birds while we call them. We sprinkle the grains on and around our legs and body and call to the youngsters by saying "come - come - come - come." We also encourage the youngsters to eat from our hands. We teach the youngsters to come to us in order to receive each grain. The brave and smart youngsters will have little problem learning this new task very quickly. The less intelligent or fearful youngsters will have a greater problem learning to comply with this task. We record the ring numbers of those young birds that learn the fastest and are least fearful. This recorded information will provide one of the first powerful glimpses into which youngsters will become the best racers. We believe that the best racers are the smartest pigeons on the team and the youngsters that have the capacity to quickly replace their innate fear with a learned trust. Learning to come when called is a task which will clearly reveal the learning capacity and compliance factor for each young bird. We urge you to build a strong and lasting relationship of trust with each young bird. Without a meaningful relationship of trust with each racer, racing at the top of the sheet may only represent wishful thinking. The best racers are pigeons that learn quickly and build trusting relationships with their mentors.

Trapping quickly is also a learning activity. After the young birds learn to come quickly when called, we place them on the landing board in a settling cage to enjoy their freedom. After a short period of time, we call them into the loft to eat. Only those youngsters who come through the trap and into the loft very quickly receive a full meal. Those youngsters that take their time trapping may only get a few grains when they finally enter the loft. Those youngsters that ignore the trapping task when called are not fed at all. Those that were slow or did not respond are recorded in a three-ring binder. Record the negative observations of youngsters that respond slowly. If late youngsters change their behavior on subsequent days, they are added to the list of compliant pigeons and the negative observations about them are minimized but not forgotten. Pigeons that continue to enter the loft slowly when called receive only a few grains or no feed at all until they comply with the task of trapping according to our satisfaction. If they refuse to learn the task correctly, they will be removed from the race team. Only select the youngsters that perform tasks quickly and without negative incident. Youngsters that consistently do not perform correctly at any stage of the developmental process may never become top racers. Appreciate and value youngsters that learn quickly. Have no pity for those youngsters that learn slowly or refuse to comply with required tasks. They are a scourge to the young bird team and should be removed. When teaching young pigeons to trap, set a realistic time limit. Depending upon the physical construction of the trap (number of entrance holes or slots) and the number of young birds on the team, set a time limit of 30 seconds, one minute, two minutes, etc. for all of the young birds to trap. Do not feed any bird that does not trap within the time limit. Without eating for 24 hours, slow trappers will usually be the first young birds through the trap during the next day. Sometimes its difficult to get a young bird's attention. A hungry pigeon (not a starved pigeon - there is a big difference between the two) is generally an attentive pigeon. Overfeeding is the best way to completely lose control of the young bird team. If you have a tendency to overfeed your pigeons, add about 20% barley or more to the race mix. The barley content will keep your pigeons hungry and counteract the good will you wish to bestow upon the young birds by feeding them every morsel they can eat. While we all want to be good to our racers, overfeeding is bad physically and mentally for pigeons and very hard on the pocket book.

Young birds that learn to come when called will remember the "come" command for the rest of their lives. If they become slow to respond to your commands, they may need a quick refresher course from time to time in order to comply more quickly. But the "come when called" task is imprinted in their minds forever. Remember, the memories of recently-weaned youngsters are very absorbent like a sponge. They soak up knowledge and experience very quickly. The learning phase of homing pigeons is never as fertile as when youngsters are recently-weaned. Teach young birds early. Don't wait until they are older, fearful and wild. Do not try to force them to comply with your commands. Recently-weaned youngsters are desperately seeking direction. They are looking for guidance. They seek guidance from parents, other older pigeons, and other youngsters. Looking for direction is a very important component of the weaning process. Become a mentor to recently-weaned youngsters. Compete with other pigeons for their time and attention. Become a teacher in pigeon school. Satiate young birds with knowledge; not food. If you are an attentive and caring fancier, give young birds proper direction and guidance. Empower young birds with knowledge. Calm their fears by teaching them trust in you and your management system. Once they have learned to use fear as a first response or a directive in life, they will never comply with tasks with the same passion and obedience as they would have shown if they had learned compliance when they were very young. All animals want to achieve homeostasis. All animals want a good life and a calm positive environment. A chaotic loft is one in which fanciers and young birds do not understand each other and are not on the same page. Young birds cannot learn what fanciers don't teach them. They are smart; but not mind readers. Clearly, calmly, gently and consistently, teach tasks, expectations and boundaries to your young birds as soon as they leave the comforts of their nests. We cannot begin to convey or stress the importance of the first weeks of February for youngsters hatched in early January. Do not wait to educate and train recently-weaned young birds. If you typically breed January 1 hatches, spend time with them in early February when they are weaned. Teach them the basics: coming when called and trapping. Make them comply quickly each time you feed them. A little extra time with young birds in early February will pay huge dividends during the future young bird race series.


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Andy123
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An interesting post Devo and you could have a point about the birds that have to go into quarantine with lack of direction in their early days, but having said that, a lot of other OLR losses aren’t that much better. I think the other big problem with these, taking this post into account, is that there are far too many youngsters in these lofts to get the individual treatment and training that they need. With a small team of your own, each youngster can be treated as an individual.

Home of the ukpigeonracing test loft.


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Trevor Hodges
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Not read the whole post yet Dev but will read it later.
As I have said before in my opinion there is too big a window for entries so some birds are too old before being let out and there are too many birds in the lofts. How good is the stockmanship, does anyone actually check the condition of the birds or are they just basketed regardless !!! Also there is obviously a training/race programme, now in the short time I have been watching these OLRs this doesn't seem to change, are the birds liberated regardless of the conditions !!!
Of course without meaning to offend anyone it could just be that half the entries just aren't good enough.


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devo56
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An interesting post Devo and you could have a point about the birds that have to go into quarantine with lack of direction in their early days, but having said that, a lot of other OLR losses aren’t that much better. I think the other big problem with these, taking this post into account, is that there are far too many youngsters in these lofts to get the individual treatment and training that they need. With a small team of your own, each youngster can be treated as an individual.

I think the thing i was looking at Andy, that i feel the birds become confused after that 5 week period. When in the nest bowl they get into the daily routine of me going into the loft and carrying out my daily tasks. In which sometimes the become part of. The daily banter of putting my hand near them and them becoming defensive of their home. The tasks of them being weaned and the involvement of them and myself soon ends, and then when sitting in Quarantine they must realise this is not the imprint of my life, and then it changes once again a month later when they reach their new loft. Maybe a form of stress at such a young age with so many changes, But it does make me wonder.


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Trevor Hodges
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An interesting post Devo and you could have a point about the birds that have to go into quarantine with lack of direction in their early days, but having said that, a lot of other OLR losses aren’t that much better. I think the other big problem with these, taking this post into account, is that there are far too many youngsters in these lofts to get the individual treatment and training that they need. With a small team of your own, each youngster can be treated as an individual.

I think the thing i was looking at Andy, that i feel the birds become confused after that 5 week period. When in the nest bowl they get into the daily routine of me going into the loft and carrying out my daily tasks. In which sometimes the become part of. The daily banter of putting my hand near them and them becoming defensive of their home. The tasks of them being weaned and the involvement of them and myself soon ends, and then when sitting in Quarantine they must realise this is not the imprint of my life, and then it changes once again a month later when they reach their new loft. Maybe a form of stress at such a young age with so many changes, But it does make me wonder.

A good read Dev, and yes I agree with you it is quite a wrench for them and a lot to take in at a very vulnerable age.


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CDBL
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Haven't read post properly yet dev but have had a good skim as well as responses. I like the thought process of imprints. Is this because I mentioned slip anchor would start to get a complex?

I think that we all get good and bad and that can come from within same nest? Say 1 in 8 is deducted for that.

Then training methods. To an extent I don't think any of us were thrilled to see three guys with brooms chasing the birds up. I know they need to fly, but quarantine to that. You prob lose another 1 in 4. So now we are whittled down to 5/8ths left...

I agree that there is also a great deal of skill to flying pigeons and how race days are handled. I think it would be fair to say that 6000 birds in one loft... that's probably unmanageable even for a team of 12 to handle. 500 at fybd was split between john and lou and sometimes connor as well. Grateful for your thoughts gents as I only do olr? But say another 1 in 8 say bugger this I'm not trained, im having to fight hard for my spot, and there is an easier life out there for me. 1/2 left

Say predators another 1 in 16... 7/16ths.

Consider general wear and tear, fighting, accidents etc. Another 1 in 16? 3/8ths remain.

Some just get damned lost... 1 in 16 again?

That brings 6500 down to 2031. I could be barking up wrong tree here.

Not so retired racer, part time webmaster and part time distiller


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CDBL
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Interesting read dev. I would think that with so many birds it's difficult to reteach the habits if lost. Just not enough time to give each bird Which could be contributing factor.

Not so retired racer, part time webmaster and part time distiller


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devo56
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Looking at the process of most of the birds going to SAMDPR being from around the world, so the need of them being in quarantine and it was a lot longer this year. Gave me the thought of the youngsters going through imprinting in three different venues. The Loft for their first 5 weeks onto quarantine for over a month, and then to the loft were they had to stay in for a couple of weeks while Licence was granted. By this time the youngsters were well up on the wing, now came the part of the birds being allowed to venture out and get the feel for their new home. The youngsters should have been allowed to get use to the surroundings, and while doing so imprinting would once again take place. But as we know this was not the case, what we viewed was the youngsters being chased from their new home not knowing the area some must of just took off and kept going. Being strong on the wing it would have the point of no return. I feel with the hold ups the races should have been put back and the youngsters allowed to settle before training started.


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Andy123
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Good way of putting things Chris. I think there are a lot of different reasons why the losses are so great in the OLR’s, certainly compared to what we would expect in our own lofts, and all the above are very viable reasons. I still think though that the biggest problem is that with so many youngsters there is no option but to treat them as a team, so no time to treat any as individuals and a lot of pigeons have their very own personalities and requirements to perform at their best.

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Andy123
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Looking at the process of most of the birds going to SAMDPR being from around the world, so the need of them being in quarantine and it was a lot longer this year. Gave me the thought of the youngsters going through imprinting in three different venues. The Loft for their first 5 weeks onto quarantine for over a month, and then to the loft were they had to stay in for a couple of weeks while Licence was granted. By this time the youngsters were well up on the wing, now came the part of the birds being allowed to venture out and get the feel for their new home. The youngsters should have been allowed to get use to the surroundings, and while doing so imprinting would once again take place. But as we know this was not the case, what we viewed was the youngsters being chased from their new home not knowing the area some must of just took off and kept going. Being strong on the wing it would have the point of no return. I feel with the hold ups the races should have been put back and the youngsters allowed to settle before training started.

I think you are quite right in your thoughts Dev, and yes the way that they were treated at the start was terrible. You yourselves lost half your team before they were even taken away from the loft. I also wonder what their memories were from the time they had previously spent in the baskets. I like to get my youngsters out on top of the loft even before they are old enough to take off.

Home of the ukpigeonracing test loft.


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devo56
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Here is notice on SAMDPR site.

Missing pigeons
We have received a number of queries about missing pigeons and how a pigeon could get lost between two published listings.

One of the things that a number of entrants do not seem to realize is that the pigeons are trained every day of the week. Although we only publish Saturday and Wednesday training results, all pigeons (other than hold back pigeons) go out on the days in between as well for training.

This means that although a pigeon is listed as returned on a race result or loft listing it may well have gone missing on one of the training flights in between the last published listing and the next basketing list.

A number of these pigeons will only stay out for a day or two and then return to the lofts so keep an eye on the listings for any of your pigeons that have returned. Keep in mind that once a pigeon has been replaced and its replacement has competed for prize money the replacement will remain the activated pigeon even if the lost pigeon returns subsequently.

Some entrants have raised concerns that their pigeons might be targeted due to their breeding or performance. In this regard we want to set everyone's mind at ease. The security measures we have in place at the lofts prevent any individual pigeon from being identified by the loft staff making sure that all pigeons get equal and fair treatment. All pigeons ID rings are concealed with a sticker when they receive their electronic rings so it is impossible to identify any individual pigeon from the rest.

Best of luck for the upcoming races


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devo56
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Well i did see a video at the start of the comp showing ID rings being covered, by the staff at the loft.


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Andy123
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Yes I did see that too. The interesting point particularly in view of comments that we have made is where they say that they are all treated equally and given no individual treatment. This just highlights the points that we are making.

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Bryngwynt
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Well i did see a video at the start of the comp showing ID rings being covered, by the staff at the loft.

That’s reassuring Dev, always makes you think these days.


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CDBL
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Quick thought this morning... What are fanciers losses with young birds during a season at home? In comparison to olr.

Not so retired racer, part time webmaster and part time distiller


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