By Norman Turner (UK) Written in 1950

“Good hard races will show you your good birds”

Before breeding treat your birds to a generous cleanout with epsom salts

You cannot expect a good breeding season if the birds are not in good condition

The birds must have good attention an an abundance of food during the off season

Rearing youngsters takes as much out of a pair of birds a long race and they must be conditioned for it

Ignore people who say your stockbirds are a too fat as the birds will lose that by the time they have had their first round

Youngsters stay with their parents until they are 26 days old … and I want strong sound young birds.

If your old birds are in proper condition they should be able to follow out nature’s plan viz. to rear youngsters until such time as they can fend for themselves without check

If they cannot do so after being prepared then they are useless and you are better rid of them

Good trappers are necessary, teach them as youngsters to trap after exercise

Some of the best flyers wait in the loft to greet them

If you follow this routine you will have no bad trappers

The bird that has given this author the best results is a bird above average size

We race over the Pennines, and a bird must be able to rise and come over after having flown perhaps 400 miles before arriving

I have heard fanciers complain that a certain bird is to deep inn the keel.

To this i say “all moonshine” It is like all other sayings which a fancier uses when trying to find faults

If a pigeon had its head screwed on right, and its engine strong, deep keel or shallow, then it will be there, or thereabouts when wanted.

I am always looking out for signs.

Take notice of which bird wants to be your pal.

The best birds will show the most intelligence in and about the loft

I follow nature as far as possible, and I also believe in letting a brd have some work

If it is coming well, keep it at it.

Strike while the iron is hot

When he or she starts homing instead of racing, then out with it, unless it is good as stock (which is very seldom the case)

Get rid of them, but not by advertising them for sale under broad headlines to take in some poor novice

A working man breeds and keeps his pigeons to race, so get all of them out while you have the chance

Dont keep the winner of one race to point out to your friends; let him go on and achieve further victories – then you will have something to show your friends

The above remarks apply to old birds only

Treat your yearlings more leniently

Never send them past 300 miles

The man whom sends them through to 500 miles will never in my opinion, buid up a strain, especially on a race route where velocities rarely exceed 1200 yards

Regarding Foods

I advise you to let them have some. Don’t count every grain they eat on a hampering night. You might possibly win young bird races on an empty crop, but you will not win many old bird events, and very seldom will you get to that desired distance – 500 mile race

Birds do not come into condition on half rations.


Everyone tries to breed good birds. We will not cal them champions – they are too scarce

Looking back over 16 years there are very few seasons that I have not bred a very good one, and I ask myself what have they been bred from

It did not take me long to realize that they had not been bred from birds worked hard, but from birds before they had been flown hard, or they have come from children of the hard flown bird

My advice to you is always have youth on one side.

You have often heard it said that like builds like. In my experience

I can quote a great many instances of birds that have made their mark which have been bred from a yearling cock or hen which have been one of the pair

I have had my best results from yearlings hens.

There was one season in particular when I found that I bred no less than 8 good birds which did well both as racers and breeders for myself and others

Some of them are telling a good tale even now

I have given readers the methods I follow

Some younger readers might ask what proof have I that the methods I advocate will be successful

One is once again obliged to draw from one’s own experience to answer such questions

I might tell my young friends that I have won scores of prizes (a prize I understand to be in the first three) numerous Old Bird averages – infact six in the last 10 years; five times cross channel averages,and middle over water races.

I won the average three years in succession

My Old birds have flown Troyes, Nevers, Poitiers, Marennes, Orleans,Le Mans, all races over 400 miles, taking positions from 1st to 10th.

This example of successes should convince any doubting reader that what I advocate will produce results