The Haidar Bros have established themselves as a formidable force in Victorian pigeon racing over the past two decades

(Pictured – from left – Ali, Lena (Sister) Moussa, and Ahmed)

The Lebanese trio of Moussa, Ali and Ahmed Haidar began their pigeon journey in Thomastown in the late nineties when their father had fancy pigeons…. but that interest eventually morphed into racing pigeons – and in the intervening years the Haidar name has regularly been high on the leader-boards in the VHA and the Greater Melbourne Pigeon Federation

They’ve notched six 1st Feds and a long list of Fed placings over the past 23 years.

They race around 120 race birds each year and have won from 240 to 500 miles, including from Tasmania to Melbourne – with a particular fondness for middle to long distance races

The Haidar brothers are down to earth blokes who enjoy a laugh, or chat about pigeons – and leading Victorian flyer John Shore has affectionately nicknamed them “the Marx Brothers”

You only have to speak to Moussa Haidar for a short time to gauge how much he and his brothers love pigeon racing, enjoy their passion for the sport and their amazing birds, and the camaraderie that goes with being in a good club

2023 was one of the Haidars most successful seasons, winning the Greater Melbourne Pigeon Federation averages as well as the long distance averages.

All three bothers first raced with the Victorian Pigeon Union from their Thomastown family home in 1999 and 2000 after meeting local flyer Brian Street, who gave them birds and helped set up his old loft in their back yard.

But, after their parents divorced, Ali and Ahmed continued racing from the family home but Moussa shifted to South East Melbourne to be with his mother Majida.

Eventually the racing stopped, and the birds were dispersed with the Haidars taking a break from the sport.

But a few years later – in 2005 – fate again intervened with Moussa opening the front door,in heavy rain, to find a young red chequer race bird on his front porch.

A Cranbourne club member came to pick the bird and invited Moussa and Ali to visit the club – and they did, meeting Keith Saggers and Steve Gazzola.

Saggers offered them birds and talked them into joining the Club … and they raced with the Victorian Homing Association – from Ahmed’s house in 2006 (1 fed position) and 2007 (8 fed positions)

All three Haidar boys are in the construction industry, and install precast panels in high rise buildings – giving them a glimpse of what their pigeons see every day

When Ahmed got married Moussa and Ali shifted houses, and they took a two year break from racing

Once they got settled, they joined the Pathfinder Club at Notting Hill Centre – vowing to improve each year – and being the best they could at the sport.

Birds were sourced from Greg Hamilton, close friend Mark Vella, Michael Portelli and Mark Schubert …. along with occasional race teams from other flyers – and the rest is history.

Moussa and Ali race and breed – while Moussa still breed birds for his brothers.

Their list of achievements is impressive.

2010 – 8 Fed positions

2011 (PMV Interrupted) only 2 races – 2 Fed positions

2012 11 Fed positions

2013 13 Fed positions

2014 15 Fed positions

2015 (One of best seasons) 17 Fed positions – 2nd to John Van Beers in averages – losing by under 10 points! also 2nd long distance averages – finishing 2nd Fed in 500 mile race and trapping in the dark

2016 18 Fed positions and won Averages in the Greater Melbourne Federation

2017 9 Fed positions (Greater Melb Fed) and 4 Fed positions VHA

2018 15 Fed positions 2nd overall point score VHA – won their first 500 mile race

Took the years 2019, 2020 AND 2021 off ….( ironically those were the years when Covid impacted racing – with members saying the Haidars MUST have known something!

2022 – returned to VHA – 15 fed positions 6th – or 7th in the averages.

2023 – Flew with Greater Melbourne Federation winning both the averages and long distance averages. 24 Fed positions … scored in every race except one!

The Haidars separate their hens and cocks – training the hens in the mornings and the cock birds in the afternoon.

Last year (2023) Moussa and Ali weren’t at home to get the birds in on a number of occasions , so their mother, Majida, stepped in – getting the birds in, and feeding them after their morning exercise.

Majida was a large factor in the Haidars success

Moussa admits it was a lot of work, for his mum but says that she was much happier after he gave her a share of the prizemoney

The Haidars appreciate the wins and Fed placings, but ultimately are happy if ALL their birds come home from a training toss or race – especially if SOME are fast!

Moussa firmly believes if you do the right thing by a pigeon, it will repay the favour

The brothers don’t like to rush youngsters – preferring to give them as much time to possible to settle in, and adapt to training and racing.

Getting the work into the birds, being consistent, and getting the food right are three of the most important ingredients to their success

They say you need the best birds to stay at the top, and they’re always on the lookout for new birds that will add to their gene pool and do the job they want

They’ll sell race teams, but not their stock or race birds

However they help young flyers and newcomers to the sport because of all the support they’ve received during their journey in the sport

Advice and some of their older cock birds go to younger flyers so that they can start off on the right foot

After their busy schedule in recent years the Haidars have scaled back for 2024 , and will pick their races

They’ll have birds racing in the Meadow One loft for the second year, and have bred youngsters for a number of other flyers … and they will be keenly following the performance of those birds .

The Haidars say the hectic lives people live nowadays – and rising costs – are making pigeon racing a lot more difficult that in previous generations