I.F. Champion Loft report
By Paul Walsh
Ed Krissler, Montadale Pa
4th place I.F. Champion Loft. 5lofts to 25 lofts category 2004 young birds
2nd place I.F. Hall of Fame bird 5 to 25 lofts I.F-04-wbc-555 2004 young bird series
1. Tell us a little about yourself
I live in the town of Montdale, Pa with my wife Ruth, we have been married for 37 years and have two children and two grandchildren. I am retired from Procter & Gamble, having been a papermaking technician for 31 years. I have the same story as many other flyers, got my first birds from my father when I was about 12, they were commons. Was given some homers from a flyer that lived by me, and picked up some tumblers and raised both. Back then, there was myself and three of my friends that had small lofts. Got away from them as a teenager and didn’t get back until 1981. Banded my first race birds in 1982.
2. Do you think your position is a good one as far as combine races are concerned? How big is the combine? Club?
I fly with the Anthracite Concourse and am on the long end. If it has its advantages, it also has its dis-advantages, head wind vs tail wind days and so forth. We are always reading articles that state this flyer has the edge because he is on the short end, or in the middle, or on the long end. So who is to say if there is a choice position. We fly about 90 members in the ACA and 10 to 12 in the Wilkes Barre Sportsman Club.
3. Do you have a original family of pigeons?
No, I do not. Now that I am retired I hope to be able to continue to do well and build on the birds I currently have.
4. What type of birds do you now fly? Big, med., small., strain.
I like the medium sized birds, and I would consider my birds to be of medium size. My birds are mixed, I don’t have pedigree pigeons and can’t say that this bird is this or that one is that.
5. Can you give us a little history on your Champion Bird? Champion Loft?
Champion Bird: IF 04 WBC 0555 GrizC, this bird came from the loft of Jerry Dobishinsky. Jerry and I have been friends since I got started back with the birds. Jerry retired in Feb of 04 and passed away in March 04. I obtained some of his young birds and some of his breeders, I could not find the paperwork on the breeding of “555". This bird had a good year, flying 4 races, with the following results: 2nd club, 16thconc.@ 176 miles, 5th club,64th conc. @ 231 miles, 1st club,12th conc. @ 257 miles, 1st club, 8th conc. @ 315 miles.
Champion Loft: This had been an exceptional young bird series for me. Out of the 9 races flown I ended up with 7 Firsts, 6 Seconds, 4 Thirds, and 2 Fourths in the club. In the concourse, at the Diploma level I had a 9th @ 257 miles, 2nd & 3rd @ 367 miles, 12th & 13th @ 257 miles, 8th & 9th @ 315 miles, and 5th & 6th @ 367 miles. I had two birds that won 2 first place wins each, both of those birds were from Jerry, two other birds that each won a first were sisters bred from a hen from Tony Lemoncelli and cock from Edgar Boston, the next bird to win a first was down from a cock from Bill Stalgaitis and hen from John Macik. So as you can see I breed from a variety of birds, but they produce well.
6. Story on parents, brother, sister that breed or flew well for you .
In the preceding question, I think I answered this one.
7. Do you race imports?
No, all my breeders are from local flyers.
8. How big is you old bird team? How big is your young bird team?
Old birds, last year I went into the season with about 65 birds, this year I have 45 on the team and hope to do well. We all go into a race season with a plan and hope to do well, its just a matter of everything clicking together and keeping the birds healthy.
Young birds, I went into the season with about 70, and I plan on having about that many this year.
9. Do you use a system? For young birds? Old birds? Which ever applies? Dark? Widowhood? Etc. Explain your system day by day from preparing for the first training toss tot he last race how many hours of light per day do your birds get? From what time to what time is light used? When do you go on natural light? Ow do your birds molt as old birds if you were on a young bird system? How do you feel about people using different systems that compete with you?
Explain how you would prepare a team of birds to go into a 300-mile futurity race? Please do a day by day preparation Sunday to Sunday.
Explain how you would prepare a team of birds for shipping to a 400 mile O.B. race? Please do a day by day preparation Sunday to Sunday
When I was working, the schedules I worked prevented me from doing anything but flying the natural system. I felt there was no way I could work a 7 day rotating swing shift which later turned into a 12 hr swing shift changing every 2 to 3 days and apply a system to the birds. When you work 12 hours and go into work in the dark and come home in the dark you need to have lights just to feed the birds and on days like that, they don’t even get out of the loft. I could have used the open loft system but I had a racoon get into the loft once and it did a lot of damage to the race team. I still fly the natural system but now that I am retired I may try one of the systems but not sure which one. Being retired makes a big difference with the birds. This year, I did nothing special in preparing the birds for the races, morning loft flying on days I didn’t train and good clean food and water.
10. Do you cut flight, pull tail feathers, do you have your birds finished with body molt when races start, or are you a natural flyer, if so when do you start to breed.
I fly the natural system and cut no flights, or pull any tail feathers. I won two races with birds that had the ninth flight almost all the way up and was hoping they didn’t drop the tenth in the race crate.
I usually start breeding in February around the 10th to 12th. This may change now that I am home with the birds more.
11. Do you fly to the perch? Do you fly widowhood? Separated sexes, or just hens? If you fly natural or widowhood please explain your method in old birds and young birds.
I have been flying the natural system both in old birds and young birds. I don’t do anything fancy, try to get the birds to loft fly early in the morning for 1 hour or more which they seem to enjoy coming off a good nights rest. I like to see this with both the old and young birds, these birds were born to fly and that is what I expect them to do. Birds that don’t want to fly around the loft for you are not healthy birds. Something is wrong and you need to figure out what it is. On days that I train, I do not let the birds out to loft fly, a big reason for this is if a hawk makes a attack, you will get some good flying out of them around the loft but won’t be able to train and if you do train, the last thing on their mind at home was the hawk that made a attack on them. I never realized they remember things until the day the racoon got into the loft. He killed 13 birds, the ones that were left perched high for almost 3 days and when I let them out to fly on the 3rd day, they were very cautious about coming back into the loft.
11 Describe your loft? Is there airflow in the loft, fans, etc.
My flying loft is 10 X 12, divided in half, with one side being the old bird section and the other the young bird section. My ventilation is through vents at floor level on each side and vents at roof level on each side. I have 3 windows open to pens, 2 on the front under the landing board and one on the side that the old birds have. There are no windows on these and they are open all the time. My loft faces the east to get the morning sun.
12. Describe how you feed? Hopper, or individual seed? In the nest box or on the floor? After a flight around the loft or is it when they return from training? Is there a set time in the morning or at evening? Which mixture do you use?
I feed the birds in hoppers on the floor, and sometimes scatter some of the feed on the floor. I try to feed at night so the birds go to the perch with a good supply of food. I still have a lot to learn about feeding, I think that is one of the hardest aspects of this sport to figure out. It is so easy to under feed and over feed. I feed K&N feeds and mix some pellets in it.
13. How do you train your birds single toss, in a flock or on the training truck? Do you time your birds from training and if so give us a example. How often do you train and at what distances?
When my birds are trained, they are put up a crate at a time. During old birds I’ll sometimes put them up a couple at a time, but not too often. As far as timing goes, I usually check the time I let them out and hope my wife is watching and sees what time they get home. She usually does a pretty good job. I try to train a couple times a week and hope for some good loft flying in between. I have to drive 37 miles to ship birds so I usually take the birds with me on shipping and clocking in days. I start my young birds on their own at short distances and get them coming pretty good before mixing them with other birds.
14. Do you have any regular training schedule to take the birds down the road or do you loft fly regularly, explain what you do? Explain the reasons why you do certain things.
Prior to training I like to have the birds flying around the loft really good. When the old birds are flying well I will take them out about 20 miles see how they come from there and maybe take them back to the same place then I don’t mind moving them out more each toss until I get to about 40 miles. Once there they are ready for 60,80, and 100 miles. I have no regular schedule that I stick to. Depends on how I feel and what the traffic is like, the road we train on seems to always have some construction on it and sometimes you can get stuck in traffic for up to and hour, and that takes the fun out of training.
With the young birds, I like to see them routing first then I take them close for a few tosses, 5 miles, then 10 miles and be sure they are coming good before taking them into the valley. Once in the valley they get several tosses from about 20 miles then I begin to train with my friend Tony Lemoncelli..
15. Is there any kind of health program you follow regularly? If so explain it to us. How do you medicate and for what reason??
My birds are not on any regular health program, I vaccinate for PMV, treat for canker and that is about it. I am a believer in not putting a lot of medication into these birds and messing up their natural immunity. My son is a triathalon athlete and has done a couple of Iron man competitions, for those that don’t what these are, he swims 2.4 miles, bikes 112 miles and then runs 26.2 miles all in a day. He never medicates himself to accomplish this, just trains hard and eats right.
16. How often do you race your champion bird, how about the rest of them?
This was the first time I ever had the chance to put a bird in for this award. He raced 4 times this season and that was because he was coming good. As long as they are coming good from training and doing the same on race day, they go back.
17. Do you believe in bird entry limits, do you believe in clocking limits? How do you select your breeding pairs? Have you any advice for new flyer? Have you any advice for advanced flyers?
Entry limits/clocking limits- if you are having a exceptional season you don’t want either. There are some awards you can’t put in for if you have a clocking limit so I don’t know where to go with this one. I would like to see the IF send out a questionnaire to all club secretaries to survey if they have clocking limits and what are they, and if they don’t, does their concourse or combine have one. They could then publish the results as such:
Example 100 clubs with a 2 bird limit
75 clubs with a 3 bird limit and so forth and do the same with concourse and combines. I think this would be a interesting survey. I think we have more clubs and concourses with clocking limits then most of us imagine
Breeding pairs- I may pair a couple of pairs the way I would like to try the rest just pick their own mates.
Advice new flyer- I’ve always read, get birds from a good flyer in your area, I believe this is right, also team up with a good flyer and learn from him. It’s worth its weight in gold.
Advanced flyer- I am in no position to give them advice.
18. Is there a flyer, breeder or book that has helped you become a better pigeon flyer? Do you have any kind of goals in the sport? Compose a list of awards you have received club, combine and national awards if any.
I have received birds from some good flyers in New Jersey, a friend of over 20 years, the late Sam Ciravolo of the Irvington club, my Uncle from Houston, Joe Nelson, who has since passed on.. They gave me their best but my work schedule and stupid mistakes prevented me from getting the best out of them. A couple of years back, I got some birds from Edgar Boston down from his Blue hen that won several 500/600 mile races.
A flyer that made me a better pigeon flyer, that would have to be Tony Lemoncelli, A couple of years ago I became very good friends with Tony . Tony is 100% pigeon and can just look at a pigeon and tell you if he is good or not. Tony has given me his best, gave me the sire to my first club/combine winner and others. He has spent a lot of time coaching me about the birds, and without his help I wouldn’t have had the year I had. It’s very hard in this sport to find someone that is so good, to teach you as much as he has taught me. Most flyers don’t want to get beat by the person they are teaching, Tony doesn’t care, he feels he has made you a better pigeon flyer and if you beat him, he’s glad for you and will work harder to beat you the next time.
I haven’t really thought about setting goals in the sport. I was just happy flying the birds and being around them. I really enjoy having them around the yard. In the summer when the hawks aren’t around I could open loft (living in the country allows that) and really enjoy watching the birds. And my 2 year old grandson, Quenten, enjoys them with me.
As far as awards go, this is the first for me.
19. If you had the opportunity to change something in the pigeon game what would it be?
What I would like to see change in this sport will never change, it’s the way pigeon flyers are. It’s amazing with so few flyers left in some areas that these flyers can’t all get along in this game. We have so many small clubs because of this, like in our area we have a concourse with about 90 members and a combine with about 40 members. If we were one large group, competition would be better and costs could be reduced. And the way costs are escalating we should all be trying to get along.
20. If you have a list of good books or videotape please recommend some.
A few years back I read the works of Old Hand, I tried to find these books and couldn’t, my son found them on the internet and had them sent to me, I believe they came from England. I enjoyed reading them. I subscribe to the Digest and find that to be a informative magazine. Rotondo’s book was another good one to read.