Tom Schillinger and Son
I.F. Champion Loft 2002 - Young Birds

I.F. publicity

Tom Schillinger is 59 years old retired and has been around pigeons all his life.  Tom’s grandfather, father, brothers, and cousins all had pigeons in Brooklyn, New York. They even flew flights and tipplets on the roof or in the yards where they lived.  Tom’s grandfather and one of his brothers had homers too. Eventually Tom moved to upstate New York in the late sixties early seventies. Tom Contacted his brother in Brooklyn one day (who was flying in the Belmont club) and the next thing he knew his brother brought a coupe that was in sections and a crate of homers to his home upstate.  They put the coupe together and Tom joined the Schenectady pigeon club.  After that his brother moved to upstate NY and they started flying as partners.

Tom’s son took an interest in birds and began flying together with them.  In 1997 Tom, his brother and son built a loft at his son’s home and they moved the birds into the new loft.  In 1998 Tom’s brother passed away and from then on Tom flew partners with his son.  They were extremely lucky this year doing well with two birds (Fabry/Wanroy) that were bred for them by Dan Drake. They also did well with birds bred for them by Paul Gozemba and Grooters from Art Catuccio along with other birds from different breeds.    

Being happy with what they have been doing in their club and combine, they feel they have been very lucky, not only with the birds but also with the people they have met since they started racing pigeons. The size of their club is about 16-17 members and the combine is about 25-27 members. There are at least four people that have helped them personally and sadly have passed away that they would like to name. Tom’s brother George Schillinger, John Mulinio, Paul Gozemba, and Art Catuccio.  Many other people not only have helped them in the past but also continued to help all they can without even asking.  I can fully understand when they say they have been very lucky.

Tom and his son still have many birds that his brother had left which are blends of different breeds.  They also have birds that were given to them by club members, loaned to them to breed and some that were bought at auctions, such as Janssen’s, Verbruggans, Grooters, and Bekarts.

They fly mostly a medium sized bird breeding about 60 youngsters for their young bird team and flying about 40 birds on their old bird team naturally. When flying young birds they use the dark system on about 8 hours of light and fly their young birds to the perch. Tom feels the only down side to flying their young birds on the dark system is they do not moult properly in time for the old birds races. They do not cut flights or pull tails because their birds finish with the body moult by the time young bird races start.

They flock train their birds and if they have time they let five go at a time, sometimes three at time.  It is unfortunate, but most of the time they just don’t have the time to release train three at a time.  Tom feels they should be tossed three at a time after they are flock trained and coming in good. They start training about five weeks before the first race.  Before the races they take them out every day they can (in good weather) and start at about 10 miles and work out to 100 miles.  After the races start they train about two times a week up to about 50 miles.

Before they start breeding their birds are vaccinate with PMV1, then wormed, treated for respiratory, canker and coccidiosis.  He believes this will take care of anything the birds may have and give the birds a better chance when they start breeding.  Other then that the only time the birds are treated with medications is when they are sick.

The birds are fed in a feeder on the floor and sometimes right on the floor.  If they are training or loft flying then they get fed when they return home. They use Browns Island small corn or Browns racing feed.

Tom describes his loft as having excellent airflow. The roof is on a pitch and the air comes in from the rear of the loft and out the front along the roof. They do not use fans. The loft is 32’ long and 8’ high and has five sections.

Here is a little history on their champion bird AU02AMR 2355, Blue Bar Hen.

Sire: AU 01 HVC 4138---1st year breeding is half Cattrysse that goes back to “Gold Mine Boxer”, “Steel Lady”, “Remington Steel” that came from my brother. 
Grand Sire: bred club and combine winners
Grand Dam: bred club and combine diploma winners

Dam: AU 97 X 11952---Grooter---gift from Art Catuccio that goes back to “Lady Morton.”
8/25/02---4th combine---26 lofts-389 birds---167 miles
08/31/02---49th combine---27 lofts---371 birds---167 miles
09/07/02---5th combine---28 lofts---451 birds---202 miles
09/21/02---Late---289 miles
09/28/02---3rd combine---19 lofts---219 birds---271 miles
10/05/02---36th combine---20 lofts---242 birds---271 miles
Has bred numerous club and combine diploma winners. 
She bred 2nd place Hudson Valley Bond Race 2000.
Grand Sire and Grand Dam are imports.

Tom ships his birds to the races as long as he feels they are in condition. He feels you must have limits on the amount of birds that every flyer ships, but only because of the truck capacity.  He does not believe in over crowding the truck. He also does not believe in clocking limits because he feels every bird should get the credit and placement it deserves in a race. 

Toms advice for new flyers is to listen more than talk, don’t be scared to ask questions, read all you can about racing, understand that what you read and what you are told may work for someone else, but it may not work for everyone, don’t be scared to try new things, we learn by our mistakes and don’t get discouraged.  If it doesn’t work then try something else.  Just remember there are a lot of good people out there and they will help you all they can. 

For the advanced flyer he would have to say, “I have had pigeons all my life and have been racing off and on from the early 70’s and I don’t know anything.  The way I look at it, if you are just starting to fly or if you have been flying for sixty years and you find someone that needs help, then help him or her.  If you need help, ask someone.  Remember no one knows everything.”

I asked Tom if there is a flyer, breeder or book that has helped him become a better pigeon flyer? He could not say that there is one flyer that has helped him become a better pigeon flyer but that over the years there have been so many flyers that have helped him.  What he did say is that his brother started him with racing, so if he had to pick one person it would be his brother.  Tom said he not only made him a better flyer, he also made him a better person.  Tom’s goals in the sport would be to enjoy the birds, the people he has met and hopes to have his birds for a long time.

Below are a list of club, combine and national awards Tom has proudly received:

1999-Young Birds
High point bird---Hudson Valley Pigeon Club
2nd Club average speed---Hudson Valley Pigeon Club
5th Combine average speed---ASH Combine

2000-Old Birds
2nd Loft points
4th High point bird

2000-Young Birds
1st Average speed---Hudson Valley Pigeon Club
1st Average speed---Schenectady Pigeon Club
1st Average speed---ASH combine
Champion loft---Hudson Valley Pigeon Club
Champion bird---Hudson Valley Pigeon Club
7th IF Champion loft--- 5-25 lofts
2nd IF Champion loft--- 26-75 lofts
4th Racing Pigeon Digest-Division 4---301-500 average birdage

2001-Young Birds
8th Racing Pigeon Digest---Ace loft---Division 4---301-500 Average birdage

2002-Young Birds
1st Champion bird---Schenectady Pigeon Club
1st Champion bird---ASH Combine
1st Average speed---Schenectady Pigeon Club
1st Average speed---ASH Combine
4th IF Champion loft---5-25 lofts
3rd IF Champion loft---26-75 lofts
7th IF Hall of Fame---26-75 lofts
7th IF Hall of Fame---5-25 lofts

I then asked Tom if you had the opportunity to change something in the pigeon sport what would it be? How would you make the change to it? Tom said,If I were to change anything I would change the bickering over petty things.  Maybe some of it is age and people being set in their ways, but I don’t know how to change the bickering.  Maybe if some people would use there head and think before using their mouth it would be better.  If I could change anything I would like people to act towards each other as they did when the club first started or when they joined the club.”