The Racing Pigeon Enthusiast
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About this newsletter   by John Vance, editor

Welcome to the third issue of the Racing Pigeon Enthusiast, This newsletter is sponsored by and it is hoped that many more issues will follow.

I have been staying in California for the past six weeks and just returned to Washington state, While down there, I attended a meeting of the Palomar Racing Pigeon Club in North San Diego County and witnessed first hand the problems these flyers are having now that the Newcastle's Disease Quarantine is about to be lifted.

Resurrecting the youngbirds race season is proving more difficult than what one would suspect. Problem is, many flyers in the combine did not raise a youngbirds team because of the quarantine or if they did raise a team they had not yet started training the birds as there was no hurry and the summers are hot. Now all of a sudden several clubs are scrambling to get a season started by mid September.

Though there was resistance at first to having a YB season, a ballot was sent out and those ballots that were returned showed 44 to 2 in favor of allowing the flyers who are ready - to race the 2003 YB season.

Congratulations to the fair-minded Sportsmen in the San Diego Combine. Soon, the joy of racing will be experienced all across the Southern California landscape.

Using Sex-Linked Matings   by Tom Barnhart

As noted in an earlier article, the term “sex linkage” by itself simply means that a particular characteristic is linked to the sex chromosome, or more specifically, the gene for that particular characteristic lies on the sex chromosome. A “sex-linked mating”, on the other hand, is a mating in which sex linkage of a particular gene is used to determine the sex of an offspring based on plumage color.

Here’s how it works. As is the case with all living organisms, chromosomes occur in pairs, where one member of each pair comes from each parent. Pigeons have 31 pairs of chromosomes, but for our discussion we only need concern ourselves with one such pair, the pair that determine the bird’s sex. What makes things a little less complicated when discussing sex linkage – and what makes sex-linked matings possible at all – is the fact that in pigeons (and birds in general), the female has only one active sex chromosome while the cock has two. (The female actually has two sex chromosomes, but the one is so small and insignificant as to be virtually negligible for our purposes.)

To read the complete article go to:

"Mate these two birds together, Knucklehead"   by John Vance

A fairly unscientific yet none the less revealing study, was conducted recently and the results were not what scientist had expected. These scientist arranged for a group of college student to be seated in a room. Also present was a group of math majors from the college. A jar of jelly beans was placed on a table and the students were asked to guess the number of beans in the jar. To the surprise of the scientist conducting the test, the math majors performed at or below the average for the group as a whole, while those students that just flat out guessed at the answer (all students reported how they arrived at the number) scored the highest as a group. This fairly unscientific test suggest that intuitive processes can exceed analytical processes when there are substantial unknown factors involved. These results dovetail with observations I recently arrived at while on vacation in Southern California.

I have a friend in the sport, Garry Riems, of Fallbrook, CA., who has raised the same family of birds for over 30 years. I realize that many think it is not modern winning technique to keep the same family of birds without constant out crossing, and I am sure (sadly) that we will see less and less inbred families of racing pigeons in the coming years. I will comment on my reasoning in a later article.

The birds that Garry has raised for over 30 years are the Bekaerts being from two lines; the Torreken and Waterhouse families. You won't find the so called modern winning strains in his loft just the Bekaerts and a couple of gift birds without pedigrees.

Garry doesn't spend money on birds at least not for the past 20 some years. Sure, he has a GFL catalog and admires the National Aces and Champions imported, he even has a pairing or two in mind that he would like to try, but his passion is for his Bekaerts.

I learned something interesting about Garry and his birds the other day. He invited me to take a trip with him to visit with George Husk in Costa Mesa, CA. George, was experiencing severe medical problems and had to make the tough decision of leaving the sport since he is no longer able to care for the birds properly. I have to tell you that George was misty eyed as we went through the birds, which represent for him, a lifetime of enjoyment. George is eighty years old, and started with his birds in the 1930's. His brother keep and raced the birds for 25 of those years while George was in the military and afterwards living in Guam, but besides that period of time, George has keep his birds and raced successfully for over 45 years.

To read the complete article go to:

The pigeon war, better known as kash al-hamam,   by The Lebanon Star

Lebanon The Daily Star Wed 21 May 2003

Hobby lives on in gardens, rooftops, and coffee shops despite hard times and dwindling numbers

Abu Mohammed paced the street for a quarter of an hour before storming the coffee house demanding the purchase of his pigeons back from Abu Khalil who, an hour ago, had managed to lure them to his rooftop in a war between the two. The whole coffee house was grinning as Abu Khalil handed the pair back to their owner.

Though this story is about the characters of old Beirut, it also captures the passion involved in the pigeon wars that we still witness daily from the privacy of our balconies.

The pigeon war, better known as kash al-hamam, involves having opponents keep their flocks up circling in the sky as they try to lure each other's pigeons into their flocks. To score a victory and lure as many pigeons as possible, a kashash trains his pigeons to fly "in tight formation" and to crash the flight of the opponent's flock. When a kashash becomes aware of having lured any, he calls his flock back to his rooftop and seizes the pigeon(s) of his opponent.

To read the complete article go to:

In the Loft - Calcium and Fat Storage

I came across some information about dieting that may be useful for the racing pigeon enthusiast.

It seems that when the intake of calcium is low, the body counters by secreting hormones which help conserve calcium. Some of the effects of these hormones cause the body's fat cells to go into storage mode. As a result, a low intake of calcium tells the cells to hang onto the fat they have and try to store more.

By contrast, high calcium intake, will shut down those adaptive hormones, switching the fat cells to a fat breakdown mode,

It would seem that this information may be of some use when preparing our birds for the longer races where we want to encourage fat storage. Of course, it is hard to reduce your calcium source if it is within a multi-vitamin complex, but at least you can take oyster shells and grit out during and before your fat buildup days. In any case, make sure there are no additional sources of calcium that might enhance fat burning during this period. On the other hand, you might want to give the birds calcium on the day of basketing to ensure those hormones are not present and in effect during the race.

Another possible application might be to increase calcium during the Winter months to help control your bird's weight.

I need to make clear, that the above information may be of little value to the racing pigeon fancier, since we do not know how long calcium stays in the body of our birds and how quickly withholding or supplying our birds will start or stop the hormone triggering mechanism.

What's Happening at RacingPigeonMall?

It takes a lot of work to put out this newsletter and its continued existence is dependent upon a continuing supply of worthwhile content. Please, feel free to submit an article you have written which you feel would be of interest to our subscribers. Also, send me information on those home remedies and cures you use when treating your birds (or other helpful hints) and I will start a section in the newsletter for these "Tips". This should be beneficial to all flyers in learning that not everything has to be purchased from the supply houses, when caring for our birds.

Currently, we have the following auction listings:

This week, we are featuring a group of breeders: One Import cock out of a Long Distance Champion, one from Mike Ganus Loft, and three will be Van Loons out of top money winning bloodlines.

Oscar Foster, is offering the birds and it is his method to purchase the best, breed out of them for one or two seasons and then sell them at a discount. Oscar, has used this system successfully for many years. Next week, we will have a couple of birds bred by Tony Melucci, a couple more Ganus birds, one Bob Koch bird and a few more Van Loons available including two out of imports direct from Louis Van Loon. So, if you are looking for birds that have big money winners as recent ancestors, take a look at the auction on

Private Early Bird Sale:

I did not fly youngbirds this year, as I was in California during most of our YB season. I am planning to make the move to Southern California in November and will be listing my YB team (40 birds) on the auction over the next seven weeks. These birds are unsettled and can be used as breeders or as re-settled flyers. I gave several unsettled 2002 bred birds to a new flyer in our club in January of this year and one took 6th club @ 250 miles, 3rd club (only 3 day birds) @ 450 miles and 1st club (only one day bird) @ 500 miles. So, don't tell me you can't successfully race unsettled birds after they have been settled to a new location. I think they do much better than re-settled birds.

This year in Old Birds, I was:

2nd Short Average Speed
1st Long Average Speed
1st Overall Average Speed
1st Champion Bird
3rd Champion Bird

On the last race of the year (550 miles), I won 1st and 2nd, with my first bird being 4 hours ahead of the next loft to clock. My second bird was 2 hours ahead!

My breeding loft contains; imports, grandchildren of National Ace pigeons, Champion birds, etc. If you are interested in getting an inexpensive kit of 2003 unsettled YB's contact me privately at 360-384-5701.

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