Training and racing is why we are here. Having bred our youngsters to the best of our ability, we have to try and train them to get home the quickest and most direct route we can. And once home, to trap promptly.
For me, training starts from the moment they are weaned, after all, eating and drinking are essential to life, so getting the youngsters to do this quickly helps their start in life.
Once the youngsters start to test their wings, they are allowed to wander out of the loft to discover their new surroundings.
Always keep them keen
I like to keep my birds on the keen side of hungry, that way when I want them in, the sound of the corn tin and me calling, has them trapping quickly. Any that are slow to trap, go hungry, or worse, stay out the night. They soon learn.
Once the youngsters are flitting about, I start to force the issue, flagging and the tennis ball, gets them flying. They soon start to range and road work will follow.
I use a GPS tracker on my birds, It gives me a good indication of where the birds have been, essential for when they are late due to a possible hawk strike. But it also helps with training, giving me a line to take making their flight home a confident one.
The youngsters are thrown in the deep end, 10 miles first toss, the odds are that they have been ranging 5 miles away, so why waste the money going where they can around the loft?
Once they are coming from 10 miles quickly and beating me home, I move to 20 miles and same again, beat me home, up to 40 miles. by the time they are at 40 miles, race season wont be far away.
Away with the old birds
If the youngsters have been coming well and I feel confident, I have often sent them with the last old bird races from 80 to 140 miles for experience.
Once racing starts, they go every week if fit and healthy, and the same is true of the National rung youngsters, if they are fit and healthy, everything goes to the Young bird National.Those that get home are worth keeping another year.
The old birds are sent training to 40 miles prior to racing to blow out the cobwebs, once racing starts, a training toss on Tuesday at 40 miles and Thursday at 20miles, If the previous weeks race was a tough one, they miss Tuesday, but go Thursday. They are let out early morning and late afternoon.
The 12 bird racing section