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Old Bird Training

Widowhood:    As most of the birds I fly will be widowhood cocks I'll concentrate on their training method.

New training method now used:

After the race birds have bred or just raised a round of young birds to get them used to the nest boxes, remove all the hens. Ideally remove all the hens together and if necessary let the cock birds bring up any remaining squabs. This should be several weeks before the first Old bird races.

Excercise the cock birds twice a day making sure they can not see the hens which should be shut up in a different loft/section.

A few weeks before racing commences start to road train the cock birds, building up the distance until you reach the 20 mile stage. Once at this distance do not take them any further but allow the cock bird  to find his hen in his box whenever he goes basket training to this distance. It doesn't matter when the birds are just let out for exercise but whenever they are taken away from the loft the hen must be there when they return. This will encourage them to return quickly to the loft as they know the hen will always be waiting. The cocks must never mate with the hens on their return from training so a widowhood type nest box is needed where the hen can be boxed in. Train as often as possible in good weather, a lot of yearlings can be lost in the early stages of their first year racing so do not let them go in bad weather. Training does not have to go further than 20 miles it is not needed, you are trying to concentrate on teaching the cock bird that he needs to return quickly. Release all the birds together, tosses of one or two birds tend to hang around and join up with next batch so you might as well let them all go together. These regular 20 mile tosses from the same liberation site will do a lot of good as the birds will set off for home without circling, useful when liberated in large flocks as they will break for home quicker. On return from training let cocks see hens for about 10 minutes or so and then remove all hens from loft again. Now the cocks must rest, if possible cover open windows with sheets or similar to eliminate all distractions from outside. Training can start about three to four weeks before first race but I do not train after racing starts .Once racing begins the races will be the training.