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Young Bird Training ( Darkness System)
This system works best on birds born in January and February
Day One: As soon as the birds leave the nest adopt this system.
From 4:00pm to 8:00am: (Adjust to suit work, but keep daylight hours to eight)
Remove all light sources from the loft by using shutters/curtains etc. The loft does not need to be in total darkness and it helps the birds see the drinker if a few shafts of light remain.
At 8:00am open up the shutters etc.
At 9:00am feed the birds.
At 3:00pm feed the birds.
At 4:00pm shut out the light. Do not disturb birds after this time.
When the birds are old enough to venture out of the loft do the same as above but this time let the birds out at 8:00am and call in and feed at 9:00am. Do not let out in the afternoon as you may not get them all back in in time to shut out the light.
As the birds begin to fly around the loft give 1/3rd of feed before letting out at 8:00am and the rest when they return at 9:00am. This will keep them going for longer without the need to return for food.
After the first week of June give the birds natural daylight and start to train for the first race.
On Longest day use timer to keep loft light on until 10:30pm leave like this until last young bird race and then leave birds with natural daylight hours only.
Training is then the same as for the natural system click here.
Using this system the birds will within a few weeks of being on the system start to moult their body feathers. They will keep their wing feathers and will have only dropped 1or 2 flights by the time racing starts. They will still have a good wing when the longer and National races start.
After racing finishes keep the birds in for a few weeks and encourage the second moult of body feathers and complete the wing moult. by the time breeding starts again next season they will be looking great again.
On this system the birds mature quickly and will pair up around May/June/July I give them some nest boxes to occupy and allow them to sit but I do not let any eggs hatch.
If you have the space you should separate the sexes around Tuesday and put back together again Friday morning.
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