Perry Burton, Winner of Queensland $10,000 One Loft Race, 2013
2/ Member of Racing Pigeon Clubs:
Toowoomba Racing Pigeon Club/ Toowoomba and District Pigeon Fed
3/ Which Clubs and Federations you have competed with since and have you held any office bearing positions in those clubs?
Toowoomba Racing Pigeon Club/ Toowoomba and District Pigeon Fed. I have been President at club level and vice President at club and Fed level.
4/ How did you come to be involved in pigeon racing, why did you take it up?
My father had pigeons when he was a young fellow and in 1984, when I was ten, we got a couple of coms off the farm and joined the DDRPA. We were given some racing pigeon from members of the TRP and DDRPA and so started our stock loft.
5/ Highlights of Racing Career:
Winning Eromanga 980km in my first year racing by myself in 1991 in the strong TRP club 37 members. Running 2nd and 3rd in the Queensland cup with nest mate cocks. Breeding the winner of The Noccowlah Fed for R. Naskey in 2000, breeding R.Case his Quilpie Fed winner then 2 weeks later I won Windorah with the nest mate to that bird. And of course winning the QLD 10000 this year. This was a Gaby Vandenabeele / Hereman Ceusters both parents from Jack Vanderlinden.
6/ Number of Stock Birds, Number of Race Birds:
I have about 28 pairs of stockies with another 6 to 10 pairs of new stock. (Breed for stock, bought for stock. I race a team of 90 to 120 birds).
7/ Which strains of pigeons are kept and their background or if your own family, what strains were they based on and how was the family developed:
Goodgers for the longer ones, Smeulders Janssen for the short to middle distance races. Over the last 6 or 7 years, I have started buying some stock from G.Hamilton and Jack Vanderlinden. These are mainly Gabby Vandenabeele and Heremans from Jack and distance birds from Greg.
8/ Do you use an electronic clocking system?
Yes, Benzing M1
9/ how often are the race birds are flown around the loft? Do you force your birds to fly?
When youngsters and before tossing they go out in the afternoons every day. 12 weeks before the first race I like to see them doing 60 min plus if they are not I will use a flag to get them doing this it may take one week. Now they are let out in the mornings only and will fly for 60 to 90 min easily most years. If working hours permit when we get to 400km I like to fly them morning and afternoons.
10/ Do you race from a loft location, which is an advantage?
I fly from the center of Toowoomba, so in my club, I am in the middle. Short racing hard to win but should be in the top 40% every week I feel. The birds will come in on the north or south side of town so if my birds are right I should beat more then beat me. Longer racing in my club is pretty fair to most but at Fed level it comes down to the winds on the day, I can be in a great spot or a good spot and on some occasions a bad spot.
11/ How often do you feed Race birds daily?
12/ What are your feed mixes for the year?
Feed a mix and add what I feel is needed.
13/ Is the mixture varied at any point throughout the week during racing and if so how?
I feed barley early in the week for racing up to 6hrs. Then I start adding corn to their mix later in the week for racing after that.
14/ Are the birds given any other additives in their feed or water and for what reason?
My birds get medicated as need be. Flying over 6hrs I put a supplement in the water for returning birds.
15/ How do find the best way to train race birds?
Watch them they tell you what they need. Toss hard sometimes and not at all other times.
16/ Do you toss on the line of flight?
Yes 90% of the time
17/ How often do you clean your lofts?
Try to once a day during race season.
18/ During racing the birds are medicated with what, when and why?
I use C.Walker products. About the only thing, my birds get unless something creeps in is Emtryl every week for 1 to 2 days when birds are watered on the truck.
19 / Do you split your race birds into teams or do you select a team each week?
If you select a team each week then what do you base these selections on, what do you look for? I catch and handle every bird every week and select my team based on handling (moult and condition), their last performance and observations around the loft during the prior week. Some pigeon may go every week for numerous weeks while others may be rested for several weeks. If a bird has any excuse it stays home.
20/ Do you use any motivation methods to get your birds going, how does your system work?
No, don’t have the time.
21/ What type of perches, trapping system etc do you use. Does your loft have any other features, which you believe are advantageous?
I love my box perches they are 300mm cubed, birds love them too. I had a landing board for years but have changed to a ramp to a trap just above floor level and it has been great for homing babies and clocking race birds.
22/ Which direction does your loft face and is there a reason for this?
North to get the sun, and away from the cold south westerly’s we get in winter.
23/ What is the floor of the loft made from and do you use any sort of dressing on the floor?
75% mesh with form ply covered with fibro to adsorb moisture.
24/ Which racing system do you use? i.e. are birds flown to the perch, widowhood, darkening system etc? Do you only send birds a particular distance each season? Do you believe any of these other systems have any merit, would you consider implementing them in the future?
To the perch. They fly the distance they are bred for but I do believe that as an old bird they can fly any race on our program. They may have some merit, but time is my enemy.
25/ During the breeding season the birds are fed?
South Australia Peas
26/ When are Stock birds paired?
After the race birds go to last race most years.
27/ How do you select your stock? Are they the best from the race loft, birds bred specifically for stock, purchased from elsewhere, or others?
All of the above.
28/ How often do you introduce new blood into your loft and why? Every year to try to improve my stock
29/ When mating stock birds to produce race birds do you use a particular method? No pearl eye to pearl eye that’s about it. I do like to stand back and look at a new pairing and see if to me they look like a good pair ie do they suit each other.
30/ What do you believe is the best source for fanciers looking to improve their stock? Source stock from the top flyer in their region and get all the information you can on how they bred and fly their birds.
31/ What do you look for when selecting a stock bird? I like the tail to be one feather wide and sit flat or goes down. Nice balance in your hand and I like to see a nice curve in the flights.
32/ Do you believe in eye sign, wing theory any other theory; is there anything in particular that you look for? Not really as they almost all have them.
33/ Do you believe that losses are greater nowadays and if so what is the cause?
Yes, all the waves in the air these days ie digital TV, digital phones – it must play a part and, of course, the Bops there seems to be more then ever out there.
34/ What can be done to improve the sport of pigeon racing and ensure its future? What do you see as the sports biggest challenges going forward and how should these challenges be addressed?
I think we should have a national body to start with. We need to be seen, most people are very interested in our sport but know very little about it. It’s up to us to get it out there and help them understand why we are so attached to our feathered little creatures. The TRP club rooms are at the Toowoomba Show Grounds and we open our doors over the show with racing pigeon videos playing, racing pigeons in show crates for people to look at, birds for kids and adults to handle as well as releases of racing birds. The public are very surprised when you tell them how far and how long they take to get home. Most people I have spoken to have seen or do/did know someone with pigeons. Back to the national body you think we could try and get primary schools in on racing each other. Let’s say we build a few lofts to hold 30 birds and every week they could race, even at a distance of 100km or so, just to get the pigeons in their blood. If every racing pigeon club in Australia charged their members a fee we could even have someone full time working to get our great sport understood and supported.
35/ What do you see as the biggest mistake pigeon fanciers make when trying to improve their performance? Is it generally the fancier or the quality of pigeons, which cause poor results? What advice would you give to a struggling or novice fancier looking to improve their performances?
Don’t blame the birds for a bad run as it’s always the fancier’s fault. Clean good feed, dry loft and keep birds healthy. I am moving to Adelaide in early 2014 and will be a new flyer in SA. What I will be doing is trying to spend a little time with some of the top flyers from there and talk to them about what they feed, where they get it from, how they toss and where from. I will try to do as much home work while flying the 2014 season. I expect flying in Adelaide to be a huge leaning curve but look forward to it and hope to run some nice Association places in the time down there. My no1 to do is to get some birds home from Alice Springs and then try to place highly in this race.
36/ If you were to start again in the sport what would be the main things you would do.?
No. 1, go to some of the top lofts in the area and take note of their lofts, directions they face, how closed in or open are they. Try and buy birds from these flyers to start my stock loft and if they will not part with some stock then try and get some 2 year olds or eggs at the end of the respected seasons from these flyers.
37/ When a good performance is achieved do you think the bird deserves the credit or the fancier?
Most of the time the bird is due all the credit but as a fancier we do put the edge on them whether it be that toss we did or did not do or the little something we saw that we then used to our advantage. Only happy healthy pigeons will win and that has a lot to do with us as the fancier.