Sorry it has been so long since I've done anything constructive with my site. Just have had too much others things to do, and haven't thought about it.
This year was not a good one pigeon-wise. We didn't fly the 2010 OB series because of money and training issues. Figured it'd be more worth it to save the money for YB fees. Turns out that wasn't worth it. We only flew the first race before stopping. I sent 24 or 25 (whatever the limit was) to the races. That was basically all of my young birds. At home I had one auction bird, one bird with most of its tail gone from the moult, and one grizzle hen with a broken leg. On race day I did get one bird home in time to make 4th (last place, I believe) place in the club. He is a blue bar cock that I am quite proud of now. In the days, and weeks that followed, I got a grizzle hen, a blue bar zipper frill hen, and a blue check hen home. Never saw any of the other 21 or so birds. So with such a tiny team, I figured I'd just quit. All that money wasted! And my birds were in such good condition. Doesn't make any sense! I had a few unbanded birds that I'll fly in any club tosses we have.
Luckily, racing across the country went well. I participated in the first Pigeon-Talk Classic One Loft Race. It was a whole lot of fun! My two birds survived all the training and racing, and placed pretty well. I was so very, very proud. But my bad luck got a hold of me yet again. When the birds were done racing, they were shipped back to their breeders. Me and a guy in my club shared a shipping box. I also had one of the better birds from the race being sent to me to breed from. When the box arrived at Jeff's house, it had one bird in it, and almost no bedding left in the box. Somewhere along the way the birds were let out, as the box was secure before it left the loft manager's hands. I don't blame anyone, but it sure is depressing. They would have been the first birds I've ever stocked from my own breeding. The first proven racers I'd raised, that I'd be able to turn around and use in my breeding program. But maybe I'll do just as good, or better this coming year! I can't wait for the race :) You can read more about the race and its progress here: http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/f14/our-first-annual-one-loft-race-41690.html
And the upcoming 2011 PT Race info: http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/f14/2011-2nd-annual-pigeon-talk-classic-48231.html
Now onto even more depressing news and proof of my crappy luck. A dog got into my breeder loft. It turned out to be my nextdoor neighbor's dog, which I found out much later. It was a pit bull-ish looking dog, still in the puppy stage, but basically full grown. It had to jump up against the door repeatedly in order to get the latch undone. It killed 7 birds and injured several more. Two of the birds that were killed were my two top cocks - "The 3k Cock" AU 05 TULSA 5202 and "Bent Keel" AU 05 CMPC 5525. Luckily I still have Old Lady, 626, and 5202, my best hens (that I know of thus far). This really messed up my breeding plans. But the show must go on. And by the way, the dog was punished when it was let loose, ran straight towards the loft, caught and pinned a chicken. Dad saw it all. The chicken lived, but justice was still served.
Whole story found here: http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/f14/worst-day-ever-47184.html
But to everything, there is a silver lining, right? Christmas came early for me this year. I've gotten so much support and kind words from the members of PT. Hill Family Loft held an auction for some of his birds, and the money from it was donated for the fight against Breast Cancer. It was to help his wife raise money for the walk she was participating in. Up for auction was 3 pairs, and a 6-pack young bird kit. When it was all said and done, he raised enough money to fill his wife's goal. I was very surprised to find people had donated the birds they won in the auctions, to me. So I ended up with two pairs of breeders and will have a kit coming in the spring (the guy who won that auction will also be getting a kit). You guys are so generous, and I am very, very grateful! After the dog attack everyone offered to help me out with breeders and young birds for next year. Just goes to show you that pigeon fanciers can be some of the nicest people in the world :) Haven't met too many that weren't. So a special thanks to Randy Hill, Tom Brasher, Don McGowen, Dave Petracek, Gene Overbey, Michael Perez, Tony Gordon, and Chris Tarbush. And many more :) You have turned a bad year pleasant!
Another happy event was that I adopted a pair of racers from Mickacoo. Mickacoo is a no-kill pigeon and dove rescue. They are almost always up to the brim with birds, so they need lots of adopters! Most of them are King pigeons that were released at weddings/funerals by ignorant people, or meat birds that were "saved" from the market by caring people, and released, thinking they had given the birds "freedom". What they don't know, is that the birds are domestic and don't know how to fend for themselves. They are also utility birds, and not as quick or street smart as homers or other breeds may be. So they almost always become sick, injured, and emaceated. That's where Mickacoo comes in. They've saved so many lives. The birds make wonderful pets! And these two racers are beautiful. The owners didn't want them anymore or didn't respond when contacted about their found birds. They are Penny and Slim. They'll make good foster parents and I may let them raise a round or two of their own. Mickacoo is in California, and does ship. If I was closer, I would adopt many more birds. I think those racers deserve a second chance. They are NOT necessarily bad birds.
I also adopted a flightless racer named Roadster, from a member on PT. He was lost on a 1,000 mile race, and hit by a car. He had some neuro problems and his wing is very limp (probably could have been amputated), BUT he is doing wonderful now. Still a bit "out there" sometimes, but tame and a gorgeous bird. He is mated to my flightless hen, 8113, who is now named Porsche. They are an adorable couple :) I have been leaving their eggs alone to see if he is actually "there" enough to fertilize them. So far, none have hatched. But I'm not sure if it is because he isn't officially mating with her, of if it's because he doesn't appear to sit on the nest. I moved them from their gazebo loft to an individual cage so I can watch them more closely. I'm also wondering if this will motivate him to sit on the nest like he is supposed to. Either way, he seems to love it here, and loves having a girlfriend. I sit him in their bath tub so he can bathe with the other birds. It takes him a few minutes to realize what is going on, but he soon joins in the splashing. He's quite entertaining :) I love him!
(Birds for adoption at Mickacoo and one of their fosters - http://www.mickacoo.org/ and http://www.rescuereport.org/ )
One last thing before I wrap up 2010's news. This year we have lost a very special person. Shi Sommers passed away on November 11th, 2010. She was known on Pigeon-Talk as "Mr. Squeaks" and famous for signing her posts with "Hugs & Scritches". She has always supported me with my artwork, and always, ALWAYS had something nice and cheerful to say. She handled conflicts calmy and didn't jump to conclusions. She helped and cared for a lot of very loved pidgies, some of which I had the opportunity to make portraits of for her. Shi is (and will continue to be) greatly missed :(
Most of my birds were paired up Thanksgiving weekend. They are now on lights and most of my pairs have eggs. I can't wait for babies!
I've decided not to fly young birds anymore. I will only participate in One loft/Futurities and OB season. I'll be entering the 2nd annual Pigeon-Talk Classic One Loft Race. I'm thinking very hard about entering a bird in the 2011 White Dove Release Classic. It's open only for white birds. If I happen to raise any whites, I just might enter.
I received quite a few proven racers from Steve Norman and Larry Marshall a few weeks ago. I'll be breeding them as well. I've already named one of the birds I got from Larry - Texas Pete :) More info on the birds will be on my Breeders page soon. I'll also have all my new pairings up ASAP.
Good luck to everyone and I hope your breeding season brings lots of healthy, happy squeaks!