Fancy a flutter?
Would you like to lease a racing pigeon for a season and have it managed for you by a top team of racing pigeon experts? The cost of entry is £130 per bird. Your bird will be bred by one of the top racing lofts in the UK. The pedigree and a framed photograph of your bird will be sent to you once it has arrived at our racing loft. You or your syndicate can visit the racing loft at Stoke, view your bird and have your photograph taken holding your racing pigeon. Our aim is to generate lots of fun and show off our wonderful hobby to everyone.
Your bird will have the necessary training flights and the opportunity to race in 3 inland races within the UK. Each race will increase in distance. The 4th and last race will be flown from France to Stoke weather permitting on 10th September 2017. You will be able to follow the progress of your bird with updates at least once per week, through the MNFC App, Facebook and our website.
At the end of the season, all the racing pigeons are sold at auction. The date of the auction is still to be finalized for 2017. 40% of the value of the bird goes to the breeder of your leased racing pigeon, 20% goes to you and the final 40% goes to the Midlands National Flying Club. Should your bird do well at auction E.g. £1000 you would receive £200! The MNFC share will be used to promote our hobby of pigeon racing. Please look at our projects to promote the hobby of pigeon racing from our links below.
Based on 750 birds entered in this year’s competition, we have projected that the winner of the final race from France will receive £20,000 and there will be approximately £50,000 paid out in smaller prizes distributed over the first three races and the final race. Please check our One Loft Rules.
Please click on the following link which will take you through registration process. Following the registration, you will be taken to the section where you enter your team name and how many birds you wish to enter. You will then proceed to the payment gateway. Once a successful payment has been made you will receive a confirmation email from the club and a phone call from one of club officials welcoming you to our One Loft Race and answer any questions you may have.
Good luck and we hope you enjoy our One Loft Race.
An interview with the New MNFC One Loft
At the recent Open Weekend it was announced to the many people who visited who the team are that will be looking after and training the One Loft entries. I must say that I am very pleased with the choice made by the MNFC’s Committee because I know these lads will give the job their all to make this year a successful one. The truth of the matter was that though the two of them never applied for the position the Committee felt that Ian Fradley and Alan Windsor were the ideal team to take the One Loft race on and happily after a few drawn out negotiations the lads finally agreed to take on the task. I have known Ian Fradley who is better known as ‘Snooker’ to local fanciers and Alan Windsor who Snook calls ‘Aga’ for reasons that I’m not privy to for many years. I’ve personally raced against them at club and fed level and that along with their CV since they joined the Midlands National of 4 x 1st NW section wins and Open placings that include 2nd Open from Vire in 2014 and 5th Open Vire in 2015 plus what Snooker claims to be his finest moment in pigeon flying when their yearling Cock ‘Struyffy’ dropped into the loft at 9.23pm and won 4th Open from Bordeaux in 2011. I had bred the bird for Alan from my Francois Struyf birds that simply love flying the distance as ‘Struyffy’ has proved by successfully flying from Bordeaux on four consecutive occasions. Additionally in 2015 Alan’s good hen ‘Chanel No5’ won 1st section & Open MNFC Middle Distance Ace pigeon after a string of good performances that season. At club level they have been top prize winners on many occasions over the years in the various clubs that they have competed in. I think these facts amply endorse the fact that Alan & Snook are an excellent choice to be the managers of the 2017 MNFC One Loft.
My first question that I put to Snook was why did you choose to get involved with the One Loft project? The reply was instant ‘’I believe that One Loft racing is a great way of testing pigeons and also if carried out correctly can generate a lot of good in the pigeon sport and make a nice profit in the bargain by way of the sale of the remaining birds.’’ That certainly makes good sense to me because by purchasing from the ‘survivors’ anyone looking for new stock is buying proven pigeons. Snook continued by saying that what he had learned from most O L races is that they all make mistakes. ‘’Aga and I intend after recently being handed the job to learn from these errors and offer competitors the very best in One Loft races’’. I was keen to learn examples of what exactly they were referring too. Alan told me ‘’Snook has told me that when you two went to the world’s most famous One Loft race the South African Million Dollar Race that though it was a great venue in Sun City the ‘fly in the ointment’ was the feeling of anti-climax when the birds arrived home. We can’t offer such a picturesque location here in Silverdale though at weekends there is plenty of wild life in the village after closing times at weekends’’ he chuckled. How do you intend to improve things on the birds arrival from the races I was interested to learn? ‘’We know that pigeons like most animals are creatures of habit and so the birds after exercise will be encouraged into the loft with the aid of a few fantails and this we are confident will lead to the first bird to land being the first bird on the clock’’. I must admit that this has always been a ‘bone of contention’ for me as nothing is more frustrating than seeing a bird land then shilly-shally on the roof and get beaten by a later arrival. ‘’This we believe is due to what is at the end of the day poor management’’. Strong words but anyone who knows the partners is aware that these lads are quick to call ‘a spade a spade’.
Snook at this point was very keen to point out that when he made the amazing offer to build the loft with his labour coming completely free of charge he did so because he felt that it was no good saying you can do better unless you go out and prove it! Alan too bought into the idea and with a ‘little help from my friends’ as the old Beatles hit record goes the lofts have now become a reality and as the many visitors have agreed it is an amazing set up. The one issue that has caused concern amongst visiting fanciers are the wires that are situated behind the loft. Though the danger has been minimised with them having reflectors fitted to them I was keen to listen to the managers’ thoughts on this matter? The partners were in agreement that the babies will need to be out before they are strong on the wing and so they will soon get used to them prior to the time when they are exercising at full speed. Snook was quick to add that ‘’as the wires are at the back of the loft and quite low down the birds will not be flying at full tilt and so are more likely to see them especially as the reflectors which are very visual actually whistle in the wind. Let’s be honest here there are far bigger dangers to the birds awaiting especially on training flights with the many high overhead pylon wires and hawk attacks a constant danger’’.
I then asked the lads to go through their overall management of the loft. ‘’Well on arrival the birds will be vaccinated and wing stamped and their identity ETS ring will be registered and fitted. Then they will be put into a section with the other new arrivals and treated on the 5 day Schroeder + Tollisan Combi-cure which is a cure against canker, e-coli and bacterial problems. Only then will they be allowed to mix with the other inmates but even then the youngsters will be on a constant Natural preventative combi-mix.’’ I personally spoke to Vincent Schroeder who I have known for a few years now and he told me that he wouldn’t recommend such a strict regime on a domestic loft, in a large loft full of ‘strangers’ that he felt that these measures are totally necessary. Alan and Snook believe that good health is the building block to successful racing because without good health the chances of obtaining good results is nil.
‘’The birds will be immediately put on the darkness system for approximately 15-16 hours per day. At 9.00am in the morning the birds will be opened up and allowed into the aviaries to acclimatise to the daylight for a while and then the birds will be released one wing of the loft first then the second wing released as soon as the first batch are airborne this is to minimise the chances of accidents.’’ I then asked how long will these exercise periods last? The reply was ‘’How long is a piece of string? It will last as long as the birds are flying because our belief is that young birds need to either be in the air or in the loft. We don’t want birds sitting about on the loft developing bad habits so as soon as they drop they will be coaxed into the loft with the help of our fannies’’. What food are you going to use I was keen to glean? This is because I know that there are many different feeding regimes used by equally successful fanciers. Alan replied and said ‘’We will feed them as we have fed our own young birds first of all on Breed and Wean then they will be put onto a mix which is a high carbohydrate and low protein mixture because we find that the birds are more lively on this system. Heavy high protein feeding isn’t for us because birds digest peas etc much more slowly than on a lighter feed and so the chances of digestion problems are multiplied. As the work rate increases the fat content will rise and leading up to the final race a reasonable amount of oil rich seeds will be fed. That said we won’t go overboard because we feel that too much fatty food can cause bacterial crop problems’’.
On now to the thorny issue of training what are your plans here? Snook responded to that question as he is the partnership’s trainer in chief. ‘’We will commence the training when the birds tell us that they are ready which is when they start running. We will build up in stages on to 40 miles where we intend to take them every other day weather permitting. During this time around the loft exercise will cease with one day training then the next day rest!’’ After a short pause Alan chipped in with ‘’This may not be the way that some other fanciers tackle their young bird training but it has worked well for us’’. After plenty of these training flights the inmates will then be fit to tackle the ‘Hot Spot’ races down to the South coast. Then it will be off to the big money final scheduled for Sunday the 10th September from Coutances which is a distance of 277 miles and so will be a stern test for the young athletes. The partners are delighted to know that the One Loft Committee have decided to hold the race the week prior to the MNFC’s final race because it will allow competitors to come over to the lofts and hopefully see their bird home and win a good prize. ‘’We are hoping that there will be a real party atmosphere with a barbeque already arranged and other refreshments planned. Most important thing of all though is that we want plenty of good banter, topped off with a successful race and you can be sure that we will be working our socks off to make it all happen’’.
I couldn’t help but ask my final question which I aimed at Alan which was ‘Do you intend to carry on racing your own birds?’ The first response was a loud laugh then he replied ‘’Yes of course why not there are 24 hours in a day and I’m always up at the crack of dawn anyway and I like to get my team out early while it is quiet and so by 8 o’clock my own birds are finished. Then in the late afternoon when I get back there is still plenty of time to attend to my own pigeons. As we now only really race with the MNFC using the club as a training facility we don’t envisage any real conflict of interests. If there is a need to be at the One Loft late in the day for some reason Snook will always be available’’. Alan then chuckled and quipped ‘’the only thing that will be different now is that I will have a good excuse if my own birds don’t win!’’
‘A Massive Success’
On the weekend of the 11th & 12th February the MNFC literally threw open the doors of the newly built Jumbo Skips Sponsored One Loft. Great credit must go to Ian ‘Snooker’ Fradley and Alan Windsor who with the aid of one or two other part time helpers including Slim Timmis, Tony Freeman and Dave Banks and his son Michael with Les Adams the best painter in the Potteries (that’s what he says anyway) who painted the back of the huge structure.
We are absolutely delighted to report that the weekend was visited by more interested fanciers than we could ever have imagined with over 100 visitors coming from Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cheshire, Leicestershire and Shropshire as well as loads of locals rolling up to have a good look around and the verdict was music to our ears. Everyone who I spoke to was unanimous in their praise of the loft. I know that as well as constructing the building, many hours were spent planning and discussing the design. Believe me many of these debates were very lively with plenty of colourful language. The final result though has been well worth the effort with visitors giving the lads so many glowing plaudits.
This was echoed on the MNFC Facebook site with super quotes being received from plenty of those who had taken the opportunity to view the set up and book in birds or have taken a form and pledged to enter a team. It was a little different on one of the chat lines I’m told but as they never came over to view the loft in the flesh I know whose opinion that I listen too. Our thanks go to Dave Banks for managing our Facebook facility.
The selection of Snooker and Alan as the 2017 management team was very well received especially by the local fanciers who are well aware that these lads know how to race a pigeon. Initially these lads are doing the job on a voluntary expenses only basis as they believe 100% in the future of this event as a good way to finance the future of our sport and earn the Midlands National membership extra funds to the benefit of all. I am well aware that One Loft racing is a ‘marmite’ subject but as long as it costs the MNFC's non-competing members nothing should anyone realy complain. One thing that I am sure of is the fact the final race scheduled for the second Sunday in September promises to be a great event with a real party atmosphere I’m sure. The barbeque has already been arranged curtesy of Mo Hanif and his mates. Finally thanks to Bev Windsor for her constant supply of much needed hot drinks. Well done young lady.
Please note that the final booking date for booking your entries is the 15th March on a first come first served basis and the closing date for delivery of the birds being the 21st April. A form was in your favourite paper recently and is also on the MNFC website.
Doncaster Spring Show
We will be attending the show to sell rings, take Subscriptions and book One Loft entries. The Gold Rings are still selling well and signs are that they will eclipse and possibly surpass 2016 sales. Win a possible four figure prize for just £6. It has better odds than the lottery.
The Club wishes to apologise for the delay in sending out some of last season’s diplomas. This is due to a major glitch I’m told which has taken a good deal of sorting out but should be resolved in a few days. Our sincere apologises and thanks for your patience.
Update on Avian Influenza (bird flu)
Following a number of telephone calls with APHA/DEGRA officers I can confirm that the restriction in relation to pigeons has been lifted. Fanciers are reminded that every step should be taken to avoid pigeons coming into contact with wild birds including drinking from the same water.
General Manager RPRA
For more information go to the RPRA main site – www.rpra.org