National Flying Club
There have been a lot of concerns raised about the crates on the new transporters that take the NFC pigeons. Personally we sent to St Nazaire, St Malo and Saintes without any problems whatsoever and the pigeons came back in top class condition, in fact we were amazed at how well they were on their return to the lofts. From what I can gather the two races mostly affected were the first race from Sennen Cove when the water was overflowing, this was put down to the transporter not being levelled as per maker’s guidelines. This problem was later resolved when those concerned met the haulers at the yard where the transporters were levelled out with no spillage. Then there was the old hens/young bird National when many believe the birds could have been spread out much better. With the later race the birds were sent under the RPRA guidelines and the right number per crate but it appears that this did not suit the birds had they have sent two transporters then it would have resulted in the birds travelling and basketing much better. There is also the problem of fanciers sending their birds when they have a problem in the loft and there are plenty who do continue racing the young birds whether they have a problem or not and that is in all clubs. Many problems are underlying and cannot easily be detected at first so they are probably sent with thoughts on them being in good health. However there is a story circulating that the young birds were squirting mostly water in the crates. Now this might just be down to nerves in the youngsters or stress after a long hard season and not detectable in their home environment. The races in between were fine that is of course unless anyone can genuinely tell me any different, not stories but plain facts. I say that because I cannot understand why the races we sent to saw the birds clean and in excellent condition so what went wrong; it has all down to the problems mentioned above. With the concerns shown Eddie Froggatt decided to test the pigeons and their welfare in a modified crate that had a wire mesh above the fixed grills that are in each of the crates. Eddie then invited committee members over to have a look and gather their thoughts; we were also invited along to take an independent look at this alternative idea. If we had that excellent ability of hindsight a second crate without the modification could have been tested along side the modified crate. Even when this extra grill was fitted I believe the headroom per pigeon was still within the DEFRA guidelines; I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong. With wanting to look at all options and look at such ideas I like to keep an open mind and anything that is a benefit for the pigeons I am in favour of. I must admit that the birds looked and handled well without any mess shown on any of the pigeons in the crate. They were certainly in good condition so the 9/10 days for the 21 pigeons in the modified crate had done them no harm at all. With any new idea we all need to look at the options available and are their any advantages by such a modification. There is also a downside to any modification done and is it really necessary in the first place or are their options available. Are their any complications around the corner by such a modification, one thing that will always happen with wire grills, the pigeon’s feet are clean because they are continuously rubbing on the mesh so they are bound to be clean? At the end of the day any modification would have to go through the haulers because they are the owners of the transporters and not he National FC. We must also remember that these crates are power cleaned so the wooden framework for such an additional grill would not last very long and they would have to be cleaned the same or there would be no real benefit and we do want the crates to be spotless and problem free. Another point raised was would the mixing of metals take any affect on one another because I am told that aluminium does not mix with all metals? How long would they last and how often would they have to be replaced, what would be the cost against sending the second transporter and making sure that the birds had plenty of room because that is a key factor. The club are contracted to two transporters so why not send them in the best interest of the club and with the new conditions of no more than 24 birds per crate decided on by the committee all problems should now be resolved. Thanks to Eddie & Julie for the very good hospitality on a weekend that included a very nice lunch, saved me taking them out for a meal on the way home.