June 22, 2017

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“In the Arms of the Angels”

Submitted by Tom Fremont
Midnight Blue Lofts

I’m going to get right to it in this writing.   The number one priority is maintaining healthy pigeons in a healthy loft.  If you do not have this concept down, it is difficult, if not impossible, that your Young Birds will ever really get into their Awe Inspiring Route.

I do not know every single method out there.  However in 33 years my Young Birds have NEVER failed to fly with the Angels and engage in the wonder of routing…. So hence I will share what I absolutely know works in this process.

I reiterate HEALTHY PIGEONS is a prerequisite!!

I wean the youngsters into the YB loft at about 5 weeks of age (give or take a day or two).  There will be an open aviary for them to view the world around them.  I acclimate them to this new life for about 7 to 10 days.  They must be eating and drinking with consistency not missing a beat. (Before every feeding I will vigorously shake the feed can and whistle) Of course later on when they are free to fly this act will pay great dividends.  They must be able to fly up and down to the perches and aviary with ease.

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I will then begin to set them out on the landing board 2 or 3 at a time.  After about 30 seconds I will usher them through the trap.  I want to repeat this at least 5 times until I know they know 100% where the trap is and how to get in.  Then on about day 6 I will let the entire team on the landing board together.  If they want to explore fine, if they rush to the trap fine but allow them to move about or trap as they desire.

SPECIAL NOTE:  Never let them out on a full crop NEVER!!  You control the YB’s through the shaking of the can and the reward of food awaiting them.  It is through their hunger and strong desire for food that you will maintain control.  If you are not disciplined with these steps they will control you, and have you running around like a fool to accommodate their every whim. You are the Master, You are the Fancier, You are the Boss.

For about 3 to 4 weeks I will ONLY let them out in the evenings.  I let them out at about 6:30 to 6:45.  I call them in at about 8:00.  The days I let them out they will not have a morning feeding.  In doing so I have complete control when I call them in with the whistle and shaking of the can. On the day I do not let them out I will give them a full morning and evening feeding.  As they are young and need to grow up. This helps in that process, and helps to balance out the “once a day feeding” during training days.  Sometimes it’s all about a balanced approach.

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During this period my pigeons do not route.  The reason why is three-fold;

First, they are looking forward to that up and coming feeding. Secondly, they are still very young during this stage, and quite honestly lack confidence.  Thirdly, they have an innate sense that nightfall is coming soon and they tend to stay close to home when they begin to fly around and exercise. I will get spurts of 15 minute flights, and towards the end of this 3 week period I will get ½ hour flights but the birds are almost always in my range of sight.

Ok so let’s take a close look at our time frame here.

  •  Weaned at 5 weeks
  • Settled into their new loft for at least 1 week … (now at 6 weeks)
  • Trap Training for 1 week … (now at 7 weeks)
  • 3 to 4 weeks of free loft open loft from about 6:30 pm until about 8:00 pm (now at about 11 weeks)

Ok so now they are ready and eager to start their very natural process of routing, woo-hoo !!

NOW is the first time I will let them out in the morning (I will in this circumstance have fed them the evening before but a little earlier than normal) I want a beautiful calm day.  About ½ hour after sunrise.  For me is almost a certainty they will engage in their first route (sometimes it will be the second day) and that’s ok too.  They know that they have the entire day and their confidence shoots up several levels because of this thus they are compelled to explore.

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I like to see them route for about 3 to 4 weeks.  They can and certainly do go longer, and that’s ok too. Initially it will be ½ hour then elevate to 2 or 2 ½ hours.  (however even if you only get to 45 minutes or an hour don’t be worried…that is plenty good.  Just so they route.

(A little trick)  …when they are routing well basket them up several times and release them in the yard, so they get used to the future training basket…so when you take them on that 1st 5 mile toss, they are well acclimated to the basket.

After this period training can begin…  I go 5 miles twice, 10 miles twice, 20 miles 3 or 4 times then gradually work up to about 75 miles a few weeks prior to the first race…this process may differ with each individual fancier…

Routing for a racing pigeon is as natural as hunting for the first time would be to a small lion cub. It’s as natural as walking and then running is for a toddler.  It’s part of the maturation process.  It tells you they are eager, willing and ready to begin their journey.  It is their destiny to fly fast and free and in long distances.  It is what they are bred for!! There isn’t a more powerful winged creature than the racing pigeon…you know it and they know it too.

The importance of Routing it tells you so many things…they are healthy, they are maturing and growing in confidence, they are expressing their innate love of flying, they are preparing themselves for great things to come.  They are developing their natural homing ability.  Think about the magic of their unique homing ability, think for one second what this means and provides for the pigeon.  Because they have this unique and rare ability, they are destined to use it!!  Hence they “ROUTE” this “Homing Ability” pushes them out further and further because they instinctively have the need and desire to develop this “Sixth Sense” if you will.

The first time your pigeons proceed in routing is quite thrilling.  The kite string is severed and they are free to pursue their destiny.  Their goodness and well-being is now in “:The Arms of the Angels’  We no longer have control we as fanciers have to relinquish this control and hope that their innate love for home and family will always bring them back over the horizon …  back to their beginnings …back home again….

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So this THIS is the beginning of their beautiful journey, this is why we do all of the things we do to see them emerge over the hills and trees, the valleys and streams, through the blue skies and clouds on race day and declare …  I’ve got one …  my racer is home…damn I hope it’s a good one !!!



  1. Scott on June 22, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Great job Tom spot on.

  2. Jimmy on June 23, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    Great read!!

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