Dec/Jan road training with babies – a waste of time and petrol?

Training tosses with the new team of youngsters is considered as a waste of time and petrol by some.

It is something we consider beneficial if logistically and practically possible. Remember that our babies are bred late (weaned October onwards). Thus not all of them will be mature enough to be road trained in December or January. Another pre-condition is that the pigeons should be training well around the loft (at least an hour plus).

Our reasoning behind giving some short tosses:

Limit stress and disease during the main season

Babies that are tossed in Dec/January are used to the baskets and training process. They know what is expected of them. Thus when the main season roadwork starts they will stress less and as a result not be at such a high risk of contracting Young Bird Disease (YBD) et al. The seasons that we did not toss the babies they got YBD. The seasons we did toss up a batch of youngsters, they did not get YBD…

Orientation

Dec/January training is not to get as far as possible with the pigeons in the shortest timeframe. It’s about getting them used to their loft area and to hopefully teach them to break when they reach certain beacons or landmarks. That’s why we do not jump vast distances with the babies. Start close to the loft and work them up gradually to about 25 – 30km. That’s far enough. No increase in distance until they are comfortable with a liberation point. It takes us up to 10 tosses to get to the 25km mark.

Optimal development

Exercise develops muscles nicely. The athletes in the team will shine. The strugglers will show and fall behind. Observation is key to ensure you move forward with a team of athletes.

The question that remains – Does this really make a difference in the results achieved?  Can the difference be measured between babies that were tossed and those that stayed home? The simple answer is NO.

We have tested this in practice and can confirm that the team that were tossed did not outperform the ones that stayed home.

A perfect example – Two nestmates. The cock was tossed up in Dec. The sister stayed home because she carried an expensive ring and the risk was simply too high. He flew twice 3rd union. She won the union and later also the expensive ring race. They ended first and second best birds GPU 2014. Thus no difference in results.

But above reasons given are still enough for us to road train the babies and as a result try to minimise risk for the main season.