We ran the last inventory for about a week to show birds that may of got lost during the settling of the last group we received in April, they were hit by hawks and a falcon their second time out so we felt this was necessary.
Tomorrow we will start a health and chip check and then pull the 9th and 10th flights. If all goes well and we have no smoke from the typical NW fires we get here during the summer months we will start road training mid July and have the activation race around the 1st week of September.
We will not let the birds out while we are conducting the above so please be patient on the next inventory.
Rick & Olga
As mentioned before, birds of prey have been a real pain this year for some reason. A resident pair of Red Tails come every few days so it is really hard to predict when that will be. The last group that arrived the last week we accepted birds, 908 pigeons to be exact, got hit their second time out by the first Peregrine Falcon we have seen here in about a year and then the Red Tails showed up to take their turn. Now that all of the birds have been settled and out a few times the Red Tails are not a problem because they do not catch them, it is only the first day or two out that the Red Tails are a real threat and mainly in just scaring birds off. We have had a few birds showing up each day since running our first complete inventory starting a few days ago, since this is occuring we are continuing to run the clock.
As mentioned previously, we did encounter a virus that mainly affected the birds that arrived the very last week where we took in 908 pigeons. We are happy to report that there were absolutely no birds dead or sick in the loft this morning when letting them out, so mission accomplished in thwarting the temporary viral issue we encountered which is a great thing!
Now the above may sound bad to some, but let me use one breeder who sends the most birds each year to us as an example as to how we are sitting health/settling wise and that is David Clausing. David sent 57 pigeons this year, current inventory shows 54 birds still here and I know personally that one bird had to be removed due to a broken wing, so that leaves just 2 pigeons unaccounted for. We can live with percentages like that, however we would prefer 100% but that is not always realistic.
The birds are out loft flying as I am typing this, they go out every day come rain or shine!
Next week we will start going through the birds one by one checking chips, health, and pulling the 9th and 10th flights. We are hoping that by mid July we are down the road training and around 1 Sept we are having the activation race.
To all of my brothers and sisters who served before me, to those whom I served with, and to those who have served after and continue to serve our great country, have a great Memorial Day weekend.
We live in the country and are on a personal well, there was a issue with the well this morning and the tech had to turn off the power to work on the pump for about 2 hours. We are sure some birds trapped during that temporary power outage so instead of scrapping the inventory all together we will just run the inventory for a 3rd day.
This does not happen once we are training and racing because we use a UPS out in the loft, Uninteruptable Power Supply which serves as a back up power source during temporary power outages.
Today we are letting the last group of birds out which arrived the last week in April. We are not forcing the birds out today because the Red Tail Hawks have been relentless this year, not catching any but scaring the hell out of them every few days. This is frustrating because they do not show up every day like you would expect, it has been hit and miss lately as to when they show up. Once the birds have been out a few times then the Red Tails just sit off in the distance knowing they can not catch any, however when we settle new birds the Red Tails try to catch those who have landed on barns in our area trying to get their bearings before landing on the loft roof. If they Red Tails do not bother the pigeons today then we will force all birds out tomorrow so we can get a complete and accurate inventory of ALL BIRDS.
Health has been very good this year, it was outstanding before we took in those last 908 pigeons the last week in April. We had a bit of a viral issue pop up shortly after those pigeons showed up but we caught it quickly before it could become a real problem. Counting birds that have had to be removed from the loft this year due to health or injury, we are still under 3%. It will be interesting to see what our total number will be tomorrow after we force all birds out, remember today we are not forcing them out especially this last group which is being settled starting today. Our prediction is that more birds were driven off during settling than due to sickness, but again we will not know until this 2 day inventory is complete.....hopefully no hawks show up today or tomorrow so we can get an accurate count.
As mentioned in other updates, game plan is to do a health/chip/9th and 10th flight pull first week in June, hopefully be training mid July. If all goes well we should be having the activation race around 1 September.
If you had or have birds removed from the loft due to illness or injury, you have and will continue to be contacted by us. If you have a bird lost during daily loft flying then there is no need to contact us because we will not be able to give you an accurate account to what happened to your particular bird.
If we get the last race at 350 done early enough to have a 400 and still be able to mail all birds back before Christmas, then we will have a 400 this year. The roads here in the PNW can get pretty treacherous as early as 1 Nov, especially down in southern OR and northern CA where we release the last few races and need to drive through to have a 400 somewhere around Mount Shasta, CA.
Weather is great here, sunny and warm, the birds are really enjoying it and so are we!
We have had a few breeders asking the last few days when we will run a complete inventory, below is how we do things here at the Apple Cup.
The birds are in quarantine cages for at least 7 days where we run them on meds for canker and a good wide spectrum antiobiotic before they get to go in to the loft, all birds are vaccinated upon arrival.
Next 7 days they have access to the aiviary to get a good look around.
Next 7 days is trap training.
After 6-7 days of trap training if all are responding to the whistle at feeding time and running through the traps then we know it is time to settle them.
We received the last birds on the 30th of April. Today is the 21st so it is about time to settle this last group and if you do the math we are usually settling birds every 3 weeks. Feels like we are behind schedule but looking at the callendar we are right on track, may just take a few extra days since the hawks have been a problem this year moreso than ever before.
We will run them through the traps a few more times before we let them out. Red Tail hawks have been relentless this year and we are trying to be careful with this last group, please be patient.
We are a few days behind where we usually are but we usually get 350-400 birds a week, the last week we took in birds we brought in 908 pigeons. After playing catch up for a few days with admin we had our youngest daughter finishing up her first year of college, we took a few days to help her move out of her dorms.
Patience breeders, we will get you a inventory this coming week.
We forgot to shut off the trap that is being used to trap train the birds that arrived the last week in April, 909 birds total. A few clocked today before we caught it, they were not supposed to be part of yesterday and today's 2 day inventory. Yesterday we did not force the birds out because they have been harrased relentlessly by a pair of Red Tail Hawks, they did not show up yesterday so we drove all of the birds out today that have already been settled.
So again, the birds that arrived our last week of accepting birds the last week in April are not out of the loft as of yet. A few were out in the aiviary today and walked across the pads. The inventory was supposed to be just all birds settled which is all birds except the last week's birds, sorry a few got combined.
We will have all of the birds settled hopefully next week. We are really taking our time with them due to the hawks.
The inventory today is of all birds EXCEPT the last week arrivals which are still trap training. The birds were not forced out today because we have a pair of Red Tails which are being, lets just say a pain in the butt! They are not catching any but they are sure keeping them on edge. Until we can deal with the situation we are taking our time trap training the very last group of birds, we do not want to let them out and them get spooked their first few times out of the loft. After they have been out at least 3 times they are as good as gold, however if they get driven too hard by birds of prey their first few times out there can be losses during settling which we do not want and neither do you if you have birds in the race. In other words be patient on those last birds being settled and on a complete inventory, we want to do what is best for the birds.
Once we get all of the birds settled and trapping well which is usually about their 3rd time out for new birds being settled we will run a complete inventory. If you have had birds removed from the race you have been notified, we will not know which birds were lost during settling and daily loft flying until we get all birds settled and can hit the LOST REPORT tab on Wincompanion which we OLR managers have in our ADMIN MENU. We do not suspect many losses during settling, should be minimal.
Starting to get hot and dry here in central WA, this makes it easier to keep the birds healthy and happy versus cold and wet which we had up to a few weeks ago with the extra long winter we had this year......geesh!
Sorry for the late update, we usually update a few times a week and a few of you have asked if everything is OK so figured we better give a quick update on what is going on here.
All birds have been settled EXCEPT the very last group of birds which arrived the last week of acceptance. Those birds are being trap trained however we are still putting chips on some of them and using the clocking system daily to assign chips, can not run inventories and assign chips at the same time. Once we get all of the chips assigned and these last 850-900 birds trapping on command with the whistle we will run our first complete inventory.
Red Tail Hawks have been relentless this year, they do not catch them but they sure harass the heck out of the birds. We are sure that they have scared a few off during settling, we will not know who those birds belonged to until we can run a complete inventory and run a LOST report on Wincompanion.
Health has been great this year, we remove more birds due to severe injuries than due to health issues. If you have a bird that has been removed due to illness or injury, you are notified. Once we run a complete inventory there will be a few that were lost during settling, again if your bird was removed due to illness or injury you have or will be notified, if it is lost while loft flying then we obviously can not answer what happened to your individual birds.
Game plan is to pull flights early June along with a chip and health check, start light road training in mid July and have the activation race first part of September. Of course this all is dependent upon our NW fires and smoke, we will not train the birds if there is smoke in the area or on the line of flight.
Looking forward to getting these birds down the road, we are sure you are as well!
Rick & Olga
We are absolutely overwhelmed by the support y'all have given us this year, from the bottom of our hearts here at the Apple Cup a big THANK YOU to all of you who decided to join in on the fun for 2023!
There are currently 3690 birds that were sent this year from over 600 breeders. We know that some birds have been lost during settling and a few due to sickness, we will not know the exact number of birds in the loft until we hit a Lost Report on Wincompanion, we figure we are sitting around 3600. We can not hit the Lost Report until all birds are settled, if we do so before all birds are settled then the birds that are still being trap trained and not actually clocking on inventories will be marked Missing, then Lost if they miss two clockings in a row. To alleviate any confusion and about 100 phone calls, we will wait a few weeks until we have all of the birds settled and outside flying.
Game plan is to have all of the birds settled in the next 2 weeks, then pull flights, chip and health check at the beginning of June. Usually we do this over 4th of July weekend, however since we stopped intake a month earlier this year we should be able to start training a month earlier this year just as long as the smoke is not a problem which it has been the last few summers due to NW forest fires.
Goal all along was to start training with around 3500 birds and to get 3000 activated, from the way the health looks in the loft we very well may meet that goal. Health last year was great, this year it is absolutely outstanding! Usually the more birds you get the harder it is to keep them healthy, this is obviously a fact. I believe that after 8 years of hosting this race we may of just found a formula for keeping large numbers of birds healthy, we will find out if our due diligence is going to pay off once we start training.
I want to personally appologize to everyone who I may of been a bit short with last week during our last week of intake. I was operating on very little sleep working well in to the AM hours the next day. We have workers who help with loft maintenance, however when it comes to the "birds" I want to put my hands on each and every one of them myself. Every bird is recorded and vaccinated by yours truly before they are moved in to the quarantine section where they are put in cages on wire floors for about a week and started on medicated water and all the feed they can handle. This is where the birds put weight back on after their journey from you to us.
Many of you have texted me lately wanting minor changes made to your birds, usually a mistake I made while inputting birds data in to Wincompanion. Most of you I responded to asking you to be patient as we were swamped last week and finally now are all caught up, just need to chip these last arrivals. If the corrections have not been made yet please send me the info just ONE MORE TIME, promise to get everything rectified and up to date. PLEASE, no not call Terry Gilmore asking him to make changes to your birds for you, the only time I refer someone to Terry is if you are having problems with your Wincom account and I know it is something that only Terry can fix. When it comes to editing your birds, then that is the OLR managers job not Terry's.
GAME PLAN MOVING FORWARD
Get last 2 weeks arrivals settled
Pull flights, health and chip check around 1 June
Start training in July, possibly August just depends upon smoke and heat
Activation race around 1 September hopefully
Final race mid October
2-3 weeks later optional 400, just as long as we stil have time to ship birds back before Christmas
Take Jan and Feb to recouperate!
What a wonderful sport!
Rick & Olga
This is the very last reminder, we are no longer accepting birds this year.
DO NOT MAIL BIRDS THIS COMING WEEK, THEY WILL BE TURNED AROUND AT THE POST OFFICE NO EXCEPTIONS.
If you mailed birds last week and they are still hung up in the postal service then that is nothoing you or I have control of, they will of course be accepted.
Should be done entering the rest of the birds today that arrived this week. Those that arrived on Wednesday are all entered, working on Thursday arrivals right now.
The birds that arrived this week and last week will be settled together, should have a complete inventory in about 2 weeks of all birds in the loft.
There are several breeders who sent birds this week who did not register first. Some of you I have been able to figure out who you are, some of you did not include a phone number on the box or I can not read your phone number, name, or loft name. These birds are being entered under **Unassigned Breeder**. If you do not see your birds entered, check here first before contacting us.
Everyone have a great Sunday and good luck if you are racing this weekend in your clubs and in other One Loft Races you may be entered in!