Birds are looking well - lots of vigor and wing flapping. The last Federation shipping is Thursday night FINALLY - so we will have the OLR birds out Thursday, Friday, but locked in on Saturday for the local Final race. Still have the predators here - the "hawk migration" has not occurred and we have to watch them. We have lost several droppers and a few to these guys since last inventory ~! Give them a few days out and we will start flagging if they are not readily taking to the skies. As soon as the birds are giving me 45 minutes and ranging - they will be taken down the road. If they are not ranging - we will take them a mile - that usually jumpstarts things. They have packed on a few ounces with all the cold temps - eating with a passion ~!
Our Hughes satellite is down at the lofts with all the wind/rain - supoosed to be fixed today. Birds were ran through the traps on Sunday. Missed a few and turned on Monday to catch the stragglers. If the satellite is not fixed today - we will take the clock/module home and upload the latest inventory at home.
Schedule Tentatively: We will not skimp on the training (you have seen our training over the years). Roughly 2-3 weeks of training quickly to the proverbial Activation Toss (Jan 5th). While entries are incoming, the very important conditioning tosses will continue at the 50/75 mile markers alternating until the 1st race (~Jan 11th), 200 mile (~Jan 14th), 250 mile (~Jan 19th), 300 mile (~Jan 24th), Final 365 (~Jan 30th). These days are +/- a few days. However once we start the races the 150 and 200 happens in fairly quick succession 3-4 days, then the other races 5-7 days apart like clockwork - choosing the best days to go in that range ~!
Wet, windy and cold 40 degree Thanksgiving ~! Hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving.
We awoke at 5:00AM Friday to emergency alerts and thunderous noises - 3 tornadoes touched down (one not too far from the lofts) and downed trees in neighboring areas. This is not tornado alley and this is unusual - ALL is safe - just damp and muddy surrounding the lofts. The drainage is good with drains surrounding the 2-acre property on the north and west sides.
A short race today from 150 for the AZ Federation (and last race next week thankfully which will allow us to operate without anxiety of 1000's Federation birds training over our lofts during the week) - they have slowed down from 1883 ypm to 1500+ last week. We will make this change permanent for Arizona Classic Derby going forward - having the races later in December 2020/January 2021 which eliminates the blowhome conditions (losses, overfly, hot, etc in October/November). Birds are fully moulted out, slicked, and training is easier with less heat stress, and working races. These advantages will allow us to accept birds from March thru August (which is good for the small OLR like ours with typically less than 400 birds - getting those late entries in August will boost our intake numbers significantly to 600 - our capacity is 800).
We look forward to getting this guys tearing up the skies and on the road now ~!
Other ramblings - If we can get 150 entries to enter an Old Bird series (February/March 2020) - it will be 300-400-500 miles with minimal perch/entry fee. Payout 20%/10%/30%/40% for Average Speed/300m/400m/500mile split limited to 5% of birds going to actual race. If we get less than that - we will fly your birds in the local Old bird races for free (and you can have them back after the series). The race course will be the same as Arizona Classic Derby and Arizona Federation youngbirds/old birds - and the timing will be perfect from completion of our series to start of Federation races.
Birds are looking good - droppings are rock solid ~!
Rain last Tuesday - Friday with damaging winds and hail and more forecasted for a wet, wet Thanksgiving from Wed - Friday again - we have received more rain in the last few days than we received in the entire year in Arizona. We will keep this birds in and start putting the birds through their paces after this next storm moves on. The Federation is also wrapping up with 2 more races - so we feel more comfortable having the friendlier skies to ourselves. The Federation races have dropped in speed from 1870's to 1500's this week - so it is more conducive to working races and not blow-homes.
Stay tuned - it's about to get exciting ~~!
Due to ongoing foot injury, my daily therapy now continues for another 2 weeks. I was doing really well and physically overdid it this week and now I am paying the price as I am unable to walk today. As such the birds are not on the road yet – this opens the possibility that the Final 365 mile race pushed to January (birds readiness are first priority). This is a good thing as our local races have been blowhome tailwinds for the 1st 5 races (1836 ypm, 1627 ypm, 1616 ypm, 1883ypm, 1870 ypm). Birds flying 1800+ ypm are not adequately prepared when faced with a headwinds 365 mile final (as winds change later in the year and we will see 9-10 hrs on the wing).
To add to the current tailwinds, we intentionally delayed (as outlined in all our previous updates) due to the Federation deciding to fly our OLR race course with 1000's of birds traversing our space and release/training happening in our very backyard. My friend and neighboring race had massive losses as we think those birds got mixed in and seriously dragged with the Federation birds that day on an 1883 ypm race day. We were very nervous and did not take any chances at the Arizona Classic Derby - birds were on lockdown during most of this period to minimize this very thing.
On the health of the birds, since last update a wave of Adeno has swept through the valley and even the top lofts were not exempt. Due to the 40 degree swings in temperatures, winds, hot and then cold - this is not surprising. AS A PRECAUTION, We have had 7 birds pulled in the sick bay this week and are also missing a few as shown on our last inventory. SO WE DO THE USUAL PRECAUTIONARY AdenoZap, oregano extracts, Ropa B and probiotics (5-7 days) followed by a sulpha drug treatment (Trimethoprim) for 5 days and on stress-free lockdown.
To summarize, the plan is to have 2 weeks of flagging/flying after the treatment, minimal 2 weeks of training as previously outlined, activation race - and then clockwork for our 5 races (every 5-7 days). Our training is same as every year 10 miles, 15 miles, 25 miles, 35 miles, 50 miles, 75 miles. Then they will be conditioned at the 50-75 mile marker (as in previous years that you have seen our training regimen). Additionally 50-75 mile tosses between races as you have seen in prior years.
The temperatures have cooled off significantly down to the 37 overnight - and back up to mid 80's this weekend. That creates problems for the birds with 40 degree temperature swings as lot of the local lads are finding out. With that comes tailwinds - so far the local races have been blow homes (1836 ypm, 1627 ypm, 1616 ypm). Nobody likes blowhomes -
With that said, due to foot injury and other personal reasons beyond our control, we are now lagging (we have not even flown our birds locally and will miss the first 4 races).
The OLR birds have not started training yet. Rest-assured they will be trained - they will go 10 miles, 15 miles, 25 miles, 35 miles, 50 miles, 75 miles. Then they will be conditioned at the 50-75 mile marker (as in previous years that you have seen our training regimen). We believe in training the birds and letting the birds dictate the 1st race timeline. The only restriction/boundary we set - the birds MUST be continously raced every week once we start the 1st race. If we have to push the schedule later - we will as in the past ~~! Additionally, the later we start - the lower the chances of blowhome races. Late December/January the winds shift and are more conducive to working races with 8-10 hrs on the wing for a 350 mile race ~~
A wall of dust greeted me at the lofts this morning with near zero visibility with high winds. I am lagging in the local races holed up with foot injury. This weekend I should get my local team on the road. One super flyer one mile from me (Greg Coury - Still Ticken Loft) literally trained 1st toss - 35 miles, 2nd toss - 35 miles, 3rd toss - 75 miles on the same race course we are flying the OLR. Then they went directly to the 1st race with only 3 tosses. He has WON the first two AZ Federation races in two consecutive weeks - CONGRATS ~~! My local team will go 10-35-50-75 miles.
We promise not to be that aggressive with the OLR birds - they will go 10 miles, 15 miles, 25 miles, 35 miles, 50 miles, 75 miles. Then they will be conditioned at the 50-75 mile marker (as in previous years that you have seen our training regimen). We do not foresee any bad tosses due to heat (temps are now VERY conducive to training). BUT in the event of any bad toss - we will reset at the previous training distance and continue. We anticipate training start next weekend.
Temperatures swings have been 60-90's. Most of the birds have slicked out really nice - there are a few that did not come through a clean moult fully - but we will start training shortly. I have been laid up in bed with a foot injury the last week and not able to do much - having missed the start of our local racing too, I will have to play catch-up and will probably only fly the later races locally.
The Federation birds continue to be trained/released in our very backyard with huge flocks going over - they should be moving on soon as the next race is 120 miles. We do not want to risk having our flock mixing up and getting dragged to the West side 50 miles.
Roughly with 3-4 weeks training, should put our 1st race 3rd week in November - the temperatures being early morning 60's should make training more frequent/continuous than starting/stopping in 80-90's temps.
Should have a much better update by the end of this week - as we crank it up.
Our temperatures have been below normal the last few days but warming back up to the 90's this week. Birds are finishing up the moult and looking slick.
The hawks have been unrelentless ~~! Yesterday three were on the lofts and not giving the birds a break. We have had a few droppers go missing and several of our own local team.
Hopefully by the middle of the month we should start up with the short tosses - and hope that the hawks have migrated by then. Our first Federation race is Oct 12th - also by then the mass of local birds would have been out further in training and not interfere with our loft flying/routing/short tosses.
We will have the clocks on this weekend - as with routing - a few birds are always missing/piggybacking/returning late, etc...
Dove season has ended. Lots of shooting within range of the birds - luckily no casualties on our local birds. OLR birds have been locked down - and continue to be locked down due to the finishing stages of the moult, incessant hawk activity - AND the mass liberations of birds in our area due to the Federation flying our OLR race direction this year. My personal youngbird team has been caught up in these birds traversing our area and we are down a few. Already early reports of birds getting dragged to the other side of town (50 miles away) ~! We made the earlier decision to delay the start training (mid October) of the ACD OLR birds once the massive flocks have moved through and further away from our lofts.
Two birds are in the observation bay (one for canker, other from last update that had excessive water in crop).
All else is good - doing our pre-training meds/supplement routine for 7 days followed by 5 days of canker meds.
Remembering our fallen heroes and victims today ~! Let honor their memory by continuing the fight for freedom and security and thank those who serve.
All else good here - a high of 96 today (unusual) but we will take it. Back up to 105 by the weekend. Neck moult in progress with lot of the birds - health seems great. We did treat with Adeno-zap as a precaution, and had Ropa B in water on Monday.
Our Versele Laga container is cleared - just in time for training prep - we feed the best of Versele Laga for our OLR. Currently Energy Plus for the moult (20%), we will rotate in Champion and Junior mixes as the training dictates.