News and Updates

      When I started this message, I had the January blahs. Now I have the February blahs. It really has nothing to do with feeling down and out, it's to do with being impatient. Three days of cold weather and that's enough of winter and now I want it to be spring. Breeding has started and I am ready to race. I have all my ducks in a row I am ready to move forward.

      In the one loft we will be using the Ropa-B as part of our feeding program. Since it was new to me, Silvio, our supplier, suggested that I should use it in my own loft. I have and I must say that I am very happy. This year, I have not had any problems with winter sickness in any birds. The amount of down feathers in the loft are such that Linda is making a new down comforter. If down keeps the birds warm, they'll keep me warm.

       Our feed supplier will be Baden Feeds. The birds will be fed various feeds that will suit the demands that will be placed on them. High protein diet at the beginning, more carbs as the training begins and higher fat when the miles stretch out. I know some of you think that they are only competing against each other in a one loft setting and that special feed isn't needed, but I believe that if you want them to fly 300 plus miles, everyone of them needs to be filled to the brim and primed to go all out. 

       We will also be using a combination of minerals and grits from different suppliers. Different companies with different mixes hopefully covers everything that a bird needs.

       We are very lucky to have a local vet who, although not a bird speciallist, is very willing to be on call and help sort out any problems, should the need arise. With all the new and strange problems floating around in the pigeon world, I hope to be prepared for the unknown.

       I know most of you are now breeding or have already banded your future charges and I wish you good luck with them all. I thank all of you who have entered the Empire Classic Triple Crown OLR and would like to nudge those that haven't yet, to do so soon.

        Thanks, Rick 





     We live in a small piece of paradise. Our property is secluded, wooded and has a stream with brook trout in it that has never ever frozen over, at least not in the ten years we have lived here. We have an old mill, an old dam, a cute cottage and fabulous breeding and racing lofts. We also have more hawks than I can ever hope to shake a stick at.

    In 2013, I decided that I would try something different when it came time to train my young birds. I gave them a couple of very small tosses from the top of a hill east of our property and then began to loft fly them three times per day. It took a bit of time adjusting the feed so that they would fly for an hour or so and still come in when I called them. They responded very well and everything was tickety-boo. Two days before the first race I started to have my doubts that untrained birds would be able to race and do well, infact, I decided to only ship half of them. They all made it in race time and none were lost. The following week, all went and none were lost. The whole season went well with very few losses, however, we did not win a race. We did place second or third several times but the birds were never sharp enough to top the combine. It was an interesting year but I would not do that again.

     In 2014, we were offered the chance of a life time and have the use of a working ranch in Nye, Montana. On May 27, Linda and I, our dog LuLu, our Motorcycles and thirty or so sqeakers set off for the wild west. We arrived on Friday at 5 pm. By monday evening, I had built a small, 8x9 loft with a landing board and settling cage. On Wednesday morning, I removed the cage and my babies learned how to navigate in mountain winds. It blew constantly, from one side of the mountain to the other. Most of the first day was spent just learning how to land into the wind.

     I wanted to try something I had read in De Duif, a Belgium Pigeon paper. A fancier trained his youngsters at a very early age and found that they learned to orient much quicker and that his losses were minimal. On Thursday, I took them for their first toss. It was only 1000 yards but it was on the other side of a  juting cliff and they had to either fly around the end, or go 1000 feet straight up. They went straight up, saw the loft and were in the loft before I could navigate my way through the rocks. I spent two weeks taking them from spot to spot in the valley untill I got to 12 miles and then I walked them along the Stillwater River into the mouth of the Beartooth Mountains and let them go one at a time. Their choices were simple, climb straight up 2000 feet over the cliff or fly 3000 feet down the river. They went up, each and every one of them and they were all home, inside and fed before I got back. Point is, they were very young and they learned well, winning the first race by 220 yds per minute.

     In 2015, our 80 foot spruce trees started to encroach on my racing loft to the point that branches covered the rear section of the roof. I didn't pay attention and left them alone. Big mistake.

     The first day on the landing board became total hell for my sqeakers. While I was standing there, talking to them, a Red Tail hawk managed to scoot around the trees and grab one right before my eyes and scatter the rest into the surrounding country side. They were all day coming home and they weren't happy. Two days later, it happened again. On the fifth day, when I pushed them onto the board, they didn't wait for the hawk to show up. They immediately flew up into the centre of the trees and stayed there till the end of the day. I tried three more times and each time had the same results, out of the loft, into the trees. My problem was simple. the birds needed to fly and once flying, hopefully, they would have better luck with the hawks.

     The next day, I caught a basket full of sqeakers and walked to the other end of my neighbours property. The distance was about 600 yards to my loft and because of the trees, it was mostly out of sight. At this time, the youngsters were for the most part 40 days old or less. I let them up one at a time and waited untill I thought they were at the loft before the next was released. All made it home. I did this untill every bird had their turn. They were fed but needed a drink of water. That was their motive to get home. The next day, I took them around the corner to a school yard. They were only half a mile from home but they were a hundred feet or so higher than our place. I single tossed again, releasing each bird only when I thought the last one was over the loft. All made it home. The next toss was 2 miles, again single toss, and from that point on the birds were released in small groups. We had an excellent year flying our young birds winning combine races and the Ace young bird for the season, but they would not loft fly. It was train twenty miles every day in the morning and in the evening, once a week fifty miles just to get them to fly a little longer.

     I moved my lofts in 2016. Now we are 30 feet from the trees. The hawks have a tougher time sneaking up on the birds, and once again they loft fly except the ones born in 2015. They will fly, only not as much, and, they still head for the trees before coming into the loft. Our young bird season was almost perfect winning combine races and being 2nd and 3rd in the Oshawa Open race. 

      I enjoy telling you what I have done but there is a point to all of this. With the Empire Classic Triple Crown, I will use some of my unorthodox methods. I will not wait untill all the birds are here before I start to let them out and while I do not expect the same hawk problems, the loft is in the middle of a large field, I do want to start them early and force them to fly and use their noggins. I have all the time in the world and will use it to constantly train small groups of birds at various distances. As they go out, marker bands will be placed on their legs. Two trips, two bands and when they all have two markers, remove one on the next toss and so on. By the time August comes around we will be ready to stretch the distance and all can join in the fun. We will use the clock and we will have the elecronic bands on at the start. 

Come join the fun.



The question has been raised, why the clubs associated with the Amercan fanciers who are participating in the Empire Classic Triple Crown cannot have a share of the auction funds to promote the sport in their area. They also have the same problems as us. We agree and therefore they will participate along with the Canadian clubs. 

The last couple of days we have spent a considerable amount of time phoning across Canada to see how many clubs there are in each province. The answer is shocking. Hopefully what we're doing isn't too little, too late.





Best wishes for all in 2017.

People who race pigeons are eternal optimists. We all believe the next year will be better. I believe it is stamped some where on the inside of our heads and we see it every now and then, especially when we are getting ready to breed our next round of winners.

I have been asked why I have decided to auction off the birds that complete the Triple Crown Series and not just give them back. Another question is why bother to give the money to all Canadian Clubs, are you touched. I'll try to explain the answers to both questions in 10,000 words or less.

When I was a teenager, I was involved in after school activities at the United Church in our village { actually my girlfriend was and I got to help}.The minister of the church decided one Sunday that everyone present at church that day would receive $20.00 and they were to go into the community and do a good deed with it. The following weeks, after Sunday services, the parishioners stood up and one at a time they told the congregation what they had accomplished. It was very inspiring and proved to all what group effort could do for the village.

In magazines, at club or combine meetings, a lot of effort is spent discussing the decline of participation in our hobby and how we can attract new members. Advertisements in papers, on the radio, at fairs, at pet shows, in schools, in what ever, all these need funds to kick start them. Funds and people to do the work. I can't provide each and every club with a worker but we can help you by providing some of the needed funds.

Now, selling the birds is nothing new. Lots of one loft races sell their winners at auction. In Africa, Participating clubs and combines receive a share of the proceeds of the birds that are auctioned in their area. I will sell all of the birds that complete the program, With my skills as a handler, with my luck as a person, and with the grace of God, 200 may survive, maybe lots more. Even at 100.00 per bird, that means about $ 10,000.00 will be distributed to about 100 clubs.

This gift will have a few strings attached. We expect to hear back what was done with the money and what were the results.

I have two friends who are publishers and both will be interested in the outcome of this project. Both enjoy a good news story and we all know we need a few good news stories. You will see the results in print.

Those who are upset because you have to buy back your bird, your only paying half the price of the sale and your contribution will hopefully increase the participation level of our hobby.

For me, my community grows. One hundred clubs will welcome me in.

Again, Happy New Year and Best Wishes for 2017. Hope to see your name on our breeders list soon.

Rick and Linda Broere




       I had a diary once, I was young. I found out all the girls, and some of the guys, wrote lots of stuff in them. You could look back and remember when. I wrote a few things, like stuff that I had done the night before. Apparently, diary means open it and read it to Dutch mothers. Mom told Dad and Dad told Rick and Rick burned the damn book.

       I promise never to write about last weeks escapades but I will keep you informed about our race and pigeon news in general. I know how nice it feels to be informed and how frustrating it can be when you don't know what's going on.

       Jim and Judy spent 11 years running the Empire Classic. There's not one thing they haven't had to deal with and solve. Our intension is not to reinvent the wheel, we just plan on polishing the spokes and adding white walls.  

       What was once old, will be new again. Pooling, Saturday evening loft auction, potluck supper, Sunday dinner and whatever more we can think up before the spring. We'll also have the auction of birds after the races. Read our home page end for end, find out what we've done.

I'll keep in touch. Rick

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