News and Updates
Sep-02-2020
SMOKE, SMOKE, SMOKE

We have a local fire about 25 miles north of us which is creating a lot of smoke in the air, 33,000 acres have already burned.  We are having unseasonably high temps with no humidity and some wind which is a perfect recipe for desert grass fires.  The wind shifted today so it was nice and clear out here where we live so we decided to conduct our 6th inventory.  

Providing the air is clear of smoke, we plan to start road training next week.  

Health is still holding, it has been a month since a bird had to be removed from the loft due to sickness.  There were four birds in the sick bay pens and three were returned today which had bruised wing joints from colliding with other birds while loft flying, these three flew off like they were never injured.  One bird will be in sick bay for a few more days which had loose droppings.  

Our emails were deleted and I know there were two individuals who needed a response.  One of you sent fees early in the year but did not send birds, another had a brother who died.  If you are reading this please send another email and we will address your individual concerns.  

If we do not send out another update before Labor Day, we hope all of you have as best of a Labor Day weekend that you possibly can despite the current pandemic we are still struggling to get through.

 

Rick & Olga

 

 

 

Aug-20-2020
INVENTORY YESTERDAY

Good morning everyone!

We ran a loft flying inventory yesterday and while doing so a young Cooper Hawk decided to show up.  Needless to say the birds got spooked and by the end of the day we were missing 8 pigeons.  Hopefully on the next inventory the birds will show up.  

Again, fairly sure we are going to wait to start training after Labor Day.  It will be a bit cooler by then, opening dove season weekend will be over, the birds will be a bit older and routing more, and hopefully these NW fires will be no more.  

Birds are super healthy this year, if anything was going to happen health wise it would of already of happened by now.  

 

Rick & Olga 

Aug-18-2020
AUG 18 UPDATE

Good afternoon Apple Cup breeders! 

The birds 9th and 10th flights are in now and they are starting to route again like they had started to do before we pulled flights, checked chips, and did a overall health check.  However, we are experiencing a record breaking heat wave and have had brush fires in and around our city of Yakima the last few days.  We will keep a watchful eye on the temps and the air quality and try to decide when it is best to start training, before Labor Day or right after.  We are leaning on starting right after Labor Day, however if it cools down a bit and the air is clear we will do some short tosses before Labor Day.  If we start after Labor Day weekend we will train the whole month of September and get the races in during October, final will be toward the end of October.  

Health is perfect!  I can not remember the last time a bird died, let alone get sick.  Lets all hope and pray it stays this way!

Olga and I both hope all of you good luck in any and all races you may be entered in this year and that you and your family are staying safe.  

 

Rick & Olga 

Aug-09-2020
4TH INVENTORY

While writing this we are still conducting our 4th loft flyng inventory for 2020. 

We have had a juvenile Peregrine that has showed up twice now, the beginning of fall migration has unfortunately arrived again! 

We have started to lightly flag the birds early AM so they can get some wing time again after having had their 9th and 10th flights pulled a little over a month ago.  If the birds are routing, which they were before having their flights pulled back in July, we will start road training in about two weeks.  Road training may be suspended until right after Labor Day weekend if the birds are not routing to our liking, if it is still too hot, birds of prey pressure, and if there are still NW fires which make the air smokey along the training course.  Basically in a nutshell, we are going to do what is best for the birds and we are held to no absolute schedule.  If we can not start in 2 weeks we will train all of September and have the first race the beginning of October and hopefully have the series finished in October. 

Flights are coming in nicely and wlll be completely molted in by about two weeks.

Health is better this year than in the four years prior, crossing fingers that it stays this way!

Hope all are staying cool and safe!

 

Rick & Olga

 

Jul-29-2020
JULY 29TH UPDATE

Yesterday we ran another inventory, had one come up missing yesterday but it clocked in this morning.  This is the third inventory in the last 20 days and we are hanging tough at 1464 birds in the loft since the first inventory.  As per our rules, if you have a bird come up missing BEFORE the first training toss you will get a free perch redeemable the VERY NEXT YEAR. 

Health of the birds is maintaining.  Seems any "bugs" they may of had, which any One Loft Race faces each year, has come and gone and now we are enjoying the fruits of our labor with very few sick birds this year.  The waterers are disinfected every single day and the loft is scraped and sparayed down with Virkon S, in our opinion having done this five years now those two things in combination daily makes a huge difference!  

Every day we catch birds while walking through the loft caring for them.  The 9th and 10th flights are coming in nicely and the birds are starting to fly again, not all by many.  In another week or so we suspect they will be flying high and for some time again.  Once the flights are all the way in and the birds are flying well on their own we will start planning for road training.  We are not in a huge hurry as we have lots of time before the winter weather arrives.  It is supposed to be 107F tomorrow and close to 100F for several days thereafter, we will wait until it cools off to do any road training and we also hear there are fires down in Oregon which is the direction in which we train and ultimately race.  So please be patient everyone, we are going to do what is in the best interest for the birds and we have no absolute time schedule that we need to stick by however we do hope to have the final race in October, preferably early October not late but just depends upon the weather. 

Good luck to everyone this year in the 5th year of the Apple Cup and in any one loft races you have entered!

 

Rick & Olga

 

Jul-20-2020
JULY 20TH UPDATE

We ran a inventory yesterday, as you can see same number as the last inventory 10 days prior. 

Your birds go out of the loft every single day.  We have found that by allowing them out to play every day it greatly helps in maintaining health.  If the birds are locked up for several days this is when you can run in to problems in a one loft race, especially with respiratory.  

Several birds were examined yesterday to see how the 9th and 10th flights are coming in after pulling them the day prior to the first inventory.  They are coming in nicely and all dozen or so birds handled were healthy and had nice clear throats and eyes.  

Droppings look perfect every morning before scraping and sparaying the loft down with Virkon S.  

Some of the birds are already trying to exercise on their own, we do not force them to fly when they are still growing in their end flights.  About a week before road training starts we will flag them for several days just to make sure they all can fly on their own for at least 30 minutes.  Some will fly for seemingly 2 hours or more, many 1 hr, then there is about 5% each year that just seem glued to the roof unless a Red Tail Hawk or a raven fly over which gets them all going.  It is these few that we have to stand on the roof with a long pole running back and forth on a 144' long roof for that makes the neighbors think we are just some crazy bird brains on our side of the fence.  

As stated before, we hope to start training mid August, but this all depends upon how they are flying on their own and how their end flights are coming along.  

Everyone take care and try to stay cool.  

 

Rick & Olga 

Jul-10-2020
FIRST INVENTORY COMPLETE

We are running the clock a second day to see if we can pick up the 4 birds which did not clock in yesterday.  Not sure if they stayed out or piggy backed, which is pretty much impossible with the way our traps are set up.  We purposely made sure the birds were not real hungry or thirsty before letting them out and walk through the traps to scan in so we would not have them bunching up which causes clocking issues, this is why they clocked in so slowly yesterday and it was also pretty cool.  The TauRUS system we use is very sensitive as far as reading the chips goes and the chips are very sensitive.  We have held them 2 inches above the pads and they still read.

If you have a bird missing before the first training toss you get a free perch the next year, as per our rules.  Once training starts there are no free perches for lost birds lost on training tosses.  

Hope everyone is staying cool, it is starting to warm up here.  

 

Rick & Olga 

Jul-09-2020
INVENTORY TOMORROW

We finally got done assigning the chips today, pulling the 9th and 10th flights, and giving the birds a overall health check.  Out of exactly 1,500 birds we brought in, we are VERY PLEASED to announce that there are 1464 birds in the loft.  This means that only 36 birds were lost during settling, and keep in mind that some of these may of not been lost during settling they may of injured themselves while away from the loft out routing our trying their wings for the first time.  Often times the first few times they are out they collide with eachother and sometimes we find injured birds around the loft, it goes without saying that collisions do happen away from the loft that we do not see as well as birds hitting wires, trees, fences, etc.  For those of you who keep stats, this comes out to a loss of 2.4% during the settling process, we will take that any year!

The birds looked excellent, and I do mean excellent!  Since they just had their flights pulled they will not be forced to fly, rather they will be allowed to come out on their own accord.  About a week before we plan to road train we will force the few who seemingly do not want to fly on their own by flagging, this usually is only about 5% from our experience. 

Almost forgot, of the 36 birds missing only one breeder had more than one bird missing.  The one breeder who has two birds missing only sent two and if I remember correctly they were extremely older birds which we decided to take a chance on.  If any of you loft flew your birds before sending, or if you lightly road trained I want to know if they are still here just for my own knowledge.  My friend Ken Easley sent two a few years back which he had trained out to 100 miles, one stuck around the other was gone the first time they went out.  This is a pretty easy place to settle pigeons since we are wide open out in the desert and everyone out here is pretty spread apart with 5-10 acres each.  To the west there is no one and this is kinda where the birds come from on race day if it is not windy so we can see the birds arriving from way off in the distance which adds to the excitement!

Again, Olga and I are extremely sorry for taking so long getting this first inventory done for all of you and we explained why several times.  We have decided that next year we will simply limit the number of birds we take in so that we do not have to add on to the loft.  This year we had clocking problems so just started putting birds in the loft and before we knew it we had about 400 pigeons arrived.  It became apparent that we needed to focus on the loft expansion since we had more birds coming in than I felt comfortable putting in our initial 12' x 84' loft.  Now the loft is 12' X 144' with 3' deep aiviaries, so we can accomodate more birds next year without being distractred by trying to build while accepting birds like we did this year.  We still have some exterior work to do on the loft, once we get that completed and a little painting we will update the photos on our site.  The extension will look just like the pictures on out site, just makes the loft 60' longer is all.  

Everyone take care and hope you enjoy the inventory tomorrow.  Again, sorry it took so damn long!

 

Rick & Olga 

 

 

 

 

Jul-06-2020
9TH AND 10TH FLIGHTS PULLED, CHIP ASSIGNING

Hope everyone had a great Independence Day weekend!

We have went through 750 birds thus far.  Each bird is getting a overall health check to include looking down the throat, pulling any damaged flights to include the 9th and 10th flights, and of course having their chips assigned in to our clocking system.  The birds look absolutely perfect, body weight is good and they feel muscled up from all the loft flying they get which is daily.  This is a time consuming process and we hope to be done mid week and to have a inventory posted late week or Saturday. 

The birds will not be forced to fly while the 9th and 10th flights regrow.  Road training will start in August when the flights are in and the birds are loft flying on their own.

Rick & Olga

 

Jul-03-2020
ASSIGNING CHIPS

We ran in to a computer problem today, got it rectified and was able to get about 200 birds chipped this afternoon.  Now that the problem is resolved it should only take a few days to get caught up, then the much anticipated inventory.

The 9th and 10th flights will also be pulled as well as a health check. 

 

 

Rick & Olga

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