Article 3

Prelude to Part 2
By Jack Barkel

In part one we mentioned form, but concentrated on condition, I have kept them separate as they need two entirely different approaches to make them work for you. As I said in the previous article, when I am approached to explain condition my opening statement is CONDITION IS VISIBLE, and when asked to explain form, my opening statement is FORM IS INVISIBLE. Once a fancier can accept this, he is well on the path to using both to his best advantage. The reader must understand, that there are many who will, and do disagree with what I am about to reveal, but let me assure you these people have never really mastered the art. They take short cuts and say, they still reach peak form, or that they fly widowhood ( a future article) and even make such remarks as, they fly Semi- Widowhood. Before continuing let me say there is no such thing as semi or half widowhood, one either follows it fully with the variations or it will not work, no matter what the critics say.
We explained that condition was more or less a monthly cycle, whereas form is an Annual cycle and has a time of the year when it will manifest itself naturally, but can be made to manifest itself at a time which is best to the pigeon fanciers advantage. It will increase this form over an average period of Seven Weeks, but can be increased to ten weeks. Once it is gone it is gone for the year, and nothing tried in this day and age or previously has ever been found to bring it back again that season. When a pigeon has reached its peak form, you can usually see an immediate decline in performance from then onwards, the more you practice this art the more you will come to recognize when it happens and when the decline is going to happen. The bird at this peak in his period of health will give the performance of his life if it has the necessary attributes. To send it again after this supreme effort can destroy its kidneys and liver and even the heart for life. I often wonder how many of us have butchered our best bird in the urge to get that extra win.
In the Northern Hemisphere the races usually commence in the Spring and Old Bird races last plus or minus eight to ten weeks. This allows N.H. fanciers to race one team and also to allow them to come into form naturally all at the same time, unless some are only earmarked for the long distance races and then must be brought into form a little later than the short to middle distance birds, The fancier who thinks he can do the latter in the one loft is kidding himself, and is not racing on form but condition. There will most likely come a time when a pigeon in a loft like this will hit form by accident and the owner spends the next couple of years trying to ascertain what he did right. Preparation for me is the be all and end all of great success, have you noticed that the classics are dominated in good lofts by the same pigeon at the same time of the year, several years in succession. Show me this fancier and I will show you a fancier that has mastered the art of pigeon racing. When he is accused of being a mob flyer he sends one bird to the National and beats all his critics. This happens , I can quote many cases that have been written about and recorded, I have every respect for the fancier who wins a National or scores well up in the prizes, but the person who makes a habit of it is the person to whom we must try and borrow a leaf out of their book. Unfortunately very few of these greats are prepared to make the same effort to help others. I once asked one of these great fanciers the reason for their silence, he explained that while they do not attempt to help they are respected by all, but once they try to tell others how it is done, they are subjected to verbal harassment, ridicule, insults and much more. Well, I am not one of the greats, but I am in possession of some of the greatest secrets known to the pigeon racing fraternity and will be prepared to volunteer this information to the people who would like to come along with me on these weekly articles.
In the Southern Hemisphere the pattern is very different, June ,July and August are the winter months and that is the commencement of our races also. Because it is very cold the birds do not wish to mate and some have not fully completed the moult, we can not go through the process of breeding young birds to follow straight on after the old bird races so we usually have twenty or more Old Bird Races. Because of this we need to induce three separate teams to hit form at three separate times slightly overlapping each other, one seven weeks batch or team taking over after the other. The S.H. fanciers that are not aware of this form pair up all their birds at the same time and the majority of these will then come into form at the same time. The records will prove me right that the fancier who fits this category will specialize at the period of ninety days after they paired up their birds and the rest of the season they will only have moderate success. If one only has moderate fanciers in a club or Federation it does not matter much, but if the competition is of world class standards then such a fancier can have no more than 40% highs and no less than 60% lows.
All of this may sound long winded, and I have tried to keep it interesting, my main object being to try and induce the fancier to see that we are using the knowledge available that we can liken to the tip of the iceberg. The other 66 % of the iceberg is where we need to be if we are to progress much further than we are already. In next weeks issue we will reveal how to make this all happen for you at the time you need to make it happen, in other words, you will be in control completely of which races a particular bird will give you of its best. This will take out a lot of the guess work of when to have your birds come into form. In the weeks ahead while still on the subject of racing we will cover Natural Methods and tricks, widowhood, Roundabout System, Celibacy, jealousy, purging, purifying, before eventually moving on to breeding techniques, eyesign, and many many general everyday tips. I do not profess to know it all, but I will reveal the knowledge I have gained in my sojourn through the pigeon world. This article may appear to contain very little of value, but I feel that without this prelude or run up to the next article, we could easily miss the importance of form and its preferance to only racing on condition.

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Jack Barkel