Article 4

Sequel to Prelude to Part 2.
By Jack Barkel.

We have gone through the explanations for Condition and Form in the previous articles, I have tried to point out the vast difference between the two and how to look for and use condition, which is the average fancier's method of racing pigeons. I make this statement now, that although my teachings are that of others who have helped me along this road, the explanation of the difference between condition and form belongs to myself. I do not believe it has been written or registered by anyone else, that it is a first and the recognition belongs to me. I will continue to claim recognition for this until someone tries to prove that it was registered before I started to make it known to the pigeon fraternity. The practice has been in operation for the past fifty years, the revelation of what and why it was being practiced has remained one of the hidden mysteries of nature and science. I will now open those doors which should lead us from darkness into light on the subject.
No bird comes into form and I state this emphatically (as if written in stone) until it drops its first primary flight Many of the disillusioned and misinformed, plus the geniuses that think they can change the laws of nature will argue against this and have done so. The pigeon either comes into form at the time programmed by his biological clock, or you the fancier have to engineer this biological clock to suit your requirements. Nature tells the pigeons to mate in Springtime, and can be seen and proved by all living creatures except we the human being, who have lost these gifts by lust and over indulgence in natures gifts to us. We owe our failure or loss to these beautiful gifts of nature through mental progress, only we the human being, fail to recognize the exact time when we can reproduce. All other creatures are still in possession of these beautiful gifts, because their brains have not realized that they can indulge other than at the time of their biological clock. The pigeon is genetically programmed that if you produce a young pigeon whose parents both have a biological clock to come into form say in July month, that young pigeon will inherit that genetic program from both its parents and come into form in July every year. This way, you can also breed birds to come into form at the exact time you need them.
The process of bringing birds into form to suit your required time for the races is as follows:- We pair up our birds 90 (Ninety) days before the first race which we wish them to compete in. It takes 10(Ten) to 12(Twelve) days to lay, 18(Eighteen) days to hatch and another 26 (Twenty Six) days plus or minus for the hen to lay again. Let me say here that if the hen only brings up one chick she will lay a few days sooner than if she has to bring up two chicks. We then allow them to sit the second round for 10 (Ten) days, then remove the hen. The cock will sit another day or so then he looses interest, we then take away the eggs and the nest and within 21(Twenty One) days, this pair will both drop their first primary flight. Please remember your form will increase steadily over the next 7(Seven) weeks. As you become more experienced and professional at the art, you will be able to extend that form up to 10(Ten) weeks. Do not let anyone try to persuade you that they have come into form before this flight has dropped, it is just condition and the joy of bringing up a chick that is giving this false impression of form. If you fail to continue the 90 (Ninety) days process, the bird will still race, but will be late in dropping the first primary flight. This can be an advantage if in the Northern Hemisphere you wish to race the bird right through the old bird season and not earmark it for the short races, but race all and peak in the classic races towards the end of the season. The variations of these phenomena of nature are limitless and as you begin to MASTER THE ART, you may even invent some successful variations of your own.
In the Southern Hemisphere, (remember, the author has flown successfully in both hemispheres) we as I said previously have approximately 21 (Twenty One) weeks of old bird races. Here for the middle and long distance races we need to pair up 90 (Ninety) days before the 1ST race in the middle season team, and the 90(Ninety) Days before the 1ST of the final 7(Seven) weeks which are the long distance races of the season. This is easy if you work it out to the formulae as explained in this article. The big snag comes with the 1st 7(Seven) weeks which begin in mid winter and to pair up Ninety days before would bring them into the middle of their heavy moult. This they can't do, for mating and breeding a chick would halt the moult that is already in deep progress for the Southern Hemisphere birds. Even if this could be overcome the problem still exists that their first race is the middle of winter and nature tells them they cannot start the moult in mid winter and to hold onto the first primary flight. Here again you the fancier can overcome these phenomena by pulling a sneaky trick on nature.
This chapter teaches us "How To Cheat Nature". When a pigeon first commences the moult he drops his No 1 Tail Feathers, to explain which are the No 1 there are Twelve Main Tail Feathers. The No 1 being those just to the outside of the two centre feathers, which if you were to count from the outside towards the centre would be the number 5 feathers. Approximately three weeks before the first race in these winter conditions if you close up your loft, feed ample protein and oil seeds, do not over train, you can remove these two tail feathers and within three weeks these birds should start coming into form.

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Illustration of the Tail Feathers of a pigeon, the two dark feathers being the ones that need to be removed to start the moulting process.

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Illustration of the Tail Feathers showing the two feathers removed, which will trigger commencement of the moult.

Even for my friends in the Northern Hemisphere, this little trick of nature can be to your advantage. Although it is always better to go through the ninety days process and let the pigeon go into the moult naturally, many things can halt this moult. The main culprits being shock from hawks, cats and when a bird catches one of the many diseases that plague the pigeon. These things and many more can halt the moult, then it is beneficial to extract these feathers after rectifying the bird's problem. One famous fancier on tour in South Africa said that if you have a bird that is listless and no amount of medication will cure the bird, then pull his tail out and in three weeks it will show a great improvement in its general health. The person was right, although he only needed to pull out the two feathers as I have illustrated above. What he failed to explain and although he had discovered this cure was maybe not aware. The reason for this improvement in the bird's health, was the fact that the bird through shock or previous illness had stuck in the moult and that once this had been jump started again, the bird returned to its natural well being.
In conclusion I would once more beg of you the readers, that you take an active part in this column, by asking questions. This is the only contact we will have with you and the only way it will continue, is by you the reader writing in and commenting or submitting questions. We need your contribution to keep these articles coming. They are excerpts from a book which I am in the process of writing and I am testing it in part on you the readers out there. You need to go into this site at least once per week live to see the most recent articles. Very little reaction may result in it never being published, so come on folks help me out here. PLEASE.

Questions & Answers to this Article Email your questions to

Ranleigh Delport writes and asks:
Q, Hi Jack
I would like to try this condition thing as an experiment for one or two races. I.E. our sales race in August. You mentioned that a person should train as little as possible. Would that be loft flying or can we take the birds down the road at least once a week. Also, when would you reckon a bird peaks within the seven weeks and would that particular bird be useful in the future.
Does this bird have to be mated or can i just remove the feathers as illustrated.
I hope its not too many questions.
A, The idea was to try and induce the bird to drop its first primary flight, to overtrain will halt the moult procedure, to undertrain can keep you out of the prizes.You must use a very keen judgement on this one. Once a bird peaks and shows a drop in performance you must not use him again until next year, this way he will do it regularly for several years to come. This is what is called "Mastering The Art" To race this bird in August it should have been paired up 90 days before, however you are now too late for this year so take a chance and if it has not dropped the first primary by 5-weeks before this race,you can pull these two tail feathers, you should hit some kind of form by the time required for the race. If the loft is open, your birds will not drop their first flights in July however in South Africa. Phone me , we can discuss it.

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Jack Barkel