An attractive option

With armchair pigeon racing, all the work is done for you. You just have to breed the youngsters you enter, writes Thomas Smit.

An attractive option
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Belonging to a pigeon club can be downright unpleasant if the chairperson is distatorial and the members prefer to spend their time getting drunk. Often the club is the last place you want to take your family. ‘Armchair racing’ is a way of avoiding all of this nonsense.

It involves One-Day Lofts, which, as most readers will know, are ‘communal lofts’ that train young pigeons for races on behalf of fanciers.The entry fee varies from R750 to R6 000 and includes the training, feeding and health management of the pigeons. The fancier also relinquishes ownership of the pigeons entered, which are auctioned after the final race. Because they come from a good gene pool, some pigeons are often auctioned for more money than they’ve won in the race!

Other attractive benefits of armchair racing and One-Day Lofts include:

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  • Prize money. In addition to the grand final that generally pays out anything from R50 000 to R100 000 to the owner of the winning pigeon, there are a number of pre-final consolation prizes. The ‘big three’ One-Day Lofts races – the Sun City Million Dollar Pigeon Race, the Dinokeng One Loft Pigeon Race and the South African Invitational Pigeon Race – all have prize packages running into millions.
  • International recognition.
    Top performers earn their breeders worldwide acclaim – and a demand for birds from their gene pool.
  • No work. All the work is done for you. All you have to do is breed the youngsters you enter. So armchair racing is particularly suited to fanciers with limited free time.
  • Quality control. You get the chance to test your pigeons against the best in the world – which also sees the quality of the gene pool improved almost from season to season.
  • Level playing field.  All the pigeons entered into One-Day Loft races receive exactly the same training. For example, your pigeons may prefer a westerly wind and will be at a disadvantage in a race where an easterly wind blows – this doesn’t happen with One-Day Lofts.
  • Budget racing. Active pigeon racing requires the training and feeding of between 60 to 100 pigeons, which isn’t cheap. Armchair racing is a more affordable option, because you only need a few breeding pairs of superior quality, a smaller loft and less feed and routine medication.

Finally, you still get to enjoy the excitement on race day as you may, if you wish, be there to await the arrival of the pigeons.

Contact Thomas Smit on 011 680 4778 or at [email protected]. Please state ‘Pigeons’ in the subject line.