The Red King family of Bradbury Lofts

Buks Bradbury was practically born in the pigeon lofts of his father Peter, but only took up the sport later in life.

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He and his wife Adrie and their sons Morne and Shawn race pigeons under the name Bradbury Lofts. The success of Red Danger stimulated the Bradburys to test the ability of red pigeons, and since then their birds have consistently scored highly.

The Bradburys have been members of the extra-competitive Alberton Racing Pigeon Club for six years. Since the club has dual membership of the Transvaal Homing Union and the Transvaal Racing Pigeon Federation, Bradbury Lofts have achieved top honours against thousands of pigeons.

Formation of the Red King family

The foundation sire and grandsire of the loft and the key foundation bird of the Red King family is Mealy Cock (band number 17279-96 Trpf). Bradbury mated it to a light chequer-pied hen, the product of a sire-to-daughter mating from the old Huyskens Van Riel family.

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Red Danger, a bold red-chequered hen, was one of the first direct chicks of the above pair to be raced. She scored a commendable second position and then an outright win. She was subsequently named Red Danger and became the pride of the loft, scoring tenth position in the prestigious car race.

Red King (band number 17034-02 Trpf) was also bred from the above pair and is a full brother to Red Danger. As a baby it was rung with a R200 ring to qualify it for numeral race events for huge cash prizes. However, champion fancier Silas Willis identified this young red cock’s superior quality and recommended that it be transferred directly to the stock loft. This decision paid off: Red King went on to sire at least five direct winners for Bradbury Lofts, and his chicks are breeding winners. The Red Star hen (band number 17034-02 Trpf) was bred in the same year as the Red King and also taken directly to stock.

Her sire was the foundation Mealy Cock, and her dam was a deep-keeled hen of the Huyskens Van Riel strain (band number 17932-99 Thu) obtained from the late KC Van Wyk. Red Star is thus a half-sister of Red King. Bred when Red King and Red Star were mated as an experimental pair, Red Pied Annelie scored numerous top positions and won the prestigious yearling Derby. The hen Double Winner Red (band number 12274-03 Thu) won two race events and came 23rd in the prestigious bakkie race. She was bred from Red King and a dark-chequered pied hen (band number 14885-00 Thu) bought from Silas Willis. The Sales Hen (band number 19058-03 Trpf) a fine medium-sized blue-barred hen, won R17 910 at a special race event. Red Danger, mentioned above, was mated to her grandsire (on her dam’s side) to produce the Sales Hen.

Bred to be red

The birds’ general physical features include a powerful casing with flexible muscles of distinguished value. The back/tail attachments are strong and the vent bones are tightly knitted together.

The keel bone tapers in a perfectly balanced curve. The birds are bold-headed with bright shining eyes of yellow/red, chestnut and violet colouration. The wings tend to show a notable step-up between the primary and secondary sections.
Most of the winning birds also bred winning offspring, down to the third and fourth generation. In red pigeons, this is an extraordinary accomplishment. Next week I will discuss the training methods of Bradbury Lofts. – Thomas Smit