Just thought we need to give the above partnership a mention on our website.
I met Steve Coulter at his home in Wallsend Newcastle one rainy Sunday afternoon, we then drove the short distance to the allotments where Steve and his partners race the pigeons.
The lads fly in Wallsend Central Club which now sadly, like many, is only a small club, it’s affiliated to Newcastle Fed and the new North Amal.
The partnership consists of Steve age 54, Ray 63 and Frank 66. I can only really give you the run down on Steve as he was the guy available at the time of my visit. Well Steve started racing pigeons in 1977 and moved to the current location in 2013.
The main strain in the loft are from Dave Baron, Graham Calvert , Paul Stobbs and Frank Shearer. These are the old Soontjens which Steve and the lads have blended into a fantastic winning family, the pigeons all looked like each other a real family of pigeons.
Well let’s start with the routine. All pigeons in the loft are vaccinated against paramyxovirus in October when the season is finished as this makes things lots easier with no rushing or things having to be done at the last minute.
The stock pigeons are paired the first week in December, all pigeons are tested and given the appropriate treatments if need be, these rear two rounds of young birds approximately 100 which are Steve’s young bird team, any which don’t look or handle right are disposed of, no weakness of any kind is tolerated no matter what it’s off.
The race team get paired the first week in January and all rear a round of young birds, then after severe selection these are all for sale, nothing is kept back and at the time of my visit Steve had at least 30 federation winners in the loft many of them in the race loft so quality is assured. Steve actually had 17 federation winners reported to him from last years batch which in anybody’s eyes is tremendous!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Once young birds are reared Steve splits the race team and the routine starts. Strict regimentation is adhered to with the hens let out at first light for 1 hour excise then the cocks follow the same routine, the hens go back out at 2.30 pm
Followed by the cocks at 3.30pm. Old bird training starts the middle of March weather permitting with cocks and hens being trained 3 times a week from 30 miles. Both cocks and hens are liberated together Steve think this keeps the pigeons very lively and happy. Their metabolism working at a healthy rate. Steve uses vanrobaeys numbers 37 for the morning feed 39 for the evening feed Monday to Friday and Fridays are supplemented with number 35 fats mix, Steve gives the pigeons as much as they can eat and leaves the evening feed in all night. Any food left the next morning is given to the stock birds. All birds race every week until the national race comes round where Steve selects pigeons for certain distances.
The young bird team are vaccinated on weaning Steve thinks this is a must especially in the current climate of PMV cases. Steve can’t understand when he hears people say we don’t vaccinate until a month before the young bird racing starts, well if you were on a six month tour of Afghanistan would you only put your bullet proof vest on for the last month, why take the chance??
Once weaned for the first month young birds get breed and wean they go onto number 37 and super diet 50%-50% they are now on a strict ration. Steve now wants the young birds in the sky as soon as possible. In the past he’s had young birds on the ground to long with disastrous results, unable to get them going flying for 2/3 minutes with their mouths open. This doesn’t happen now. Steve’s advice is get those YBS in the sky as sharp as possible it will save you a lot of stress.
Training for the young birds starts middle to the end of June, Steve likes to see the young birds running well before training starts. Three weeks before the young bird racing starts the corn is changed to the feed what the old birds race on, only this is measured and they are fed three time a day.
Treatment is by observation and testing. When a problem is found the appropriate treatment is used but he did say regular use of quality supplements have reduced his use of antibiotics.
The loft is possibly 60 feet long, ventilation is through the roof only, although Steve does have portable aviaries. The front of the loft is polycarbonate from roof to ground level but when you are inside the bottom half of the loft is timber. There was no smell of pigeons and it seemed the perfect environment even in the summer. Steve said it never got too hot not even on the very hot summer days.
I asked Steve about health issues and his answer was like every one else. I get occasional problems but found that supplementation with quality products play a big part in keeping them healthy. He particularly likes BOTANICALS Oligoelememts, Medilyte, Entrofluid and Aviform 9 in 1.
This year the loft had 23 club wins, 7 is federation wins and 138 federation positions in the first 20. In the last 10 years they have 63 first federation wins numerous seconds thirds and fourths plus 11 times first Amal. They have also bred many winners for other people.