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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This maybe an old retread thread, but I thought I should bring it up again. In the previous year and this year as well, I've have put my breeders together on Thanksgiving weekend. And by the first of January, I have youngsters ready to be banded. However, I learned (yes, I didn't learn the first year) that it's extremely difficult to train young birds properly. The weather is still too cold and the snow covers much of the ground so the birds, when up in the air, can get confused. The five week learning period that is crucial to the development of the young bird's homing ability is hindered by the fact that the window for training is unstable. Every day is basically hit or miss. And the longer you wait, the more mature the young bird becomes and sometimes, you have fly aways. I had my first fly away yesterday. And this has forced me to rethink when I should put my breeders together. Just a thought I'd like to share with the rest of you.
 

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I hear you loud and clear. I go through this every year. Every year, except this year, I was able to get my YB's out by March 1st, (the first round) and that puts them at about 60 days old, give or take. I also had one fly off when I FINALLY got mine out for the first time on the 9th of March.
It's really a toss up of what's more important.......early youngsters that can handle what you throw at them come race time, because they ARE more mature, or later youngsters.........which means there's likely to be less fly aways off of the loft, but then, when it comes time to race, you've got birds that are molting at all kinds of crazy stages, and you have to pick and choose who's got the best feather cover, while some may have naked heads/ears, etc...........
For me personally, when race time rolls around, I can send any YB that I have because they have all molted completely already (for the most part)..........I might have a few that are still dropping a few flights......but I always have more birds than can be shipped anyway, so choosing which ones can go and which ones shouldn't isn't a difficult decision to make.
This year has been particularly hard, because we had the coldest weather that we've seen in many many years....not to mention one snow storm that dropped more snow than the area has seen in about 10 years........but, for the most part, raising babies in the winter here isn't THAT difficult.
You being in MN, I'm sure, see it a lot harder than I do. IF I lived up there.......I'm sure I'd rethink the way I do things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This past winter has been one of the coldest ever in Minnesota! There was a whole week when the daytime temperture didn't reach above -10!!! With that said, I'm going to darken my birds in 1/2 months. This should molt the birds in time for the races.
 

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This maybe an old retread thread, but I thought I should bring it up again. In the previous year and this year as well, I've have put my breeders together on Thanksgiving weekend. And by the first of January, I have youngsters ready to be banded. However, I learned (yes, I didn't learn the first year) that it's extremely difficult to train young birds properly. The weather is still too cold and the snow covers much of the ground so the birds, when up in the air, can get confused. The five week learning period that is crucial to the development of the young bird's homing ability is hindered by the fact that the window for training is unstable. Every day is basically hit or miss. And the longer you wait, the more mature the young bird becomes and sometimes, you have fly aways. I had my first fly away yesterday. And this has forced me to rethink when I should put my breeders together. Just a thought I'd like to share with the rest of you.
Even if there is no snow....and the sky is blue, and it's say March....a hawk can dive in and scatter the birds to the four winds. So as far as I am concerned, there will be "confused" birds at times, regardless of when you pair them together. The early pairings allow you to get an extra round in there, and the first set will have extra issues, but that is why we use to pair in the first weeks of Feb. Having said all that, come Sept and Oct races, my Jan banded birds, will be very mature, and look like yearlings. Those late hatches in May, typically don't stand a chance.
 
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