DERRICK CHOI: Champion Pigeon Breeder and Competitive Homing Pigeon Racing Enthusiast Talks About the Perfect Hobby
December 3, 2013 | By: REACH Knowledge Magazine Pigeon Talk
Derrick Choi Champion Pigeon Racer
REACH: For pichons (young pigeons), how young do you train the birds to fly back to the loft, and how old are the pigeons when you choose to start them off in race competitions?
DERRICK CHOI / WILBERT SOLANO: The birds are usually allowed to train as soon as 8 weeks old. They are allowed to orient themselves with the loft and the surrounding area, remembering geographic markers and flying exercises within the vicinity of the loft. Then for a 10 km distance from the loft, we take them in covered cages and release them to find their way home. The birds that maintain a 700mph speed or higher for a few weeks of training practice are retained for the flying team. Some of our best birds can fly at over 1,200mph. Birds slower than 700mph are culled. From 6 months old, after several distance training sessions (10kms, then 15kms, then farther away), the birds that make the speed marker are entered into competitions once the racing season starts. There are competitions that allow only young pigeons—under a year old, and there are competitions that only allow for birds that are at least a year old or older.
REACH: Last we checked, there are around 70 plus pigeon clubs all around the Philippines, How lucrative are the prizes for hobbyists and fanciers to go all out in producing and breeding the best homing pigeon racers?
DERRICK CHOI / WILBERT SOLANO: There is a racing season that sometimes runs to 7 consecutive races, one every weekend. So our birds must be managed well to go all out every race and recover in the week between the next race and the next. Each club holds its own races. Sometimes there are races held with other regional clubs. Sometimes the weekend races wear out the weaker breeders who do not understand the science of pigeon handling and breeding. But when managed well by handlers and a feeding and conditioning system before the racing season, a good breeder can go head to head with his club’s best members and even opposing clubs top breeders and his flyers can race week in and week out. Top prize can reach up to P2.5 million to be split among finishers of a certain time span. As a hobby, nothing beats seeing your best birds day in and day out growing into champions after a few racing matches. Champion lines are usually kept within a breeder’s own flock and rarely sold except to special friends. A champion racer’s line is usually locked in and cross-bred or in-bred until all its genetic characteristics are recovered up to 90 plus percent of the original. We prefer to cross-breed rather than in-breed our best flyers.
REACH: Is there any feeding regimen you follow for training before the racing season?
DERRICK CHOI / WILBERT SOLANO: Best thing about our regimen is that the feed mix we use is already set for optimum performance,and proven by our racing stints. Newtree has the best conditioning feeds and performance boosting feeds. No worries about adjusting the feed mix for our competition pigeons.
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