John started racing pigeons in London as soon as he left school and had luck right from the beginning, winning the Federation in his second race. The nest mate to that winner went on to be a fantastic racer winning right up to and including races when he was 6 years old! He soon found out that old pigeons of that age don’t win here.
His first family of birds was a sprint family that were only effective up to 300 miles. These were then replaced with a family that would win from 60 to 600 miles. With those birds he was fortunate enough to win the Fed from 600 miles and the 500 mile Federation for two years running prior to leaving England. Also being the runner up in the famous Tommy Long trophy which was basically the championship of the whole Greater London which has a population approximately the same as the whole of Australia.
John has found that racing is different in Australia in that here the flyers race mostly younger pigeons as against mostly widowhood cocks like Europe. The caring for the birds is the same using basic animal husbandry principles. In fact the same basic methods are being used by John today as he used in the 1960’s in the UK and these same methods allowed him to win the old bird aggregate the first year that he flew here in Australia. 2008 has turned out to be another good year for John having won the Old Bird Aggregate with a record number of points beating the previous record by over 60 points.
He managed to take a fed spot in 19 of the 20 races, eleven of those being in the top four of the fed. His birds are mostly Desmet Matthys, Janssen Van Loons with some Dordins and recently added Wickham blood from Robbie Taylor that has been very successful for him. Another successful recent addition is some Janssen and Janssen Van Loons from Germany that are direct from Wouters birds. Any of you that have read the Janssens book will know Wouters purchased many of the Janssen champions directly from them and flew himself with fantastic results.
John’s 500 mile Fed winner last year is a grand-daughter of his No 1 Desmet Matthys cock. He has been a fantastic breeder for John – as well as breeding 10 birds in the top 10 of the Federation himself, he is now the grandsire of 10 Federation winners.
In Australia, John has found that you need fast developing birds as most of the birds only race in the first of second year of their life. Although most of his birds are European birds, he feels at the distance, the Aussie birds are equal to any in the world, and a cross between the two has been very successful.