B.B.C. Messac 14th May 2011
-Steve Appleby- -XC Windmap UK- -XC Windmap France-
This week it is Messac 276 miles and 18 yards and the latebred yearlings will go for their first race. I am a little apprehensive about this as I have not reared and raced latebred’s like this before. So it will be a steep learning curve for them and for me. I have started to put sunflower oil on the racers feed this week primarily because of these yearlings, I want to make sure that if they have the desire and ability to get home then they have the energy to do so as well. The racing mix has changed a bit this year as I have reduced the amount of maize. When on the International convoys the main feed is maize so it is/was important to give them the experience of maize in the run up to the races but now that importance has gone, so I have gone over to a mix with a large proportion of wheat, followed by barley then beans, sunflower seed and a smaller amount of maize. This is topped up at the evening feed with linseed, as I have it, rape or hemp. As the distances get longer, usually after Messac, I start to add oil by soaking the feed in it and leaving it for a while to dry into the feed. If it is still a bit moist then I normally dry it off by adding either brewer’s yeast or my mixture of blocks, brewer’s yeast and minerals. Unfortunately GB09J31661 has not yet returned from Alencon so it seems unlikely that he will go while the yearling 220 who got an eye injury on the last toss seems to be recovering well, so he may go, but I will leave that decision till Thursday morning.

Thursday 12th May marking went well and smoothly at Walkern and all 24 pigeons sent. 220's eye seems to have healed OK and they all seem fit and well.

Saturday 14th May taken from B.B.C. Web site:

"Good morning the birds have arrived safely at Messac at 1130hrs.

Conditions look promising for a race tomorrow and therefore I will update this line by 0730hrs in the morning."

No sign of liberation yet at  0830 although the B.I.C.C. Did liberate at Falaise at 0715 into a light North West wind.

Again taken from the B.B.C. Web site and self explanatory I think:

"Firstly sorry for the delay with this news but the website was down this morning and I've spent the last two hours with customer support trying to resolve the problem.

Any way the good news the birds were liberated at 0630hrs in clear blue skies and no wind - please do not forget to verify your first bird and ignore any request for a wing stamp as the birds were not wing stamped - good luck to you all."

0808 UK
Steve Appleby


After receiving the weather data this morning and analysing the conditions, conclusions arrived at can only be described as excellent for racing. The North Westerly air flow coming off the Atlantic is bringing good quality air producing visibility as far as the eye can see. Some showery activity will develop as temperatures rise mainly confined to central regions of England leaving southern England and the channel relatively free this morning. Winds overland in France and England light but fresher over the open sea reaching force 4 or 5 . Temperatures will reach a maximum of 16 C. No rain showers have been identified anywhere in the south of England or the channel at this time. (11:30 am)


Weather : Mainly sunny but feeling cool.

Max : 16 °C

Visibility : Good.

Wind : Northwest moderate F4 increasing to fresh force 5.
Sunday 15th May
Judging by the order they returned this was a little harder than I would have anticipated. It is almost 100 miles further than Carentan but here they had a North West wind, gusting up to 20+ mph, which you would have thought would have assisted them a little more than the NE they had at Carentan. The first pigeon home was 951 who has always been fairly consistent but never found his way to the front before while 948 who has been first in the last two races was really quite late today. 917 came in first thing on Day 2 together with the yearling 178 which means that thus far 4 yearlings have managed to make it. I said I would be happy with 6 yearlings, and we may of course get another couple through the day, but under these conditions these 4 have proved themselves worthy. The TEAM Order, updated performance and Provisional Result can be found below.