For the love of these birds



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Not a lot can be said here that is not already said on the American Trenton Breeders web site. They are the authority, both on and off the web. They are the unsung heroes who have kept the Hall of Fame Strain alive and well. The proof of that, is in the birds.

When my second childhood started to kick in a few years ago I built a loft and went looking for some racers. I had them as a kid from the time I was about 13, up until I went into the Army, at the end of 1973. I guess life is as good when you get old as it is when you are young. So I turned to the remembered comfort and joy I found with my birds.
  

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So why Trentons? Why not one of the more recently developed strains? Why not some other old strain? For me, I was in love with the idea that a pigeon could fly 600 miles (1000 km), or more, and return home, all in the same day. I had no idea what it took to get them to the point of being able to fly 600 miles in a day. That wasn't the only thing I didn't know about these fantastic birds. What I have learned, I wish to share with anyone who wants to know and is willing to try.

There aren't any secrets. No special products to buy. All you need is a true love for your birds. You need to really listen to the old timers when you find something written by them or are lucky enough to meet them. And just to clarify ... I'm old, but not an old timer.  I have put into practice what I have read and re-read. The birds have been the greatest teachers. They have shown me what they don't want, what they don't like and what they will not put up with. And so I have learned. And they have rewarded me with behavior befitting some pets. The joy received is as much as I can take.

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All racing pigeons need certain things. You can treat all racing pigeons like a Trenton, but you can not treat a Trenton like all other racing pigeons. If you suffer from losses by just letting your birds out, you should read on. If you think Trentons get lost on their way to their water, read on.

For me, the hands down, last word on raising and training Trentons is Conrad Mahr. I cherish my copy of "I kept Them Flying". If you can get a copy you should. Read beyond the mechanics of keeping, raising and training Trentons. You will see he had a true love and respect for his birds. The same can be said of Fred Shaw and other greats in our sport. They all treat their birds as a treasure to keep and nourish. They also spent time with their birds, feeding, cleaning and just looking. And that is what Trentons respond to. Your time with them. If you aren't around how can they tell you what's wrong and show you what's right?

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Trentons don't like to be made to do something. They aren't lazy, just strong willed. The same will that brings them home. I have a couple of birds that just hate to be handled. I don't mean looked over. They don't want to even be picked up. But those same birds will usually come to where I need them by tapping on the spot where I need them to be. It's an understanding between us. I won't catch you if you come on over here. Patients and time wins out. If you fight them on this they will one day soon take off and never return. The same goes for flying. Never make a Trenton fly. When they are young they are learning everything and remembering then testing then checking again. That is where they get their confidence. It's built over time. And once they are sure, they will fly. And they will be rock solid for you.

So now they are routing for an hour and a half and it's time to take them down the road. There are two thing that you want to use. The first is their homing ability. The second is their ability to recognize their home territory. That means the first toss will be at five miles. That puts them out of line of sight from what they already know so that their inner compass kicks in but it is still close enough to home so that the familiar shows up in short order. Now they are confident in their choice of direction and are homeward bound. Do this from the four compass points. They seem to get bored if you do this more that twice. And that will lead them to knowing where home is and then flying around to get their exercise. The next distance will be 10 miles. Then twenty.

So if you shouldn't make them fly how do you know if they are ready to keep going down the road? Well a bird that goes Kamikaze on you in the loft when you are collecting them for the carrier doesn't want to fly. If by some chance a bird stays in the carrier at release time, It doesn't want to fly. If you make them they will have the final say and never return home. Strong will and determination make them come home and make them say "bye-bye I tried to tell you".

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