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Widowhood and its methods - Questions and answers (part 4)

It seems to us the best way, to inform you of widowhood methods, in the form of questions and answers which will give a comlete and detailed study about this subject. It will consequently become a dialogue between a novice and an expert who is prepared to instruct and pass on knowledge obtained by long experience.

22. And what about the cocks. Are they allowed to eat and drink their fill on arrival from a race?

We know several champions who work on different lines. This shows, that also on this point there is no strict line of action. In our loft we have in each nestbox a small pot filled with water. But the water is never cold. We place it in the nestbox so that it is, on arrival of the bird, at loft temperature. On arrival there is never any corn in their nest boxes, except a small amount of small seeds which is always there, even when they come back from a training flight, and it is always in the same place. A half hour after the removal of the hens they are given a light meal.

23. How long is a widower allowed to stay with its hen after returning from a race?

Here also there is no hard and fast rule. We have known fanciers who had good results and followed complete opposite methods.
Generally, the question must be looked at this way : The principle of the widowhood method is, to deny the cock to have any sexual contact with its hen during the week, it is only allowed, as a reward, on the Sunday after it has accomplished its task. After the widower has arrived and been clocked, it is allowed to drink and eat the small amount of seeds which is placed in its nest box and after it has had some rest it is allowed to stay with its hen. Once they are together one can leave them alone. The time they are allowed to stay together depends on the following circumstances : When it has been an easy race and the widower does not show any signs of tiredness and is very ardent, the time will be short. In principle, frequent pairings must be avoided, especially if the widower is sent to a race the following week. If the cock is sent to a race in the middle of the same week, no pairings at all are allowed. In general, one leaves the birds together when it concerns short distance flyers which are raced again the following Sunday.

24. What about the other birds?

The time given, for armorous love-making depends on the flown distance and the state the bird is in when it returns from the race. When it is overtired it is kept locked up in the nest-box from a half to one hour before it is allowed to go to its hen. In the given circumstances, ther is hardly any danger of too frequent pairings. Nevertheless remember that when the bird is overtired, it must be a last given, a fortnight rest, before it is send to another race.

25. Are there any fanciers, who during the whole racing season stop the least amorous advances?

Since the widowhood method is practised, all kind of possible proceedings are tried out. Some widowhood flyers who have denied their cocks, during the whole racing season, the least of satisfaction, have obtained good results. Some fanciers even use especial fabricated nest-boxes. (A board can be lowered down, if required, so that height of the nest-box is reduced to the height of a pigeon).
In our opinion, such a system must dishearten pigeons that are subjected to it. In any case, it falls outside the principles of the widowhood game, we mentioned.
Our preferenve, at least what concerns the long distance races, leans rather more towards integral widowhood. In other words : No hen at all, so that the cocks flies, simply and solely for the love its loft and nest-box.

26. Must one take away or turn upside down the nest bowls at the same time as the hens are taken away?

When using earthenware bowls, our advice is to take them away rather than turning them upside down, unless one takes the precaution to lay some warm material on the bottem of the bowl. One can also replace the bowls with a block of wood which can be used as a resting place. The ideal in this case is, to use bowls made of cork or flax-fibre. To prevent stopping the ardency of the cock too suddenly our advice is; to let them have the bowl for the whole Sunday. One can take it away on the Monday morning during their first meal or turn it upside down.

27. Is there any special care to be taken when the widowers return from a race?

The most important precaution one has to take is : that on the Sunday, especialy when the race turned out a long and hard one, not to give them their ordinary mixture but instead of that a light mixture consisting of toasted bread, rape-seed, rice, dari and some wheat on a basis of 15 to 20 gram per bird and one can add to the drinking water, a teaspoon of honey on every litre od water.

28. Are you a supporter of a purgative?

Yes we are, but as it is used by some fanciers, that is by giving it every Sunday. This procee² dure is, with well looked after and well fed widowers, absolutely unneccessary. It is only neccessary when the owner or manager uses harmful concoctions, to clean and discharge the organism or when they are given an excessive amount of constipating grains. Instead of a purgative, one can give them full cream but not boiled milk. This, for pigeons, is a excellent laxative.