Anna Crowley and Richard Green
Richard has been racing pigeons for nearly 30 years having established his loft in 1985. The Crowley and Green partnership was born 6 years later at the Compton Bassett house they still call home today. They initially sought to specialise in sprint/middle distance racing but gradually moved on and set their sights on achieving consistent success at the highest level possible – long distance international pigeon racing.
A Formidable Team
The partnership’s present-day set-up comprises 7 different lofts giving them a total frontage of almost 40 metres. These consist of: 2 stock lofts which contain their 80 pairs of stock birds, 2 young bird race lofts for their 120 young birds and 3 old bird race lofts from which they race 27 widowhood cocks, 32 pairs on total widowhood and 18 hens on roundabout. Armed with their team, the partners endeavour to compete in the whole programme of national races from Guernsey, a distance of 139 miles out to the longest race from Barcelona, a distance of 725 miles.
The old bird race team are mated in early January. The only exceptions to these are the team of roundabout hens who the partners set aside for the long distance events. These are paired in two groups to 9 retired racing cocks. The 9 youngest hens are paired to the cocks at the same time as the other birds and are allowed to hatch and rear a round of youngsters. A few days later the cocks are then re-paired to the other 9 older hens, who are allowed to sit 6 days before the eggs and hens are removed and the hens placed in the adjacent section with the other 9 hens that are all raced on a jealousy system.
The racing of young birds is all about education and enabling the birds to find a good racing line. Whilst the partners use the darkness system to preserve the feathering of the birds and have achieved considerable success in young bird racing, their over-riding aim is to give them an excellent education as a pathway to achieving future success.
The entire team is fed using the Versele Laga range of corn; to which they also add some oils and brewer’s yeast as and when they feel required.
The total widowhood racing loft of Crowley and Green
An outstanding collection of base breeders
The present day family housed by Richard and Anna are a combination of some of Europe’s finest bloodlines. The Roger Maris family were purchased from Peter Hall at Petron Lofts to compete in races up to 350 miles. They immediately put up top performances at classic and national level. A small collection of Leo Van Rijn pigeons was acquired from Mr & Mrs Crane of Rugby and others direct from Leo. Several top class performers have emerged and the family have consistently performed year after year up to 500 miles. In 2009, Richard and Anna acquired 40 youngsters direct from Verreckt-Arien. These youngsters were put on the road and in their first race won 1st, 2nd and 3rd Open WESRC Littlehampton (2,315 birds). Since then they have bred several good birds that have won top positions in National races; the best being 3rd Sec, 17th Open Nat NFC Saintes against 3,617 birds. With the intention of improving their results in the longer distance events, the partners visited Harry Brakele of Maarsen, Holland in 2001 and purchased some young birds to race. The family are bred for long distance racing and are founded around the Samurai lines of Jan and Bram Walpot, the world famous Black Murderers of Marcel Braakhuis and the best from the lofts of Dr Van Der Sluis. These have proven to be Richard and Anna’s best all round family as they perform particularly well as young birds winning 1st National BBC Lamballe and as old birds racing out to 570 miles. Their distance bloodlines were further enhanced by the introduction of 4 pairs from Mark and Gerrard Santens of Oudenaarde, Belgium with 4 cocks being purchased in 2006 followed by 4 hens in 2007. One pair in particular has proven to be a goldmine at stock having bred section winners in the NFC and BBC and a 2nd Section winner in the BICC. The final element to their family is the illustrious pigeons of Martha Van Geel. In 2009 Richard and Anna entered the Barcelona race for the first time and recorded 3rd and 5th national with a brother and sister named Meteor and Minx. They were bred from a Van Geel cock, Young Boris that was purchased from Joe Raeburn. They immediately approached Martha Van Geel and purchased 8 late-breds containing the same van der Wegen De Stefan bloodlines. The hen which had previously won 3rd national went on to win 1st national Barcelona in 2011 and the late-breds have already bred an 8th and 11th national from Bordeaux.
NL01-2029596 Young Boris
The 2013 season saw the partners concentrate their efforts on achieving success in races with the British Barcelona Club and the Central Southern Classic Flying Club. The results they achieved were consistently breath-taking:
British Barcelona Club results 2013:
Carentan 150 miles section: 8, 9, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17 (606 birds) open national: 125, 127, 130, 133, 139, 142, 148 (2,617 birds) Niort 360 miles section: 1, 2, 3, 4, 14, 22, 26, 31 (372 birds) open national: 1, 2, 3, 16, 49, 71, 77, 94 (1,214 birds) Messac 250 miles section: 1, 15, 29, 40, 41, 44 (256 birds) open national: 30, 123, 177, 224, 229, 236 (1,305 birds) Fougeres 218 miles section: 10, 11, 23 (313 birds) open national: 43, 44, 76 (1,150 birds) Bordeaux 457 miles section: 6, 9, 15, 16 (135 birds) open national: 8, 13, 43, 48 (725 birds) Barcelona 725 miles section 3 (49 birds) open national: 16 (263 birds)
Central Southern Classic Flying Club results 2013:
Guernsey 139 miles section: 4, 5, 6 (1,066 birds) open: 118, 122, 133 (3,109 birds) Messac 250 miles section: 13, 26, 27, 43, 46, 47, 50, 51, 53 (804 birds) open: 19, 54, 55, 96, 102, 103, 109, 112, 122 (2,740 birds) Tarbes 575 miles section: 3 (107 birds) open: 17 (662 birds) Bergerac 469 miles section: 2 (132 birds) open: 20 (877 birds)
Two ace pigeons
The partnership has two ace pigeons in its loft, viz. Vagabond and Ollie's Rocket. Vagabond has won the following prizes in its career:
1st section Fougeres (389 birds) 11th open NFC Fougeres (7,064 birds) 1st section Cholet (299 birds) 61st open NFC Cholet (5,886 birds) 3rd section Bordeaux (189 birds) 3rd open BBC Bordeaux (937 birds)
The other top racer is Ollie's Rocket. The following performances are mentioned on this pigeon's prize list:
1st section Niort (372 birds) 1st open BBC Niort (1,214 birds) 10th section Fougeres (288 birds) 43rd open BBC Fougeres (1,066 birds)
GB12N58764 Ollie's Rocket
Results from previous seasons
Moving on to Portugal
After achieving almost everything there is to achieve in the sport of pigeon racing in the UK, Anna and Richard have made the difficult decision to part with their team of racing pigeons and embark on a new life on the Algarve in Portugal. In a relatively short period of time, they have won in excess of 33 x 1st section (provincial), a 1st open CSCFC Bergerac and 4 x 1st open nationals from Lamballe, Bordeaux, Niort and Barcelona in addition to the 2 x 2nd nationals from Saintes and Dax where they also made history winning 2nd open international with 29,400 birds competing. The absolute cream of their elite team of performers will be auctioned on the PIPA website where the purchasers can be assured they will have purchased a pigeon of impeccable racing and breeding potential.