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Widowhood and its methods - Questions and answers (part 2)

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.

8. What is the most suitable time, after the breeding period, for putting the cocks on widowhood ?

Our advice is, to take the hens away after they have been sitting on eggs for ten or twelve days for the second time. To have the whole team on eggs at the same time, one must give the hens, that are slow in laying, an egg. They will most probably lay two or three days after this, but the cock will always take to this egg and this will stop its nest driving.

9. For what reason are you against future widowers sitting longer on their second round of eggs ?

The ten or twelve days are more than enough to give them sufficient rest after the rearing of youngsters and tiring nest driving. At this moment the appetite will increase because of the forming of the soft food and for that reason they will show a healthy appetite during the first days on widowhood.
This is very important. Indeed failure mostly occurs after two or three weeks, because the withowers would not eat enough. One mostly will spoil them through enticing them to eat more by giving them small seeds which makes it worse instead of better. They lose their racing weight and the only solution remains, to pair them up again in the middle of the racing season.

10.Can one start flying the birds on widowhood before the hens have laid their second round of eggs ?

Certainly. Many fanciers that pair up late make up for the lost time by starting the widowhood game on a big youngster. To make this system work, one must prevent the cocks from nest driving for the second time. Therefore one must take the hen away as soon as the youngsters are eight or ten days old. During the exercising flights one must bring the hens again into the loft so that during the absence of the cocks can feed the youngsters. Some cocks have their best performances on a yougster. Pigeons that are resigned to this system, moult their first flight a little bit later than the ones that were allowed to lay eggs again and sit on them for about ten days. But this has its advantages at the end of the season.

11. How does one set about with pigeons, that have not reared any youngsters, before one puts them on widowhood ?

As we have mentioned before, one must take the hens away after they have been on eggs for about 10 to 12 days. In such cases it is important not to pair up too erarly, so that you can put them on widowhood the second half of April. Otherwise, nothing will stop you letting them sit two consecutive rounds on pot eggs ; the first time 15 days and the second time 10 days. We are opponents of taking the hens away for a week, between two breeding periods. The condition of the, in this way, treated pigeon is carried to a too high level between the two breeding periods. It is absolutely premature and too great a loss for the form that must follow. If one trains the pigeons when they are sitting their second round of eggs, one can arrange it in such a way that one can race them the Sunday proceding the time that one takes the hens away, which is 10 days after they have laid their eggs. This way one can obtain some good results.

12. Is it a requirement that widowers must have moulted their first flight feather before they can distinguish themselves in races ?

Absolutely not. It all depends on the manner the birds are trained. As well by widowers as by pigeons raced on the nest game, the moult must progress normally. That is all.
We have known pigeons, widowers well as others, that flew better before than after the moult of the first flight. All what matters is, that once the moult has started is must progress regularly. By a normal moult we understand, that a pigeon that was paired up after 15 February and reared one youngster, must moult out its first flight during its second breeding period or shortly after it was put on widowhood. Widowers that have not reared any youngsters have a strikingly later moult, at least concerning the first flight.

13. What does one have to do on the fixed date for widowhood ?

Unless one is dealing with no other pigeons than those that were raced on widowhood, the previous year, it is good advice to start their training before one takes the hens away, which is either on eggs or on a youngster. Those pigeons are therefore already more or less in action. Personally, we have done well with the following method :
The first Sunday, they were raced on eggs from eight to ten days. We proceeded as follows : As soon as the cocks were away, we took the eggs away, so that the hens would know that they did not have a nest any more. The Sunday morning, before the arrival of the widowers, the hens were taken away and were placed in the aviary or any other place were they could be locked up.The eggs were placed into the nest pans again. On their arrival on the Sunday, the cocks will resume the sitting. In the evening, of the same day, one egg was taken away and on the Monday morning, during the exercising flight, the second egg was taken away. The nest pans were the following night either taken away or turned upside down.

14. Can they be raced on the following Sunday on widowhood ?

Certainly. When they are well looked after, the first after, the first Sunday would not be the worst Sunday of the season. The most important thing is : The bird must be ardent.
During the first week, the hens are fed daily in the morning, in the aviary, on a small seeds. Their condition plays an important roll in the succes of the first Sunday.