|Irish South Road Federation.
Old Bird Champion 2008
Mr & Mrs P. Byrne
With Kevin Barry & Tucker Daniel
45 years at the top and more to come. That's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of "Padner" Byrne. Racing since the sixties and still showing the hunger for the game of any young pretender. All his racing has been done in his present club the Sarsfield R.P.C. one of the largest and hardest to win in the 28 club strong I.S.R.F. which he joined as an 18 year old lad, with membership this year of 65 and in previous times would have been double this, Padner has always been right at the summit of club and fed racing.
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Padner inside the widowhood loft
Pigeons are in the Byrne genes you could say as four members of the immediate family , two brothers Mick and Matthew and two of Padners sons young Pat and youngest son Tony are all still flying within the same club and at a level that keeps everyone within the family in with a shout every week ( I wonder who rings who first on race day).
The birds are Van Reets and Grondelaer the later coming from the original imports of Gerald Delaney. The Van Reets are from Bert Hession lines and these have been blended together along with a few select birds to form the present day team. 24 widowhood cocks are kept for racing and these go down early January the same time as the stock birds. Young birds are taken out of the nest at 21 days and put on the floor for a few days before being weaned completely, then put into the young bird loft and kept natural. The two young bird sections are 12 x 6 and each hold no more than 30 birds, to overcrowd your young birds is asking for trouble, experience has shown him that the more overcrowding you have the more youngsters you will lose. The young ones will then get plenty of basket work , they will get at least one toss a day weather permitting and sometimes two if he feels they need it.
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Averiy outside the stock loft.
The Widowhood cocks are fed Verse Larga Gerry plus and superstar plus from local corn supplier Kevin Doyle and will be well trained up to the first race, one thing Padners pigeons are not short of is road work and plenty of it to get them right, after the first race they will go once a week if he thinks they need it, but if all is well and they are coming from the start he will leave them as they are. This practice also applies to the treatments he gives the birds and will only treat for something that is there or a threat to the flock, if he feels the birds are right and don't need anything they don't get it just for the sake of it.
Stockman ship is an art form and something Padner excels at, he's not afraid to take a youngster out of the team and put it straight into the stock loft and has found this has been a key element to his successful breeding program for over 40 years. I remember he told us of one such experience last year, he had a youngster that beat his loft mates back from the only 3 tosses he had, out he went from the young bird loft and bred a winner in his first nest , he would be the first to admit it doesn't always work out as well as this cock every time but his strike rate and his confidence in his and his birds abilities mean that he is not afraid to take a chance and more times than not it works out well.
Padner had some sound advice for the novice or new starter and this is something that most top flyers will agree with, Make sure you now how to keep the birds healthy and learn how to feed properly before spending big money on birds. Good birds are no use if you don't know how to race them properly. Don't be afraid to ask questions of the top flyers in your area even if you don't like the answers.
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This years youngsters
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A view from the widowhood loft.
The future of the sport is something padner has very strong opinions on. He has ideas as to try bring some kind of level playing field into the sport , bird limits is the first step. He believes too many small fanciers are being driven out of the sport because they feel they cannot compete with the big money big team men.
A special thanks from Padner to his wife Patti who has not only helps looking after the birds but looked after himself during a very traumatic few years after Padner became unwell culminating in a kidney transplant back in 2005. After such a bad illness he feels very lucky and admits that 2007 was an absolute dream come true and hopes that he can continue the fine form in 2008.
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View from the house, widowhood loft at the end of the garden
This loft not only won the Old bird averages in the Fed and overall averages in the club, they also scooped the Old bird of the year in the Federation. This 2 year old Check cock was 6 times in the result starting with 13th Fed Mallow 527members sent 9615 birds, 98th Fed Rosscarbury 479/8772, 19th Open Barleycove 395/5430, 75th Fed Rosscarbury 395/4835, 3rd Fed Mallow 344/3988 and finishing up with a 7th Fed Rosscarbury 308/3150 some pigeon. Both parents of this bird where bred for stock again showing Padners prowess in the stock loft and are typical of the family Grondelaer X Hession Van Reet.
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Padner holding the I.S.R.F. old bird of the year
Trying to list Padners results would take forever and make my fingers raw but here are some from the season in question.
Mallow 1st, 3rd and 5th Club, 3rd, 15th and 20th Fed 344/3988 birds.
Barleycove (open) 1st,3rd,5th Club, 5th, 11th, 19th, 63rd open 395/5430 birds.
Barleycove (open) (2) 1st, 2nd Club, 12th, 17th, 54th open 310/2822 birds.
Rosscarbury 1st, 7th, 8th Club, 7th, 35th, 43rd Fed 395/4835 birds.
Pilmore Beach Y/B 1st, 2nd Club, 6th, 14th Fed 401/8670 birds.
Tramore Y/B 1st, 5th Club, 8th, 27th Fed 389/8966 birds.
Pilmore Beach Y/B 1st, 4th Club, 20th, 40th Fed 386/10128 birds.
Mallow Y/B 1st Club, 29th Fed 291/5831 birds.
Mallow 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th Club, 4th, 13th, 21st, 25th Fed 527/9615 birds.
Mallow 2nd, 5th Club , 54th, 57th, Fed 412/6989 birds.
Rosscarbury 4th Club, 14th Fed 479/8772 birds.
Rosscarbury 2nd, 4th Club, 7th, 14th, 24th, 32nd, 38th, 44th, 48th and 51st Fed 308/3150 birds.
A remarkable season I'm sure you will agree but knowing Padner he will be out to better his performances this season, a mark of a true champion, always move forward and always challenge yourself and your birds.