Loft Feature Update - P & J Boal

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willie reynolds
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Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2008 4:44 pm

Loft Feature Update - P & J Boal

Post by willie reynolds »

P & J Boal Make ‘Light’ work of a ‘Perfect’ Season !!

To win the Mighty NIPA Open is a life long ambition for the vast amount of fanciers who race each week in the 8 strong Sections that make up the great organisation that it is. Averaging over 20,000 plus pigeons many a week sent by some 900 competing lofts. For many winning the Club let alone the Section or Open is simply an amazing feeling and something of a buzz.

I recently made a return journey to the lofts of Philip and Joe Boal of Dromore, N.Ireland, just a short junt down the road from the City of Lisburn for my good-self. With my employment finishing with the plane maker Bombardier I have a bit of time on my hands, and it wasn’t long before my father had a visit or two lined up for me. Looking back to my previous report on the Boal Bros in the early part of 2012, which to me seems like yesterday especially considering the newly built family home and loft that Philip had constructed just looks as fresh as it was then, the lawns surrounding the property have matured and going by the performances put up in the last couple of seasons so have the racing teams not of course they have had to up there gear much.

Philip a construction manager flies in partnership with his brother Joe a self employed electrician, sadly Joe suffers from advanced pigeon lung and can not enter the lofts at all, but never misses a race day, nor involvement in the day to day running of the loft and the purchasing of new stock, a point that Philip has mentioned on a number of occasions over the years is how much he appreciates his brothers support.

The partnership have been members of the Dromore HPS since 1988 but have been in and around pigeons in some form since childhood. Racing within Section D of the mighty NIPA each week can see them compete against up to 800 pigeons at Club level with upwards of 3,500 pigeons at Section Level looking always to score at NIPA Open level with upwards of 28,000 pigeons competing. Stiff and very much tough competition in achieving success at any level never mind all three as mentioned above. Since commencing racing with the Dromore HPS the Brothers have achieved phenomenal success scoring in the region of 200 x 1st Clubs and no less than 47 x 1st NIPA SECTION D Diplomas and 6 x 1st Open NIPA (Incredible racing competing against some of the best fanciers within Northern Ireland in Section D of the NIPA). The above stats are mainly down to the family of Wily Van Hercks, such is the standing of the Van Hercks Wily himself now gets Philip and Joe to breed pigeons to be brought back to Belgium, that in itself tells you something.

Now before I commence on the ins and outs I must compliment Philip on that last loft report given, when you receive email after email and indeed emails from various sites and influential figures looking for permission to print the article, firstly I’ve done my job but more so the interviewee he has done his, at the end of the day I can only write what the fancier is prepared to disclose. Philip was to be honest a no holes barred event.

I started by checking the stats of the loft, constructed of wood with a pan tiled roof, in total the loft measures 64ft in length by 10ft wide of this 2 ft is a corridor, state of the art ets traps fitted along the front with aviaries for both Y/Birds and Stock Pigeons, the lay out of the loft is 8 x 8ft Sections as follows 2 x Y/Birds, 2 x Stock, 2 x Widowhood Cocks, 1 x Store and 1 x Widowhood Hens. Polycarbonate tiles are installed along the complete frontage of the roof to allow maximum sun light. Grilled floors throughout including walkway. Purpose built widowhood boxes, including custom made perches are fitted through the complete loft and as you would imagine finished to the highest specification, just this year also the automatic blinds have been installed for the youngsters.

From my last report back in 2012, Philip has for varying reasons adjusted his Old Bird Racing regime a true sign of a good competitive fancier. He now races a system based somewhat on jealousy, but at the same time, both cocks and hens are raced. In total 30 Cocks and 40 Hens, so not complete jealousy if you see what I mean the extra hens are thrown into the mix to spice certain circumstances up. As many successful fanciers tell you, the start of the new seasons starts the day after the final race, successful pigeon racing is a 365 days a year. Simple take no short cuts. As Philip admits the level of competition now is probably far greater than it has ever been. You just have to look at where the NIPA Opens are being won, all over the country, which in all is a good thing for pigeon racing. But the calibre of fancier has improved, again the internet has helped immensely with much more conversation between fanciers in different areas of the country. Years gone by this certainly wasn’t the case. Perhaps the only time when fanciers got a chance to catch up was during the National Ring Marking events or the major Annual Dinner events.

Getting back to the O/Bird Racing of Philip and Joe. Following the final race decisions will be made during the next fortnight or so, what has made it to the Widowhood loft for the following year and what is leaving the Widowhood Loft, I will say that anything normally leaving the Widowhood Loft is retired to stock, such is the standard. Having been a friend of Philip Boal now for more than 10 years, I can confirm he is a no nonsense operator. Its a Simple choice for the pigeons !! His control of them is very evident when in the lofts, especially handling the widowhood cocks Philip slowly reaches up and lifts them from the edge of there box, no wild flying about.

Getting pigeons at the end of a season through a successful moult is one of the biggest objectives of the year for Philip and as he put it “will ensure a good start to the eminent breeding season and subsequent O/Bird racing season“. Vanrobaeys is the preferred choice for Philip the best of the Moulting mixture, for around three to four weeks. On top of this a product Philip has never been without in all the years have known him Pigeon Tea, they will have this every day in the water. On top of this twice a week they will avail of a couple of different Oils over the corn twice a week, topped up with at least a couple of baths. I will point out at this stage Philip is totally Vanrobaeys for feeding and the vast amount of products come from Backs, with a mention for our local producer Frazers also Robert Kirkwood.

In the off season particularly in the build up to pairing, all the pigeons are treated for simply everything Paratyphoid, Salmonella, E.Coli, Canker, Respiratory and what I might add at this point, the pigeons are blind treated, Philip acknowledges that with a good knowledge of pigeons, testing isn’t required for the day to day running of a successful loft, keep your loft dry is the top rule. They will receive periodic treatments during the course of the racing season and as mentioned prior to pairing up they will be retreated for everything over the course of a number of weeks. Something I will point out Philip was very adamant in mentioning that he boils all water before the pigeons have it, without doubt over recent years he has researched enough to come to the conclusion, that adding medicines to ordinary tap water is actually diminishing the strength and in some cases actually making the treatment worthless, also the removal of all grit and pick stones during periods of medication.

Breeding, probably the most important part of the year for most successful fanciers, where the potential Champions are produced !! Pigeons will be paired up on Xmas Eve, the complete loft. Widowhood Cocks will be paired to there respective flying hen, Philip slips the Stock Eggs to the Widowhood Cocks, unless its an exceptional race pairing that he wishes to try the youngsters. Now all the hens will be removed from the Widowhood Cocks when the eldest youngster in the loft is 12 days old, he says sometimes that my leave Cocks to rear in certain circumstances a youngster on its own from 5 days old pending on particular hatching times. But this to date has never proved a problem with all Widowhood cocks fulfilling there duty. Once the 21days are up nest bowls are out for the Widowers and the implementation of discipline will be applied throughout the Widowhood Sections this can be at times very demanding especially with new yearling cocks added to the existing Widowhood team. A calm Widowhood loft has always been a must for Philip, and one that he endeavours to achieve each year. With regards breeding Philip tries to mate large to small and never 2 eyes the same. Obviously this is working along with another few factors especially not racing the youngsters on Darkness.

The training of the O/Birds at the start of each season will see them firstly exercise around the lofts twice per day, the cocks that is, hens only train around the house once per day in the evening, 45 mins they will get as do the cocks each time, still Philip says if still very cold in the morning at the start of the training season, he will keep pigeons in the loft, they will continue to fly around the house until Philip sees that they are ready for the road. Simply he says they will let you know when they are fit and attacking the skies around the loft, during this time the O/Bird racing team will be on a treatment of Magnesin for the muscular aspect of the racers. Once ready for tossing the cocks as they get every year will have 5 to 6 x tosses by Car prior to the first race with the exception of 1 which will be by transporter. These will consist of a couple of times from 12 miles, followed by 2 tosses from 25 miles and the final two from 50 miles. The three training locations are the same each year with the exception of the transporter, this to make them figure something different out and to welcome them back to a mass liberation of sorts rather than all heading to the one location. The pigeons are cleaned daily from top to bottom with grilled floors the preferred choice, just something through observations are that Philip thinks that the pigeons are more satisfied on a solid floor within the nest box rather than a grilled one, similar to us in a way standing on a solid foundation or grilled floor all day. As Philip says when you have hand made nest boxes with a grilled floor, finished at the frontage with a solid board, where will the pigeons be resting at night when closing up the lofts and first thing in the morning, on the solid board!!

The O/Birds will be vaccinated prior to racing commencing, this has took place at the same time each year and has proved to give them a lift for the first race. They will also be on a three week cycle of medication covering Canker and Respiratory treatments include Flagyl Tablet for the Canker and Soludox by Dechra 50% is the preferred choice for Respiratory.

Now for a day to day perspective of the O/Bird system. Firstly feeding has slightly changed in that full corn is now given daily and this contains a mixture of Vanrobaeys No12 and Bordeaux (an even split) 1 and ½ ounce per pigeon daily in the Hopper day and night with a ½ ounce in the morning with the remainder at night. Sunday Morning in all normal circumstances the morning after the race day, the pigeons will only have a ¼ of an ounce, this to bring a level of control back to them, the corn will have a sprinkling of brewers yeast over it, in the water they will have Glut-Amin. Sunday evening they are both out, on returning to the loft, they will have there normal 1 ounce of corn with Race 2010 over it again assisted with Oil this being either for Philip Adherb of Hemp. When racing has commenced they will always receive a treatment in the water on a Sunday evening for Salmonella.

Monday morning and the start of a working week for Philip, being a Manager in the building game, this sees him set of early in the morning, the Cocks will be out at day break again 45 mins, this gives Philip a chance to do a bit of cleaning etc of the boxes and replenish the drinkers etc. Pigeon Tea will be added to the water both morning and night on Monday. The ½ Ounce corn in the morning will have Race 2010 on top. In the evening on his return from work, pigeons it is first and always first, Philip says he hasn’t the luxury of having help around the loft on a daily basis. So to get the best from the pigeons you must give your 100% when available. Both Cocks and hens will be out at separate times of course each enjoying 45 mins, Philip says he expects to see them return to skies over looking the lofts from time to time, I have to say it is common knowledge in the area that many fanciers have acknowledged that they have seldom seen pigeons attack the skies like the pigeons of P & J Boal when out exercising. Tuesday morning and evening they will have Gem Tonic in the water, over the Corn they will enjoy TS6 Plus. Wednesday they will have B12 in the water, the corn in the Morning will have Omega Plus Oil sprinkled with Herbots Optimix again Cocks will be out for the 45 mins. On Wednesday evening Water remains the same with the B12 and on the corn we have Omega Plus oil with this time Energy Powder, notably there will be a slight increase of Fatty Seeds added to the evening mix when once again the racers are permitted back into the loft both cocks and hens. Thursday once again B12 in the water, on the corn in the morning following exercise we have Omega Plus oil and Becks Energy Powder, same in the evening only notably there corn rations are reduced by 50%. After an hour Philip returns to the loft, firstly the water will be changed to include Mumm with Glut Amin. He will then by hand begin to feed them as much Vanrobaey Energy Plus as they want. Friday Morning racers remain in the loft, in the water once again Mumm and Glut Amin, feeding wise ½ ounce of Vanrobaeys Energy. They will also have the option of a bath in there respective aviaries, something new in 2015. When Philip returns home from work and prior to basketing Philip will again by hand feed them energy in the corridor when the first ones return to there section feeding stops. Saturday and Race Day, on there return home in the water they have Glut Amin feed wise they will have a light feed of Energy which will have Zell Oxygen and Optimix on it. When all home then Vanrobaey Widowhood with Electrolytes on it this being a horse product with very little needed. Philip sometimes does question his every move including whether he really need to be using electrolytes and he openly admit’s the leading pigeons don’t need it as they are buzzing so are you only really trying to lift the late pigeons up a bit who have maybe made a mistake and took the wrong line etc or simply not on par with the leaders ?? This element of feeding is then removed when home from the Club and they will then receive a light feed of Widowhood Mix in the evening prior to lock up. I went on to ask Philip the process of cocks seeing hens etc, he went on to say that the first two races this year he let the hens wonder down the corridor to the Widowhood cocks Sections with the frontage all doweled they simple seen each other he allowed this for approximately 5 mins then they where lifted. Third week let them in together prior to basketing and lifted them immediately. This was the process for a few weeks then for a change Cocks went down to corridor to the hens Section just to mix it up a bit. On return from racing they are kept together until all home then separated. Early races this can be anything from 15 mins, 30 mins or an hour pending in the racing conditions. As the distance increases and longer flying the time together on return also increases perhaps to the point on the Penzance Bude events they get to stay together until the Sunday Morning. Just to add P & J Boal don’t bother with the French events so the aforementioned would be the furthest distance that the pigeons fly.

Y/Bird racing is considered a time of education by the Boal team, with very little emphasis put on achieving big performances in the result sheet, hence the complete team remaining on the Natural system, Philip does concede that you must now race Darkness for their to be any chance of Y/Bird success/dominance although he would be of the opinion that Natural babies do turn out to be better yearlings, if time were permitted between work he would rear to different teams for both systems but sadly work comes first and as many will concede O/Bird dominance is a far greater journey than that of youngsters. Around 100 youngsters will be reared by the lofts and they will be put on Vanrobeys breeding mix for the first 12 - 14 weeks of their lives. They will then receive the same standard of feeding as the old birds there after.

Training of the youngsters can be a testing time as many will know and if patience where to be sold in Jar’s it would be a Sell Out. Philip has to be happy with their effort around home before they are summoned to the Basket, all tossing is carried out by Philip himself for the majority of the time, the only time they will see other youngsters is perhaps one toss prior to racing when they will be tested when mixed with other youngsters. Training will be carried out at the exact same three points as the widowhood racers 12, 25 and 50 mile locations. Firstly they will have 10 tosses from the 12 mile point followed by as many as necessary from the 25 mile location when they have homed back to the lofts on a number of consecutive occasions before Philip he will then move them to 40 miles where they will have around four of these with the last two being when the youngsters will be tested in batches of 10 at a time. Simply drumming the education into them rather than follow the leader. Philip will then bring them back to 25 x miles and keep them their releasing them at no more than 4 at a time, this will continue daily until the aforementioned one big toss prior to the first race, when racing has commenced they will remain at the 25 mile release point daily only they will be released in two’s at a time, very time consuming but as Phil says that system sorts them out and ultimately reduces the work load as weeks go on and of course the corn bill. After two weeks of this they will only be trained around the lofts morning and night. Racing is done via the sliding door and they will be separated.

Vaccinating of the youngsters will occur when they leave the nest as Philip says a Y/Bird’s immunity is established within the first 28-30 days of hatching. They will also receive a second dose prior to racing. Y/Birds will also receive a 24 hour treatment for Salmonella in the water every fortnight right through the Y/Bird campaign, he considers this the only way to keep them right. They will also be treated for Respiratory once before racing and once during mid season. No treatment was administered for Canker in the Y/Birds during 2015 as Philip says it wasn’t required. The weather for every fancier was shocking in 2015 around the Y/Bird campaign with June a complete wash out, Philip did manage to get the youngsters into a few races, rearing around 100 he got 96 to the training stage and following a hard training programme and a few races behind them he has 70 + remaining, no doubt this will make for a difficult selection process for those Widowhood Boxes.

Philip & Joe have had like many fanciers around the country many up’s with many more down’s, I personally was present at the lofts on a number of Saturdays watching the Boal pigeons return and can assure the fancy that 1st Open’s where lost due to bad trapping. So on asking Philip what the highlight of his career was to date back in 2012 when I last complied a loft report he was quick to answer winning the Tony Cornwall RPRA Trophy with ‘Baard’ awarded to the National UK Any Distance Champion, a top honour to win. Since then he has had many multiple winning pigeons including “Bijou”, “Miss Bombay” to pick from but then add into the mix “Perfect Light” for 2015 a Blue Hen, 2013 bred and as a yearling winner of 1st Club, 2nd Section D 2,960 pigeons finishing 9th Open NIPA against 24,161 pigeons also 28th Open NIPA against 23,316 pigeons, then what has inevitably led me to this years report, in 2015 1st Club, 1st Section 3,300 pigeons and 1st Open NIPA 26,400 pigeons then 1st Club, 1st Section 1,437 pigeons and 1st Open NIPA again against 11,234 pigeons. Not to many double NIPA Open Winners about with performances like that, now just to look at the pigeons achievements a bit further. The first of the NIPA Opens was won from Corrin in a westerly wind recording velocity 1753ypm I might also add that P & J Boal where 2nd Open also, even though it was a very even race for the mighty NIPA with 5 x 1st Section winners in
the first 28 of the NIPA Open. The next time was from Roscarbery with a light North West wind “Perfect Light” recorded a velocity of 1439ypm totally different day and again you had 4 x 1st Section Winners in the top 7 of the Open result, so once again a very open race. You would have to say an incredible pigeon winning in 2 different racing days and twice 1st Open NIPA. She has won the Boal loft yet another RPRA Award with the 0-250 Mileage Award at the Irish Region Level just last week and will go forward now to England where with some luck will progress further. As for the breeding of this latest super star “Perfect Light” once again pure Wily Van Herck. Sire being the infamous “Young Bobby” Sire of multiple winners over the years including RPRA and Section Winners adding to that Open Prize Winners. Dam being a direct daughter of the Ace pairing “Kleine 96” when paired to “Karelske” a winner himself 9 times in Belgium before coming to the Boal lofts. Between them they are responsible for 12 x 1st NIPA Section Winners, RPRA Award Winners and NIPA Open Winners.

This leads me onto the current Stock info for the lofts of Philip and Joe Boal. The basis of the family since 2001 has been the Wily Van Hercks, currently at stock a total of 18 pair, these over the years are responsible for 47 x 1st Section wins and 6 x 1st Open successes, the 18 pair are made up from the principle breeders, the big winners including Brothers and sisters also 7 x RPRA Award winners winning a combined 12 medals between them. Philip is certainly hoping that putting his faith in the family of Danny Van Dyck, that he has found a family that can evolve around his success story to date. In total Philip and Joe have brought in around 80 direct from the lofts of Danny Van Dyck, these include no less than 12 direct from the famous ’Kannon’ and 9 direct from the “Den 11” including no less than 10 Brothers and Sisters of the “Kannon”. Philip had a number in the Y/Bird team this year and checking weekly they are scoring in par with the Van Hercks and he is without doubt looking forward to next year and subsequent ones with interest.

I will finish by thanking Philip once again for an excellent report and congratulate both him and Joe on an incredible year with yet another Super Star produced, wishing them continued success in the seasons top come.

I will pen off by listing the results achieved by the O/Bird Team in 2015 :- Tullamore (1) 1st, 6th, 7th and 9th Club 331 Birds finishing 1st, 10th, 11th and 16th Section 2,342 pigeons; Tullamore (2) 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th and 11th Club 711 pigeons finishing 4th, 5th, 6th, 9th, 14th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 30th, 34th, 35th and 36th Section 2,890 pigeons and 4th, 5th, 6th, 10th, 15th, 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st, 33rd, 37th, 38th, 40th, 54th, 55th, 58th Open with 23,316 pigeons competing; Roscrea (1) 5th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 14th and 15th Club 620 pigeons competing, finishing 6th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 17th, 18th, 32nd, 35th, 38th, 39th, 48th, 49th, 50th Section 3,268 pigeons and in the Open 16th, 32nd, 36th, 39th, 48th, 59th, 98th, 104th, 120th, 122nd, 161st and 165th with 26,041 pigeons competing; Fermoy 1st, 2nd and 7th Club 587 pigeons, in the Section 1st, 2nd, 8th, 19th, 25th, 28th, 37th and 61st against 3,300 pigeons and the Open finished 1st, 2nd, 12th, 54th, 66th, 70th and 97th with 26,400 pigeons competing; Pilmore Beach 1st, 3rd, 7th, 11th and 12th against 519 pigeons in the Section D result the loft finished 1st, 3rd, 17th, 25th, 32nd, 49th, 56th, 58th, 60th, 80th, 89th, 90th and 98th against 3,064 pigeons and in the NIPA Open against 20,342 pigeons 1st, 6th, 38th, 55th, 79th, 140th, 155th, 157th, 161st; Roscarbery National 3rd and 9th Club, 3rd and 20th Section and 5th, 54th, 76th, 81st and 88th National against 6,387 pigeons; Roscrea (2) 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th Club 306 pigeons, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 11th, 12th, 14th, 17th and 29th Section 1,365 pigeons and 68th, 72nd, 77th, 111th, 112th, 119th, 125th against 13,157 pigeons; Skibbereen National 2nd, 4th and 7th Club finishing 13th, 26th and 62nd against 3,565 pigeons; Talbenny 4th and 10th Club 290 pigeons finishing 9th Section against 1,608 pigeons and 241st Open with 14,363 pigeons competing; Roscarbery 1st, 2nd, 7th, 14th and 16th Club with 295 pigeons competing finishing 1st, 6th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 21st, 24th, 25th, 36th, 37th, 42nd, 48th, 49th and 50th against 1,437 pigeons and in the Open 1st, 13th, 21st, 47th, 49th, 55th, 57th, 63rd, 70th, 97th, 101st, 110th, 134th, 136th and 139th against 11,234 pigeons; Yearling Cocks National 1st and 2nd Club, 2nd and 3rd Section and 5th and 8th Open 1,784 pigeons; Yearling Hens National 3rd and 4th Club, 4th and 11th Section and 17th and 25th Open 1,558 pigeons competing; Fermoy 3rd, 6th, 8th, 10th, 11th Club, 8th and 16th Section and 11th and 38th Open Fermoy 5 Bird Championship with 1,883 pigeons competing; Roscrea 1st, 2nd and 4th Club, 1st, 2nd, 4th, 16th, 17th and 18th Section finishing 4th, 8th and 20th Open 3,187 pigeons competing.

Philip Boal from Dromore HPS with the new loft set-up at the back.

Philip Boal (l) with Danny Van Dyck on one of his many trips to Belgium.

\"Perfect Light\"

\"Blue Energy\"


\"Kleine 74\"


\"Bijou\" Champion OB in NIPA 2013

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