A passion for pigeon racing

Stan MaleyMidwest Times
Andrew Crothers with a racing pigeon.
Camera IconAndrew Crothers with a racing pigeon. Credit: Stan Maley

Andrew Crothers, from David Road in Waggrakine, keeps racing pigeons on his 10-acre property.

We met at the Friends of Geraldton Gardens, where Andrew is a member.

He has taken an interest in the Botanic Garden the group is building in Maitland Park.

He mentioned he raced pigeons so we arranged to get together and have a look at them. Up at David Road Andrew has the pigeons in cages.

“In the race cage I have about 30 older birds that raced last racing season,” he said.

“They are all the good ones I have kept on to race as two and three-year-olds.

“In the other section of the cage there are about 50 young birds.

“They are about five weeks old, just been weaned and put in the race cage.

“They are ready to start quite a bit of training and will become racing pigeons in about May 2021.

“They will be six months old then.”

“How do you train a bird?” I asked.

Andrew said trainers rely on the natural homing instinct of the pigeon and a lot of effort goes into the preparation.

Diet is important for a healthy bird.

They are released daily to fly around the loft to build up muscles and fitness.

To start, they are taken a short distance, maybe just 20km, and released for a training run.

Racing pigeons in their cages and, left, Andrew Crothers.
Camera IconRacing pigeons in their cages and, left, Andrew Crothers. Credit: Stan Maley

Members have a program for the young birds where they race occasionally the first season and have short flights in between.

“How long have you been at this?” I asked.

“Next season will be my 20th that I have been racing pigeons,” he said.

“With the Geraldton Pigeon Racing Club, we have about 12 members. Earlier there were many more people interested, but times have changed.”

Pigeon racing is popular in the Indochina region as gambling is a big feature of the sport in those countries.

Recently it was reported a Belgian racing pigeon was sold for $2.6 million.

“Geraldton Pigeon Racing club was founded many years before I became involved,” Andrew said.

These days, the club starts racing from about 100km away.

Later they go further in the club’s specially built vehicle, even as far as Port Hedland, and camp overnight with the pigeons so they settle and are fed.

By Andrew’s account, camping in remote locations has been a good part of the club events, especially with the family when they were young.

I asked Andrew about his interest in native flora on this large property.

He has been planting out a lot of native trees, as the block was fairly bare when they came. Now there are kurrajongs, a couple of Boab trees, she-oaks, poinciana and all types of eucalyptus trees.

“In a few more years we hope to have a forest going here.” he said.

To share your Geraldton garden, call Stan Maley on 0428 230 029.

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