Many congratulations to John Halstead from Gillingham, Dorset 1st Open 1st SW Section with a blue yearling hen now called ‘Nyland Maureen’ (pictured above). This was John’s second Classic win having previously been successful when his old hen had the highest velocity including the young birds from Ramsgate in 2006. Since moving to Dorset from The Midlands in 2002 John has also won 4 x 1st in National races.
This included success in the 2011 BBC Palamos race, a distance of 682 miles when ‘Nyland Maurice’ a home bred pigeon containing Jim Biss – ‘Vend’, ‘Natrix’ and ‘Turban’ bloodlines won by almost four hours flying into a northerly wind. The Coutances winner ‘Nyland Maureen’ is a grand-daughter of ‘Maurice’ and his ability of battling into a head wind has obviously been passed down to his offspring. Her sire was bred by Gosling & Jarvis of Mountnessing from ‘649’ which was bred by Crowley & Green from ‘Young Boris’ (sire of 1st Open Barcelona for Richard Green) mated with another daughter of ‘Maurice’. The pedigree suggests ‘Maureen’ should be successful on a longer journey but she was motivated for this 141 mile race by the Hen Widowhood system.
John started the season with a 19-strong team of hens and received some advice from Mick Betts of Doncaster on how to get the best from them. This is a reverse Widowhood system where the hens see the cocks before they (the hens) go to the race and the cocks are waiting for them when they get back. The main difficulties are preventing the hens from mating together and to keep strict control of the feeding. These pigeons have been fed from three bags of Versele Laga food to trap them in the morning and Harkers’ Hormoform after evening exercise.