Young Bird Training by Nino Bugeja
Time to start:
At 5 weeks of age move your ybs to a separate loft where they can be released to the roof. Keep at
least three white droppers with them, hens only. Put all birds on a feed of 60% barley, 20% wheat,
20% white Milo, and a sprinkle of flax for their well being, each bird getting 3/4 of an ounce only.
Feed only at dusk.
Are they hungry?
When they are chasing after you when you whistle or shake the feed can, they are showing signs of being
hungry, (a good thing). If their breast bone is sharp, I mean sharp then they can go to the roof just
before dusk with the droppers. By now they should not want to fly too much and that is what we want.
Time to check their health:
If any of the birds are to get sick, this would be the time. Their immune system is still developing
and we have been putting them under a lot of stress with the change of feed, and the small amounts.
Use a good electrolyte in their water twice a week.
Settling the ybs to the loft:
They should go out for a fly along with the droppers; hungry and 1hr before dark. If they only fly 15
minutes, that's ok at this point. Just call them in, along with the droppers for the day. This is the
time we just want to get the birds up and down for a short fly just at dark. Do this for a week or so,
or until they look like they are coming along on the wing. Take the droppers away at this point and keep
No droppers with them:
By now they should be kitting and have a good understanding of their surroundings and loft. Allow 2hrs of
daylight before dark and let them out for a fly. At the first sign of them wanting to come down before
you show them the droppers push them back into the sky with a flag or a ball or something. If they persist
to come down drop them and train again the next training day. Only when you throw the droppers for them
shall you let them land. They NEVER come down to the loft without the droppers being on the roof, and just before dark.
As they get stronger, give them more time on the wing, allowing for dusk. Always drop them at dusk and with
the droppers, feed and water, take water away after they drink. Give grit three times a week.
Discipline and control:
This is the time we gain our discipline over the birds, through their stomach. If they do not respond to
your droppers and they look too strong, you must do one of two things - either give them more time on the
wing without any more feed than described earlier, or cut their feed ration down. You must have control over
them during this time in their training if you are going to fly all day fly's. They must learn that they can
not come down until the droppers are thrown and in view, and also only come down when they see the droppers.
Assuming they are responding to the droppers, it is time to put them on a schedule that both you the fancier
can live with and the birds. I train every third day, rain or shine or wind. On the day they train, when they
come down give them high protein feed like peas or peanuts just on that day, then back on the training mix.
Tipplers are creatures of habit, and that's just what we want to Imprint to them. Start increasing their time
on the wing, and feed a little more feed now (one ounce) as long as they continue to respond. This will also be
the time to introduce them to some other seeds like canary, niger, rape, peanuts, rice, peas, and whatever else
you like. Just a pinch at this point add no more. All we want from them is to understand that it is food, something
we'll use later.
Take a look back:
- Are they still on the training feed, or have you adjusted it for some reason?
- Are they responding to the droppers?
- Are they in good health?
- Are they still on the same schedule?
- Are they responding only to the droppers, and at dark?... a must!!
How many hours to train?
When the birds are doing 5 to 8hrs during training they are doing just great, and starting to come into shape.
Look for good droppings in the morning (small and dark firm droppings) covered with some small down feathers,
this is a sign of good health and condition.They should feel like an empty beer can in the hand (something you
guys can understand), strong and light.
There are many kinds of feed ups from many different flyers, it will be up to each of you to discover what
works best for your birds in the environment they live in. The idea here is to feed high carbohydrates for
sustained energy, that will keep the bird flying all day, or longer. As they have been trained on a low carb
diet, and have become strong and in good shape, the extra energy will keep the bird happy for the entire day of flying.
I do a 4 to 5 day feed up starting on a Sunday before a race day. Train on Sunday and give a high protein feed
for that day. For the next two days I give high protein with high fats, the next three days I feed a high carb
diet such as Niger, Canary, Rice, Rape, some corn, as well as others.
The thing you must try and understand is that their flying does not come from their feed up, but rather their
training and conditioning. It is the discipline and imprinting you have given them that carry's them through
the days fly. When ready for race day they should feel like a woman's breast, with their pectoral muscles feeling
supple and full, but still strong in the hand.
I hope I have been able to get across the methods I use for training ybs. There is much to learn by observing
the birds on the wing, as it tells much when you know what to look for. I always want my birds to fly for the
love of flying, they must be "Happy". If they are, they will give you their best. Time is your best teacher
along with a will to understand your birds. Patience is a must with ybs as they are still developing, both
physically and mentally so do not ask too much too fast.
Remember what the "Secrets" of Tippler flying really are; Training, Discipline, and Imprinting!! Good Tipplering Flyboys!!
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