Help The Novice

By: Stan Ogozalek, NJ

There are fanciers that enter our sport with little or no knowledge of the training and proper housing of Flying Tipplers. This is where the more knowledgeable fanciers should step in and help with sound training advice and constructive criticism where needed. Some new fanciers come to the sport thinking that they can get their birds to fly marathon times using regular mixed feed and by flying their Tipplers from a 'one section' loft. This 'one section' loft houses the breeders and the flyers plus any droppers, all are fed the same. They are clueless as to loft arrangement and the fact that the flyers must be fed differently than the breeders. The late Harry Hunt was heard to say, "Ten hours is just a hop, skip and a jump for Tipplers that are in condition, providing the weather is right". True enough, but not for those fanciers that are struggling in their efforts (due to a lack of sound training know-how) to extract more flying time from their kits. They need help at this point and their enthusiasm for the sport of Flying Tipplers must not be allowed to diminish. Now is the time to teach and encourage these fanciers so that in a short span of time their names will be added to the lists of those competing in club sponsored competitions.

Acquiring the Tipplers: "You get what you pay for!" A newcomer to the sport may be taken back by the initial cost of quality Flying Tippler stock though after a few years will come to realize that it was money.., well spent! When considering the asking price for quality stock, it may be pointed out to the newcomer that years ago (early 1970's) the going rate for 'Wilf Lovatt' type Flying Tipplers was $50 dollars per pair while the 'Gordon Hughes' type was about $40 per pair. Now, the secretaries of the Flying Tippler clubs can and should furnish the novice with the names of those fanciers that are competing with their flying kits in club sponsored contests. Buying the Tipplers from competing fanciers, whose Tipplers have flown 'double digit figures' regularly in contests, ensures a good start in the sport. And the fancier is not limited to buying only those strains just mentioned. There are other high quality strains such as the Boden type Tipplers (Eric Anslow and Paul Bowden), the Jack Carnew strain of Reds, the Percy Fields type Tipplers, the Macclesfield type Tipplers, many old Canadian strains such as the Harry Hunt, George Vertolli and Donny Wilson families of Flying Tipplers and of course, the Oskar Zovich family of Tipplers that were bred from a combination of Jos. Davies and Fred Bartolomew type Tipplers. Then, there is the 'Sheffield' strain of Tipplers bred and flown by Ed Buraczewski of Long Island, NY. The name 'Sheffield' was given to them because the name of the fancier from whom they came is unknown. Recently, there's been the importation of the Harry Shannon (Current World Record Holder) type of Flying Tipplers, the 'Irish Delights'.

Housing the Tipplers: The Tippler loft can be any size, though a good size seems to be about twelve feet long by 6 feet high by 7-8 feet wide. The roof should be pitched to the front so that the Tipplers can be easily seen. The interior should have three sections, one for breeding, one for the old bird flying kits while the third section can be for the young Tipplers and droppers. This would be the 'basic' loft interior set-up, the more 'enthusiastic' fancier would have several 'individual kit boxes' for the old bird flying team(s) and a few 'group kit boxes' for the young bird team(s) in a section that would require about 8 feet in length. The 'individual kit boxes' would be about 14 inches square while the 'group kit boxes' could be about 36 inches wide by 24 inches deep by about 18 inches high. These 'group kit boxes' could accommodate about 6-8 Tipplers each. These group kit boxes could vary in size depending on the ideas of the fancier. The group kit boxes seem to work well with young Tipplers while the old Tipplers should be kept in individual boxes so that the birds do not mate. Group kit boxes can be used for older Tipplers providing that they are all of the same sex. The reasons for the kit boxes are to keep the Tipplers confined so that they are storing energy and because they are being fed differently than the breeders. Whether or not the fancier decides to build and utilize kit boxes, there should still be separate sections for old and young Tipplers. The aviary should be of a good size for the flyers and the breeders should have one of equal size or better. The flyers only have access to the aviary when they are first being settled and later when they are being released and/or trapped in after a training exercise, etc. When Tipplers are not confined to kit boxes but are allowed the freedom of an entire section of the loft, with an attached aviary of good size, they then expend a good deal of their precious energy flying in and out of the loft, etc. The main idea is to have them expend that energy only in training flights and competitions. The flyer's aviary should extend over the roof level to allow the Tipplers to see in all directions when being settled. A trap would be fixed to the backside of it and could be opened by the pulling of a cord. Breeding the Tipplers is another topic to address. With some luck, the beginner should start with older birds to breed from because these birds would not be slow to mate, etc. Younger birds tend to be slow about mating and could therefore lay their eggs days apart from the other pairs. What is desired is for the pairs to lay their eggs within a few days of each other so that the youngsters would be about the same age for training. Three to four pairs of breeders is good to start with and youngsters that have proven themselves may be added as mating partners for the next season. Another good tip is to mate the birds in November or December so that they'll be familiar with their nest partners. Some fanciers allow the pairs to actually lay eggs and sit for a few days and then discard the eggs and separate the birds until the start of breeding season. For me, that is at the beginning of February because after the laying, incubating and rearing, there would be enough time to get the young birds trained for the first Young Bird Contest in early June. Most fanciers will have their breeders raise three nests of youngsters. The third nest of youngsters is to be trained for the fall contests, as they would not be all that deep into the molt. Some fanciers place the bands or rings on the young birds without regard to number sequence. A good idea is to set aside six (6) bands for each pair providing that the fancier would raise three rounds of young birds from each of the pairs. Pair # 1 would get band numbers 1-6, pair #2 would get 7-12 while pair # 3 would get 13-18, etc. This is a simple way of recording the band numbers. Nesting boxes should be at least twenty inches wide by about twelve inches high by the same measurement deep. This size would accommodate two nest bowls that are approximately nine inches wide.

Feeding the Tipplers: During the breeding season, the birds should be fed a diet that has a high protein content. The nestlings need the protein to grow at a steady rate into strong young candidates for the future contests. Vitamins added to the water once or twice per week also helps them grow. Whether one decides to feed regular barley or malted barley to the weaned youngsters is a matter of choice. Both are good and may be fed to them along with other grains and seeds later on in their training. Other grains to be fed to the youngsters, once they've been settled to the loft, are hard red wheat, white or red kafir corn (also know as dari) and either safflower or sunflower seeds. Some grain companies combine these grains together and call it a 'Purifier' mix. This 'Purifier' mix can be used as the basic training diet for the young Tipplers. There are fanciers that will only use malted barley as a basic diet for their birds; then again, different methods of feeding and training.

Settling the Tipplers: Because the young Tipplers are bred from quality flying stock, they are somewhat more difficult to settle to the loft and surrounding area. Therefore, these young Tipplers should be placed in the rooftop aviary at a very early age every possible day for a couple of hours at least. Some fanciers take them from the nest at about two weeks of age and do this. These young Tipplers should have an unobstructed view from the loft rooftop if at all possible. The amount of days/weeks that the young birds are allowed the access to the aviary varies from one fancier to the next. I'd venture to say that it would be about two weeks at the least. The droppers can also be put in with them while in the aviary so that the young Tipplers become accustomed to seeing them and are not frightened at their appearance. Another idea is to have the droppers walking on the rooftop and/or flying about the loft area so that the young Tipplers see this action. Still another is to have a 'remote' settling cage that can be placed a short distance from the loft so that the young Tipplers have a distinct view of the loft other than from its rooftop. First release. This, for me, can be the most nerve wrecking of all! Some fanciers are known to not feed the youngsters at all for about one or two days prior to their first release. By doing this, they would retain some control on them. The newcomer should have purchased and settled several droppers many weeks prior to this stage of the young birds training. Droppers can be any variety other than Tipplers themselves. Most droppers are usually white in color and are able to flutter about the rooftop of the loft thereby creating an attraction for the young Tipplers. It is a good thing that these young Tipplers should be familiar with the droppers so that when they are first released they do not frighten them. The English fanciers usually settle one bird at a time though here in the USA we tend to settle the kit of young birds all at the same time. Now, if the fancier has the time... to settle one Tippler at a time, well, all the better, though not many do. Should the young Tipplers take to the air, then begin throwing grain sparingly onto the rooftop so that the droppers will chase about after it. This will create an attraction and cause the Tipplers to take notice and (hopefully) come down to the loft. Sometimes, a Tippler may drop onto another rooftop. This can be excused the first time, but should it do so again and again, then that bird should be considered as spoiled and dealt with as the fancier sees fit to do. Just remember that 'where one goes, another may follow!' The novice fancier should realize that he will suffer losses on this first release and should not get discouraged. Many of the birds that do not return that same day may very well return over the course of the next 4-5 days. They can, after recuperating from this experience of being away from the loft and without feed and/or water for several days, be released with the remainder of the young Tipplers and resume training. The young Tipplers should be released every possible day at this stage so that they become 'imprinted' to the area. It is not wise to skip a few days here and there and then thinking that the Tipplers are settled only to learn a hard lesson by having them not return that day or for several days thereafter. The rest and the feed, that the Tipplers have during this confinement, will boost their energy level causing them to expend it when released with the end result being losses or a dose of bad training on the fancier's part should he be lucky enough to have them return days later! Measuring of Training feed... At this very early stage in the settling the Tipplers are being fed either barley or malting barley only by some fanciers while others may feed differently. By this time, the young birds will know the barley and eat it without hesitation because it has been given them since their weaning stage along with other grains and seeds that they're now accustomed to. They'll continue to be fed barley (plain or malting) until they've been recognized as being settled and have flown an hour and more in training at this point. Only then will their diet include other grains and/or seeds (seeds that contain oil such as rape, niger or flax). Some fanciers continue using the barley as a main part of their Tippier's diet while others may choose to include hard red wheat, white or red kafir and safflower seed. This combination of grains is a mixture known as 'Purifier' and is sold by feed companies as such. The fancier should be careful, very careful, when he decides to change their diet; it should be done gradually and not suddenly. The young Tipplers' diet should be increased gradually as their flying time increases. Measuring of Training Feed; this can be done by the use of a one-ounce measuring spoon or a plastic 'Nyquil' container or something similar. Adult Tipplers will usually eat about an ounce of feed, though they should be slightly underfed (less than one ounce). Young Tipplers eat just slightly less. Try not to overfeed and don't allow feed to remain. Feed and water once per day, at or near dark is best. Some fanciers place the droppers into the section or group kit box at the time of feeding so that the young Tipplers recognize the droppers as a signal for feed. Droppers; if the fancier is training his kit in the 'conventional' manner then the release of the droppers will be the signal at the end of each and every training session. The Tippler kit comes to recognize these droppers as clearance to come to the loft and will take notice and respond upon their release. When a kit of young Tipplers is being settled, the droppers are allowed to remain on the loft with the Tipplers. The droppers are allowed this freedom up to and until the Tipplers form a kit and after subsequent releases are flying at least an hour or more. The droppers are then withheld until the kit shows obvious signs of wanting to come to the loft. Those signals for dropping are small circles flown by the kit about the loft area, tails are seen to be spread and you might be able to see their feet hanging, the birds are also seen to be 'looking for the clearance'. At that point, it is time to release the droppers. Failure to do so could result in having the birds come to the loft 'on their own' and possibly ruined. The releasing of the droppers should always conclude training sessions. The objective is to instill in these young birds' minds that they must fly until the droppers are released. Release the first and second droppers when the kit is circling away from the loft so that the kit does not see you doing this and thereby associate you with the droppers! Otherwise, the kit will begin to respond once they see you. Always keep a few of the droppers held in reserve just in case the kit isn't responding as quickly as you'd like.