Flyer Profiles: Manuel Fenton

Belfast, North Ireland

1. How do you settle your Tipplers?
Manuel: I break them down on barley and continue with this until I get them dark trained.

2. What do you look for in selecting a kit?
Manuel: I look for birds that fly well together and are good eaters, also look for birds that don’t split in the dark.

3. When do you begin training?
Manuel: I start training in the second week of January. I settle all my flying birds as young ones into dark on barley, not a lot of it till I get them dark trained. They are about 6 to 7 weeks old, my loft is 10 feet from the M1 Motorway, so I have to get my birds used to the light of cars; it works for me.

4. How do you know when your Tipplers are in form?
Manuel: They will want to fly longer in training and will be harder to drop.

5. Which do you rather fly in competition, hens, cocks or a mix?
Manuel: I prefer to fly hens, but fly cocks as well. I don’t fly mixed kits.

6. Do you use a darkening system in your loft to affect the flight feather molt of your birds?
Manuel: No I don’t use a darkening system on my birds for feather molt.

7. What’s your system of dropping?
Manuel: For dropping I work 8 – 10 pure white pigeons, some feather feet.

8. What do you feed your flyers?
Manuel: My hens mostly get barley and linseed. Cocks are fed depurative.

9. How are birds cared for after a competition?
Manuel: After competition some light feeding for a day or two, then back on training food, 4 – 5 days rest.

10. Do you train to or into the dark?
Manuel: I always train my birds 3-4 hours into dark. (I fly my birds 6 hours, 1 hour daylight, 4 to 5 hours dark because of the falcons.)

11. Got any advice for a novice?
Manuel: Advice for novice-: Keep control of your birds by not over feeding them, and do not over train them.

12. How large a loft do you maintain? How many pigeons?
Manuel: My loft is 30 feet by 8 feet with 3 sections inside, breeding, weaning and flying sections. I breed of 9 pair. 14 flying birds and 12 droppers. total at the moment is 44 birds. First round due to hatch this week around the 8th March.

13. Do you breed your Tipplers by family pairings or best to best?
Manuel: I breed my birds family pairing and best to best.

14. How close is too close in your breeding program?
Manuel: It depends how close your breeding birds are bred, I stop at brother and sister.

15. What do you feed your breeders?
Manuel: I feed my breeders a mix called VIP. (Bobby Dunseith got this feed made up by a local supplier; a lot of small seeds, small maze, maple and green peas and wheat, good mix.)

16. How did you become associated with Tipplers and how long has it been?
Manuel: When I was 5 or 6 years old my next door neighbor kept pigeons and I was fascinated by them. I put my first loft up when I was 11 years old and have had Tipplers ever since. I started keeping competition Tipplers in 1984 and got my first NTU birds from Harry Shannon I n 1985.

17. What is your favorite Tippler strain and why?
Manuel: My favorite strain of birds is Harry Shannon and Ken Potts, they are a good all round bird, both y/b and o/b are very reliable.

18. Any suggestions that might improve the Tippler sport?
Manuel: We should try to get as many young people interested in the sport as we can as we need more members.

I am 45 years old, married with 4 children 2 boys and 2 girls.
My advise for your fanciers is don’t over feed or over train, especially young birds as too much will sicken them and they won’t want to fly after a while. Once you loose this with young birds it’s hard to get it back.

They have to want to fly, all the food in the world won’t make them fly. Hang in there, it only takes a good flying day, a hawk free sky and the birds to be right; and who knows what a good kit of Tipplers can do?

Manuel’s best times with old birds are 19 hr, 36 min, 19 05 & 19 04 and his best with young Tipplers are 18 45, 18 30 & 18 15. He writes: “20 hours will come mate, I will just have to wait.”