WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE.
A LOFT PROFILE ON RAY HAMMOND of Guildford.
Ray Hammond with one of his 2 Bird Average winners from BICC Barcelona
may be wondering the
reason for the title to this report on Ray Hammond, a staunch long
competitor and, hopefully by the end of this article, they will have
the reason, as the Hammond
methodology entails a slow, easy going attitude to the sport of long
Ray started in
the sport in
1970 and his first loft was a simple 6ft x 4ft converted garden shed.
that time the loft has expanded to its present form of
an 18ft x 6ft KIDBY built structure
containing two sections for Ray’s old bird team of 40 racers, or
as Ray put it
10 racers and 30 “Homers”!! A second 8ft x 6ft loft houses
the young birds
reared each season.
has a totally laid back
approach to the sport in as much as the birds are raced on the natural
and are allowed to select their own mates. However, Ray did select as a
pair his first and second birds from Barcelona
in 2012 winning the 2 Bird Average. The birds are usually mated
February” and are allowed to go to nest and rear their babies.
They are allowed
an open loft as often as possible whenever Ray is around to keep an eye
Once the first
youngsters is away then Ray starts their gentle training programme with
tosses up to 30 miles. The third bird home from Barcelona
in 2012 had just two tosses at 30 miles and was then lifted for its
of the season into Barcelona
at 690 miles!!
Ray likes to
have his hens
sitting on a small squab at time of basketting for their target race
not found any particular favoured nest condition for his cocks as it
make no difference to the male of the species.
All birds at the Hammond loft are hopper fed a good
mixture from Gem 365 days of the year. The only addition to this is
liver oil sprinkled on the corn once or twice a week and allowed to
the grain overnight before being fed. The birds have access to food in
24 hours a day 365 days a year.
are a mixture of the
late Eric Cannon’s family with the addition of some birds from
Cumbrian ace Tom
Gilbertson. Ray also has a few “Bertie Bassetts” i.e.
liquorice allsorts to
augment the race team. Ray prefers to outcross and does not like to
birds too closely bred. This breeding policy has produced Ray’s
ideal type of
racer which is medium sized with an abundance of rich silky feathering.
birds developed at the Hammond loft do not require a great deal of road
maintain their fitness levels as the team seem to keep themselves fit
their voluntary home exercise.
are raced naturally
and Ray likes to get at least a dozen training tosses into them up to
mile mark before the start of young bird racing. They are fed exactly
old birds with plenty of Irish Mix from Gem occasionally laced with cod
Ray would like to thank Ron Dodd, Malcolm
Parker and Alasdair Muir for their help and friendship – although
suggest to Ray that perhaps it was time to pack it in!!!
Over the years
the Hammond team have achieved many top
from the long distance race points of Dax, Pau,
Palamos and Barcelona
and listed below are some of the more recent.
2 x 1st
Open BBC Palamos.
& 5th Open Barcelona.
& 7th Open
Perpignan winning the 2
with his two bird entry.
Open Barcelona winning 2 Bird Average.
Bergerac with only 5 birds on the day from more than 1,000 entries.
regards his 1st
LSECC from Pau, when his bird beat more than 2,000 birds from England
liberated at Pau that day, to be his most memorable, as the conditions
stifling with a north east wind blowing and temperatures in the high
So there you
have it- the
methods of a top class long distance fancier who wakes up each morning
“smells the coffee” and who is totally immune to the
dreaded “red card fever”.
Long may you continue to enjoy the sport Ray.
In closing Ray
has asked me
to thank the hard workers in his local Godalming Club, so take a bow
Austin, Vince and Sue Durrant and Michael Tuck. Your efforts have not
unnoticed or unappreciated.