The first race of the BICC old bird programme took place from Falaise in early May 2013 following the cancellation of the proposed first race from Carentan due to the coldest spring for 50 years in the British Isles.

The eventual winners of this 200 mile race was a two year old hen racing to the Basildon loft of the Mahoney Brothers, Pat and Tony.

Although the brothers had raced pigeons for many years into the Dagenham area of East London, the BICC Falaise winner was clocked to their Basildon loft following their recent move from the East End in April 2011. Pat and Tony's father began his association with pigeons in 1962 and the brothers, along with their older brother Jim who raced separately, enjoyed great success racing into Dagenham winning scores of club and Fed firsts plus 1st Amalgamation and 1st Open London North Road Combine.


The new range of lofts constructed at their new location are an impressive set up. They consist of their Dad's old widowhood loft which measures 14 ft x 6ft which houses 20 widowhood cocks. The second loft measures 28 ft x 8ft and has three sections, two housing roundabout cocks and the other the roundabout hens. The young bird loft measures 24ft x 6ft and is divided internally into two sections. The stock loft houses  16 pairs of stock birds and all four lofts are set around an immaculately maintained lawn.

The racing lofts are cleaned daily whilst the stock birds are kept on a deep litter.


In 2013 all birds both racers and stock birds were mated at the same time - 14th February. As a result the racers were still paired up at the time of the brothers' first club race as the partners set their stall out to concentrate on National and Classic racing this season. On return from the first club race all the racers were separated.

The stock cocks are mated to the racing hens and the widowhood cocks to stock hens that are flying out. In addition there is a team of 16 pairs raced on the roundabout system. Pre season training was extensive this year, so the birds were obviously in A1 condition at the start of the campaign.

Once racing commences, the cocks are allowed exercise twice daily for one hour when they are allowed to do as they please. The hens on the other hand only go out for exercise once per day. The widowers are rarely trained once racing begins but the roundabout team often get a 50 mile training toss mid week throughout the season.

Young bird racing is not now taken too seriously and the babies are raced naturally so all training and racing stops when they are heavy in the moult. In fact in the two seasons that the brothers have been at their new address the youngsters have only had a couple of races but have of course been trained extensively.


Pat and Tony make up their own mixes by combining four different types of GEM mixtures. Once the youngsters are ranging they are fed the same mixture as the old bird racers. All racers are fed to appetite both morning and night with the stock birds fed individually in pots in their nest boxes. In addition the birds get Natravit in the water on Thursdays with Gervit added to the drinking water on a Friday, plus of course grit and minerals when needed. All other supplements that the birds might need should be incorporated in the good quality grain mixtures fed.


The birds that the brothers  now race have been developed over nearly 30 years of racing and testing and mating "best to best" irrespective of what strain name they carry. They are based to a large extent on pigeons obtained from the world famous Planet Brothers in the early 1980's. These were a combination of Leen Boers, Janssens and Van Loons. In the mid 1980's some Janssen Van Den Bosch were obtained from Midlands Ace Albert Babington followed by the introduction in the 1990's of Ron Williamson Busschaerts and Frank Sheader Soontjens.  These crossed well with the Planet pigeons to breed birds to win out of turn at club, Fed, Amalgamation and Combine level.

However, since moving out to Basildon Tony and Pat have recently introduced long distance stock with an eye to competing at the distance on the south road. These have yet to be tested in the short time that the brothers have been settled in Basildon. The brothers have no fads regarding type, eyesign etc as they have found from experience that all shapes and sizes win races on their day if conditions are right for them - or as they put it all winners are the ideal type!


  When racing in partnership with their father in Dagenham, Tony and Pat won 1st Open LNRC Berwick with 5,000 birds competing and 1st South West Essex Amalgamation with 7,000 birds competing. Following their father's death Pat and Tony won 1st Amalgamation against a field of more than 4,000 pigeons when racing to another address in Dagenham.

One Planet Brothers cock when raced on widowhood won 9 x 1sts; 5 x 2nds plus 5 times 1st Fed and four times 2nd Fed. The Amalgamation winner mentioned above also won 5x 1sts and also bred pigeons to top the Fed.

Yet another Planet Brothers pigeon won 7 x 1sts club plus 4 x 1st Fed as well as 3rd,4th,7th & 23rd Amalgamation with more than 5,000 pigeons competing in each race.

So we move onto the 2013 BICC Falaise winner which is a two year old hen and was on only her third trip accross the channel when she won 1st Open, having been 19th  Open EECC on her first trip accross the briney in 2012. She is bred from a cock obtained from Pat and Tony’s brother Jim and contains all the best of the Planet Brothers Janssens and Leen Boers pigeons with a touch of Van den Bosch via Albert Babington. Pat and Tony have a great respect for their brother Jim as they rate him amongst the very best fanciers around.

 The BICC Falaise win was the latest in a long line of successes for Tony and Pat and I wish them well in their quest for long distance success on the south road. Congratulations.

 Gareth Watkins

Mahoney Bros Handling

Mahoney Bros Lofts

Mahoney Brothers 1st BICC Falaise Mobros First Lady