The story of Geoff and Clayton Preece of Dover.


Those fanciers who are interested in International racing will not have failed to notice the name of a father and son partnership from Dover who have, in a very short time, enjoyed terrific success at the highest level of pigeon racing i.e. International racing competing against the best in the UK and Europe. The partners began in the sport in 2008 and since that time have won 1st Open BICC Perpignan in International races on three occasions plus numerous other top ten placings from Pau, St Vincent, Barcelona etc. It's amazing to note that two of the three outright first prizes in BICC races have come when Geoff and Clayton have timed the ONLY BIRD IN THE UK ON THE DAY. The latest occasion being the recently held 2014 Perpignan International. The following is a brief outline of their management and methods that have brought them this **instant** success.

** When did you start in the sport.

** Who was your first major influence.
Prolific distance winner and eye sign expert the late Bill Woodall and the Internationally, widely respected Dr Jeff Horn

** Can you give brief details of your first loft, birds, management etc.
We fly from a south facing loft 3m x 7m divided into 3 sections Widowhood cock section consists of 20 widowhood boxes over a grilled floor. Our 2014 team consisted of 14 widowhood cocks 5 celibate hens and 2 yearling cocks.

** How long have you raced to your present location.
6 years

** Can you give details of your present loft set up i.e. overall dimensions , orientation , number of sections etc.
3mx6m South facing loft. ** 3 sections race cocks/YBs/Celibate hens. The widowhood hens are housed away from the race loft in a large aviary. The Stock loft is also located away from the race loft so the racing cocks are not distracted and are allowed to rest during the day.

** Do you use deep litter ,grids or clean daily/regularly.
All the lofts are fitted out with grills on the floors. The accumulated droppings being cleared out annually. The nest boxes however are scraped out daily.

** How many birds do you keep:- stock. racers, young birds.
2014 race - 14 widowhood **old** International race cocks 5 celibate hens and 2 yearling cocks on widowhood for channel training. In 2014 we have a young bird team of just 29.
Stock these are the survivors from the race team along with some carefully researched and selected stock birds brought in from Continental lofts with outstanding long distance performances.

** What system do you use to race the birds e.g. widowhood, round about, natural etc.
Celibate Hens

** When do you mate your stock birds, racers.
All birds whether stock or racers are paired at the same time in March/April according to the Lunar calendar and relative to performance, pedigree and eye sign.
The Stock birds rear 1 or 2 rounds. Racers have eggs floated under fosters. The racers have their hens taken away after laying 2nd egg and the cocks are then allowed to sit until they desert the eggs.

** Do you mate the birds you intend for the longer races at a different time to the other racers.
Since we only have an interest in the International race calendar our breeding is prepared accordingly.

** What is the preparation of the racers prior to the first old bird race.
Channel training plus whatever Kent Cosmopolitan channel races fit into the International race calendar.

** Do you force fly your birds during exercise or are they left to do as they please.
Morning flight sunrise - 1 hour plus free time. Evening 1 hour plus free time. No force flying- we consider that a distance pigeon in good order should enjoy the exercise and steadily increase their air time with the onset of form.

** How often do you exercise the race birds.
Weekdays ** mid April through to September

** How often do you train the race birds before and during racing.
Once we have obtained a level of fitness through **off the loft flying** our training is geared to the International calendar.

** How far do you usually train .
Average 40 miles up to the first Channel race.

** Is there any specific preparation for the birds before National races.
Observation of the race team with the appropriate feed/training adjustments to bring the pigeon to form at the appropriate time in the International race calendar.

** How much racing do your young birds receive and how many training tosses do they have in the year of their birth.
One or two inlanders to educate to the lorry and a Channel race.

** Do you race your young birds on the Natural system or Darkness/light system
We do not separate cocks and hens ** all go from the perch ** certainly no darkness/light systems

** How do you feed the racers, stock birds, young birds hopper /by hand. How do you gauge how much they need at each feed.
Same time each day, morning and evening, fed enough to clear within about 30 mins same for all sections.

** What mixtures do you feed.
Race season
Racers high carb German Matador race mix
Stock higher protein German Matador breeder mix
YBs 2+1 of the above.

** Do you feed any differently in the build up to National races.
Matador race mix with additional Sunflower hearts/hemp and a few peanuts on the final week.

** What are the main bloodlines that you house now and which lines have proved the most successful.
Main family is Stoffel which include selective outcrosses and then back into the Stoffels including** Hermes/Eijerkamp/Muller/Seegmuller.
Recent introduction of a Chris Van der Velden Hen (Witbuik/Super Ben).
The Stoffel/Hermes lines are building up a reliable scoring reputation within our loft.

** Do you line breed, in breed outcross when breeding. Which method has been most successful for you.
We prefer Line bred pigeons but we are exploring outcrosses at present with pigeons from proven long distance continental lofts with similar base bloodline pigeons.

** Is there any fancier who has helped you more than any other. The late Bill Woodall and Dr Jeff Horn.

** Can you give an outline of your many top class performances and those that have given you most pleasure.
We look to score in the International Open results (top 25% of the total birdage), that gives us most pleasure.
Of course, our record maker 'Jack Jones' the first ever Perpignan daybird into the UK is a very special performance we are very proud of.
'Jack Jones'
2009 Perpignan- 40th sec 58th Nat.
2010 Pau - 18th Sec, 30th Nat.
2010 Perpignan - 1st 'ever' Daybird recorded into the UK - 1st Sec. 1st Nat. 2597th Int.15,756p
2010 RPRA 'Best National Performance' Award winner
2011 Pau - 8th Nat. 666th Int. 8601p
2011 Villeneuve-Agen - 2nd Nat.
2012 Pau - 8th Nat. 1875th Int. 8382p
2012 St Vincent - 82nd Nat.
2013 Pau - 18th Nat
Perpignan ** 4th Nat
2014 Pau 18th Nat.
Perpignan 20th Nat

** Can you give details of some of the top pigeons that you have raced.
In our short time in the sport we have been lucky enough to own some good International performers with three notably outstanding pigeons 'Jack Jones' 1st National Perpignan 2010 and 'Wiggins' 1st National Perpignan 2012 1st National Perpignan 2014 and the nest mate to 'Wiggins'
2011 Perpignan -10th Nat.2ndYearling
2012 Pau - 10th Nat
St Vincent -39th Nat
Perpignan - 1st Nat
2013 Pau ** 31st Nat
St Vincent 16th Nat
Perpignan 45th Nat
2014 Barcelona 17th Nat
Perpignan '1st Nat' Only the second bird ever to time in on the day from Perpignan International
Nest mate to 'Wiggins'
2011 St Vincent 36th Nat
2012 Pau 58th Nat
St vincent 36th Nat
Perpignan 20th Nat
2013 Barcelona 23rd Nat.
2014 (injured in June)
St Vincent 35th Nat
Perpignan 6th Nat

** Do you have any views on how the sport can be improved and how we can attract new members into the sport.
Improved Marking station provision for the Internationals. Better publicity for the Internationals.{Don't know how much more that I can do to publicise the Internationals Geoff - GW} One organisation to send to the Internationals not BBC/BICC 'two National winners' very confusing for our International friends.
The 1 in 4 prize system adopted at Club/Fed/Combine level this is a proven evaluation system of the overall performance of the loft and the organisation. For example in an International race of 24,000 pigeons even the 6,000th pigeon has a well earned place within the International result and has beaten 18,000 International quality pigeons from the best International lofts. To get multiple pigeons within this 1 in 4 result gives an even better indication of the lofts overall performance and quality. This 1 in 4 prize system could be applied at all racing levels as it is on the Continent this would evaluate, maintain and improve the quality of pigeons and would put into perspective the singul Red card performance that the majority of the UK racing fraternity tends to adopt. It should be remembered that all of our imported Continental performance families or individual performance pigeons have been brought about by this 1 in 4 prize (Loft evaluation) system.
The use of the word Drag seems ever popular good International pigeons do not get Dragged see any International result, map each National winner, look at the time of arrival, distance etc where's the drag Nonexistent - in good quality pigeons that have been prepared properly.

** Do you have a specific programme of medication.
Paramyx/typhoid treatment.
Regular Backs TKK use

** Do you use any supplements such as vitamins etc.
Backs - Mineral and vitamin supplements
Elderberry collected each year made into a liquid and frozen to cubes for later use.
First day Colostrum frozen to cubes and used for Young Birds, the Moult and recovery after stress.

** Do you feed any supplements in the build up to long distance / National races.
Red cell vitamin B complex to promote the production of red blood cells.
Various Oils and Teas.

** How does your ideal pigeon look/ handle.
Small to medium, long cast Chequer. Narrow strong tail. Super eye sign with double vein, yellow/orange eye. On its toes, we like sharp pigeons that prefer not to be handled rather than tame ones.

** If you could only use one product / supplement what would it be.
Common sense for the flyer and a pigeon's natural ability

There you have it from the horses mouth so to speak. Geoff and son Clayton have only been in the sport for 6 years and in that time have won three BICC International races and many other top prizes at both National level with the BICC and International level competing against some of the best fanciers in the UK and Continental Europe. Another interesting fact is that they only race a relatively modest team of around 16 widowhood cocks to achieve these excellent performances. Food for thought for those fanciers with modest means who aspire to International racing.
Gareth Watkins

Geoff-&-Clayton Preace 1st Open Perpignan only bird on day into the UK

Jack Jones owned and raced by Geoff & Clayton Preece 1st Open BICC Perpignan [only bird on day in UK]