These systems have been perfected over the years by young bird (YB) specialists, the key is to control the moult by the amount of daylight, either way will let your birds go to races with full wings which give more power to the wing strokes, provided everything else are equal, over a 2 to 6 hour race these birds will have quite of a lead.
Be very careful buying birds from these specialists, their birds may not be as good as their results lead you to believe. The same pigeon must be able to fly just as good as old bird.
As soon as young birds are weaned darken the loft give only about 8 hours of daylight, the hours may vary depending on your hours, it could be from 9 to 5 or 12 to sunset, you don't have to be there to open and close (darken) every day at exact time, on the days that you won't be there, turn the light on and off with a timer and close the loft up to natural sun light all day. As long as birds don't move around it's dark enough. Young birds will behave like winter bred youngsters. They will only moult the body feathers but not moulting their flights (some stronger ones may drop the first flight, and that's OK the moult will eventually stop). After about 2 month in this system their body completely moult out and they look like old birds. One week before the race starts stop the darkening, birds will not start moulting the flights for another six weeks. This way your birds go the races with full wings and not stressed with normal moult.
During the fall when most of the YB races commence, the YB on natural system will sense the coming of the winter because daylights are getting shorter, most of them will moult heavily on the body and missing the 7th, 8th, 9th, or 10th flights, it's almost impossible to win a prize.
If your birds come to a second moult after stop darkening, in order to slow down the body moult, you must increase the daylight to 16 hour day till end of the racing season.
Because it takes about 6 months before YBs complete their moult on the wings, you need to breed early youngsters. In the U.S. for YB races starting in August put your birds together in end of November, by January 1st you are ready to band. As soon as YBs are weaned put them on 16 to 20 hour light, the longer the daylight the sooner they will finish their moult. YBs will moult very slowly on the body and wings but not the tail.
2 months before the races start or after the racing season pull half (every other feather) of the tail feathers, after it grow 3/4 of the length pull the other half.
You can continue having the light on till end of the season.
Or stop the light and darken the loft to allow only 9 hours of daylight, starting from 6 weeks before the first race till end of season. This way you let some later bred YBs quickly finish their body moult before the races.
Keep the length of daylight constant during racing season so birds will not come to a second moult.
Separate the sexes if you have 2 compartments. Birds will exercise more. Put them together before you ship them to the race, how long they should stay together depending on how easily your birds get excited, it may vary from 5 minutes to 24 hours.
Sexually matured cocks can mate them to old hens and fly widowhood.
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