Read on below to learn a little bit about me...
My name is David Ottaway, and I have been a racing pigeon enthusiast for 53 years. I started with racing pigeons in 1968. Being raised on a farm, keeping pigeons came naturally to me. My first loft was a section in the old granary in our barn. I did not race until 1970 in the Barrie RPC. Naturally, it was a long time before I actually won a race. That happened when a man named Sam Marshel, an older gentleman, took me under his wing, no pun intended. Sam taught me how to feed and train racing birds and in time I became a winner under his tutelage. As time progressed I became quite successful racing pigeons and started to win more than my share of races and combine awards. I have been blessed to win every race station on the combine schedule several times over as the years progressed. Winning average speed, champion loft and champion birds on the Up North Combine became a regular occurrence. I have been successful at winning Open Races sponsored by different Clubs as well. One loft racing came along much later and I have enjoyed success in the area of racing as well. I was President of the Up North Combine for 9 years and a Canadian Racing Pigeon Union Director for one term as well. For the last 20 yrs as Race Secretary. I have raced with success in 6 different clubs across Ontario for over 49 years. For the last 4 years, I've resided in Nova Scotia and manage the Central Nova Racing Pigeon Club as a Race Secretary and many other jobs as needed since 2017.
The Central Nova Racing Pigeon Club is based out of Falls River at Carlye Smith House. We race a unique race schedule of 11 races per year. We race old birds and young birds at the same time and release all the birds together. As race secretary, I separate the OB'S and YB'S in the race program and makeup 2 different results. This system is, to my knowledge, the only club in Canada and possibly North America that races OB's and YB's together at the same time. This shortens up the race season to 11 weeks and lowers trailer fees to one series per year instead of 2 sets of trailer fees. This is better for a smaller group as it is very economical. We have 10 members, and 2 new flyers are coming on board in the coming year. There are 8 more lofts from the PEI pigeon club that will be shipping with us as well. Our club ships between 300 to 400 birds a week. I expect this will rise to 700 to 800 birds per week when the PEI club comes on board. We are spread out on a large front of 130 miles wide with PEI club plus ours and 50 miles deep. This creates a very competitive group, and only the best of racing pigeons will compete.
This trailer acquisition was a collective effort by members of the Central Nova RPC. I called on club members and friends across North America to donate birds for an online auction on my Facebook page in 2019. Together we raised over $8,000.00 for the purchase and delivery of this trailer from Ontario. I then refurbished the trailer with fresh paint and logos to advertise our club in its travels. This new trailer will hold 1000 birds at capacity. We, though, do not force it and space it out to 700 birds. This is optimal for the health and welfare of our beloved birds. In the future, we will be providing transportation for the PEI RPC as soon as covid 19 restrictions allow us to travel inter-provincial again. For now, we race out through Cape Breton. My local garage run by Richard and his son Jason is our sponsor for our trailer and supplies maintenance and safety certs for the club at no charge. Thank you guys for your contribution.
My Old Training Trailer
This is my old training trailer from Ontario, and it holds 400 birds. I was using it to train club members birds as well as my own. This helped all our members to be competitive. I was retired, and it was good for the guys that had to work and no time to train. I enjoyed providing this service for fellow flyers.
We start at 100 miles and race up to 380 miles or 570 kms, to the long loft. We are limited to this distance by the St Lawrence River on the North, into Quebec and the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the east, through Cape Breton. As a group, we take turns driving our trailer. Anyone that has a pick-up truck to do the job and are qualified takes a turn. This distance is as far as we really want to drive at this time unless we get some younger members who want to keep going to 500 miles or 800 km. With the headwinds and the mountains, the distance we go is very challenging as it is. We have done 480 miles into Quebec City in the past, and as our old bird teams develop, we will go there again. The racecourse is one of, if not the toughest, in Canada. We race every week in headwinds, and our birds must navigate over and through mountain ranges and open water at the Bay of Funday for 30 to 50 miles. What we lack in the total distance, we make up for on geographic challenges to test our birds. This, all put together, cultivates a very high-quality racing pigeon that can be raced on any racecourse in North America or any One Loft Race in the world. In the 2020 race season, our birds raced 11 weeks and covered off 3,388 km just for racing. I can add another 15 weeks of training and add 1,800 km for a total of 5188 km on the wing for the race season. All this in headwinds from 5 km to 25 km on any given day. That is what I call testing one's birds.
My Foundation Bloodlines
For 25 years I cultivated and maintained a family of Smeulders Jansens from my good friend Gus JoJo's. Shortly after he imported those birds I started collecting them and we won too many races on the Up North combine to count. The largest Combine in Canada for many years. When I moved to Nova Scotia in 2016 I sold all the birds in Ontario. I started a collection of Mike Ganus based birds from his top lines before he started to focus on One Loft Racing. I sourced these birds from several people: Bob Duhra, Tony Alves, Stan Gawel and various auction sites such as Choice Pigeon. They have been excellent bloodlines and kept me on the winning path. The main bloodlines I use since 2008 currently which is my best birds from 100 miles to 500 miles or 800 km are from these lines. Hollywood, Super Champion, The President, Super crack 699, Hofkens, Creator, The Black Widow Hen, and lastly Inbred Gr Children of His Wolverine Cock. All Mike Ganis introductions to North America. I have also added Jos Soontjes, Gladiator from Geernekx, Wouters and the Mustang lines from Vercammen, Chris Hybreches "Champion", "Jempy," Marcel Albrecht and Vanloon. Also Staff Van Reet from Mark Caudwell in Great Briton. I blend these lines into a very successful family of racers that win on any racecourse and now in the one loft scene. The most impressive quality of these birds to me is that there are many prepotent breeders in these bloodlines. Generation after generation of top racers and breeders. I race them hard and cultivate a winning team.