Micky Watts of Southminster
For the second time in as many seasons I had the opportunity to visit Micky Watts in Southminster. I was not surprised at all, as I know he has some very good M & D Evans, Vandenabele bloodlines. These bloodlines show up on many occasions during my loft visits and I have a great regard for their honest, hard day performances.
Micky says they like it hard and they like the work. This race was their third channel race with the British International Championship Club in a month and in the previous one, two weeks earlier, Micky was third open! This time he won with a yearling widowhood cock that is half brother to his previous Old Hens winner from Guernsey. He and she are bred from M & D Evans “Divina” but with different sires.
This time an inbred grandson of the famous “Shadow” was the sire to the winner and indeed is now called “Shadows Image”. He may find himself back at the M & D Evans lofts after the season as Mickys open winning pigeons do, as he has thirty youngbirds from Mark & Dickie every year and has done for years.
The widowhood cocks are paired up around Christmas time and a round of youngbirds are taken off them. They are then widowed and club racing begins in the middle of April with a view to getting them fit for the British International Championship Club races that begin in early May.
They are not shown the hens prior to basketing, or the bowls etc, they are just sent as a usual training toss. The week before the race Micky and his Wife had gone to Turkey for a few days holiday and his friend Lee Basden, was attending to the pigeons for him.
Micky knew they were in great condition because “they were breaking the doors down” to go out to exercise. But he decided to rest them the week before so as not to take it out of them if it turned out a bad race.
When I was visiting he was thinking about the preparation of his hens for the Old Hens Nationals at the end of the season. Any that are spare due to the cocks being lost are put into the youngbird section and begin training with them before being paired up to maximise the incentive to race home.
This being only his third year at his new address, and winning two British International Championship Club races already, I can see Micky needs no motivation himself. But he did say it had taken over his life!