I ran through the TGYB forum's Dolapcı section for the training and here are a few things that caught my eye:
- Each round I get around 20 to 30 young birds. When these young birds complete the feathers under their wings I take them out of the nest. This way they get on their feet quicker and do not get over fed and out of shape. I keep these birds in a separate coop and feed them generously while keeping an eye on their water drinking to make sure they all figure it out quickly. If I notice one that is blinking his eyes like a traffic light it is usually a good sign it has not been drinking water and I show him where it is by holding him and putting his beak into the water.
When they first come out of the coop they behave very similarly to each other; when one flies to the top of the cop the rest f him follow it quickly, when one flies around like it has lost it's mind the rest do the same. I let them go through this process for about a week then the real training starts.
At this phase I reduce the feed and train them to respond to me. When I call them to get into the coop they do, when I ask them to get out they do. If they resist then I encourage them with feed until they get the drift.
During this time I do not let them out with adult birds. Since the adults are used to fly as soon as they are released I don't want the young birds to go after them.
Once they are ready to fly, I let the adults out and fly them. Close to their landing time I let the young birds out. When the young birds see the adults flying they get airborne but in a short time I show the droppers and when the adults start dropping like hail drops it pushes the young birds down and does not allow them to gain altitude. Basically, the young birds get to fly 2 to 3 rounds around before they land with the adults. This way they get used to being in the air but don't get to go far.
At this point I open the doors of all coops and each group of birds go to their coops.
This is a good time to check on the quality of the young birds' homing instincts.
Which ones go to their own coop and which ones end up following the adults to the other coops.
- I wait for the young birds to start eating on their own in the nest. nce they do this I wait for them to come out of the coop on their own pace slowly. If they are not coming out, I help them come out with out scaring them. A few days they go out like this and when I want them in I use the training stick to walk them back to the coop with the rest of the birds. This way they get to learn the purpose of the stick and where the food is (in the coop) quickly. A few days later the young birds start going up to higher locations around coop and come down on their own. Again, I get them in to the coop when the time is right with the stick and offering of feed. I consider the young birds going up on to the roof of the coop as the second step of the training. Once they get to learn their surroundings from the top of the coop I get them to fly with a few adult birds who are very responsive to the droppers. Young birds get to fly a few rounds around the house with these adult birds and learn how to respond to the droppers with them. Even though, their first landing can be a bit of an adventure they will get it under their belt pretty soon. Of course, if you get them tired and fly them too long they will have tendencies to land on to locations other then the spot in front of the coop. We don't want that.
When this flight is repeated a few time I move on to the third step of the training: I fly the young birds with 5 to 6 adult birds for 5 to 10 minutes and get them to land with the coop droppers (opening the coop and letting all the birds come out vs. 1 or 2 droppers). It is normal for the young birds to land last and to encourage them I move the droppers around little bit to flash them. Once the young birds are able to respond to the droppers successfully, I star their flight training to give them strength and endurance.
As their flight condition improve, they will start showing what kind of a performer they will become; they will start sharp wing movements and nose spins and as they get to make these moves more frequently I start flying them in pairs. One fully performing adult and one young bird. It is important to select an old bird that is very sensitive to droppers as the teacher.
When the young birds gets its spins extended to a decent distance then I move him into a larger group. When they get to a better performing level in large kit then I split the young birds into 2s and 3s based on their performance to get them to flourish into their own style. These groupings also gives me a better opportunity to observe each young bird properly.
Once they are set, they all get to fly together. This is the technique I learned from our dear friend Iskender.
Important things to keep in mind while training the young birds are to never scare them, giving them enough time to adjust to their surroundings, don't push them too hard, train them to respond to the stick and feed, and to respond to the droppers properly.
- Dolapci young birds are flown gradually to improve their flight muscles once they get used to the surroundings of the coop. Around the time we can start telling if they are male or female they should be flown longer and longer time frames with in smaller kits. When the young birds complete their feathers and are interested in finding a mate, they will start showing their nose spins. Around the time they start sitting on eggs they will start showing their spins from the chest instead of the nose. Birds that used to spin tight and from the nose at one point start to widen their spins and do it from their chest. These birds are considered to be in full performance.
- 1 to 2 hours of flight seems to give the best results for this breed.
- I think, we all agree that we need to fly the young birds frequently to insure they perform well. The thing to remember is the young birds who are in transition from playing to performing and then performing seriously tend to hesitate to spin. At this stage based on the natural style of the young bird 2 trainer adults must be accompanying it. When the young bird sees to performance of the adults very similar to what he is inclined to do it will get encouraged and go for it. At this stage droppers should be used from greater distances to encourage spin dives and give enough time/distance to the young bird to follow the adults accompanying it. Once the young bird copies the adults the rest will come naturally since it will overcome its hesitation of going into the spin.
- Another technique is when the young bird finds a mate and starts chasing it for the eggs the mate is taken away from it for a day. After a day of separation the pair is united in their coop. 10 minutes after the unification the young bird in question will be flown with 2 similarly performing adults. When this 3 bird kit gets to a good height the mate of the young bird is let out as the dropper and if necessary flown briefly around the coop. This should be the moment that young bird will show it's first full spin.
- Third option is the time when the young bird is just starting to feed it's own babies the first time. As we know the most critical point of the training of the young bird is the time it tries to get the courage to go into a spin. Dolapci sitting on the eggs will recognize the babies getting to break out of the eggs on the last 3 days. Last day it definitely sees the cracking of the eggs and the movement. At this moment the parent young bird will become more agitated and will get into the mode of protection of it's young, will not leave the nest and starts preparing the pigeon milk. When the babies come out the eggs the agitation and nervousness will be replaced will happiness, However, since it has not eaten properly for the last few days and its spending extra energy for the milk it becomes a bit tired. The bird seems a little dizzy at times. All this put together, the same bird that used to make us watch him to see when he is going to spin, if he is going to spin to the left or the right but the right moment never shows up, all of a sudden performs like a dream.
- Note: Even though, we use droppers the Dolapci really never truly needs a dropper or a formal training to perform. It will perform any way, regardless of what we do. The point of all this is to establish the tie between the fancier and the bird by the training given to the bird to establish it's distinct style and proper discipline.
There are many other comments also but mostly in the line of these.