Barley - Ken Brown


My object in writing these notes is not to point out to you the progress that our sport has made, but to place before you some practical hints about flying Tipplers and so make the Year Book of value to all who purchase a copy.

As Barley is the staple feed for the flying Tippler, I must deal with it first. A great many Tippler fliers, not only beginners, find it very difficult to get their birds to fly in any style when put on barley alone. Many object to its use as they like to see their birds looking in the best of trim at all times and have not the necessary patience to persevere until their birds get ;accustomed to it as a food. Some keep their birds on a mixture of grains, amongst them, some of a stimulating nature and only feed their kit on barley when they want them to fly in an N.T.U. contest. In such a case it is ' not surprising that the kit instead go right out of condition owing to such a sudden change.

One of the draw-backs in the use of barley is that it contains no oil at all and if you kept your birds on barley alone for any length of time you would notice that your birds would lose their plumage sheen and the birds end flights would become dry and brittle. This is caused by the lack of natural oil in the barley, so you have to combat this dry feather condition. I do not believe in feeding Linseed in seed form but prefer to give it to my birds in the water.

The best place to buy first class Linseed is your chemist store, they only stock the best for medical reasons. You will find it expensive but well worth it.

This is how you make Linseed Tea. First you obtain one old vessel that your wife or mother no longer needs, then you place 1 lb of Linseed into the vessel, add 2 pints of boiling water and put it on a very low gas and let it simmer until it is like glue. Then you have to have another unwanted vessel. Take one tablespoonful of very thick Linseed and place it in the vessel, add one pint of boiling water and stir until all the Linseed has melted. You then take a funnel and place it into the neck of a pint bottle and pour in the liquid.

I use this method of providing Linseed Tea (one pint per week), to put into my flying kits' drinking fountain right through the flying season. By using liquid Linseed, my birds are receiving it straight into their bloodstream, the grand effect it presents on the birds has got to be seen to be believed.

As I live on my own it is no problem for me to prepare it in the house, but I would advise you to make it in the garden on a camping stove as it is a very smelly chore and preparing it in the house could cause a riot, and rightly so! Please do not purchase ready-made Linseed Oil as it is not pure Linseed Oil.

"Hints for newcomers"

Young Tipplers should be ready for leaving their parents at 4 weeks old, and my advice is to take them away at this age and place them alone in the flying cote. For the first week feed them on Canadian wheat. At 5 weeks old you can commence to mix one eggcupful of barley with their wheat, carry on gradually giving a little more barley every night until at 8 weeks you have got your kit on a complete barley diet, plus the Linseed Tea.

Your kit of youngsters should be put onto the Soft or Flying Pen at 4 weeks old, before they can fly, so giving them every chance to study their surroundings. Never allow your young out without your hungry Dropper hens (2 is enough), then play the Droppers from cote to a feeding board. If you haven't got a feeding board, all you have to do is buy a 7 foot length of 3' x 2' Spar and nail on a plywood board to form a bird table. Do not dig your hole in the ground any further than 4 feet away from the cote. This is just the right distance for a 4 week old youngster to fly. Use pinhead oatmeal to play your Droppers from cote to feeding board. You will see the youngsters follow Droppers and find the use of their wings without going up in the air. Keep them doing this for as long as you possibly can. Never scare them up or you can kiss them goodbye.

You might not realise it but a youngster gathers a lot about its cote and surroundings just by being allowed to look around, and I say the longer the better. At this time you should never main feed your kit until dark on barley diet. Always give your youngsters their complete fill of barley as they are training hard, moulting and growing and to starve them at this age is very foolish.

All the best for 1986