"The Training Of Orliks And Other Tutcheresi"

By: Kelley D. Spurling (Debut July'99)

In the September 1998 issue, my paper "Fascinating Orliks of The Ukrain", drew much attention. In fact, the attention was so great, that I received roughly five dozen letters and postcards and also a couple dozen phone calls, including many from Russian and Ukranian immigrants, all in praise of what was written. The thirst for knowledge of the Tutchereti class is so great that a second article has been requested, especially for one which will detail the training of these races for the air, how they are to be fed and also some have asked how they are to be flown in kit competitions.

I would like to begin with the subject of aerial competition for the Tutchereti class, both in North America and in its homeland of the Russian Ukrain. Firstly, it should be realized that there are two trains of thought in this class of breed's homeland and it is these two trains of thought that I would like to talk about first.

The first train of thought is the one held primarily in the heartland of Tutchereti culture in cities such as Nikolayev, Cherson, Charkov, Kiev and other cities in the Ukrain, as well as in Crimea. In this region, the emphasis is nearly devoted strictly upon the style of flight, in reference to the aerial standard set down at Nikolayev in 1982, which has been evolving since the last century. Since it is difficult to describe in words and do justice to the standard, I am hereby enclosing the accompanying chart entitled "Ukranian Skycutters" which depicts the evolution of the modern aerial standard and I hope it reproduces. This chart is accredited to Mr. Dmitry Geller of New Jersey who immigrated to the USA from the Ukrain and had grown up in the heartland of Tutcheretis culture. The bird at the bottom, labeled "Ochiakovski Last one (standard from 1982"), is to represent the modern ideal. The other three, while old ideals, are predicted to this day, although they represent less than perfection. The bird at the top (labeled: Nickolivski 1st, end of 19th century), if I am not wrong, is to represent the older and less common Serpasti type. The lower three are Torzovi style birds. The last type is what we should all be striving for. It also a requisite of the ideal (besides the style itself), that the birds are to rise up into the air in as straight a line as is possible. In fact, the word "Torzovi" means "beam" (as in the piece of timber) and refers to the straitness of flight. In this light, the birds are to face into the breeze and begin rising in as near a straight line as possible. In the Ukrain, the birds are generally flown in much larger kits than they are flown in Northern Russia and the emphasis is upon only style of flight. Ten birds per kit are said to be about right for day to day flying and few have concerns on altitude or endurance. Many are the fanciers who are satisfied with only 20 minutes of flight. In the competitions, a fancier will select his best bird and fly it individually, or with one or two others. A very long length of string is tied to the bird and it is released, with the string being held slightly taunt by another official. The idea is that the bird is to rise straight up without other movements and that the string is to remain as straight as possible. To  my  knowledge,  such competition has not occurred in North America to date. In our Redwood Empire Club, this subject has been discussed. It was voted that tying a string to our best kit bird is not very wise due to our local geography as it would be very easy for the bird to get the string tangled in trec branches or power lines and it is a potential danger that we are not willing to impose on our best kit birds. Perhaps if there are some fanciers in the Great Plains region, such a contest may occur in North America.

In Northern Russia, the school of thought is aimed at both the flying style and upon the altitude and duration of flight, In fact, it said that the Russian endurance record stands at over 28 hours, The pigeons are often trained to fly in darkness, yet the contests are actually held during the mid Summer in the "White Nights" While many Tippler fanciers may scoff at the very idea of 28 hour duration, it has got to be realized that the North Russian Summer is an environmental advantage found in few other places of the world. During the White Nights, over twenty-three hours of true daylight exists and as dark as it will get is a mere twenty or twenty-five minutes of dusk like light. In this environment, the pigeons can fly to their utmost physical limits without the cover of darkness. If Tipplers were flown in the same sort of environment, and I question the existence of Tipplers in Northern Russia, odds are, existing Tippler records would likely crumble.

In my locale, those of us who are breeding a Tutchereti race (there are four of us), are of the same school as found in North Russia and most of our stock was imported from Northern Russia. In this area, while our main interest is flying style, we are also selecting and competing for endurance and optimum altitude. In this case, we are also competing against Tippers and quite an array of Continental Highfliers or Endurance Flying Tumblers. We do train our kits to fly in complete darkness and it is not rare in our club for someone to choose a very, very early flying time such as 2 or 3 A.M. The kits often wearing small sets of bangles and the judge armed with a high power spotlight, we allow flight during darkness. Due to space, I cannot go into details about training of kits for flying in darkness, but if the interest is there and readers will ask for it, it can be the subject of another paper. Locally, we are conducting two styles of contests. The first is for endurance where the pigeons are timed from liberation  to landing,  but again, there is not space for details of the rules.  The second is the ascendants contests which time the pigeons from liberation to "sky out" (where the kit goes  out of sight,) with the idea of the kit rising out of sight quickly as possible. The latter is a specialty in our club that has existed since the early 1980's, and while the drive to get birds high are quite fierce between lofts, it is not of the highest honor. This style of contest was developed to emphasize the selection of those birds who could reach great heights as is so required of Continental races, and also for the purpose of loft touring as unlike the endurance contests, many kits can be flown in one day and all fliers can attend and look over the birds in the loft.

This now leads to the subject of training our Tutchereti, and I would like to begin with a few words about what to feed and how to feed the kits. The first thing I would like to make clear is that no member of the Tutchereti family can be fed corn of any type with good results and I for one will admit that I learned this the hard way. If you want a group of fat, sloppy and lazy Orliks or Nikolajevski, feed "build" muscle or burn fat at even near the same rate as others. This can pose quite a problem, as it is found that if a fancier does not apply himself to his pigeons and neglects to fly them for even a week, it may take months to get them back into the same flying condition. In this light, corn is a wretched feed as the fat is put onto the birds faster than they can burn it off. The Ukrainians have understood this for years. In the same light, the breed should not be fed pelleted feed as pellets contain ground corn.

As far as what to feed, definitely, there are as many feed rations as there
them corn, because that is what it will get you. This is not to say that corn is not good grain to have in a mix for other breeds, but it is to say that it should not be fed to any Tutchereti breed. Corn is the fastest and by far, the surest way to wreck your Tutchereti. As the majority of fanciers will know, corn will put fat on any animal. The trouble with the Tutchereti is that they do not fly in the same manner as other pigeons. Give me a group of fat little Helmets from the winningest show strain in the country and in 2 weeks I will burn every scrap of fat off their bodies, have them settled, kitting and flying strong. Give me a group of Modenas and I can have them doing the same within a month. Give me a group of Orliks and I'll have them settled all right, but it will take months to get them flying strong again. The fact is that your everyday breed in flight drives its wings from the body and it is possible, with time and effort to build good muscle on pigeons that have been bred strictly for exhibition for many years and with effort, even a Utility breed can be pushed to fly strong and they will appear very streamline. In fact, Levi cited a case of a White Carneau hen that was pushed to fly and eventually homed from beyond ten miles. Tutchereti do not fly in the same manner as others, and it is my opinion that they use the musculature of their wing tips more so than their breast as found in other birds. Use of the breast muscles is in fact quite minimal. Many flying fanciers are aware that the breast muscle of a good flying pigeon appears blue in color. However, this is not viewed even among the very strongest flying Tutchereti. The bottom line is that muscle use is very different among this group of breeds. As a result, they do not
are fanciers. The best I can do is to give the details of my own feed mix, and that is one part red wheat, two parts Canada peas, one part Safflower, one part milo and three parts red millet.

Coming around to how to feed them, .1 do not feed mine much different than one would feed a kit of rollers, except I give them about one and a half times of what I feed my rollers on the average day. (On that note, I give every three rollers one fist-full and that fistful is about 1/3 of a cup, but I do not technically measure it from day to day.) In the same light, just like rollers- ALL of my kit birds are allowed one full drink per day. After feeding a kit I will leave them water for about 30 minutes. Excepting the hot weather, that is the right amount of water intake for any kit bird.

Now, regarding flying them itself. For endurance, 3 to 5 birds per kit is correct and I believe that 3 is ideal. Each kit is housed in a 2x3 kitbox with a single rail perch and no trap. As long as the birds are flown regularly (which is a must for the Tutchereti), they will stay in the peak of health. I should also say that to date, after many experiments, that the only breed can be flown successfully with any Tutchereti are the Russian Turmani racers such as Rzhevski Startail or Kalujski Turmani.I have also discovered that most Russian/Ukrainian breeds favor cool weather, detest heat. Temperatures over 85 degrees will usually drop the ability of any kit of Tutchereti, no matter how good, to just about nil and they would rather avoid the heat than fly. In my experience, it is best to reduce flying to night time only when the heat surpasses about 80 degrees. In this way, we can keep the birds in flying condition. As a rule, I do not suggest any Russian breed to a fancier in a hot climate and it has been found that many fanciers in hot climates do not have much luck even breeding the birds, let alone flying them. I have also come to the conclusion that if one has mature kit birds, it is best to separate the sexes. All the cocks will want to do is mate and I have seen even very well managed kits deteriorate very quickly because the cock birds have decided that they no longer have any interest in flying whatsoever. In fact, it is a fact that the Tutchereti are very stubborn as a whole and they will press their manager to his limits at times. In the end, they will either do their manager well or they will control the kit manager. The end result is up to each fancier.

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