Walter Straif is 59, married, with three grown children. He works for the Landesdienst für den Hochwasserschutz (Government Service for Flood Protection) in Upper Austria.
How it all began
Pigeons have been part of Walter’s life forever. Growing up on a farm, his father gave him fancy pigeons as a young boy. He spent his childhood in the barn and in the pigeon loft. Croppers were his next breed. When Walter was 15, he caught a racing pigeon and got a hen from a breeder he befriended, and that's how he caught his first pair of racing pigeons. And that’s when his fascination for the birds took hold. In 1980, he became a member of the pigeon association in Ried, and since then he has always participated in competitions, with the exception of when his house was being built. So it’s safe to say that he’s an old hand and has experienced all the ups and downs of the trade.
Like any other breeder, Walter Straif began with pigeons he received from friends and club members. But things only really got started when he bought his first pigeons from the Bavarian top breeder Hubert Wimmer. His performance was even better when he expanded his pigeon loft to include pigeons from the famous top breeder Josef Kusser’s old red line. After 20 years, this line is still represented in his database of performance pigeons.
The racing method
The pigeons are on total widowhood. Before the race, each couple has to raise two youngsters, which isn’t commonplace, I think, Walter says. “You need robust and healthy pigeons for that. After about two weeks I start with the rotation method. During the day, the cocks are with the youngsters, at night, the hens. The youngsters then set off at the first prize flight, and then total widowhood really starts.
There are also no secrets when it comes to how they’re fed. He has full confidence in the feeds made by Belgian company Versele-Laga. Especially the mixtures Super Hens Special, Super Widowhood and Plus I.C. + Gerry. With this, too, everything is relatively simple. Good nutrition and good health are all you need.
Pigeons, lofts and breeding method
Straif's pigeon collection is divided into thirty breeding couples and eighty racing pigeons. Every year, 80 youngsters are bred for the competitions. There are no major diseases among the youngsters. He attributes this to the fact that he uses almost no medication and the pigeons have good immune systems.
The highlight in the life of a pigeon fancier, and something that only a select few experience in their career: becoming FCI World Champion in China under extremely tough conditions against breeders from 24 countries.
The father is an original pigeon from Georg Fröhlingsdorf, his pedigree says it all. His father is an original from Rene Geuken, a son of the second ace pigeon in the short middle distance races. The mother is a daughter of the legendary “Josef” from Fröhlingsdorf and therefore a full sister of the first ace pigeon Germany...more ace pigeon blood is not possible. Walter only bred the mother for breeding purposes. She comes from his 819, probably his best breeding pigeon, which caused a sensation in the second generation in particular.
“My personal goals are relatively clear, the most important thing is my health, in pigeon sport I want to establish and stay in the top segment. But of course it would be nice to defend the title in Arad. ” Walter Straif feeds his champions the mixtures Super Hens Special, Super Widowhood and Plus I.C. + Gerry.