News and Updates
Jul-24-2017

Good Afternoon Flyers,

 
Birds went 50 miles today and again were released in several groups over the course of an hour.  There was a good head wind of 7-10 mph at release and about the same at the loft when I got home.  Some of the late birds coming in are super spooky, so I'm sure at least one of the groups got spooked by a raptor on the way home.
 
Training continues and we are on schedule for the 150 mile qualifier on August 15th. Now that we are at the 50 mile mark, I will do at least one mass release this week. Those that flew with me last year, know that I continue to do group tosses throughout the season.
 
I have started to receive some entry fees...they are not due until after the 150 mile qualifier, but please plan ahead if you are going to be out of town.  I will email entry fee invoices after the qualifier and entry fees will be due before the 200 mile race scheduled on August 23rd.  Entry fees are refunded in full if your bird does not make it to the first race.  Entry fees are $250 and if you wish to participate in the B category it is additional $500 for a total of $750.
 
I have a couple birds that came out of the injury ward this week and are starting to train again.  I had a couple more wire hits this week and those birds are recovering. 
 
I hope everyone has a great week and if anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact me.
 
Take Care
 
Lucas
 
-- 
Lucas Cramer
503-510-2661
 
Crooked River Challenge is a proud user of Primalac and Topigeon clocking system
Jul-18-2017

Good Morning Flyers,

 
Just got home from a 26 mile toss more to the west than we have been flying.  Birds did well with a only a few still out.  There are also a few boys that I have noticed not trapping right away and are usually on the loft when I get home.  
 
Overall, health is still looking good and the bird's appetites are great.  They are getting the hang of road training...loading quicker and are more relaxed in the trailer.  
 
Unfortunately, I have had quite a few birds come home that have been injured by hitting wires.  Many with broken legs and injured wings.  I have spoken to the breeders that have injured birds and will continue to contact those breeders as those birds arrive.  I believe these birds are hitting the very top wires of our high tension lines that they have to cross over.   The lower wires are larger and easy to see, while the very top wires are small and less visible.  Smaller group tosses help but I can see by how the groups trap that some of the groups join up on the way home.
 
Weather is beautiful this week with nights in the high 40s low 50s and days getting up into the mid 80s.  
 
Take Care and I hope everyone is enjoying the summer.
 
-- 
Lucas Cramer
503-510-2661
 
Crooked River Challenge is a proud user of Primalac and Topigeon clocking system
Jul-10-2017

Good Afternoon Flyers,

 
Road training continues with the birds doing well.  There is a 900 acre fire right along our line of flight, so I trained the birds a bit west of line today.  We had a wet spring which has given us good grass but along with that comes fires, so hopefully we won't have too many fire issues this year.
 
This week a group of birds got into some wires and I have two birds with broken legs in the injury ward, another had to be euthanized due to the severity of it's injuries.  I am always amazed how tough these birds are when they come home with such severe injuries.  I do a lot of small group tosses...I believe this makes the birds think a bit more and helps to lessen the frequency of wire strikes.
 
The weather has been really nice with cool mornings and hot afternoons.  The birds enjoy basking in the aviaries even on the hottest days.  Birds have the option to bathe twice a week and most take full advantage of that.   
 
Birds are continuing to eat well and get Primalac and Ropa B in their water.  This week the birds will get challenged a bit more with getting out over Grizzly Mountain and having to pick a pass to come through.  Good luck to all.
 
Take Care and have a great week.
 
Lucas

 
-- 
Lucas Cramer
 
Crooked River Challenge is a proud user of Primalac and Topigeon clocking system
Jul-03-2017

Good Morning Flyers!

 
This morning was our first toss from 2.5 miles and the birds did great.  The birds can see home from this location and most have probably routed over this location before.  Loading was pretty stress free with only a few birds reluctant to get in the trailer on their own.  
 
The vast majority of the birds were home by the time I made it back to the loft with only a few birds actually in the loft.  The birds have been used to being out until 9-9:30 so I am not surprised they didn't go in when they arrived home.  There are still a few out flying as I write this.  The more wing time they get at this point the better.
 
Trailer GPS is up and working (now that I changed the batteries when I got home), so if you are interested you can find the link under the "race info" tab on the website.
 
Time for some stats.
I brought in a grand total of 778 birds from February 1st to June 1st (this number includes all replacement birds).  I have started road training with 727 birds.  This brings the total birds lost from settling, raptors, injuries, and illness to 51 (6.5%). I enjoy looking at the numbers and will pull more data from my records and give exact numbers on on each loss category.
 
As a reminder, for those on Facebook I post videos and pictures regularly on both the Crooked River Challenge page and my personal page.

I hope everyone has a great Independence Day!
 
Take Care
 
Lucas
-- 
Lucas Cramer
503-510-2661
 
Crooked River Challenge is a proud user of Primalac and Topigeon clocking system
Jun-26-2017

Good Morning Flyers,

 
Birds are out enjoying a warm morning here in the high desert.  Yesterday we saw our first 100 degree day of the season and the birds got to fly in the morning and enjoy a nice cool bath.  Luckily, it will only be the in the high 80's  through the rest of the week. I love the design of my loft on these hot days...those that have looked at the photos or have visited know that I have large garage doors on the north and south end of the loft.  This allows me to open both garage doors during the day and since we get north winds during the summer heat, this allows for great ventilation while not blowing directly on the birds.
 
Overall, the birds are doing really well.  Isolation is currently empty with last weeks bird making a full recovery.  The birds are continuing to fly well throughout the morning loft flying sessions and are getting comfortable with the trailer.  I'm currently on schedule to start road training on July 3rd.  Those that flew with us last year know that I start out with several short tosses in all directions and the birds can see the loft from most of these point.  I like this because not all the birds have gone routine and it gives the birds a chance to get used the trailer moving. This year and last I noticed that there is always some birds that are reluctant to leave the area or fly much around the loft...this gives every bird the best opportunity to figure out where home is. 
 
We finished our last old bird races last week with a bang.  Captain Chuck's 1571 was the only day bird from 491 miles flying 1261 ypm on a tough hot headwind day. The Captain always boasted about having great distance birds and he'd have been proud of this red cock bird.  I have never had much luck with red birds, but Chuck's bird winning the 500 and Davolos's red cock bird winning the 400 a few weeks ago...both on hot headwind days has me excited.
 
I hope this finds everyone well.
 
Take care and have a great week.
 
Lucas
-- 
Lucas Cramer
503-510-2661
 
Crooked River Challenge is a proud user of Primalac and Topigeon clocking system
Jun-18-2017

Good Morning Breeders,

 
726 birds are currently out flying and enjoying the morning sunshine. This week I had one bird come up missing from a loft flying session and one of the younger birds had to be place in isolation due to some health issues.
 
Overall, the health of the birds is good.  I finished up the Baytril treatment this week and the birds are back on Primalac, ProVital, and Ropa B.  
 
Many of you probably remember that I sent a couple birds off for necropsy in the middle of May.  I finally got the viral panel back that I was waiting for on the one bird that had died suddenly in the loft...it tested positive for both Circo Virus and Adeno Virus. I'm not too surprised with these findings because my assumption all along is that we deal with both of these viruses to some extent with this many birds from all over. Unfortunately, as most of you know there are no vaccines available for either the Adeno or Circo virus, so the best that I can do is continue good sanitation practices, keep stress to a minimum, and help support the natural immunity of the birds 
 
This weekend we are having the last of our old bird races.  Yesterday was the Western Open from Carson City(381 miles) and I was fortunate enough to grab the first 3 places.  I want to give a shout out to Jeff Life...If you get a chance take a look at wincompanion under races and check out EWOC Carson City Race.  Jeff flies 570 miles and he had 9 day birds with the first bird clocking with a speed of 1302ypm!  Impressive! Congratulations Jeff. This is not an easy course.
 
Today I have birds flying from Wildrie CA (493 miles), so I will be crossing my fingers for some day birds.
 
I hope this finds everyone happy and healthy.  Happy Father's Day!
 
 
-- 
Lucas Cramer
503-510-2661
 
Crooked River Challenge is a proud user of Primalac and Topigeon clocking system
Jun-11-2017

Good Morning Flyers,

 
Birds are out flying and enjoying another cool morning.  Our temperatures the last few mornings have been right around 40 degrees.  The majority of the birds are continuing to fly well and are spending quite a bit of time on the wing while they are out for their morning flights.  There are some younger ones that are still hesitant to join up, but they will figure it out.  
 
There are currently 728 birds that are here and accounted for.  This week I had one of the later arrivals die from an unknown illness, one bird went missing during a loft flight, and I have one bird that has a leg injury that is recovering and should be back in the flock this next week.
 
Now that all the birds are together, I started the birds on a Enrofloxacin treatment to clear up any underlying salmonella, ecoli, and respiratory issues.  I want these birds to be in top shape before we start road training. I do not do this with my personal birds but feel that with this many birds from all over the country it is good idea. Road training should start right around the 1st of July if everything looks good.  The nice thing with the OLR is that I can change my schedule if the birds aren't ready.
 
Overall, the bird are molting well, eating well, and flying well.  They seem content in the loft and are happy to sleep during the heat of the afternoon. The trailer has been connected to loft for over a week now and many of the birds spend the afternoon lounging in it.
 
I hope this finds everyone well.
 
Take Care
 
Lucas
 
 
503-510-2661
 
Crooked River Challenge is a proud user of Primalac and Topigeon clocking system
Jun-04-2017

Good Morning Flyers,

 
Birds are up and out enjoying the cool morning. I am actually quite surprised at how much the birds are flying this morning with having flights pulled Friday. Birds got a nice relaxing bath yesterday with some bath salts.
 
Friday was a busy day checking over all the birds and pulling the 10th flight.  I will admit that pulling flights is my least favorite thing to do, this year especially with my broken shoulder. Luckily, I had help this year and it went faster than I expected. I would herd the birds into the catch cages and then scan each bird, check the condition and health of each bird, then pass the bird off to my partner Patrick who would pull the flights, then he would pass the bird off to my mother and she would place them in the trailer.  I couldn't have done it with out them and we got it done in record time.
 
The overall health of the birds is looking good.  I pulled a total of 2 birds from the loft on Friday during the hand scan.  One bird has a watery eye and is being treated separately for respiratory issues and the other is underweight. I treated the later for canker and since the dropping looks good will just keep an eye on him for a couple days.  Both should make a speedy recovery.  
 
I still have a few birds that are not with the main flock yet.  They will continue trap training over the next few days and will join the main flock mid week.  
 
I had a question from a breeder this week on how often I feed the birds, so I figured I would expound on that subject.  I feed a custom mix that is around 14% protein and 9-10% fat that includes corn, peas (3 varieties), safflower, wheat, milo, millet, hemp, paddy rice, and flax.  I like a lot of small seeds in my mix and feed this same mix to my personal birds. I feed the birds all they want to eat at least twice a day, with some food leftover in the feeders.  I like the birds to have food in front of them all the time, especially when they are young and growing in new feathers.  I also find that it keeps the birds from getting down on the ground and scrounging for food, along with more flying time when they are out. 
 
Birds are allowed 2-3 hours of fly time each day and I leave the two trapping sections open so they can go in and get water if they choose.  I also do this so they can run in if they get scared by a raptor...I want the loft to be a safe place.  
 
I hope this finds everyone well and thank you again for all the support.
 
Take Care and have a great week.
 
Lucas
-- 
Lucas Cramer
503-510-2661
 
Crooked River Challenge is a proud user of Primalac and Topigeon clocking system
May-28-2017

Good Morning Flyers,

 
Birds are continuing to do well and are are finally able to enjoy some dry warm summer weather. The last of the birds arrived this week and are settling in well. All birds enjoyed a bath in yesterdays heat.
 
30 birds from group 13 were added to the main group today.
 
Health has been good with no birds currently in isolation and a couple birds in the injury ward that are most likely out for this racing season.  Birds continue to receive Primalac and Ropa B Oregano in the water daily.  
 
This week has been a bit of challenge for me due to my injuries, but I am healing quickly and I have great support from family and friends.  I'm able to do more than I originally thought and this email is actually being typed with two hands :)  The bird are my priority and now with all the help I have multiple sets of eyes watching out for the birds.  
 
This week we will be going through the birds to pull the 10th flight and checking to make sure all the birds are feeling in good condition.  The trailer will also be pulled out and attached to the loft, allowing birds free access to the trailer for the month of June.  This ensures the birds feel at home in the trailer before we start road training.
 
Today is the Western Open and we are flying 300 miles.  Good luck to everyone and thank you again for all the support.
 
Take Care
 
Lucas
 
 
 
-- 
Lucas Cramer
503-510-2661
 
Crooked River Challenge is a proud user of Primalac and Topigeon clocking system
May-22-2017

Good Evening Flyers,

 
I apologize that it has been over a week since my last update. I unfortunately, took a spill off my horse and had to stay in the hospital for a couple nights and just got home. I have a few broken bones but nothing too serious and I should make a full recovery.
 
I am very fortunate to have family and friends taking over much of my workload. I get to be the supervisor for a few weeks :)
 
Birds finished up there canker treatment and are looking great.  Summer weather has arrived and the birds are loving it.
 
Last week I had one bird die suddenly in the loft and another that died in quarantine.  The quarantine bird looked have a swollen head with the initial gross necropsy showing some type of bacterial infection in the ear and sinus.  The other bird from the main group did not have any visible injuries, so a full virus panel is being done. Once I get the full results I will let everyone know.
 
Loft flying will begin again tomorrow. I hope this finds everyone well.
 
 
Lucas
-- 
Lucas Cramer
503-510-2661
 
Crooked River Challenge is a proud user of Primalac and Topigeon clocking system
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