Welcome to Nañez Family Lofts: We are proud to offer pigeons for sale from our performance-based breeding station in Northwestern Wisconsin.
LIQUIDATION OF THE MAJORITY OF OUR BIRDS
It’s 4:00 a.m., I’m sitting at the computer typing this ‘Explanation’ of our recent decision to liquidate a majority of our birds at the breeding station. In general, this is my routine: In bed at 1:00-2:00 a.m., up at 4:00-5:00 a.m., work until about 10 or 11:00, lay down for an hour, then work from noon or 1:00 in the afternoon until 1:00-2:00 in the morning. I’ve done this for 11-and-a-half years since returning to the United States and re-entering the pigeon sport.
I’ve struggled with the monster of insomnia since I was a child and made good use of it for many decades, working full-time from 1981-1999, all the while doing university studies, 17 of those 19 years. For the other 20+ years of my adult life, I’ve simply worked most of the day and then most of the night. I’ve tried virtually every sleep-aid and sleep-therapy known to man with little having any effect.
Combined with the sleep issue, I’ve had a multiplicity of health issues/surgeries etc. since 1993. Though I sport dozens of scars of past surgeries, at present, I still need a few procedures performed on my carcass but can’t find a break to have them done, allotting for post-surgery convalescence. I fell three times this past Winter with damaging results and then tore my arm up several weeks ago while cleaning under aviaries at midnight. The severe Pigeon Breeders Lung that I’ve struggled with since I was 7 years old is taking its own toll on top of everything else. Additionally, my wife just had her Achilles tendon reconstructed and is looking at two knee replacements over the next 6 weeks. All of these are contributing factors, prompting us to liquidate the majority of our birds.
I had never planned on working 15-20 hours a day at the breeding station. But after having hired between 90-95 workers in eleven years, I see that our vision of having a full crew to run the operation is little more than a pipe-dream. Our population is miniscule and, well, many of the ‘laborers’ are only that in name. Just this Summer, we went through 11 workers in 14 weeks- and, training them in just to see them leave a week or two later was further devastating to my own tight schedule. We’ve relied heavily on workers from the relatively new Amish community here, but this Summer, three sets of brothers each moved with their families out of the area within weeks of hiring them. A couple of workers opted to go back to college and the other 2 or 3 just didn’t return for their second week of work. Additionally, almost 120 birds were let out accidentally by the hired ‘help’ during the Summer months.
This last year has been especially trying. My father was diagnosed with brain cancer [Glioblastoma: the worst]. He passed after 8 months of treatment. I traveled to Texas multiple times which, of course, made it more difficult for me to maintain consistency at the breeding station. In January & February, mink in the area caused extraordinary devastation in the lofts at our second location, losing over 200 birds. Finally, after setting every manner of trap and using every trick in the book, I opted to move the other 350 birds to our main location. Only after the brutality of the Winter began to subside, could I find someone to lay new floors and reconstruct aspects of the loft at our other location. This, along with the -50-degree windchill factors, having limited space to open up the nestboxes in the lofts due to the influx of birds on perches, my own health problems and no help, our breeding season was very late and truncated. This, in turn, directly affected our ability to get birds out to the one-lofts in a timely fashion- which directly affected our results. I don’t ever want to do this again.
I’ve tried to cut back over the last three years, and have been successful at bringing the flock down from 3,200 birds to 1,700. We’ve gone from banding 2,000+ birds per season to around 600. For 8 years, we did our best to raise enough youngsters in order to gift 400-500 per year to beginners, fund-raisers, hard-luck cases, veterans etc. I just can’t do that at that level anymore. And, I suspect that, perhaps, we would be able to make an impact on one-loft racing if we had only 50-100 pair of breeders instead of 800-1600 pair! I really believe that having more than 15-20 pair of breeders is more of a curse than a blessing to one-loft racing efforts. Additionally, our overhead is staggering, which makes the whole venture difficult on two more levels: 1) We borrow 100% of all perch fees & entry fees for one-lofts. We have no other source of income except via pigeons. Thus, the weight of the overhead gobbles up too much profit. 2) This, in turn, affects our degree of support of the humanitarian and missions works that we started the breeding station for in the first place. So, once again, we need to streamline the operation.
Many friends and family have told me that I needed a loft manager or partners to help with marketing our birds. Easier said than done. We’ve partnered with five different fanciers to take pictures and ship birds. None have worked out the way we had hoped. We thought we had full-time loft managers twice. Neither panned out; they seldom do. One, in fact, lost his life tragically only 5 days after accepting the full-time position. Another fancier, with whom we had reached an agreement to purchase the majority of our stock was killed in an accident 10 days after reaching said agreement. Most racing fanciers live in the South, South-East or South-West. It’s tough to stir interest to resettle in the Great White North where it starts snowing in October and subsides by the first week of May! So, we’ve tried this route to little avail.
So, now, we’ve simply got to ‘bite the bullet’ and make an all-out effort to cut down by 90%. This, in itself, brings a different kind of challenge. Within three days of mentioning our major cutback- in one sentence, on one lot, on pigeonauctions- we received almost 260 texts, e-mails, voicemails and calls. It is overwhelming. It is a bit like the choice that some of us have to make who have too much flesh wrapped around our skeleton [we’re fat]. We have to choose our pain. That is, it is painful to live in a heavy earth-suit; but are we willing to endure even more pain in order to tailor that suit? Denying ourselves our favorite delicacies, slamming the pavement- before the sun rises- with our otherwise un-scuffed running shoes and stocking our closet with smaller attire [all the while knowing that we might have to use those new diminutive t-shirts next Winter as gloves if our ‘health-plan’ doesn’t take]; all of this brings a new kind of pain. Where we will find the time to sell off most of our birds, I don’t know; but we are going to try. Please be patient with us.
We’ve invested almost three million borrowed dollars in order to build Nanez Family Lofts. We’ve set records with our one-loft results. We’ve aided multiple dozens of fanciers in reaching their one-loft goals and helped to lift a myriad of local flyers out of mediocrity into the winner’s circle. We have traditionally charged much less for our best than have others who are in the business of selling top quality stock. We’ve dared to list almost 3,000 birds on national auction sites, starting at $1. We’ve donated over 4,000 birds to benefit auctions and down-and-out fanciers. We’ve worked very hard to please 3000 clients; though I suspect there are 4-5 that could not be satisfied no matter how many ‘extra miles’ we traversed. We’ve tried very hard to treat with equality: the retiree on a fixed income, the 4-H kids who don’t have two nickels to rub together, the minimum-wage earner trying to raise a family and the millionaires. We’ve tried very hard to treat them all with the same respect and dignity as well as offer them the same amount of time and assistance with no regard whatsoever to what they could or could not spend. As my body fails and as my hired help has evaporated, it has been harder and harder to do; but I still want to be known as someone who tries to show that respect.
I’ve worked under heavy stress for 40 years, always making sure I bite off much more than I should be able to chew. I’ve always feared scribbling a memoir at the end of my life entitled ‘Chronicles of a Wasted Life.’ But now, I need to shift my attention to smelling a few roses, walking in the woods with my wife, pruning a few trees, tending a dilapidated vineyard, catching up on 11 years of neglected home projects and schedule a couple of surgeries- lest my memoir becomes ‘Chronicles of a Short Busy Life.’ I need to visit the works we support overseas, serve my neighbors and regurgitate fragments from my soul onto paper again [write and publish]. I’ve tried desperately to keep even the small commitment of writing articles for The Digest on a regular basis, but to no avail. I want to keep that commitment.
I am not leaving the sport. Each time we’ve announced any attempt at a major cutback, I receive dozens of ‘condolences’ – as if to write my epitaph:
“Rick, you tried, you flyed, you’ve died;
Now, with God may you abide.”
At this point, there are no particular birds that cannot leave here- well, except one- ‘Mind On Fire’. Though his dad, ‘Iron Clad,’ has been such a good friend, MOF is more like a brother. I recently sold a 7-week-old son of MOF who acted just like his dad. It felt like I was shipping my five-year-old child off to boarding school on another continent. For the sake of sidestepping misunderstandings, deflating over-expectations and personally feeling horrible for deflating these expectations, it’s important to note that our sale is not a cut-rate, desperate clearance with price-tags that look like they’ve endured part III of a slasher movie.
We are willing to make deals [as always] and especially willing to offer packages involving larger groups of birds [even clusters of 25-50-100 birds]. With larger orders, we are willing to absorb some of the shipping costs in lieu of the recent major price-hikes. We are prepared to offer most birds at a discount compared to average sales. Each case is different.
Some: “PLEASE DO NOTS”
- PLEASE DO NOT e-mail us with pictures and prices of birds that you saw on an auction site and educate us on what the market value of our birds are. There are times that we list birds for only 24 hours on a site visited by only 5% of the sport, starting at $1, and in the middle of Summer- thus, selling for a fraction of what we charge direct. And then, there are birds we’ve listed starting at $1 that sell for $1,000 or $2,000 that are generally sold for $400 direct. It works both ways.
- PLEASE DO NOT contact us if you must have pictures or pedigrees to view before making decisions. Through the years, most of our sales are direct [around 90%]; and virtually none of these ask for pictures. To take a nice picture, sometimes one must shoot 15-25 to get one with the bird standing correctly, not blinking, not pooping, facing the right direction, not bumping against the sides of the box…etc. Furthermore, many photos on the internet are trimmed or even cloned, causing the bird to appear perfect.
So, photos really don’t tell us that much about a bird. Additionally, per pedigrees, we do not have 1,700 pedigrees made up on birds that have never been for sale. And, to do so, would be counterproductive in lieu of attempting to cut back because I don’t have time to do all I need to do. I’m happy to explain the lineage of a bird and to provide pedigrees of parents or gr.parents in cases where it is deemed necessary.
I know it may sound crass, however, for the most part, those who feel that the intricacies of a five-generation pedigree from us is required before considering a purchase- probably know much more about pigeons than I ever hope to. Just in the past several weeks, we’ve had 8 different fanciers to require photos and/or pedigrees before considering a purchase. After searching high and low for birds that fit their request, providing pedigrees and in a couple of cases photos— only one of the eight decided to actually purchase. I know it is part of the game, but in my situation, it is almost impossible to justify all those extra hours for naught.
It’s fun to look at pedigrees but to feign that it is a tell-all, is very thin reasoning. I cannot think of once that I ever asked for pedigrees from a fancier simply to consider the possibility of buying a bird/birds from them. And, we’ve purchased over 2,000 direct from fanciers all over the world.
Of course, full pedigrees are provided for all birds purchased from NFL [excepting yb kits or an unbanded bird].
- PLEASE DO NOT be impatient. In 48 hours, I received no less than 260 texts, e-mails, calls and voicemails. The 5 days thereafter, the flow has slowed little [after two weeks, the number approaches 500]. But once I mention on the front cover of the Nov. Digest that we are selling most of our birds, the trickle will become a torrent. I am making chronological lists of those who’ve contacted us- so that no one should feel they are being leap-frogged. We will be fair.
HERE IS BASICALLY WHAT WE HAVE AND SOME PRICING AS A VERY LOOSE GUIDE
*130 DIRECT CHILDREN OF ‘IRON CLAD’: HE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR AT LEAST 115 TOP TEN POSITIONS IN ONE-LOFT RACING/SPECIALS. ONE OF THE TOP STUD COCKS IN THE NATION. IRON CLAD IS ½ ALFONS KLAAS, GERMANY- AND ½ KANNIBAAL. FOR THE MOST PART, HIS KIDS GO FOR $1800-$3500 EACH, DEPENDING ON HIS MATE. THREE OF HIS KIDS HAVE SOLD FROM BETWEEN $7500-$20,000.
*45 DIRECT CHILDREN OF ‘CONSTANS’: RESPONSIBLE FOR AT LEAST 750 TOP TEN POSITIONS IN SPECIALS. PERHAPS THE GREATEST BREEDING COCK IN 5 DECADES IN THE U.S. THESE CHILDREN ARE 2010-2016 [AS HE DIED AS A RESULT OF A BAD VACCINE IN OCT. 2016]. ALFONS & HELMUT KLAAS, GERMANY. HIS KIDS RANGE FROM $1800-$7500 DEPENDING ON HIS MATE AND/OR BREEDING RECORD.
*WE HAVE DIRECT CHILDREN OF MOST OF OUR A & H KLAAS IMPORTS: FAUST, NAOMI, ATTILLA, FOOLISH PLEASURE, CARLA LOUISE, DER GUMMIBAND, DARK HORSE, FLAVIUS, HELENA, DAMARISSE. ETC.
*MANY CHILDREN OF OUR FOUNDATION PAIRS MAKE UP OUR CURRENT BREEDING PROGRAM: CONSTANS & FOOLISH PLEASURE; CONSTANS & THE DISH; EVER CONSTANT & KLEINE DIRKA; IRON CLAD & CLOCKWORK BLUE. WE HAVE VERY LIMITED NUMBERS OF THESE AVAILABLE.
*WE ALSO HOUSE A SMALL GROUP OF HOUBENS. WE BOUGHT OVER 300 HOUBENS FROM MULTIPLE SOURCES AND KEPT 11 FOR THE FOUNDATION OF THAT FAMILY. SAME WITH THE KANNIBAALS; WE BOUGHT OVER 300 AND KEPT 10 AS THE BASE OF THE TIGHT NUCLEUS WE’VE MAINTAINED.
*ADDED TO THE ABOVE, WE HAVE A FEW THORSTEN DAUM’S, RICHTER WEGGE, OLD BOLLE BLOOD, ANDREAS DRAPAS, VANDENABEELE’S [‘GABYS’], AUSTRALIAN DISTANCE FAMILIES, A FAMILY OF BLACKS AND GRIZZLES, AND A FEW OTHERS.
*ONE LOFT PERFORMERS AND THEIR CHILDREN PUNCTUATE THE MAKEUP OF OUR LOFT. SO, THESE TOO ARE AVAILABLE.
*WE ALSO HAVE ON HAND A LIMITED NUMBER OF UNBANDED BIRDS. THESE WERE MARKED WITH NUMBERED SNAP BANDS UPON DISCOVERY; SO, WE KNOW THE PARENTAGE. FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED ONLY IN LOW-RANGE PURCHASE PRICES [$100-$200], WE STILL HAVE MANY BEAUTIES AVAILABLE.
SEIZE THE DAY – AND – GOOD FLYING !
Rick & Reneé Nañez
NANEZ FAMILY LOFTS
•Please call us at: 715-566-3040•