Race Marking Protocol

29th May 2020

The following protocol has been approved by the IHU. This must be adhered to by all East Down Combine clubs:


In order to comply with current laws and to keep our members safe the IHU North Region are proposing the following in order to restart racing whenever permission to do so has been granted by the Northern Ireland Assembly.

These steps will lead to an increase in marking times, however this is a small price to pay for keeping members safe.

If you are over 70, feel unwell or suffer from an underlying health condition the recommendation is that you must continue to stay at home as advised by the Department of Health. If you want to race you should arrange to have someone transport your pigeons and clock to the club for you. This may be a relative or fellow club member.

For the duration of this pandemic the following new conditions will apply when at the club:

                Race Marking

                Social distancing of 2 metres MUST be observed at all times on club property.

  • A maximum of 4 members shall be allowed into the club room at any one time.
  • Only 1 member’s birds may be race marked at a time.
  • It is STRONGLY recommended that face masks are worn at all times inside the club and that hand washing facilities or hand sanitiser should be available and used between race marking of each competitor’s birds. Face shields and gloves are also recommended for those involved in the marking of pigeons.
  • Race crates should be disinfected with Virkon S or similar before use.
  • Where clubs have more than 6 members competing, members should be allocated a time to come to the club
  • Competitors should remain outside the clubrooms until invited inside by the race marking team.
  • Competitors shall then bring their basket of birds and clock into the club and retreat a minimum of 2 metres from the basket and other members. They may observe the race marking but cannot mark their own pigeons. Clocks should be wiped with anti bacterial wipes before use.
  • The race markers shall mark the pigeons observing the 2 metres social distancing guidelines.
  • To increase the speed of race marking, the requirement to spread old birds over baskets will be suspended during the current pandemic.  
  • When basketing is complete the clock, ETS print out and basket should be removed from the clubrooms.
  • Competitors using rubber rings should follow the same procedures as above.
  • For ringing purposes, race markers should follow normal procedures, adhering to social distancing and ensuring full use of Protective Equipment.
  • Each club shall determine their own payment method. However it is recommended that each competitor places their payment in an envelope for collection by the treasurer.
  • Once all basketing is completed the clock setter can set any manual clocks required and clocks will then be returned to the members when clock setting is complete.

Collection of crates from clubs (where applicable)

  • Crates should be placed outside the club with the necessary paperwork (weather permitting) before the transporter is due.
  • The Lorry Drivers will load the crates. No contact should be made between drivers and members.

Clock Checking

  • At clock checking, a maximum of 4 members should be present at any time. Social distancing guidelines MUST be adhered to.
  • When a competitor arrives at the clubrooms, he must remain outside until the clock checkers invite him in.
  • On receipt the clock should be wiped with an anti-bacterial wipe
  • Members must remain at least 2 metres from the clock checker while the clock is being run.
  • The clock and paperwork will be returned to the competitor after checking and the member should leave the clubrooms.
  • The race result will be compiled in the usual manner.


We appreciate that this will involve a deviation from existing rules but this is an unavoidable consequence of social distancing guidelines.






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