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Problems in life and pigeon sport

Every human has things in life that he likes or dislikes.

I dare not write down everything I like, would be bad for my reputation or even my marriage, but saying what I hate like hell is less problematic.

I hate:

  • The phone
  • Women noisily communicating by their mobile in a restaurant next to me.
  • Date programs on television.
  • Dogs that do not stop barking and hair dressers that do not stop talking.
  • Over enthusiastic investment advisers.
  • Envelops that have ‘taxes’ as sender.
  • Scared pigeons
  • Sick pigeons
  • Many pigeons
  • Bad pigeons
  • Pigeons that do not trap after a race.
  • Speedometers
  • Porno
  • Closed coffee filters.
  • Americans (some)
  • Pedigrees
  • Geraniums
  • Trucks that try to pass each other with before them a long deserted highway and behind them a hopelessly long jam.
  • Stupidity and arrogance of ‘pigeon graders’ and even more the shockingly frequent combination of both.
  • Yelling spoilt little children.

Do I hate all these things because I spent my youth in a peaceful idyllic little town without traffic lights?

That might be the case indeed.

But you know what I hate most of all?

Selecting birds. That is often hart rending, since the consequences are so great.


We cannot keep all the birds, and… up till now the man who can distinguish for sure good birds from bad ones still has to be born.

Believe me, selecting is a problem for everybody, since everybody realises how important it is and since the examples are well known from even the greatest champions that made fatal mistakes or were just lucky.

The difference between becoming a champion or ‘a nobody’ in this sport may be just one pigeon.

Remember Klak. He wanted to get rid of the father of his 613 (‘Knook’) but nobody wanted it since it was both ugly and big.

When a cock of his was caught by a hawk he was short of one male and he had no other choice as to keep ‘Knook’ despite the fact he did not like it at all.

Till the day he died he could not understand why he bred a baby off this ‘monster‘  but… that baby was to become one of the best racers he ever had. His 613 !

There are numerous examples like this that prove how hard it is to select.

Even the greatest champions make mistakes.

What matters is to make as little mistakes as possible.


Pigeon sport has become professional and commercial but in the past it was just a hobby. People did not buy birds but traded and helped each other.

But times have changed.

Nowadays people buy birds to put them in the stock loft and pedigrees and names have taken a place in this sport for many, especially in the USA and Far East. 

This is too bad, since many novices are fooled by what they read.

Real champions know too well even the best pigeons may produce poor babies and many super birds were born from yearlings or just accidentally.

When I am at the breeding loft of a fellow fancier I often wonder what the function of some birds is.

Those are birds that are 3 years old or more that had never given good children.

Such birds do not belong there. 

Older birds should be good breeders or dead birds, but what often happens is this:

Fanciers keep such birds just because of the origin (‘the father was a good one’, ‘the grandfather came from a famous name’ or they find other excuses to give birds  credits they do not deserve.


In most countries the real game is racing old birds.

For most fanciers a yearling that did not perform can go, regardless the origin or how pretty he/she is.

Others, mainly long distance racers, have one more year patience.

The reason is simple. 

A 2 year old that is no good yet will never be a good one.

Since the sport has commercialised we see a difference with the past. Some decades ago old birds that were no good were eliminated.

Nowadays some put such birds that had proven to be no good in aviaries waiting for foreign buyers to show up.

So now you may understand why I advise not to import old birds apart from late breeds from the year before.


Here we should distinguish birds before and after the racing season.

     1. Before racing

Before racing the main criteria should be health. One cannot start selecting early enough. Actually it should start when babies are still in the eggs. When the scales are not glossy but crusty one can throw them away. No vital healthy pigeons will hatch.

One should have no pity with little babies in the nest either.

If one does not grow up as well as the nest mate, get rid of it. It will be no good.

When you want to band 8 day old babies and the legs are too thin, do not put them a band on but get rid of such ones as well.

When they are still begging for food when 6 weeks old, same story, move !

They should be on their own then. .

When the birds get older and say, for argument’s sake, 2 out of 30 are in poor health it is a big mistake to medicate 30 birds in order to cure 2.

When 28 stay healthy with the same care and in the same loft there is no excuse for 2 to fall ill. Get rid of them.

     2. After racing

After the racing season for young birds we face the biggest problems and often have to make choices that might keep you awake.

- Which bird shall we keep, the bird that was always on time but never real early or the bird that was a couple of times ahead of all loft mates and other times behind?

- Do we keep the ugly looking baby that performed well or…the pretty dandy that raced poorly bred off fantastic parents?

- Do we prefer a pretty good racer bred off pretty unknown yearlings to the bird that did not perform but was bred off our best pair that had given good ones before?

It is often real hard to decide, those we make the least mistakes are the lucky ones.


And what about the physical part? 

I have seen thousands of beautiful birds that were worth nothing.

And I have also seen many birds that looked average but that were supers.

We must admit though that, generally speaking, good birds seem to have become smaller throughout the years. So I prefer a little one to a big one.

Furthermore they should have a nice balance (not out of 2 pieces as people say) and most importantly the feathering should be soft.

I have seen good birds that were short, good birds that were tall, good birds with a deep keel, good birds that were big but never ever did I see a good bird with hard feathering. The flights of such birds easily break and you hear it when you open the wing. So one should stay away from such hard feathered birds.

And what about the eye sign?

Eye sign is B.S.

On market places you find birds with fantastic eyes sign but they cannot make it home from even 10 kilometres.

On the other hand there are birds with no eye sign at all that are supers!